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February 16, 2015

Grandma invited us to come swimming before lunch today so we met up with Auntie Yukiko and cousins Erika and Maria. There was much playing with tinker toys and of course splashing in the pool.

Everyone likes the water now and Maria has made a ton of progress since the last time we went swimming (and she refused to let go of the ladder!). Now she dunks her head and swims around happily with a noodle. Elizabeth showed off her swimming skills swimming most of the short length of the pool in the shallow end several times before taking off to play shark with Erika - who is a great little swimmer now. Matthew is desperate to imitate, which can be a little scary but we are pleased that all are enjoying swimming so much.

After swimming, my kids ate many, many cookies. Cookies and hot chocolate are a post-swimming tradition at Grandma and Grandpa's house, so although we suspected this meant a light lunch we decided that this is partly what holidays are for ;)

Then it was time to go. Elizabeth got very, very quiet. "My tummy hurts", she said. "I drank too much pool water." And she cried because she didn't want to stop playing with her cousins and it isn't "fair" that Grandma plays with Matthew and she never gets a play date all to herself anymore. We were puzzled about whether she was feeling well, but usually an unwell Elizabeth doesn't eat (even cookies!) and she insisted no bucket was necessary. So we went home. And we practiced piano. And suddenly at the end of the practice she turned green and we barely made it to the newly finished bathroom where she tossed those cookies good.

I was sad because we had been very much looking forward to going to the NAC for their Family Day program with Janice and new (short-term) tenant Lorianne. But then after a short nap Elizabeth declared herself better, ate an enormous amount of lunch and wanted to go out to the NAC. So, we chalked the episode up to too much swallowed pool water or something and headed out.

Cue ominous music...

Actually, the first forty minutes were fine. The kids got their faces painted. Matthew wasn't too keen on sitting still but was very excited to have his first facial artwork ("fly! fly!"). They made puppets and kept a respectful distance from other puppets and giant stilt walkers. There was some tracing as part of a scavenger hunt. Elizabeth won giant rock paper scissors against the champion. Then we were just learning about perspective when suddenly "I don't want to do this anymore", she said with a level of desperation that did not bode well.

Elizabeth and I spent the rest of the afternoon in the public bathroom. Matthew, Janice and Lorianne finished the scavenger hunt and played fun games like giant bowling that Matthew told me about for days afterwards. Then Daddy came and rescued us. Elizabeth insisted on a bucket for the trip from the bathroom to car (it was necessary). We resolved never, ever, ever to ignore our house rule to quarantine for 24 hours after any puking.

It turned out she had strep. Sigh.


February 15, 2015

Elizabeth has been talking about the ice slides since Winterlude finished last year and we were rapidly running out of time to go to Jacques Cartier park. Unfortunately, her field trip on Friday was cancelled because of the weather (-27C, not including windchill or something).

Saturday was cold too so we chickened out of going before skating. Erika hadn't been to any of the Winterlude activities yet so after church the girls and I headed to the ice sculptures to evaluate whether we were brave enough to try the slides.

We looked at the sculptures and the girls played with the snow shovels for a bit and then we decided to catch the bus across the river to Quebec. Even though there was an "extreme cold warning" and it was -26C with a wind gusting up to 20km/hour. When we arrived, we immediately found the slides. Turned out it was so cold there were hardly any lines. We slide until Erika's ears felt a bit cold, then we went indoors for lunch. Then more slides and a pause for beavertails / hot chocolate. Then a few more slides and on to the bus back to Ottawa. Overall they managed ten different slides (6 individual slides, 3 group slides and the tubing!). The walk home from Dow's lake was admittedly chilly but I think the girls got less cold than Elizabeth did last year when it was 15C warmer, mainly because we were careful to warm up very often and we didn't have to wait more than a few minutes for any of the slides so they could run around more.

We had a blast.


February 14, 2015

All those Valentine's cards paid off in the form of many smiles today when we opened all the cards we received in return. Matthew insisted on carrying his up and down the stairs with him until he hit on the idea of displaying them on the art wall by the basement. Now he takes people to admire his cards ("MINE"). Elizabeth opted to keep hers upstairs away from Matthew. We thought the "love bug" cards were hilarious, though Matthew was rather frightened of his at first. Eventually he started carrying "bug bug" around with him, but he was very, very, very careful to hold it by the edge of the paper. "Owww" he said - I guess he thought it might sting like a bee?

