Parenthood
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Elizabeth was invited to two different birthday parties, which of course happened to coincide with her spring piano recital.


Party #1 was Cosmic Adventures with Adi, and of course Elizabeth was pretty excited to be going. She carefully made her card and Matthew hopefully made one too after she told him he couldn't come because he had no card or present. We took him on an "adventure" to buy more dirt and flowers for the garden instead, which seemed to satisfy him - probably because he doesn't remember what Cosmic Adventures is...


There was a lot of gardening in between drop off and pick up for the two parties. Elizabeth and Matthew played in the sandbox when they got tired of helping.


Party #2 was a princess party (Princess Ariel, to be precise) at Lea's house. We weren't going to let Elizabeth go at first, but Lea's mom emailed me to see whether Elizabeth could come so we relented. This did mean that we had two recitals on the same day. Matthew was much more confident this time - banging his tambourine with vim and vigour and singing along to the "Mr Sun" song. Sadly he could not be stopped from continuing to sing so we had to leave the room after that! He enjoyed the dancing song as well.


Elizabeth's party ended a mere fifteen minutes before the start of recital #2 so Daddy had to motor to get her there on time. She was slightly delayed due to problems with the doorbell but managed to make the rhythm parade that always starts off the recital - though she did have to run... Matthew was happy to get to do the parade twice, but after Elizabeth's piece Daddy took him out for a walk as it was a bit much to expect him to sit through the whole thing again, especially considering that it was VERY hot. Mrs Hannah and Mrs Shana had kindly suggested that we could slip out anytime after Elizabeth's piece (which they put at the beginning). I left it up to Elizabeth, who didn't want to miss her "favourite" song aka Matthew's dancing song. So we ended up staying until then (about two thirds the way through). When we got home and Elizabeth realized that we weren't doing anything "exciting" the rest of the day she said wished she had stayed longer. But Mommy was hot so just as glad that we didn't! Elizabeth was so excited that she rushed her piece a little bit - it was fine but the version she played on a video that we sent out a few weeks ago was much better performed. Ah well!


There was more gardening before and after supper and even after the kids went to bed, but we managed to get all the flowers planted and watered, 1680L of dirt spread in the various garden boxes and many bags of mulch arranged to my satisfaction.



   



Dianne invited Matthew and I along on a tour of the RCMP stables and picnic. We were hoping to catch a practice for the musical ride afterwards, but sadly they were too close to leaving on tour and don't need their noon practices anymore.


Matthew enjoyed seeing the horses very much. He was also thrilled to take TWO busses home, which was surprisingly painless until he passed out and I had to walk the last ten minutes in the hot sun with a sleeping child who could not be roused. Then I realized I had left my keys in my coat and was locked out of the house with said sleeping child for a bit as Daddy was at a meeting. Luckily we'd already pulled out the deck furniture so I put my feet up and relaxed until rescue arrived.



   



Our area is getting fancy new wireless water meters in order to justify the ever-increasing cost of our water (seriously - I think we're over 400% increase in the last decade and our neighbour who owns a bunch of apartment buildings told us his water bills recently passed his electric bills!)


In any case, we got our notice and groaned because our shutoff valve to the house was defective. We had been planning to replace it along with our original lead pipe water service "someday". We weren't too worried about the lead pipe part because we had participated in the city of Ottawa's free water quality testing program for a few years. Although the results suggested we should run our water prior to drinking it in the morning, the levels were quite acceptable. The shut off valve was another matter as the idea of getting much water all over our nice new hardwood floor in the basement convinced us that someday had come.


Brendan's parents had investigated changing the lead pipe service back in 1995 when our street was rebuilt, but the contractor suggested they would need to demolish and rebuild the front porch so that was that! I was pleased to discover that no one was suggesting that this would be necessary this time around.


I was less pleased to find out that water service replacements are quite pricey (4k!), but I was unable to convince Brendan that we could dig our own large hole in order to reduce the cost.


The work was initially supposed to happen several weeks ago but locates were all backed up so we had to wait. Elizabeth and Matthew were perplexed to see the little flags and yellow spray painted lines on our lawn ("Uh oh", said Matthew. "Draw, draw, naughty!") When the workers arrived, they were pretty confident they would only have to make a small hole in the lawn. "Don't worry about your flower bed", they said. "We'll feed a wire through the old pipe and pull a new one in".


The kids were very excited to see the "digger" and dump truck hanging out on our lawn. Matthew watched for hours. You'd think this was free entertainment, but he was quite desperate to help so it was actually fairly challenging to keep him from climbing into the hole. "Drive, drive, me, me, now, now!!!"


Sadly (our perspective) or excitingly (Matthew's) as the day progressed, the hole in the lawn got bigger and bigger. The workmen used saltier and saltier language. Finally it turned out that we were in the 30% of jobs where this method just didn't work. Out came my lilac tree ("Broke Broke" said Matthew in some distress. "Fix fix, now now!"). Out came part of the flower bed. Out came a whole pile of boulders that had been interfering - looks like the contractor who had waterproofed the foundation had thrown them back in around the foundation for some unknown reason (the rest of the lawn is all basically on top of sand). It still took them ages to extract the pipe, during which I tried not to look at my poor lilac, roots broiling in the sun and leaving drooping more and more. Eventually everything was done and all was placed back more or less the way it was.


The workmen were charmed by how excited Matthew was to watch them, and told him he could sit in the dumptruck and honk the horn. "Noooooo!" said my fickle child. "Too scary!!!". He wouldn't even let the worker honk the horn for him. But he did enjoy watching the seat go up and down and up and down.



   



Erika and Maria came to visit us for the afternoon, to Elizabeth and Matthew's great delight.


They played and played outside until it was time to drop Maria off at the Midway for a supper time birthday party with her friends. We consoled the other kids with a trip to Home Depot (to look at flowers for the garden) and the grocery store (for cookies, steak and gummy worms).



   



Monster Ice cream: It's the new favourite dessert around here, even though the kids aren't nearly as fond of ice cream as Mommy. I think they like the idea of it better than the actual dessert, but I'm not complaining.


In fact, once Matthew picked out the chocolate chunks he demanded more strawberries and left the ice cream behind. Elizabeth ate her ice cream but she "needed" extra strawberries too.


But I like it because a) ice cream and b) it's pretty easy to put a tongue and eyes on a small scoop of ice cream.



   

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*Monster Icecream

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