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April 18, 2017

Holy Week provided quite a few opportunities for family photos, though we probably would have had better results had I thought of this prior to church services instead of after when everyone was hungry and ready for naps... Oh well, I think we're still cute, despite Elizabeth and Matthew's tendency to make faces.


April 17, 2017

Rachel and Creighton may have absconded to Texas but we decided to do the egg hunt in the woods anyway.


We had hoped that the dogs and Rachel's family could join us but unfortunately they were only available on Saturday when we were in Brossard.


The original plan was to go to the Nepean Sportsplex in between church and dinner but it was pouring rain so we pushed it off to the Monday. Luckily most people could still come, although many of the guys had to work and Karen and Dave's crew ended up not being able to come at the last minute.


I invited the usual suspects from last year (Pastor Jared and family, Jessie and Kyle and family) as well as our neighbours (Catherine, her kids and two friends; Marit,  her three kids, Roxanna and their friend, Alicja and their two kids, Lauren and her two kids) which I believe totalled 20 kids, although to be fair Charlotte and Nico did not participate.


I had been a little worried about all the work required to stuff the couple hundred eggs but we had a little stuffing party after the kids were in bed (perks of being neighbours) and it went pretty fast. Next year we're going to have individual bags for each of the egg hiders and maybe an adult tasked with staying at the front of the group to keep the hoards back in case of premature arrival but overall I think it went well.


Jared, Brendan, Janice and Roxanna did an EXCELLENT job hiding the eggs for us and handing out the eggs in a line went very fast.


I enjoyed the wonderful company, the beautiful scenery and the complete chaos of the actual hunt. Elizabeth wished Rachel had been there, but "it was a nice surprise to have so many friends come".


April 16, 2017

Alleluia! The Lord is Risen!


We began the day with a little egg hunt courtesy of my wonderful sister who went to the store late Saturday evening to locate chocolate eggs and then hid them for us.


Lovely Easter service with really great music. I organized a little scavenger hunt for Junior church which was unexpectedly well attended (36 kids!) but a lot of fun. Then we went home and got ready for Easter dinner for 17 people. Michael dropped by bearing an army of chocolate bunnies and we played the Junior version of Carcassonne. Not Elizabeth's finest moment (she kept trying to cheat so that she would win), but we did have fun.


Dinner was sous-vide lamb courtesy of Dave's marvellous machines, sweet potato and squash fries (corn oil and Janice safe salt), Chard salad bar with blueberries, toasted coconut, toasted sweet potato, salted pumpkin seeds and a blueberry vinaigrette dressing (one with sugar and one without). Bunny buns (glutinous and GF), Lentils, Trifle (one with and without sherry), "memories of trifle" for Janice and fruit. There were many, many juice and fizzy drink options as well.


The big goal to make most of the meal safe for Janice and I think that worked out pretty well, despite some unexpected difficulties with the meat.


April 15, 2017

I mentioned Elizabeth joined the Douvris karate team, and she's really been enjoying the training. But it didn't take too many weeks before she demanded to know when she was "allowed" to do her first tournament. Sensei Cody suggested KJS and next thing I knew the kids and I were getting up at quarter to five to go to Elizabeth's first out of town tournament. I had originally intended to get a hotel to avoid the stress of travelling with a deadline but then I realized it was Easter weekend so that was that. A few people wondered why Brendan didn't come too, and whether I needed my head examined taking all three with me. We just decided that the house really needed some TLC before Easter dinner. Plus when I first floated the idea with other karate moms no one blinked so I figured it would be manageable.


Elizabeth was a little excited. I fully expected to have to wake her up, but apparently she woke up at 12:00, then 2:00am before counting down the minutes from 4 to 4:45am. Amelia was awake too, but Matthew slept in until 5am. He'd insisted on sleeping in his clothes so he would not have to get up but when the time came he was keen to eat breakfast and the older two played in the back the whole way to Brossard, Quebec instead of going back to sleep as scheduled.


We arrived quite early, which gave us lots of time to admire the figure skaters and hockey teams using the arena. Elizabeth got a bracelet with all her events and times listed on it and we wandered around looking lost for a while until one of the organizers took pity on me and explained the mysteries of the bracelet.


Soon other team members began to arrive and the tournament began. They seemed to have put most of the sparring events before the kata events, which struck me as odd since kids are much more likely to get injured sparring and then not be able to compete later. But I was glad Elizabeth did sparring first since my anxiety levels certainly dropped when that part was over. The younger two spent most of their time running around or imitating their surroundings.


Elizabeth hasn't been sparring very long and we didn't expect her to score any points. In practice Elizabeth's always been pretty risk adverse kid, which I appreciated very much when I saw she'd been paired with a pretty aggressive (and larger!) opponent wearing body armour. I didn't even know body armour was a thing before this. I was grateful Elizabeth didn't get paired with the even more aggressive kid immediately before her. That kid kicked HER opponent in the face, causing a pretty impressive nosebleed. I had a moment of "WHAT HAVE WE DONE?" but resisted my urge to yank my kid out of the ring. Anyway Elizabeth seemed to spend most of her time running away from her opponent and we didn't blame her one bit. I was quite impressed that she actually almost scored a couple of times.


Elizabeth had fun and seemed happy with how she did. She wished she could have had another two minutes with the same girl. "I think I was getting the hang of it, mom"


Elizabeth was not expecting to win a medal in sparring but she was a little disappointed that she didn't score better in her kata, especially after the other rookie teammate won a medal.  I think she did awesome for her first try, but yes, my kid is a bit competitive. But I was really proud that she was able to put aside her personal disappointment to cheer K on and she was so excited that she was jumping up and down when he won. Then she insisted on staying right to the end of the competition, moving around from ring to ring to cheer for as many of her teammates as possible. She especially enjoyed watching Sensei Cody quite dramatically win the Grands.


I was also incredibly impressed with the team spirit. One teammate helped her warm-up and quite a few took the time to check when she was competing. Those that could cheered her on and a number of those that couldn't apologized for not being able to watch because they were competing at the same time (!) Her favourite sensei took the time to come over and be her coach during both of her events, to Elizabeth's great delight. At the end there was a little pep talk stressing how the team had done so well at the competition - not emphasizing results but instead talking about how the club had been noticed for being particularly respectful and showing good sportsmanship.


Elizabeth would have liked a medal but she settled for a celebratory slushie and then we booted it back to Ottawa in time to Skype Japan to wish a happy birthday to a very special 11 year old!


April 14, 2017

In church Matthew leaned over to Auntie Janice and said: "You know something that's really true? God has beaten death!!!"


He was so struck by this that he has repeated it quite a few times since. Elizabeth: "WHY do you keep saying that???" Matthew: "Cuz it's really exciting!"


After church the kids played outside with the neighbours for a while. Then we decorated our eggs for Easter and made gluten-free resurrection rolls. The batter didn't quite work, but wasn't too bad considering I hadn't actually intended to make them from scratch at all. Uncle Dave made the world's geekiest psyanky. Xander and Matthew's eggs ended up looking almost the same - they both just covered their eggs using all the food colouring allowed until they were almost black. I will be very happy when the kids are all big enough to just use the natural dyes and wax as the food colouring is so disgusting.


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