Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas

The blog has been on another holiday to accommodate its' author's turkey eating and present unwrapping.  I could post some pictures of green grass, the result of 3 days of warm weather that has put paid to our ski season and rendered the Christmas holidays an orgy of consumption with no compensatory exercise regime.  I don't actually exercise for that reason.  I just like being outside doing an enjoyable sport.  I do also like food.  Happy holidays and let it snow.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Ski #4: Icing sugar

This was Sunday and the park really did look like an elaborately forested Christmas cake that had been lavishly sprinkled with icing sugar. First chariot-free ski of the year. Dejan dragged me around the 20k inner loop. Conditions were great.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ski #3: The weather (again)

Another beauty. Great day. More than 5 hrs sleep would have been nice but I flooded our neighbourhood rink at 6am then Crystal took Felicity downhill skiing while I took Toby cross country. The two car parks are 300m apart. Here's our trip:

Friday, December 19, 2014

Ski #2: The weather

I grumbled about the weather yesterday. Well today we are back in business. -5C, wall to wall sunshine and a trail.

Earlier in the day, while I was putting Toby down for his nap someone else was putting Francine down for her nap, blanket and all...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The weather

I am often defending the Ottawa winters, extolling the virtues of the endless days of cold, crisp sunshine reflecting off a blanket of cotton white snow, the sharp crunch of ice skates on the endless ribbon of frozen canal and the pristine dusted pines that hug the fairytale trails and snug, fire-warmed wooden huts of of the park.  Not yesterday.  Yesterday it was bloody awful.  The temperature fluctuated between -1 and +1 and the precipitation changed its mood as often as a two-year old child (I'm just guessing on that one, ours is as stable as you like).  Freezing rain overnight turned to drizzle in the morning, ice pellets by noon, then wet sleet and finally snow-hail.  It was cold, windy, damp and grey, deeply, darkly grey.  Grey above, grey below and grey in your very soul's own heart.

All of which may make it seem a curious decision to head out on foot to the shopping mall, churning as it is at this time of year with unhappy and unrelenting shoppers.  But that's exactly what we did. So I entertained myself and those shoppers of a cheerier disposition by letting Toby loose.

You'd be surprised how many stair cases there are in a single storey mall.  You would be less surprised how many easily disrupted cheap items of tat exist at toddler height in a dollar store.  Nevertheless we made it round the dollar store accumulating only two items in our stroller and then... disaster.  A queue as long as the M25, snaking away from the cash and well up the whazoo.  And Toby is having none of it.  He has made it quite clear that he has no intention of waiting quietly for an indeterminate time in a queue.  Suddenly I am faced with a negotiation of epic proportions, one to rival the middle east peace accord.  I have to convince Felicity that we are going to leave our intended purchases and walk out of the shop.  At first it does not go well but then, miraculously she takes my promise of return to purchase said items at face value.  She believes me, she trusts me and she has faith that a $2 Christmas stocking for mum and a set of bubble blowing thing-a-mes are going to wait patiently for our return.  I am not sure if I am more relieved or racked with a sort of prospective guilt at the possibility that I might let this oh so trusting two-year old down.

Happy to report that today Mum got her stocking, a pre-Christmas present, neatly wrapped by me and eagerly announced, well before Mum had even laid hands on it let alone started unwrapping it.  Felicity followed this spoiler by telling me "Dad, we have got some socks for you".  There are some conventions of present giving that appear to have nuance unintelligible to the younger members of the family.  For all we know Toby is at it too but fortunately for him everything he says sounds the same so we would have no idea.

In other news we went to Crystal's Catholic school's departmental Christmas party last night complete with sex-themed gift exchange.  We came home with a beautifully carved wooden bottle opener in the shape of a penis.  It would be ideal for demonstrating the proper application of a condom in my wife's sex ed class.  Sadly Catholic school policy prohibits this so it will sit patiently in a drawer somewhere serving no real purpose other than occasional mild titillation.  Oh the irony.

And finally, some pics from driveway shovelling duty the other day:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The police come knocking

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Last night we waved Grandpa off for his lengthy journey back to the Isle of Mull.  Thus concluded 12 days of bearing witness to the somewhat controlled chaos of life in the Ferguson household.  It was wonderful to have the opportunity for the kids to spend so much time with Grandpa.  We did all the usual activities, visiting museums, get out in the snow, eating, playing, buying a Christmas tree and visiting family.

Today was a day of two halves, the first being a sleepy, slow morning around the house.  The second being a chance meeting with Christine and an afternoon of sledding in the nearby park followed by some hot chocolate and re-warming.  It's hovering around freezing which by Ottawa winter standards is quite mild but it's damp and windy so it feels like a British bone chiller.

As we were settling down to get the kids to bed the doorbell rang.  The was a police car on the road, no lights, just sitting there.  And a friendly police officer at the door.  First thoughts were "community policing rounds" and "what has the dog been up to".  Apparently we had dialled 911.  We, we have to assume, meaning Toby, age 14 months.  Luckily the hallway was dark-ish because I am sure I was bright red with embarrassment.  The office asked to come in, fortunately not making it as far as the living room where she would surely have assumed that we were being held hostage or had had a domestic dispute given that every toy we own was strewn across the floor.  In nearly 3 years of playing with phones, this is not something that Felicity has achieved so I suppose well done Toby but please don't do it again.  By the time the officer left a second car had pulled up.  I await the bill.

