We drove down to Toronto without stopping (4.5 hours!), and back home again all the way from Wellesley with only one stop at "Siss Chawet" for supper. Elizabeth is great in the car. She plays, she sings, she sleeps... One of her favourite car games is pretending to play her beloved matching game. "Beeta," she'll ask, "Beeta, do you have a car with black and blue and white on it?" "Nope" says Beeta. "Okay, I'll pick up a card. Your turn!" She also likes to pretend drive a train. Daddy always gets to be the engineer. She agrees to drive carefully and stay on the tracks. Daddy gives her the go-ahead and she grabs the pretend steering wheel and starts driving. She slows down at the stoplights, squealing the brakes and pulling the horn.
We stayed at Great Aunt Mary's new southern condo, but we neglected to photograph it (next time!) It's very nice. Elizabeth really enjoyed staying at "Aunt Mary's house", but she's still rather confused about why Mary has two houses. And of course now that she's seen one house, she'd rather like to see the other one too. Have I mentioned that she can pick Nunavut out on a map? She loves to see where the people she knows are on the map - probably her sense of geography is now better than mine, but then again that's a very low standard to beat!
We had a great time at the reunion. Elizabeth did NOT do her petrified monkey impression. Actually she even went off with Great Aunt Joanne to play in the baby room without any parental coaxing required. Then she pretty much entertained herself while Mommy and Daddy got to play games and catch up on what everyone's been up to since the summer. According to Elizabeth, "it was all (satisfied sigh) quite lovely"
It snowed right before we left on our road trip, so I tossed snowsuits, mittens, hat, boots and Elizabeth's sled into the car. Actually, we left during a snow storm and I was anticipating a really miserable drive.
As we headed south, the snow tapered off quickly to blue skies and bright green grass.
Great-Aunt Muriel laughed at my foolishly optimistic sledding hopes.
Brendan and I have a list of life skills we'd like Elizabeth to acquire by "the age of reason", and this week it seemed logical to focus on how to make a packing list.
Over the course of a few days, Elizabeth figured out what she'd need. Then Mommy wrote it down in a list, complete with pictures so that Elizabeth could read it by herself.
At packing time she was able to go through the list, get all the items she needed and put them in her little suitcase. She managed surprisingly well.
We filled the house with smoke from the wax paper on Auntie Janice's Cherry-free "Black Forest Cake" (we used strawberry-rhubarb filling instead).
Elizabeth had fun "jumping into the sun".
There was sparkler art (see Uncle Dave's blog for pictures of the whale Auntie Janice drew!). There were taco-fajitas. There was mass chaos when six kids ten and under felt like twenty.
No wonder Auntie Janice is getting older!
Happy Birthday... Sorry we forgot to give you your presents...
Lacking siblings, Elizabeth's lucky to be able to spend a significant amount of time with her various cousins. Maria's closest chronologically in age, but when Elizabeth, Erika and Maria hang out, it's usually Erika and Elizabeth playing and Maria doing her own thing.
When Elizabeth goes to Erika's house, she seems to shed her clothes nearly instantly. I've learned to budget an extra 20 minutes to find stray clothing and convince Elizabeth to remove her borrowed finery in favour of the boring old stuff she left home in.
In part because they would like more dress-up time, Erika and Elizabeth have been campaigning for another sleep-over. Since Auntie Yukiko is away in Japan, we thought Uncle Chris might like to have a bit of a break and offered to have the kids here for a night. Mommy took the three girls to the Museum of Nature first where we met up with Auntie Heather, Josie and Daniel briefly. We were able to borrow the double-seat car stroller, which was a great treat for the girls (not so much for me!)
On the way out of the museum, Elizabeth and Maria got into a bit of a kerfuffle. One pushed the other. The other pushed back. This led to pinching (Elizabeth) and slapping (Maria). Elizabeth apologized but Maria was having none of it. So she had to walk until she was ready to say sorry. Elizabeth was so upset by Maria being in trouble that you would have thought that Elizabeth was the one who had to walk. Eventually they made up, but by that time we'd missed our intended bus home and were in danger of missing the last one altogether. So then we had a nerve-wracking march across the street with Maria howling about her hands being cold (because she absolutely and completely refused to wear her mittens) and Elizabeth howling about Maria howling. Erika was a model child, which was just as well! We made it to the stop and huddled like ladybugs to keep warm in the absolutely frigid temperatures. We made it home, but I think such adventures are better kept for earlier in the day, when tempers are a little less frayed around the edges.
The actual sleepover was much less eventful. Elizabeth insisted on sleeping on the floor like her cousins. Erika ended up moving across the room to find "a quiet corner where NO ONE IS GOING TO TICKLE ME ANYMORE Auntie Mary" (though she may have done her share of the tickling). Daddy, too afraid to stay upstairs lest his sleep be disturbed, slept in the guest room. Actually everyone slept pretty well in the end, though you wouldn't have known it by how sleepy they all were in the morning!
Elizabeth thought maybe the girls should move into her room permanently, but luckily agreed that it would be just as nice to have Daddy back upstairs again.