January 13, 2011

Last year I vowed to visit all of the museums in Ottawa as my New Year's resolution.  I'm kind of still working on that but although I only made it to about half the museums on my list we did visit our several of our favourites more than once.  In fact, we probably averaged going to a museum once a week! 


Anyway, Thursday we planned to go to the Museum of Civilization to take advantage of our new membership but they were closed for maintenance. Great disappointment! Aunt Yukiko braved rush hour and out of province roads only to find out that we really should check whether our destination is actually open before heading out.


"Let's go visit the cows instead!" Erika suggested. The Museum of Agriculture is closed for the season but the animals still need to eat, the barns are all open and the colouring area is available for eating a quick snack. There seemed to be a lot of new rabbits since the summer... We understand from a very talkative and helpful employee that quite a few more are expected due to a failure of the fence between the males and the females a couple of weeks ago...


Erika and Maria were absolutely terrified of the animals in the horse barn.  It was pretty noisy - Eeyore the donkey was hee-hawing loudly, the cows were mooing and the sheep were baaing because it was dinner time!  The further we got into the barn, the slower Erika walked and the more tearful she became until I was practically carrying her.  Luckily there was a cow about Erika's age that had recently had a calf and Erika was so interested by the idea of a nearly five year old mommy cow that she mostly got over her fright.


The pigs were scary too ("Auntie Mary, what if they get out!") but we averted that crisis by looking to see if they had curly or straight tails as described by the plaque on the wall.  Of course it turned out that most of the pigs had no tails at all, but just looking took Erika's mind off her fear. I didn't really want to get into a discussion about the tail docking controversy with Erika or how people clip off piglet tails without anesthetic.  Particularly since I couldn't remember why! I've since learned that it's to prevent tail biting by other pigs. So we didn't linger with the pigs.


Goody the bull was "too frightening to like", but the sheep and goats were interesting enough to pet.  After that Erika seemed to relax quite a bit.  Maria took longer but eventually stopped looking like something was about to eat her.  We were in time for the milking and calf feeding.  Erika petted one very small cow born on Auntie Janice's birthday. Then we went for a snack and colouring before heading home.  The girls' personalities are fairly evident from their respective entries into contest for the Sesame Street concert coming up later this month (sadly, we didn't win!)


Mom and I ate supper real quick and then bolted to the National Arts Centre (NAC) to see the Canadian Brass.  They were amazing and we really enjoyed ourselves - if you have the chance to see them in concert, I highly recommend them.  After the concert we wandered around the NAC and admired the enormous chandelier in the Salon (it was featured on the concert program so Mom wanted to see it in person).  We admired the fountain and then blew on the chandeliers in the stairwells which are supposed to rotate if there are enough people moving up and down the stairs.  Sadly, two people blowing at the lights isn't enough to move them.

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January 9, 2011
First Braid
Elizabeth's hair is now long enough to braid!
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January 8, 2011

I follow the City of Ottawa on Twitter, and I was pretty excited when I started getting notifications that the Rideau Canal was going to open for the season on Saturday.


I called Grandma J right away to invite her to come skating with Elizabeth and me.  "When does it open?" she asked.  "Eight AM" I replied, "but that's a little early."


Elizabeth, Margaret and I eventually made it onto the ice only a few hours after it opened.  "Too bright", said Elizabeth.  So we brought along her sunglasses.  Eventually her eyes adjusted and she was done with the sunglasses.  Predictably I somehow managed to lose them as soon as they came off her face.


The ice was pretty rough in places and the snow was steadily coming down but they were plowing diligently and we were impressed by how fast the ice improved even by the next day.  Turns out the improvement is due to a new ice maintenance machine!


Elizabeth's hands and feet got pretty cold while we were skating, so now we're bundling her up in her sleeping bag.  Snowsuit, mitts, hat, boots and all!

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January 5, 2011

Auntie Janice reporting. This year, for my birthday, I was at a loss of what to do with myself. So I delegated all responsibility to my darling sister who asked permission to surprise me with "fun stuff". Happy to be relieved of the responsibility of planning my day, I acquiesed... and so it began.


I woke up to a tiny tapping on my door at 9am, and shortly after a whispered "push!" Elizabeth marched in carrying a bowl of cereal. She came running in afterwards with the spoon. Mary brought in the milk and grapefruit juice on a tray, and then they brought up chocolate croissants and yoghurt and a poached egg- my first breakfast in bed ever! It was delicious, and hilarious when Elizabeth heralded the entrance of my tea: "Duck in cup!" "Duck in cup!" because they used my duck tea-ball. She was rather upset that she couldn't play with the duck afterwards... "Is duck too hot to play with?" I asked, "yea..." she cried. But it was soon mended with her own chocolate croissant and a cooled-down duck, I think.

Anyways, after breakfast I had a short break where I checked my facebook, got inundated with happy-birthday wishes... and a "happy birthday" sung voicemail from my aunt Mary! Then after some book-making fun, and a present to open here and there, Dad and I set off on an urban quest. It was very cool- we went to the museum of nature and there were all sorts of clues to sort out. They were quite complicated,  but once we told Mary the secret word we'd found it gave us our lunch reservation at the Empire Street Grill. I had the most amazing hot chocolate, and Elizabeth liked my pasta the best, I think. It was really quite hilarious to hear her describing the epic trip to the washroom downstairs- "wawa fall down! fall down! wawa tap fall!"- as there was a really neat open tap that had the water falling out. After lunch, Mom and I rushed off just in time to see Despicable me at the Rainbow Cinemas, which was SUCH a funny movie. I came home at sunset only to get whisked out again to feed the birdies with Elizabeth- except "birdie go bed" so we left some food near some duck tracks in the snow instead. Finally we had a really good supper, with 24 carnations on the table, and then 24 sparklers to play with afterwards. Top it all off with blackberries on the flourless chocolate truffle cake, and it was truly my favourite birthday celebration of all time. I LOVE my sister :)

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January 1, 2011
New Year's Day

We traditionally play Scrabble on New Year's Eve and then go to bed early.


Even though I was feeling extremely rotten we rang in 2011 with more fanfare than Brendan and I have mustered in years, thanks to my parents.  Chinese fondue, sparklers, balloons ("boons") and an actual count down to Portuguese midnight because seven is a much more civilized time.  


I did go to bed shortly after seven thirty - even before Elizabeth!  But just like we knew Elizabeth was sick when she couldn't finish her chocolate, everyone knew I was sick when I passed on our traditional game of Scrabble.  Luckily I was feeling a bit better the next day and challenged my mom to play.


Elizabeth helped for the first time ever.

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