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September 30, 2018

We had an impromptu movie night with the neighbours after we got home from London. We watched the Secret life of Pets, which turned out to be WAY too intense for Amelia.


She got to the part where the adorable kittens suddenly turn ferocious and she was done. Didn't even object to going to bed instead of watching the rest of the movie; was quite happy to have a story and a cuddle with mom. "I'm not thinking about dose kitties anymore!" she told me quite seriously. "Too much scary stuff will give me a headache".


September 29, 2018

Elizabeth, Michael and I went to London so that Elizabeth could compete in the Grand Karate Nationals. It was also inventory weekend which is our busiest weekend of the year for work, so I was very lucky that my boss let me have the weekend off (!). I did what I could to ensure that someone else was in charge of the middle kids for most of the weekend, because there are always times during inventory weekend when we need to have focussed time to figure out what has gotten screwed up this time and we were hoping to have a new scanner system trial go smoothly.


Amelia's godfather Michael took them skating, Janice took Matthew to his birthday party and Auntie Yukiko and Uncle Chris were going to take the kids for supper and overnight until Yukiko very unfortunately became ill. Luckily nothing went wrong during inventory that night! They slept in an igloo in the basement so they didn't feel too deprived.


In any case, Brendan needed to have the van available and Michael hates the car after about two hours of travel, so Brendan insisted we take the train. Elizabeth and I didn't complain.


We spent almost the entire time on the train alternating reading chapters of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (the next karate book club book).


Auntie Mary very graciously agreed to pick us up in Toronto so that we would have more time to visit. We had a lovely drive to London and then went to visit Great Aunt Vera. Elizabeth learned to play Scrabble on Vera's super large scrabble board (it's amazing - it has quadruple word scores lol). She was pretty excited to get to put down all her letters twice and beat the lot of us by a significant margin. Yes, we did help her.


Then we all headed over to Auntie Maybeth's for supper and bed. I was pleased to find out that my cousin David was there with his two kids. I'd never met Owen or Nina before so it was nice to rectify that! Owen was interested in karate, so Elizabeth showed him a few moves. We had an amazing time staying with Maybeth and were sorry we had to leave so soon.


The next day was the actual competition. Elizabeth was hardly nervous, though she did spend a lot of time trying to figure out how many girls were going to be sparring against her. She was very happy to see her friend Remi. Elizabeth took bronze in kata out of a field of eight competitors, four of whom were very very good. In my completely expert and unbiased view (ha!) she should have had the silver. She did super well though and was ranked first by one of the judges. She was pleased with herself as her goal was to do a good jump and focus on extending her legs and she reckoned she did that.


There were only three advanced girls so it was a very low pressure fight - Elizabeth likes getting guaranteed medals. The first fight against random competitor should have been winnable but she just wasn't quite ready. It was awkward because Elizabeth didn't actually realize at first that she had lost her match. "Wait - I lost? That kid was so slow!" Remi usually beats Elizabeth in competition and today was no exception, but Elizabeth's second fight was much better than her first and we wondered how she might have done if she had warmed up a bit first (that's going to be next fight's goal - to get in a practice at the event!). It was fun to see how much the girls have improved.


After they were done we thought we'd head straight to Toronto but Elizabeth was keen to see sensei Brigitte and sensei Cody fight. Of course they were scheduled in the afternoon but we stayed to cheer and it was pretty fun to watch. Brigitte and Justine got matched up and so did Ben and Cody. So many Douvris people to cheer for it was hard to know where to look!  Sensei Justine actually won both grands. "How much did you win?" demanded Elizabeth. "$400!!!! I want to win money!!!"


At one point the kids were all sitting down watching the men's sparring and got told off for not being on their feet ready to jump out of the way as they nearly got run right over.


After the competition was all over Mary drove us Toronto to stay with Auntie Muriel. We had a lovely supper and good time catching up. Elizabeth introduced Michael to the cuckoo but not the cuckoo "tradition" of whistling with cuckoo since she forgot the whistle for the first time ever. I was only a little sorry (hee).


All too soon it was time to take the train home. Muriel dropped us at the station as Mary didn't stay over. Elizabeth and I spent the ride reading and catching up on homework, methodically making sure that everything we had brought with us got used to justify having brought it in the first place.

It was a great trip but the best part might have been coming home...


September 26, 2018

It was silly sock week at ballet and I was AWESOME mom because I actually remembered this.


Most of our activities for the fall have now started up and our schedule is still overbooked, but less than last year.


Monday, Wednesday and Friday Amelia has morning preschool. She's doing lunch club on Wednesdays and Fridays and a sports class Wednesday afternoons and art Friday afternoons. She wishes she was doing the Monday lunch club and activity as well. Maybe next semester.


Matthew has karate Monday evening.

Tuesday morning I've been taking Amelia and Michael to the French playgroup "Grandir Ensemble". In the evening one of us drops Elizabeth at karate on the way to Matthew's piano class and then pick her up on the way home. Since music isn't until 5pm, we don't have to pick them up from school, which is AMAZING. Their new bus driver is also awesome so we have actually been having enough time to eat before leaving. When that works, we don't even really have a late bedtime.

Wednesdays my girls have ballet and I pick Elizabeth and Olivia up from school. Elizabeth was told she didn't get to go to Wednesday karate. After dinner Matthew has "ninja" class, which is his consolation for not getting to continue acro dance which was scheduled in such a way that we'd have had to pick him up from school. Ninja class consists of a LOT of running and bouncing on things. Matthew loves it. It's also super close to our house, so it's feasible to go home or run errands during the class.

