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July 7, 2018

When I came to pick up Elizabeth, I was surprised to discover that not only had Matthew and Erika received stripes (confirming that Erika is indeed going to grading), Elizabeth got her first brown belt stripe as well!

 

Now it's just a waiting game to see if Maria is going to get her stripes too. Erika has been going to more classes, but since Erika couldn't go to class for a week or so they are still more or less at the same level.

   

Wee Isabelle turned five and today was her party. Surprise gluten free pie for Auntie Sarah, whose birthday it was too!

 

Sweet, shy Isabelle with the glorious curls is now five. She and Matthew are great friends and often run off together to do secret cousin things by themselves. Usually they manage to stay out of trouble, which suggests she is a tempering influence on Matthew...

   

July 6, 2018

With Maria still in quarantine and the rest in need of some quiet time before Isabelle's birthday party on the weekend, our kids were indignant to think we might cancel the last day of cousin camp.

 

We'd originally planned to visit Mooney's bay park as Uncle Chris had a company lunch function with his family here so figured we could go with the girls and then deliver them to the lunch, but unfortunately it didn't work to connect.

 

Elizabeth declared we could have "cousinless camp" instead and next thing we knew we were having a picnic, flying our kites and visiting the park. Kites were fun until Elizabeth burned her fingers on one of the lines. Then she was done. She sulked pretty much until we made it to Mooney's bay, after which she forgot her wounds in the excitement.

 

This playstructure was the subject of much controversy here in Ottawa, as it was developed in conjunction with a TV show as a Canada 150 project. Ottawa paid $1 million dollars, and the show paid $1 million dollars and the show got to cut down a lot of mature trees on prime riverside land with no public consultation whatsoever.

 

It's a really nice park, even though they ran out of money and didn't implement the world's longest monkey bars or whatever it was going to be. I don't think it's two million dollar nice, and if anyone had asked me I confess I'd probably have agreed that it would have been better to put it somewhere else. But it's there now and it's super fun, if a bit crazy busy. It's become a summer camp destination so it was full of poorly supervised kids running rampant the day we went but it was big enough that we didn't mind. My only complaint was that we didn't leave enough time to properly explore all the provinces (each section of the playstructure is themed for a different province) and we never found all the treasure hunt clues hidden throughout. I guess we'll have to go back!

   

As soon as Erika got her third stripe, I checked the grading schedule. Of course grading is when we're going camping. Too bad! Luckily she won't have to wait until next grading to get her belt...

   

July 5, 2018

Andrew Haydon Park is a pretty unique park in Ottawa that has consistently made the top ten lists of play places. Unfortunately it recently was "refurbished" and although the online plans looked promising the end result is classic Ottawa design. In short, they completely ruined it.

 

The water play area is why people drive from all over the city to visit it - in the old park there were many different ways to move water around and setting up the various wooden structures to transfer water and sculpt the sand was a fun engineering challenge. The "water slide" was pretty amazing too.

 

The new water play area is a small fraction of its former self and on the day we visited at least, all the kids were crowded into the water play area almost completely ignoring the rest of the park. We went pretty early in the day, as the sun got higher the lack of shade on much of the structures made them very unappealing. Perhaps they'd get more use on a cooler day.

 

It's been long enough since we'd visited that the kids didn't remember the old version - I'd never brought Amelia and Matthew at all I don't think - so they didn't spend the whole visit fuming about missed opportunities and inept "improvements" the way I did. In fact, it would only be fair to note that they enjoyed their visit very much and would like to go back.

   

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