July 21, 2014
Even more cousins

THE summer sun shone round me,
The folded valley lay
In a stream of sun and odour,
That sultry summer day.

The tall trees stood in the sunlight
As still as still could be,
But the deep grass sighed and rustled
And bowed and beckoned me.

The deep grass moved and whispered
And bowed and brushed my face.
It whispered in the sunshine:
"The winter comes apace."

Robert Louis Stevenson

6 photos / videos

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July 19, 2014
Camping 2014

Camping this year was at Rideau River Provincial Park. We were here two years ago, but not in the group sites. Everyone wanted to check that there were no wasps... The group sites here are very nice. Private, not too far from the washrooms, bear proof garbage that is emptied every day, separate group beach that is groomed daily... The swimming area was pretty nice - a little weedy although nothing compared to the river itself which was unswimmable due to weeds (!) The only complaint was that it wasn't really deep enough for adult swimming but it was lovely for splashing around... We brought our canoe, and Dianne, Grandma J and Heather paddled Heather's canoe from her house to the campground (how cool is that?!)

Uncle Chris, Uncle Dave and Auntie Karen and kids and Grandma and Grandpa J came for the afternoon and stayed to celebrate Auntie Yukiko's birthday even though they couldn't stay the night.

We saw some pretty cool caterpillars - a super fuzzy brown one and another SUPER fat one which was probably the largest caterpillar I have ever seen (barely resisted the begging to take them home...) After the kids were all in bed, the adults went to the beach and chased frogs and minnows in the dark. Then we ran around like crazy people with the glow sticks and practised our synchronized sparkler writing. It should be a new Olympic sport. David S would probably win...

The new face is Dan - Janice's boyfriend. He spent the weekend being tormented and half-drowned by our many small children. He's a good sport.

50 photos / videos

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July 18, 2014

The best part of living close to cousins is getting to play with them! 

Eagle-eyed readers might wonder why Matthew has a bandaid on his arm. Doesn't everyone get "take both kids for bloodwork" as a to-do item as they are frantically getting ready to go camping for the weekend?

Since children of celiacs are supposed to be tested roughly every five years, Elizabeth got to have her blood taken as a matter of routine. She was not very much consoled by the thought of it being for "a science experiment", but did take pride in being "braver than Matthew". Matthew got his too because he's starting to fall off his curve. Maybe he's taking after his Daddy, but our pediatrician (Dr Lynn Jacoby) would like to be sure nothing else is going on. We seriously lucked out with our health care provider for the kids, y'all.

I was surprised to learn that the test is only covered if administered in a hospital setting despite the test being strongly recommended by Health Canada for my kids as a matter of routine, and despite in this particular case a physician wanting to screen the kids due to concerns about their weight and growth. At least here in Ottawa, that actually means that the test is only covered for kids under the age of two because CHEO does not perform celiac tests for kids over two. The test is now $60! (It was only $42 when I needed it a decade ago - something the technician was surprised to learn as it apparently has been $60 for many years). But I think ridiculous that it is not covered.

I managed to get a urine sample from Matthew despite great personal peril (sadly, he's still very much in diapers). It took two tries, because he only pees on the toilet in the morning and I still have not got the hang of elimination communication with boys. Then when we arrived at CHEO we discovered that urine samples "expire" after four hours - coincidentally when we arrived. So he had to get a urine catching bag after all which was really annoying and hard to detach. But we did get back to CHEO within the requested two hours and all the trauma of the day was wiped out by getting to splash with cousins...

The corn is growing too!

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July 17, 2014
Writing practice

Work time with both kids is interesting because Matthew desperately wants to do whatever Elizabeth is doing and she's not into collaborative drawings. They have spent many a happy hour doing collaborative stickers though; She takes them off the sheet and he carefully sticks them on his tummy before putting them on the paper.

So around here passing notes back and forth under the door passes as summer entertainment. It keeps Matthew out of Elizabeth's hair but still involved as "messenger". And Elizabeth gets to practice her reading and writing...

I should have taken a picture of the accompanying drawings too, I suppose, but the text is what really cracked me up:

"Yiyoo lav mi pihcr" (Did you love my picture?)

"It has a palzacr" (It has a play structure)

"I poot mrr pipool" (I put more people)

"Dyoo no at iiz ranin" (Do you know that it is raining?)

"Diyoor sele" (You are silly - apparently the di was a mistake and you should know not to read it!)

I especially loved the spelling of "put".

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July 16, 2014
Children's Exploration Garden
Auntie Janice here. When Elizabeth, Matthew and I go out walking, I like to walk down to Bank Street. Our street has so many beautiful houses, and a wide variety of trees. This summer we've developed a routine: as we walk down the street I point out the major trees we can easily identify: Maple (three big sections on one leaf), Oak (acorns and leaves with pointy bits all over), Birch (white bark), Spruce (small needles all over), Pine (big needles in clumps), and... Elizabeth's favourite, the "Elmo" tree. Can you guess? The tree itself is very tall and as a whole resembles either a giant ice cream cone or an umbrella. If you guessed Elm, you're right! Apparently that's a tricky one to say.

Anyways, usually we walk around various stores while I do a few errands, occasionally stopping for a snack, though that happens less often now that BOTH cupcake stores have closed. :'(

But a few weeks ago we found a brand new park, and it's AMAZING! So new it doesn't yet have a sign, there's a spot to park strollers and a bench for any particularly tired adults by the only gated entrance. There's a little bridge to clamber over, little stumps everywhere to sit on, stand on, or jump from one to another, and generally has a very natural feel to it. On the right there are a few logs set up in front of two stages- one of which is open to imagination, and the other has musical instruments. There are drums and a really fun set of 2x4's that work almost like a xylophone. I forget the right name... Anyways you do need to forage a bit to find a suitable stick, but Matthew loves the fact that he is allowed to enthusiastically hit these things and I even clap and cheer for it. Elizabeth prefers showing off how well she can clamber on top of the drums. She's getting pretty tall.

The other awesome part of the park is the sandbox area. It's circular and flush with the ground (no tripping hazard to get in), and has a great chalkboard behind it. Volunteers replenish the sidewalk chalk and occasionally wash it down. One of them came by while we were playing the second or third time we came by, and told us that the park was mostly intended for toddlers, but that of course all were welcome. She asked E if she had found the dinosaur bones yet.

"DINOSAUR BONES?!?" This feature makes the park even more amazing. At the bottom of the sandbox, they cemented in dinosaur bones. There's a broom nearby that works both to help clean up the sandbox and to brush off the bones. I'm tempted to bring a shovel next time and find a way to do some grid mapping so we could do a proper archeological excavation.... We definitely found something but couldn't tell what type of Dino it was. I think I was more covered in sand than the kids!

Anyways, the park is still a big secret, but if you'd like to dig for dinosaur bones yourself, it's right at the entrance to Glebe Central Park. Which is a big secret in itself, and has two Catalpa trees (my second favourite tree after Magnolias). Or I guess I could show you some day...

11 photos / videos

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