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The brownies got dressed up for Halloween. Elizabeth was very happy to try out her costume for the first time. Of course she's an elephant. Auntie Janice went as a painter.



   



Matthew got his second stripe on his white-yellow belt. Elizabeth got her red stripe on her green belt and is headed for grading.

 

Oh and Amelia insisted on wearing "her gi" to karate and then thought I was mean not to let her actually go into the dojo.



   



We had some brickwork done at the end of August, and the brick guys were nice enough to agree to cart away the pile of rocks we've had decorating our backyard for the last four years at cost. (It was clear that even trying to give them away on usedottawa and the like was going to result in our backyard being full of rocks for at least another decade).

 

So at the beginning of September they left us their truck and we piled about four and a half tons of rock into it. By "we", I mean that I sat by the pile and helped Amelia stick rocks into a bucket and Brendan did most of the lifting. I may have still overdone it. Oh well. It was pretty exciting to no longer have a safety hazard in the backyard!

 

The idea was that we'd put up the climbing structure Elizabeth and Matthew got for their birthday in place of the rocks. We didn't exactly rush to build it, but after Elizabeth wanted to know if she had outgrown the structure we finally decided today was the day!

 

Brendan had lots of help from our awesome neighbours, which was great because it would probably have taken the two of us several days to complete otherwise since I kept getting distracted by needing to wrangle children. It soon became obvious that the backyard isn't really big enough for it, so we moved it to the front, where I suspect it will get much more use anyway since the neighbourhood posse likes to play there. In the winter I'm hoping it will be an igloo. So far it's been a great hit.



   



Uncle Mark and Grandma came over tonight to help celebrate Grandma's birthday!

 

We had lasagna and carrot cake as per tradition, with corn on the cob. I made Mark a cheese-less tomato and lentil lasagna dish.



   



Elizabeth got two stripes in a single day! Let's just say that this was a LONG time coming (her last stripe was July 10th), with some not great communication and much parental biting of tongues as we want Elizabeth to practice advocating for herself where possible. We'd actually nearly decided to intervene as she was clearly getting overlooked, but things seem back on track so we're going to leave it for the moment.

 

She's really hoping this means she can earn her red stripe in time for grading at the end of the month as she wants her blue belt. Blue belt means two new katas, one of which has a fancy jump she's been dying to have shown to her "properly" (her attempts to reproduce based on watching have not been completely successful).



   

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