We had chocolate heart-shaped pancakes with heart shaped bananas for breakfast. After all, if you can't have fun with Valentine's day when can you have fun? Matthew wanted to eat his chocolate flower first but eventually he discovered the chocolate in the pancakes and was persuaded to eat them instead.

In the evening Erika came for movie night (How to train your dragon) and a sleepover. We had heart-shaped sausage and buche de noel Valentine's cake at supper.


February 12, 2015

At two Matthew is a bundle of mischief weighing 10.9 kg and measuring 87.4 cm tall. He's put on a kilo since December! He still needs iron, but the good news is that he's making normal sized blood cells now instead of the abnormally small ones he was producing back in the summer.

He's adding new sounds to his vocabulary - the most exciting development recently is that he's figured out "Mummy" and "Daddy" instead of Mum-Mum and Da-Da. Matthew is "Mah-Mah". Elizabeth is still "Dee-Dee", still arguably his favourite person in the whole world.

Matthew is big into building forts at the moment, which involves dragging the furniture all around the room. He loves drawing, but sadly not always on paper. He has decorated walls, toys and Grandma and Grandpa's formerly pristine white couch - to Elizabeth's great horror. This means he does not get to draw during "quiet time". Not that he is ever particularly quiet unless he is doing something very, very naughty... Sometimes I can get him to whisper for a few minutes though, so maybe there is hope. He's also very interested in scissors ("nigh" aka knife) which he uses two handed despite all encouragement otherwise. As he is just as likely to chop his clothes as he is to try cutting paper his opportunities to practice have been severely curtailed.

He loves reading books. His favourites are about animals or construction vehicles. He can skate up to five metres by himself. He likes to go out and loves the various programs he's involved in. He loves going to music class and participates enthusiastically. Amusingly he is also very gung-ho about leaving music class - "happy to go and happy to leave" as his teacher commented. Routines are very important to him. If he falls down, he wants ice wrapped in a towel and he will usually put it on his lip even though that's not what was injured because that's what we do!

He's recently learned to play hide-and-seek. He's getting better at hiding, to Mom's chagrin. He still is at the stage where he can't find you if you hide under something eg a blanket or behind a curtain.

He's still very much in diapers but will use the potty once or twice a day in exchange for a sticker. He does have to see the stickers and decide whether he wants one first - just asking him if he wants a sticker always results in "NO".

He started napping more consistently in the afternoons, but we actively discourage this because the result tends to be a 45 minute to an hour and a half bedtime routine instead of five to ten minutes. Afternoon naps also seem to result in more night waking. Without a nap and bed on time by 7pm he usually wakes once around 2 or 3am to pee. He has started having the odd nightmare - if he wakes up before we come to bed he will get up, open his door and come wailing down the stairs so we need to fetch him quickly. Elizabeth's nightmares were always about wolves or bears. Matthew's seem to feature frogs - although he isn't verbal enough to explain what exactly these scary frogs are up to.


February 11, 2015

We celebrated Matthew's birthday with a stack of pancakes and eggs. Matthew blew the candles out very professionally. Turns out that pancakes fresh off the griddle are hot enough to melt birthday candles...

Spent the day reading "book book" ("MINE!") after "book book" and sorting through baby clothes for Amelia. Matthew enjoyed trying on the various hats and socks and playing boat in the empty boxes.

After school we all went to Swiss Chalet. Matthew nearly fell asleep on the way to pick up Elizabeth. We kept him awake with a video on my phone singing "Happy Birthday". He ordered hamburgers with cheese and mashed potato. After Swiss Chalet we went to the "ISH" (fish) store and bought some new fish. Sadly half of them turned out to have a dreadful disease but we didn't discover THAT until the following morning. Hopefully the rest of the tank isn't about to follow.

Then we came home around bed time and had chocolate cake. There was more use of the Happy Birthday phone video on the way home but he gamely stayed awake long enough to blow out his candles and eat a piece. He had a MUCH harder time with the candles in the evening and then discovered that one should not grab the wicks until they cool down, but the resulting burn wasn't serious.

Then bedtime - a wee bit late - and he was asleep practically before his head hit the pillow.


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