Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snowy Compost

How about this sign we found at a local store!?! Should buy that one for sure.

And while I'm on the topic here's what one of my composters looked like this morning after a lot of snow!! We are still composting over the winter. At least until both of our containers are full. Then we may switch over to the city's composting/wet waste service.

So what happens in the compost with all this cold and snow? Well not much really depending on the size but when the temperature gets above freezing (as it's expected to a few times this week) things start happening and the internal temperature of the compost heats up again. If it's a larger compost or it's well insulated they have been known to stay at or above 100 degrees F all winter! Even when the temperatures are well below freezing. So don't be discouraged, keep filling those composters up!

And this is the pile of snow between us and our neighbors. I'm glad we have as much room as we do. I'm imagining many other homes close by that won't have anywhere to put all this snow!

One of the great things about a big snow fall is that everyone comes outside. For just a little while all our neighbors were out at the same time shoveling their driveways. And once again my neighbor to the east of us was a hero on our street. He has a snow blower and helped everyone out by removing what the plows left at the end of everyone's driveways. You can see him at work below. Thanks again Rohan!!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mario Kart Snow Track

So Jonah, our 4 year old, has loved having Uncle Mark live downstairs as that gives him direct access to Mark's Wii and his games. Most importantly it gives him access to Mario Kart which he has been loving! If I could use a stronger word I would. Maybe 'obsessing about' would be more appropriate. For example, he had trouble sleeping recently and when we asked what he's been lying in bed thinking about he says Mario Kart. Also during meal times to help him finish his food I once told him a little about the history of Mario Brothers and Nintendo. Now he's constantly asking me to tell him more about it!

Don't get me wrong here. We limit the boy to 30 minutes per day of playing time but it seems like that's enough to still take him over the top. I'm not sure how much is too much. I know I played way more than that when I was a kid but I was older than 4. Either way, I still think it's better for him to be playing outside or with his Tinker Toys and drums rather than a video game.

After the large snowfall yesterday we decided to go out this morning to watch our neighbor with his snowblower. He cleared the ends of I don't know how many driveways this morning. The part the snowplows leave too. Thanks Rohan!! We eventually ended up in the backyard as we always do. I cleared a path to the compost (I'm still filling it by the way) which Jonah was loving to use to run back and forth. I thought he might have fun if I cleared a larger path for him. So I did. Sure enough it turned into a Mario Kart race. Here's a video from one of our races.

Here's a picture of Jonah after "slipping on a banana peel" or being hit by a "green turtle".


Friday, December 19, 2008

White Christmas

Well so far for us in Southern Ontario it sure is looking like we will be having a white Christmas. Here's a video I took this morning from our most recent snow storm. I may need to post another once it's all done. It's 4:00PM and it has been snowing strong since 7AM!!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

60mph bed

Below is a picture of the spot where I spent the last couple of weeks sleeping at 60 mph. Just in case you're interested!


Downhere Best of 2008!

Wow!! I am humbled by this. We were selected for the number 1 album of 2008 at! What a privilege it is to make music with Jason, Marc and Jeremy on an almost daily basis. Not to sound like an acceptence speech or anything but this album wouldn't have been made or sounded nearly as good without our label Centricity Music and our producers Stephen Gause and Mark Heimermann. And thank you Kevin Davis and everyone else at for giving us this huge honor.

Read the full article here.

Here's what was said about our album:

My most anticipated album all-year has been this gem by my favorite band downhere. Sometimes an album doesn't live up to the hype after an excellent album like Wide-Eyed And Mystified, but this album is amazing, every song. As a major fan of the Canadian band downhere since their Dove Award winning debut in 2001 and Best New Artist 2001, this band has only managed to get better this decade putting them in the ranks of my other favorite bands Jars of Clay, MercyMe and Sanctus Real, with their Brit-Rock sound being a blend of all of those great CCM artists and also the driving alternative rock that has made Coldplay an international sensation.

Ending Is Beginning immediately grabs you with the opening track "Bleed For This Love," written in the person of Jesus and is a moving portrayal of His sacrifice and love. Next, the first single "Here I Am," based on my favorite passage of the Bible, Isaiah 6:8 stirs me to answer my calling as a Christian to do God's will. The next 4 tracks "Cathedral Made Of People," "My Last Amen," "Hope Is Rising," and "Something Heavenly" are among the best songs ever by this great band, both musically and lyrically and the harmonizing of Marc Martel and Jason Germain has never been better. The album doesn't have any filler songs and actually closes as strong as it starts with "Live For You," "The Beggar Who Gives Alms" and the anthemic and moving "How Many Kings" as a bonus track, originally on last year's Christmas album Bethlehem Skyline.

For me, this album is truly 5 stars (98% perfect) and is my top album of 2008!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Not On The Menu

After two weeks on the road it was so nice to get home today. The Bethlehem Skyline tour was great. I sure hope we are able to do it again next year so more people will get a chance to see the show. Thanks to all of you who came out to see us and to those of you who followed the show online. If you missed it our last show will be on repeat until Christmas. Just click here to watch.

