30 Mar 2014

Spring is officially here!

Well, we finally did it!  We went hiking for the first time in 2014.

It was so nice out today that we decided to take Maddy and hit the trails at the Dundas Conservation Area. Got a little worried as we entered their main gate - they had a sign out that said "Trails Closed today". We talked to the lady at the gate and she said they had to put the sign out because the trails were very icy.

They were right on that one! Some of the trails were so icy that we had to go cross-country (i.e. through the bushes) to avoid sliding down a hill and not being able to get up. I even took the cap off the end of my hiking stick to make it into an ice pick.  Lots of slush (it was +10C), lots of ice, lots of mud, and lots of new rivers everywhere.

First hike of 2014
Maybe a few more days of warmer weather and we will lose some of the ice and snow. Can't imagine that the mud will disappear until late April though...

26 Mar 2014

Hockey season is OVER!

Parker played in his final house league game of the season on Saturday with his brand new stick. It was the final championship game to determine the season's best team. Unfortunately his team didn't win the trophy - they got a medal for second place. Happy to be done with hockey season and hoping for spring, what do you think we did for the rest of the weekend?
First game of the last day of the hockey season

We watched Parker play hockey, of course! Froze our butts off, too. Repeatedly.

His team entered the City of Hamilton "playdowns" on Sunday. The first game at the Chedoke arena was pretty much a bust, as it was against a much stronger team. They didn't have a great time, especially coming one day after their disappointing loss in the house league championship.

Parker actually had two major events scheduled on the same day (not unusual in our household), so we whisked him from the arena, got him changed, and brought him to a church in Dundas for his piano recital. The video below tells you about how long his performance was.

After the recital, we whisked him to a different arena (Mountain Arena in Hamilton) just in time to get changed and ready for his next game. 
Second game of the last day of the season (Parker in red helmet)
A funny thing was that one of the referees coming in for the game (pictured above) walked up to Eric and asked him what he was doing there. The ref was one of Eric's teaching assistants from McMaster! This game was far better, but they were not quite able to catch up to the other team. Definitely a more exciting game to watch than the last one, but still disappointing for the kids. 

After the game, all Parker wanted to do was to go home and play video games while keeping his leg still. He hurt his leg previously and it was sore for most of the weekend.

That was pretty much how the last hockey day of the season went. Just hope winter soon gets the idea that we are done with it, too. 


16 Mar 2014

Selfie time!

OK, I don't really like taking selfie pictures, but I just had to do it today.  It was one of those ironic moments where the selfie made some sense.

Dundas Mahjong tournament
This afternoon it was games night at our house (not a routine event, but Wendy would like it to be). We decided to play Mahjong. Stanley didn't know how to play, so we taught him the game. What the game gods are probably chucking over is the fact that Stanley is the only one in the house from China (Guangzhou).

Next trick?  Maybe we could introduce him to dim sum...

15 Mar 2014

Maddy's visitors

Maddy was in heaven with all the attention this week. She started off Sunday with a play date with her large dog friend, Abby (Maddy can walk underneath her, so she is quite big in comparison). Tired her out completely! She just had time for a quick nap before the arrival of Eric's parents, brother, and sister-in-law. They were on their way home from a tour in Italy and stopped in Toronto.  They stayed at our place for a few days while they recovered from the 9+ hr flight.
Maddy with Eric's dad, Paul.
Maddy decided that she loved everyone and was ready to receive a scratch from anyone, anytime. And there was a lot of that going on...everyone was home all week due to Spring Break for the kids.

Maddy with Eric's brother, Dave.

Maddy with Eric's sister-in-law, Sandra.
Maddy in her glory.
We had several big meals and sat in the living room a lot. Both Wendy and Parker practiced their piano for everyone, while Maddy demonstrated how to play with toys.
Eric's mom, Dianne.

The family all together for a concert.
Maddy also had a short play date with her neighbour dog friend, Penny (a dachshund). After all of the activity and the lack of sleep (everyone was home all day), Maddy finally remembered that she had started the week by losing an hour of sleep due to the spring-forward time change.  She was so over-tired that she kind of sunk into the couch. Anyone that has ever had jet lag should recognize this feeling!

What true jet lag looks like.
With all the talk of spring, and all the melting going on in the back yard (we had mud puddles everywhere), you'll never guess what happened?  

We got snow.  


After everyone was headed back to Winnipeg on Wednesday in a major snow storm, I drove back home from Pearson airport (after almost 2 hours of driving on city streets - all the highways were functionally blocked). It was miserable for the whole day, but we woke up the next morning to a pretty back yard. Looks a little like a postcard from the Swiss Alps (without the mountains). 

After the storm.
It has partly melted since then, but I am not holding my breath for spring coming any time soon. The weather was just the right temperature, though, for Maddy to make some interesting patterns in the yard with her nicely trimmed (not bushy) feet.

Maddy tracks.

7 Mar 2014

Busy week, busier weekend

Wow! That was one busy week and it looks like it will be even busier next week.

Parker's first broken stick
We started off with Parker's semi-final hockey game that could have been the last of his season. We were wrong... they now are in the finals in a few weeks.  And Parker needs a new stick. He's never broken one before, so he does it at the end of the season - before he grows out of it over the summer! Another $100 piece of hockey equipment that might end up playing on the driveway.

[Parker - if you are reading this, please note that we have a NEW garage door. NO driveway hockey.  Well, at least until your brother runs into it...]

We got more snow this week. Surprise! Only came down two or three days this week. It looks like it will melt just in time to be sloppy when the weather is warm enough to go out hiking. No big deal. It's all good. I'm not bitter.  
Snow sliding off the patio table
Our student, Stanley, is really starting to warm up to Maddy.  He and she are frequently seen sort of cuddling on the couch.  Don't tell him that she likes to stay close because he eats food, and she knows it.

Maddy's new friend

Today, Adam went for his final driving test and he passed with flying colours! He now has his full G licence and doesn't have to deal with these driving test things for another 50 or 60 years. Now we have the task of trying to pry Wendy's car out of his hands so she can drive it.  He can't use the practice excuse on us any more.

This weekend we are cleaning the house, going out to dinner, hosting Stanley's cousin overnight, then going to the airport to pick up my's parents, brother, and his spouse.  They are from Manitoba, but are flying back from a vacation in Italy via Toronto. They had not been to Italy since about 1964 or so (around the time I popped out... let's forget that looming landmark for now). Must be quite a few changes in the last 50 years! 

We twisted their arms and told them there was no use staying at a hotel then catching the next flight home the next morning!  Adam (the G driver) and I will pick them up in the evening and they will stay to recover until Wednesday morning before heading back to Winnipeg - where their weather has been worse than ours! My parents haven't visited our house for many years, so there are a few changes they will see. Even better, it is March break for the kids (starting today), so we all are going to be home for the entire time they are here. Glad we have 3 bathrooms.  Another good thing as that their jet lag will be not as bad as it could have been - TIME CHANGE time again!

Wendy and I expect to be driving to Stouffville to have dinner with her friend from Ottawa.  Traffic going north should be less intense by tomorrow, right? The only places you don't want to be this weekend is on the highway or at the airport. 


Oh cr#p...!