Thursdays Amelia has her music class in the morning. Her class comes to us. I'm loving both the fact that we don't have to go anywhere and the need to tidy the basement. Elizabeth has a piano lesson with Lorianne after supper and then goes to karate.

Fridays Elizabeth gets picked up from school by Olivia's mom, and then either walks home or gets picked up from ballet. Matthew technically has a karate class but we have mostly been skipping it. If we go, I take supper and Elizabeth straight to his class. She eats during his class, then does double sparring followed by tournament team while Matthew and I go home. Otherwise we just take her to karate after the other kids are in bed.

Saturday mornings Matthew has karate first thing. Then the three oldest kids have skating.


Sundays we rest. Or alternatively, we play with friends and family. Same difference, right?


September 22, 2018

It was Michael's first time picking apples! We met up with Auntie Heather, which the kids adored because they got to pick twice the apples! We decided to do the lovely little path around the back of the orchard (our first time!). We even managed the longer version of the path with no tears or injuries.


The kids were a little disappointed that the trees we were picking did not require ladders, but Daddy-ladder was an acceptable substitute.


We even played in the hay jump. Elizabeth did not jump until she carefully inspected the safety aspects. They have made improvements that were deemed significantly less likely to be nose hazards and she enjoyed herself greatly until time to get into the car and she couldn't get all the hay off her pants. Some children ended up driving home pantless but they didn't mind because they also got to eat many doughnuts.


September 21, 2018

Some of you may have heard about the six (SIX!!!) tornadoes that hit our area September 21st. Let me say upfront: we were totally fine - never even lost power.


Actually we were in the middle of picking Elizabeth up from ballet to take her and Matthew to karate when we got the warning on our phones. Brendan's a bit of a weather watcher so I did check with him before driving to karate - there were quite incredible gusts of wind but otherwise things seemed pretty normal. In any case,  the action was quite a bit south of us and it looked like we had loads of time before the storm hit so we carried on. Not sure in retrospect if that was the best decision, but I was glad I went if only to keep my nieces from biking home in the winds before the tornado warning had ended. But I'm getting ahead of myself.


It was a PD day, and it was a rainy one.


I wondered about the wisdom of parking under the trees at karate, but since we knew weather was incoming I decided not to take the time to look for something on the street but just headed into the dojo. Not long after the most incredible rain storm I have ever seen began - water was just sheeting down. Information about the damage in Dunrobin and Gatineau started coming in and we started eyeing the windows somewhat nervously, contemplating where exactly we would take cover.


I was surprised to find Maria hanging out in the dojo as she doesn't usually come on Fridays, and shocked to find out that the girls had received the tornado warning, ignored it and biked (!). Cue stern lecture from Aunt Mary about not being outside during a tornado warning - certainly not without having checked with an adult, or looking at the radar and certainly not using a bike when during a major windstorm!


Class ended and I was surprised to see parents arriving in the middle of the storm and leaving again. One kid goes "Mom, I don't want to go out in that" (smart kid). Mom: "Don't be silly, I brought your raincoat". From all accounts the driving was pretty hairy. Ottawa lost one of our main power substations, so most of the major intersections had no power.


Erika did get her third stripe though!


The following day people were asked not to drive through any major intersections without power because so many people were having collisions that it was tying up emergency services. Matthew and I decided we'd bike to karate. He was pretty excited because he loves biking. We'd never tried it before because you have to cross either Bank or Bronson bridges which are both completely unsafe to bike over, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there is a route over Bronson that is reasonable, if slightly nerve wracking with a five year old who doesn't quite know his left from right and has an alarming tendency to unexpectedly swerve into the road. Actually getting there was fine aside from Bronson having no bike light near Sunnyside so we had to get across the large intersection acting as a four way light. At least that's what I assumed and then suddenly realized halfway through that only HALF the lights were out (southbound was out and northbound was active) and we had just started biking across a three lane highway against a green light.


Then we couldn't get through because a large tree was down blocking Sunnyside and Leonard (did I mention my nieces bike right near there?) But eventually we got to karate. We had skating later that morning and it was in the east end so pretty much unaffected. The lights in that area were all working, so we decided we'd go (after confirming the arena was still operational, of course). We went apple picking as planned.


When I went shopping I was amused by what was available (kiwi, bug products...) and what was not (bread, toilet paper...)


More than three hundred traffic lights were not working for almost two days and many people and schools didn't have power, so they asked all the public servants to stay home, closed the museums and the English school boards closed all their schools. But our schools were open... so we went.


It struck me as slightly surreal how little impact it had on us overall. Texting on Saturday was a real annoyance (because the cell networks were all overloaded). The downspout from our gutter had to be reattached as it got knocked off with the force of the water coming off our roof. It rained so hard against the door in our garage that the drywall suffered some water damage through the hinge. My (remaining) corn got flattened. When we went skating we had to go to multiple gas stations because the first one was out of gas.  Ultimately though other than it being a bit of an inconvenience we got off very lightly.  Neighbours just a stone's throw away had no power for over 24 hours and many were without for several days.  The areas which received direct hits were out for 4-5 days.  We lent our generator out to save the contents of a deep freeze and suspect that many people will be shopping for generators in the near future.


Hopefully all of this will help people to take such weather warnings more seriously in the future and also to think a little more about their disaster plans (everyone has one right?), as we certainly will be.


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-Third stripe on Yellow black belt
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-Movie Night
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