For supper tonight we thought it would be nice to go out to one of our usual stops for eating out, Boston Pizza. The other 'usual' for us is Swiss Chalet. Both of these are Canadian but I believe there is a restaurant in the US called Boston's that's pretty much the same. It's a sports bar/pizza restaurant that's quite family friendly. The last time we ate at Boston Pizza I was really disappointed. There was a new menu and our favorite appetizer, garlic twist bread, was missing. We decided to try the new alternative and it just did not compare. Ever since then I've lost my desire to go back there. Well Jonah, our 4 year old, really wanted to eat there so we went for it. I thought I'd try asking for the good old garlic twist bread just to see what would happen and I was told no problem. Great!! Apparently people ask for it all the time still. It came and tasted as good as ever! I had a similar experience at Carrabbas recently (which is only in the US by the way). I was eating there with some friends and there was an old item that was no longer on the menu that they loved and still order every time with no problems. Some big chicken combination plate. So I guess the moral of the story is order away, even if it's not on the menu. The restaurants are there to keep their patrons happy!



Monday, December 15, 2008

Bethlehem Skyline Tour Update

Enjoying the last night of the Bethlehem Skyline Tour. To see the final show live, tune in...

Tonight at 7:00 PM CST

Live from Mankato, Minnesota

Downhere, Jason Gray, Daniel Kirkley,
Lanae Hale, and Jaime Jamgochian

We'll be rebroadcasting this show until Christmas so if you missed it live, still check out the link!


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sexual Harassment

We had an unfortunate incident while on the road last night. One of the ladies on our tour was sexually harassed by a security guard! It was so not cool. And it happened right before the show started which meant it had to be dealt with at a really awkward time. I missed the whole ordeal but heard about it afterwards so I can't really give a good account of what happened but I do think it was handled so well by the men on our tour. Jason Gray did an excellent post about the whole incident at his blog. Check it out.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My boy, "Bramwell Clause"

Sherri sent me this photo today. This is Bram at 15 weeks (not quite 4 months) wearing a 12 month size Santa suit. The boy is huge right now! He is so cute in this one it's making me miss home even more!! Thanks to Alexis for the Santa suit. Nice find.


Playing Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo Wii

I need to make an admission. I played Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Wii till 2am last night. I couldn't help myself. Once I started remembering where hidden things were I had to keep going. I even started to think I might be able to clear the game. Eventually though I couldn't figure out how to get to world 8, the final 4 levels. Super Mario 3 was my specialty back in the day not 1. So I did a quick search and found a really cool site with maps to all the levels. Check it out. This one from level 4-2. This is where you can skip ahead to world 8.

I got myself to 8-2 but it just got too late to stay up and attempt to finish the game. Anyway for those of you who were big NES players back in the day and now have a Wii I'm sure you know about being able to play all those old games. I checked and it looked like I could even buy Super Mario 3 for $5! What am I waiting for??? Here's where you can find those maps. He also has created maps for Zelda, Doom, Final Fantasy, Ultima and a few others. Looks like he put some serious work into it. Enjoy reliving your childhood!



Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Purpose of Marriage

Some quotes from a book I'm reading right now. The Mystery Of Marriage - Mike Mason

Speaking about the purpose of marriage:
"to get us out beyond our depth, out of the shallows of our own secure egocentricity and into the dangerous and unpredictable depths of a real interpersonal encounter."

On Christian Faith:
"The Christian Faith, like marriage, aims at teaching us that the time when we are most ourselves is, paradoxically, when we are busy losing ourselves in another, when we are before the altar making vows of love and self-sacrifice, when we are out of our own depth and drowning in the deep waters of otherness."

These two quotes give a pretty good idea of what a marriage should look like. It was difficult to choose them without the context of the previous pages but I think it still conveys the author's skillful writing and is the crux of what he is trying to say in this chapter. I think it's really important to read books on marriage, especially when you are in one. It can never replace taking the time to study your spouse and learn as much about them and how to serve them but it sure does help. This book has been great so far and I'm not even a third of the way through. If you are looking for a good marriage book this is one you will enjoy!



Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Canada's Political Crisis and How The Leafs Just Won the Stanley Cup

For those of you outside of Canada you may not realize we have a bit of a political crisis going on right now. I've heard bits and pieces about it over the past few days so I figured I needed to read up on it and try to understand what's happening. The man on the right is our current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper and the men on the left are the leaders of the three opposition parties. There are some great articles on CBC that explain the current situation. Follow this link and check out some of the headlines in the right sidebar to learn more. If I try to explain things I'll get it wrong or someone will interpret my words as leaning one way or the other and I'll attract all the political commentators which just gets annoying.

The one headline that caught my attention the most that had to do with this political crisis was this though - Toronto Maple Leafs Win Stanley Cup. Blogger "Canadian Jedi" put this crisis into familiar hockey terms for us all to understand. He's obviously not a fan of the coalition and leans Conservative but nevertheless a funny way to describe the situation.

Canada was stunned Monday when it was announced that The Stanley Cup will be awarded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, possibly as early as December 6th.
The cup will be stripped from from 2008 playoff champions the Detroit Red Wings and be awarded to the Leafs, who didn't even make the playoffs.
How is this possible, Canadians ask?
Well, the Leafs have formed a coalition with eastern conference semifinalists the Montreal Canadians, and conference quarter finalists the Ottawa Senators, now outnumbering the Red Wings.
According to current Leaf coach Ron Wilson "the Red Wings have lost the confidence of the league and should hand the cup over immediately to our coalition".
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is cutting short a European trip to try to resolve the unprecedented hockey crisis that could force a second playoff series, or see an opposing team coalition take the cup. -link


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