Monday, February 21, 2011


Declan was being a bit rambunctious last night so I turned off his TV and pulled out some of our photo albums for him to look through with me. The original goal was to show him some of the sights for our upcoming trip to England and then I started actually looking at some of the pictures that we have and were able to keep safe from the flood.

It's funny to watch a 3 year old go through these keepsakes and not know what to do with them. He saw Andrea and I from almost 10 years ago when we got our first apartment and didn't understand that it was where we lived at the time. He saw Andrea's cousin Jacob as a baby and thought that he was Rhys because they actual do look alike. It was funny to see him recognize things that we were doing at the cottage with the kids before he came along as things that we do with him now. Seeing the Kincardine Pipe Band parade, making sand castles and going to the family reunion.

What shocked me were the pictures that I had totally forgot about. Pictures of Mike, Mike and I in Los Angeles after the infamous shaving cream fight (I don't think we ever did get all of the gel off the walls or the floor), and the pics of Saibal's wedding (which I attended after having a gig at a house party in the middle of nowhere on no sleep whatsoever). There are pictures of Andrea and me in Quebec City freezing our butts off but having a blast and also walking around rainy London with Victor (the day that we drunkenly decided to by a Louis Vuitton clutch!).

I showed Declan pics of me with my Grandmother and explained that we are going to go meet her in a month. He was slightly confused but honestly interested in who she was. I showed him my Grandfather's photo which is actually a picture of the last time that I saw him before he passed away. It was a wonderful meal with my family in England.

I was lucky enough to see my grandparents a handful of times over the years when they were able to visit us and was blessed with my Grandmother being able to come to out wedding. I am incredibly excited that she will be able to meet her first Canadian Great-Grandson and hope that maybe in a couple of years she will be able to meet her second one as well. I can't wait to have photos of those visits.

One of the funniest pictures was of me with blond hair. Declan had no idea who I was and didn't really believe it was me when I told him so.

It was interesting to see the pictures of our house from before we actually moved in. The reno work we did changed it dramatically for the better and I remembered all the help that our friends and family gave us to get it ready in such short order. Amazing when I think about it. We took possession of that house on December 1st, did the renovations for 2 weeks and then moved in on the 15th. We had our house warming party on the 17th which is madness! It was wonderful though.

I also realized that we are blessed to have so many photographs of our families. We have lots of Andrea's Grandmother at the cottage, lots of the Jacob, including the first time he stayed at our apartment (which ended up with me going to Andrea's parents at 3 in the morning because Jake had actually thrown up all over the place and we had no laundry facilities).

There is something marvelously simple about the photo album. I forgot how much I love opening them up. Something gets lost when you are just scrolling through the pictures on a computer monitor, you can't touch them, turn the pages, hear the binding on the spine crack. What I really found remarkable was that Declan sat there with me going through all of those pictures, asked the questions that he had about them and enjoyed the answers and the stories that I shared with them about them.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Snow Days!

The blast of winter that we got this week made me think back to when I was a kid. Winter was such an amazing time of the year for us. I lived in a townhouse complex which had a large parking lot that needed to be plowed during snowstorms. That plowing would inevitably create a massive pile of snow that we quickly turned into a rabbit warren of a snow fort!

This came with the obvious pleas from parents to be careful because we could be buried alive in the caves that we were building. They fell on deaf ears. We actually got to the point where we were reinforcing the walls and ceilings with small spray bottles of water. The frozen mist would strengthen the walls in our minds and render them safe. We spent hours digging in those snow piles until we were saturated and shivering but it was always worth it.

The other way we killed time in the winter was to go sledding. We lived across the street from a hill that was on the property of an old-folks home so it was dubbed Granny's Hill. No idea who first called it that but it stuck. The hill was large and steep and had a creek at he bottom of it. Many a time I watched friends end up in the creek soaking wet.

When the snow came down it was a given that the Hill would be climbed and ramps would be made. For the longest time we used Crazy Carpets and Flying Saucers to go down at unimaginable speeds. Hitting bumps and wiping out more often than not.

Then one day the GT Snowracer came into our lives. A sled WITH A STEERING WHEEL!! We would tow them up the hill and have races to see who could be the fastest. We were daredevils (and maybe a bit insane). Luckily our parents never came to Granny's Hill with us. It was generally the province of kids and teenagers. Our parents never new that we had side hills called Suicide (aptly named because of the incredibly steep slope, and chain-link fence at the end) and Roller Coaster (lots of bumps and dips).

As we got older the hill also became the place for us to learn the delicate art of BEERBOGGANING. Get a 2-4 and take it to the top, have a beer or two and go down the hill. Climb back up and repeat. Luckily the snow kept the beer cold.

Once in a while we would get some stick from the old folks in the home that didn't want us to have any fun but all they would do was yell from the windows. We were never actually told we couldn't be there.

I drove by a couple of weeks ago and noticed that some new developments had occurred on the hill. They have actually reduced the slope with infill from some construction in the neighbourhood, but there were still kids there having a blast. When the boys are a bit older I would like to take them to Granny's Hill and show them what Tobogganing can be.