As promised I have added some photos to the previous posts now that I have extracted them from the camera.  And British readers can look forward to their Christmas card and round robin letter arriving soon-ish.  It took a midnight session to achieve and I was rewarded with a 4.50am wake up call from our resident crank-caller.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


The blog has been taking a short break as we have Grandpa Ian in town visiting from the Isle of Mull.  Also I've been trying to write the Christmas letter.  Expect a resurrection later this week.  And I owe you a lot of photos.  

Update:  Not a lot of photos, but a few...

We somehow didn't take any pics at Halloween so I was tasked with dressing the monkeys up and taking required picture.

 I suppose it is called an entertainment unit for a reason.

A mildly unsure Felicity receiving her present from Mr and Mrs Claus at Crystal's school's kids party.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Tuesday, November 2nd, 2014

I thought I had it today.  I put Toby down for his nap at 7.50am but he didn't wake up until 9.10 which was to late to make swimming.  So the grand excursion of the day was to the shopping mall.  Back at home we took on industrial scale cooking, baking mince and making a giant chilli.  Felicity is sous-chef extraordinaire and I took lot of pictures of our efforts, some of which may appear here in due course.
Update: due course...

Slow Monday

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Things I don't take photos of:  Felicity straddling Toby's back bashing him on the head with her fist before pulling his hair and then slapping his head.  I am sure this is normal 2 year old sibling behaviour (no I'm not!) but it still makes me angry which is probably the wrong reaction.

A few words about the weekend. It was our 6th wedding anniversary as I mentioned on Friday.  The kids went to the grandparents and we took off for the hills.  We hiked to a hut (non-stop), hiked back, sat in Chelsea's finest coffee shop, read the paper, went to the pub for supper and then drove straight to the cinema to see the intense, slightly disturbing but very captivating Gone Girl.  Then we slept for nearly 9 uninterrupted, gloriously wonderful hours.  All that was required on Sunday morning was to get up, run togerth with the dog, drive to eat breakfast, wander some art galleries and drink tea on the sofa.  It was all as good as it sounds.  We missed our monkeys but what a lovely little break.

So this is how today went, apart from the head bashing bit.  Felicity got up late, had breakfast and got dressed while Toby was getting ready for his first nap.  Felicity and I made a lasagne to freeze (my Dad is coming on Thursday) then Toby woke up.  Snack time.  Play time.  Time to get ready to go to the park.  Felicity announces she is tired and wants to sleep in the stroller.  I get her ready and send her out to wait.  She has a meltdown with the stroller, something to do with the wrong blankets, who knows, I bring her back in, get her undressed and take her to bedroom for a lie down.  By now Toby is dressed and ready to go outside.  Out we go and spend half and hour trundling around the garden.  Felicity is recovered and tries to get dressed to come out but then gives up and decides to stay in.  Toby and I come in.  Snack time.  Time for Toby's second nap.  Set Felicity up with colouring while I take Toby up.  And it's 3 o'clock.  This has actually been quite a good day.  I think it's what the kids needed.  They went to Grandma and Nonno on Saturday for the night and then had a party to go to on Sunday evening.  It will be busy when Grandpa Ian is here so a few quiet days are in order.

Friday, November 28, 2014


Friday, November 28th, 2014

Yesterday we had the car, the freedom of the great open road and the wind on our sails. All that excitement led me to break out the good camera but it's so darn convoluted getting the photos onto this here blog that it been done yet. We celebrated our vehicular autonomy by heading north into the hills of Gatineau to join Catherine and baby Isaac for her birthday. It's just really nice to have someone to meet up with, something to do and a nice place to do it. I am wedded to the ideal of single car family status but there is no doubt that we would have a better time with a car at disposal. And I would spend a lot more money on drive through coffee and donuts.

So that was a nice Thursday followed by a rubbish disturbed night to usher in our anniversary. Number six. Iron or candy. We were both very grumpy this morning. I'm now too tired to bore you with the details but we missed swimming as Toby slept through it in my arms, had a bath instead and then went for an hour and a half stroller (buggy) walk throughout which they both slept. We did end the day with homemade pizza, Chardonnay and our current favourite British sitcom, Him and Her. For the record Crystal got a bar of chocolate and a horse shoe nail that had been bent into a heart shape necklace by some lady in Nebraska on her anvil. And I got a very expensive Le Creuset pan. More on that later perhaps. 

And I think I'll have to explain these pics another time too. It's 9:10. Time for bed. Rock and roll.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A mystery outing

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

My blog writing has been succinct of late.  I've been really tired.  I think it may be the lack of sun in the last few days or perhaps the treadmill of domestic chores that are never really finished.  Grumble, grumble.  We are in eager anticipation of the arrival of Grandpa Ian from Scotland next week and soon the excitement of the holiday season will lift our spirits.

In the meantime we went on a top secret mission today related to Crystal's Christmas present.  She doesn't normally read my blog so she may well not see this anyway but hopefully this picture is not giving too much away.  Suffice to say what I thought would happen and what did happen were some worlds apart.  There will be a big reveal at some point around Christmas time.

Satisfied bus customer.  Well he would be, he gets to ride for free and to take his own personal reclining seat along too.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Spring has sprung

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Having been cross country skiing on Saturday we went to the Children's Museum (which is amazingly excellent) on Sunday to escape the rain we then had temperatures of 18C today. This meant more rain for our bus to play group this morning and a visit to the park this afternoon.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ski 1: November bonus

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

A whole week earlier than last year we took to the hills for our first cross country ski of the season.  This last week has been very wintery and the conditions were great.  However, as I write this on Sunday it is 7 degrees, most of the snow is gone and it is forecast to be 15 tomorrow.  It may be some time before we get out again.  All the more reason to be grateful for yesterday's wonder.