January 1, 2010
Aviation Museum

One of my New Year's resolutions this year is to visit all of the Ottawa-area museums with Elizabeth.  We'll visit the obvious (Agriculture, Aviation, Civilization, Nature, Science & Tech etc) and the obscure (Governor General Foot Guards, the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa Regimental Museum).  Both Ottawa-area and museum will be defined somewhat loosely, but at the moment we're only planning to visit the one Art gallery.  In addition, I think we'll give the various archive collections a miss until Elizabeth is old enough to understand the concept of an "inside voice".


Since Janice works at the Museum of Aviation and has been trying to give us our very own tour for a number of years, I decided to start there.  My father dragged us to the Aviation Museum in the early 1990s and I confess that despite Janice's enthusiasm and admittedly wide knowledge of aviation history I was reluctant to go again to a boring museum for "aviation and military enthusiasts".  An "aviation and military enthusiast", I am not.  I was also pretty sure that Elizabeth would get bored pretty quickly.  "Seen one plane, seen them all", I thought, particularly for a baby on the go who would rather explore on her own than quietly stay in Mommy's arms away from the exhibits which you aren't even allowed to touch!


Apparently I was wrong.  It turns out that this Museum is pretty fantastic, especially if you are taking small children. It might be one of the top aviation museums in the world, enjoyable for aviation and military buffs alike, but the Museum of Aviation is also one of the most family-friendly places I've been to in a while. It might be one of the best kept secrets in the city.


The building is really big; it contains a whole bunch of airplanes and not just the small ones either.  This has the immediate effect of spreading out the visitors and creating space for wee ones to crawl, toddle and run around in.  Some museums would be stressful to visit with an active toddler sprinting around the exhibits.  One blink and the child is swallowed in a sea of blinking lights and other pint-sized children.  This museum isn't like that; even if your child managed to turn a corner you can always peek under the plane to keep them in sight. The atmosphere is pretty calm and quiet, even if you have a really excited baby zooming around.  I presume that the sound proof room would be good for temper tantrums!


I highly recommend taking a tour - it was really, really interesting. I particularly recommend Janice of course, but I hear that all the tour guides are pretty good.  I was amused by stories of the fast little rocket plane that kept blowing up during testing ... until I heard that most of the testing was done by women (being more expendable!)  I don't think I'll ever think about ejection seats in the same way, not having realized that you are usually choosing spinal microfractures over death.  Assuming the seat works correctly, that is.  The idea of a thousand Lancaster bombers flying over Germany (dropping 22,000 pounds of bombs each) is completely staggering when you have a chance to stand underneath one of these large puppies.  Oh, and I now know how to identify a pitot tube!


If you visit on weekends or holidays, there are crafts for the kids and you can sit in some of the planes (and the staff will give you a personal mini-tour).  Plus, there's a pretty rocking toy room.  Elizabeth would have been happy to spend the entire time there and I bet Erika would love some of the more advanced crafts too.

The museum has a small cafeteria, but we didn't check it out.  I hear it's not exactly geared to celiacs though.  There is a drinking fountain.  There is also a cloak room for those winter jackets and boots.  While the baby change table is just slightly higher than normal it's much (much!) better than the facilities at CHEO. Yes, I'm still outraged that a children's hospital is so poorly equipped for visitors under the age of two or so. 


There are apparently strollers available at no extra charge (and wheelchairs too). If you go during the summer there's apparently a playground.  Maybe we'll have to go back.  Forget that - Elizabeth and I are definitely going back.

22 photos / videos

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December 31, 2009
Happy New Year!

Farewell 2009...


"For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne."

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December 30, 2009
Winter Elves

We had a vegetable christmas Christmas this year; we had so many extra potatoes and sweet potatoes delivered that it needed two elves to carry them all to our door.  In theory we can line our cooler with pillows to prevent the vegetables from freezing solid, but in practice Elizabeth and I have taken to watching to see whether anything has arrived as we think we'd need at least one additional cooler if we were to stuff ours full of pillows instead of the vegetables.


We've noticed the shifting of the seasons more this year as the vegetables shift from leafy greens and tomatoes to mushrooms, onions and root vegetables of all shapes, sizes and colours.  One of the most eye-opening part of this experiment is how limited a selection of vegetables is available in our local supermarkets (even the so-called fruit and vegetable places!) As someone who used to take a potato to school instead of a sandwich, I'm very happy to have more potatoes showing up in my basket.  I'm also particularly fond of the white beets with purple swirls.  Not so exciting are the vast quantities of parsnips in our baskets, for which I'm in desperate need of recipe advice. 


I've tried out some of the suggestions from this pretty marvellous vegetable box recipe site, but I suspect we still have a number of parsnip weeks to go...

9 photos / videos

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December 29, 2009
10 Months!

Elizabeth turned ten months old yesterday.  Time for pictures with the bear.  It's getting more and more difficult to get her to sit in anything like the same position...


If you look closely, you can see tooth number one (bottom center) in a few of these!


At ten months, Elizabeth is a very busy and giggly baby who loves exploring the world around her.  She is fearless and foolhardy when it comes to sudden drops and trying new things, but new people and places will send her scurrying for Mom.  A very cuddly girl for Mom, Dad, Auntie Janice and occasionally her Grandparents, she is pretty suspicious when passed to others.  If you give her time though, she'll smile and play peek-a-boo or hide-and-seek with you.  She claps all the time.  It's important for Mom to keep a good grip when holding her because peek-a-boo Elizabeth-style is a full-body sport.


Elizabeth loves playing with balls, especially the hard bouncy ball that lights up with a vigorous whack on the floor, but her favourite toy is an empty toilet paper roll or anything made of paper.  Her favourite book is "Baby boo!", although she enjoys turning the pages of any book and pretending to read to her stuffed animals. 


Elizabeth likes to "help" Mom and Dad fold the laundry.  She will spend a great deal of time taking clothes out of the bin and carefully spreading them around the room.  She cleans the floor one piece of detrius at a time.  Maybe this is why she dislikes Rosie the Roomba so much (competition!).  She can open drawers and cupboards all by herself, but thankfully she has not yet figured out how to lift the toilet seat in order to indulge in a little puddling.


Not a big fan of mush, Elizabeth adores Cheerios.  She'll eat most things if she can feed them to herself.  I can't imagine weaning her though as she still appears to need a great deal of nursing (particularly when teeth come in).


Needless to say we are enjoying her very much!

11 photos / videos

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December 28, 2009
Painting; Take 2

Painting with small children seems to consist primarily of using said children as a very large stamp.  So far many of Elizabeth's art projects have followed this pattern:

  1. Take bare foot. 
  2. Cover in paint.
  3. Press firmly onto surface.
  4. Repeat.

This can be varied by using hands or fingers instead of feet. 


When we found ourselves without labels for our Christmas presents, I thought it might be nice if Elizabeth made some. I didn't have the energy for using her as a large paintbrush, so decided to just let her loose with some paint.  Only a few weeks ago she spent the entire time trying to eat her paint covered fingers while I gamely "helped" her make fingerprint wreaths.  (I didn't post the picture of the completed fingerprint wreaths back then since they were a Christmas surprise, but you can see them now by clicking on the picture beside this post)


I'm not sure if she remembered her recent crayonning experience or what, but we were very impressed when she not only put paint covered fingers to paper but went back to the paint for refills on her own.  Very seriously, and with great concentration, she went from paint to paper and from paper to paint, over and over again.  She didn't even try to eat the paint, although when given a brush the temptation to put it in her mouth became overwhelming!

11 photos / videos

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