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It appears that Halloween is the first time we have all posed together for a family portrait since Amelia was born, and Amelia's costume obstructs her face, so I'm not sure it counts. Shocking! We don't have too many photos of just the three kids together either. Clearly we are falling down on our paparazzi duties...


In any case, our neighbours got into decorating and the kids loved it except for the climbing tree getting wrapped in spider web. Which apparently offended Matthew and Elizabeth's sensibilities so much that we had to discuss Halloween decorations every. single. time. we went outside. Matthew liked the spiders though and made me take out several extremely disgusting books about spiders from the library. Actually I at first told him that I didn't know where the spider books were (true), thinking that we could go back to checking out books about tractors and babies (previous obsessions). But my kids both know their way around the library and he just marched over to Susan the librarian and demanded spider books. "Stories about spiders, or real spiders?" she asked. "WEAL spiders. BIG spiders!" he elaborated. Auntie Karen should stay out of that section, is all I'm saying. I dreamt about baby tarantulas all night that bedtime.


Ahem. Back to Halloween. Auntie Yukiko gifted us with a set for carving pumpkins before she left for Japan and we have now tested it out. It makes it so much easier! The haunted house turned out very well, I thought, though I personally had absolutely nothing to do with it.


Elizabeth had skating in the morning and didn't want to be gymnastics girl on skates (plus the costume would not have fit over the coat, I don't think). So she was a bunny. Elf Auntie Janice went to work with prosthetic ears she actually glued on. She made them herself. Matthew was slightly concerned they might not come off again.


We had pumpkin stroganoff for supper, as per tradition. Then the kids all went trick-or-treating at 5:30pm and half the street was all out (because suddenly there are a ton of tiny kids) and being all - don't go to my house until I get home but make sure you stop by! We met several new neighbours which was cool except I'm not sure that they'll recognize me next time without the toddler costume on my head. Matthew was pretty excited to get candy but after about five houses he was all "time to go home and start eating this". Elizabeth made him keep going for a few houses because she wanted to visit her friend's house across the street, but eventually he insisted he was done.


Then Daddy and Elizabeth dashed off to Adi's neighbourhood to do some more serious trick-or-treating and Matthew got into the candy... I mean ... went to bed early... We might have run out of candy and dealt with it by handing out some of the candy collected earlier by my children. Despite this we did not have a candy shortage the next morning. Elizabeth proudly announced to her Sunday school class that she ate candy for breakfast and didn't have to brush her teeth afterwards. Whoops!



   



We invited Adi to come with us to the local community centre's annual Halloween party, where Gymnastics Girl, 'PIDER BOY' and Monkey baby tried out their costumes. Auntie Janice gave us a sneak peek at her costume too...


Matthew was sad that he was too short to go in his favourite bouncy castle, so Elizabeth helped him on the other one with a less strict height guideline. After the bouncy castles the kids went around to all the stations and got their requisite prize stamps to trade in for candy. There was much sugar consumed. "Want an extra bag of candy for good luck?" the volunteer asked? "Want to fill in another sheet to get another prize?" NOPE.


Matthew did all the same games as the older girls except for pin the coconut on the palm tree- he flatly refused to be blindfolded on the grounds that it was too scary.


We also went to a short Halloween play that ended with candy being thrown into the audience and walked through the haunted house (*not the one that came with a disclaimer stating no kids under eight though*)


I was amused to find myself bumping into all kinds of kids and parents that I knew. I guess we've started to actually get to know our neighbourhood!



   



We had an unseasonably long fall and the garden kept producing so long that I started to hope we'd get watermelon after all... (The first melons having been scarfed down by resident wildlife)


Our garden did okay this year. Loads of green and yellow beans (I even harvested some seeds in an experiment to see if I can avoid having to buy them!). Lots of lima beans! A few zucchinis. A decent potato harvest. A pitiful sweet potato harvest. Crazy numbers of currants - we had so many we ended up leaving quite a lot for the birds. Lots of carrots, some of which were even longer than my thumb...


The sunflowers were beautiful and TONS of flowers. But not the right sort where we could eat the seeds (well - too small to be worth it in any case!)


Two pumpkins, which was disappointing because I think we could have had more if I had fertilized mid-way through.


My favourite meal of the summer was one that was mostly local - tomatoes, beans, potatoes, basil and chives from the garden, with fresh arctic char brought down by Aunt Mary from Pangnirtung!


As the weather got colder, the leaves started to turn and the store displays got more exciting. The kids keep wanting to know when the canal will freeze and the snow will come...



   



I didn't think Amelia would get a chance to try out a swing for the first time in 2015, but it was super warm and the other two were very insistent that she wanted to have a turn too. So in she went for some (gentle) swinging. Elizabeth helped Matthew into his swing and then pushed both of them in one of those "this is why we had more than one" moments!


Amelia seemed to enjoy swinging.



   



Friends Rachel and Andrew from the cottage invited us to participate in a kid's vote. We decided it would be fun to mail in ballots from Ottawa so printed up a bunch. We voted in two locations. Polling officer Auntie Janice was much more strict than I was, but I'm sure it was more educational! If I hadn't been so ill we might have gone more full out (there was talk of lawn signs between the neighbours since they were participating!) In the end we managed 16 Ottawa voters out of 29 ballots in total.


The kids had no trouble figuring out what to vote for on their own, except for the political party question. I got Elizabeth to do a quiz to figure out which party she most closely aligned with, although I did skip some questions as they would have required too much explaining of totally unfamiliar concepts ("what's a pipeline?" turned out to be challenging enough!) Then I told her she either had to vote Green or Blue. She really wanted to vote red though, because it's closest to pink (I have no idea what she ended up voting for). Quite a few kids voted based on colour, to some consternation when they insisted on picking the "wrong" party in their parents' opinion... Most of the Ottawa crew had never heard of Geronimo Stilton before. It's new to us as well - I guess we'll have to get it out of the library!


In the end the Conservative Party, Ice Cream, and Spiderman won!


Here is final the breakdown:

Political parties:

...

Green 9 31%

Liberal 4 14%

NDP 1 3%

Conservative 15 52%

Favourite Food:

Pizza 4 14%

Kraft Dinner 3 10%

ice cream 13 45%

cake 9 31%

Favourite Character:

Bob the Builder 4 14%

Elsa 6 21%

Spiderman 7 24%

Winnie the Pooh 1 3%

Geronimo Stilton 4 14%

Mickey Mouse 0 0%

Lightning McQueen 2 7%

Strawberry Shortcake 5 17%



   

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