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March 12, 2010

Before heading home from Great Grandma and Grandpa's, we stopped by the "family" sugar bush.  I've never been to a real live maple sugar bush before so I found it really interesting although it wasn't a boiling day and things were quiet.

 

Great Grandma tried to get me to drink the sap straight from the bucket but I didn't have the nerve.  I did catch a few drops on my finger to taste and was really surprised.  It tastes just like watered down maple syrup!  My mom laughed when I told her that, but for some reason I was really expecting something more tree sappy.  Elizabeth seemed to like the sap too...

 

We didn't end up leaving Waterloo until quarter past four, but we were able to bypass the Toronto rush hour by taking the 407 all the way to the end past cows and the pinkest subdivision I've ever seen. 

 

Brendan says that everytime he spoke to me Elizabeth was crying but I kept her well-supplied with potato puff chips.  I did regret allowing her to play with her drum as it thumped, glowed and jingled nearly continuously, but it was a major factor in managing to drive straight until the first service centre past Toronto.  Elizabeth had her first fast-food restaurant experience (chili at Wendy's) for supper and then I bundled her back into the car.  She soon fell asleep so we drove from Port Hope all the way to Ottawa without a stop!

 

So the secret to travelling involves chips and driving at night.  Too bad I really hate driving at night - my nerves were jangling every time we passed a jumping deer sign.

 

 

   

March 11, 2010

It was nice to spend some time with my grandparents and Elizabeth's great grandparents this past week.

 

I always love going to visit their house in Crosshill; it's the last remaining "place that has always been" (ie a place where things have been more or less the same as long as I can remember).  This visit is one of the last times I will be able to do this as they have decided that it is time to move into an assisted living residence.  I'm sad that no relative appears to be in a position to take over the house.  It originally belonged to my grandpa's parents and both the fact that my grandparents have to move to a residence and the impending sale of the house represent a change in community cultural values that I kind of wish hadn't happened. 

 

On Wednesday we got to go see the new place, and while it's going to be very different for my grandparents, I was pleased to see that it doesn't have the serious institution feel some places do.  Elizabeth was a big hit.  One little old lady came running after me.  "Can I see the baby?" she begged.  The new place has a library and public computer lounge with free high speed internet access so I'm thinking that maybe we can teach my grandparents how to access pictures of their grandchildren and great-grandchild.  Maybe we can even Skype!

 

Wednesday evening, my grandparents took me and Elizabeth to her second restaurant (Crossroads).  It's a favourite of ours because it has a celiac-friendly buffet. All the gluten-free dishes are labelled as such!  My grandma borrowed their wheelchair so she didn't have to walk to the table.  I pushed her while Elizabeth sat contentedly on great-grandma's lap.  Wheelchair rides are apparently the best!  Even my normally wheelchair resistant grandma liked this foolproof method of getting a baby snuggle.

   

March 8, 2010
We had a day in Toronto to recover so we spent it hanging out with Cousin Donna and second cousin Lindsay.  We went for a long walk in the park while the girls slept and the moms admired the signs of an early spring.

Elizabeth woke up in time to visit their little zoo.  We saw Yaks yawning, African sheep that looked like goats to mom and beautiful peacocks strutting their stuff.

In the evening Elizabeth was on her best behaviour for great Aunt Muriel and cousin Pat, if not her best table manners... She apparently likes chili.  And also if she's tired thinks nothing of actually resting her face on her plate.  This was one of those moments best left to the imagination.

She played peek-a-boo and playing the "sharing game" with an envelope.  This consists of giving away the envelope, and then snatching it back.  Over and over and over.   Pat made Bear wave and talk and Elizabeth was so intrigued that she climbed up on the couch with Pat and snuggled.  Pat had Elizabeth under one arm and Bear under the other!
   

March 7, 2010
Elizabeth and I drove to Toronto on Sunday afternoon without Daddy en route to see my maternal Grandparents.

Elizabeth travelled very well... for the first ten minutes.  Then she howled until I thought she'd make herself sick.  No amount of Skinnamarrinky dink helped.  Not wanting to pull onto the gravel shoulder I exited somewhere random and then discovered a long country road with nowhere to stop.  I was pretty stressed but we managed to pull over without ditching the car.  Cars were zooming past at ridiculous rates of speed so I didn't dare get out. Instead I climbed into the back,  took her out of the carseat, and cuddled until she stopped crying with a final hiccoughing sob.  Then we had a talk about behaving.  I strapped her back in, gave her a potato puff chip and started out again.  She was pretty happy as long as I kept feeding her chips and soon she passed out. 

We made it all the way to the USA bridge before she woke up again and this time the food wasn't helping.  I have to say that wailing is not my favourite soundtrack while driving. We stopped at the McDonalds service station (complete with Playhouse for ages three and up and one of the filthiest bathrooms on the 401).  Elizabeth had a great time "walking" around the parking lot and when I decided we had to keep going half an hour later she hardly protested at all.  It turns out that she needs one chip every ten km or so.  It also turns out that passing chips backwards around the car seat is hard on the shoulder.

We stopped again at the Big Apple and admired the llamas!  When we arrived in Toronto, we were treated to a wonderful lamb crockpot with my aunt Muriel, my cousins Ryan and Lauren, Lauren's wife Donna and three month old Lindsay.  Unsurprisingly, Elizabeth didn't eat much dinner, though she did enjoy the lamb and demolished most of her cake.  This may have had something to do with eating most of the way to Toronto... 
   

March 5, 2010

Mom and Dad have a new game we play at mealtimes.  If Elizabeth drops food off to one side, the parent sitting on the other side scores a point.  The goal is to avoid getting scored on.  We've come up with all kinds of techniques to try to avoid food on the floor on our side (while also avoiding getting slimed).  Naturally Elizabeth has adapted by learning to drop food off the back of her highchair.

   

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