August 1, 2015
Backyard camping

It wasn't raining, it wasn't ridiculously hot and no one was sick. Clearly it was time for a sleepover in the tent.

Brendan was a little dubious about whether it was too windy but it died down by bedtime so camping it was.

Matthew took ages to settle which predictably annoyed Elizabeth who kept hissing "Matthew! I'm TRYING TO SLEEP HERE" but then suddenly at about 8pm he rolled over and passed out. He absolutely refused to sleep on a mat, in a sleeping bag or even covered up by any blankets - just groundsheet on the deck. I moved him after he fell asleep but he did wake in the middle of the night complaining of being cold and hungry - having kicked everything off again. I got him back to sleep but he was up again for the day at 5:30am.

Amelia clearly thought camping was super interesting because although she had been awake for most of the afternoon she did not go to sleep until 10:30pm. I'm pretty sure that was her longest wakeful period in her life so far! I think she was a bit cold too because she was up and wanting to nurse more frequently than usual. Or maybe it was that nursing is chillier in the tent and I noticed ;)

Even Elizabeth woke up at one point wanting help to zip her sleeping bag up, but she went back to sleep and didn't stir until 8:30am, at which point she and Brendan came into the house to find me and Amelia sleeping on the couch and Matthew playing with the neighbour's bunny whom we are currently babysitting.

Elizabeth and Matthew enjoyed it so much they wanted to sleep in the tent the next night too. We explained Mom and Dad needed more sleep before driving to the cottage next week. Elizabeth promptly declared the kids ready to sleep in the tent all by themselves...

6 photos / videos

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July 31, 2015
Farm Camp

It was farm camp week this week and Elizabeth was very much looking forward to it.

She's graduated from the kinder camp this year - so no more classroom bunnies. It's also a much longer walk from the parking lot and I never quite got the hang of factoring in the extra time required properly - oh well! Ages 6-8 get to look after Collette the chicken (and Collette's boyfriend whose name I never quite caught). Collette and her chum live in the swankiest chicken coop I have ever encountered.

I know quite a lot of the Agriculture camp staff already by virtue of hanging around the museum a lot but I was particularly pleased to discover that Elizabeth was in Grace's group - Grace's sister Brittony has shown up a few times here on the blog (often dressed as Bo Peep) and they were both in youth group way back when Brendan and I were involved with that. So I thought that was pretty cool.

I dropped Elizabeth off on the first day and she hardly looked back as I left. When I came to pick her up she glanced up, saw me and then quickly looked away pretending she didn't as she wasn't ready to leave! They learned how to spool knit using a toilet paper roll, four popsicle sticks and miles of yarn. Every day hers got a little bit longer until it's quite a bit taller than she is. Not quite sure what can be done with the results but she is enjoying making it at least.

Elizabeth adopted a cow and they had to fill out report cards every day to indicate whether the cow was standing up or lying down, drinking or eating, happy or sad. I asked Elizabeth how she determined whether her cow (Vesper) was happy. "I don't really know", she said. "I just guessed." Her cow is the highest milk producer in the barn, at least according to the sign posted over top of her head. Elizabeth was quite proud of that. She was also proud of being one of the only kids to get to share her cow with another kid. The girls bonded over having the same cow. Elizabeth told us she made several new friends so even though there didn't appear to be any kids that she knew from previous years that didn't phase her at all.

Vesper wasn't so happy towards the end of the week though - not only was it pretty hot, but she came down with a case of mastitis. Elizabeth remembered me having that with Matthew and she wondered if I had to paint my breast green the way they did with the cow. (No, no I did not)

Matthew and I had fun hanging out at the museum at drop off and pickup, but we didn't really play as much as we had hoped because it was just too darn hot. In fact, now that they have inexplicably removed many of the trees that were lining the road up to the entrance and a few in the grounds proper near the roads, I found that the farm just baked in the sun to the point that we would walk to the closest barn, cut through the sheep and the pigs to stay out of the sun and head directly into the air conditioned learning centre. Then we went to get Elizabeth, dragging her reluctantly away from her friends and fun games and cut through the cow barn on the way back (again to stay in the shade as long as possible).

One good thing was that the hottest day (over 40C with the humidex and close to setting a record for Ottawa) was water day. The councillors all had spray bottles all week that they used to spray the kids as they walked around, but on water day they played in paddling pools and hosed each other off on the slip and slide. Elizabeth loved it.

She got to feed her cow, look after a horse, brush a calf and hose off the pigs. I think her favourite part about looking after the animals was getting to go in restricted areas. Every day they made their own snack and they assembled a bit of a recipe book. On Friday they made lunch too - the last couple of years this has been pizza, but this year it was macaroni and cheese. They also had face painting, a wagon ride and lots of games.

Elizabeth wore a different farm camp shirt for the first three days. Apparently her "toddler-sized" one that she got when she was four still fits. I doubt that will be true next year...

20 photos / videos

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July 29, 2015
Heat Wave

Ottawa's been experiencing something of a heat wave with temperatures around 34C and humid! Heat warnings and advisories galore. Of course it's farm camp week so Elizabeth's been spending all day outside. There has been much playing in the sprinkler after she comes home - Matthew usually wants to wait for his "Dee Dee".

We were looking for a picture of Mommy and Amelia for a book Grandma J is creating about our family and it turned out there weren't any yet - at least not ones without me looking utterly exhausted. So Brendan rectified that :)

14 photos / videos

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July 24, 2015
Circus Camp (and another Gymnastics show)

It's another camp week here and this week Xander is doing gymnastics camp half days too. So we had two shows on Friday - gymnastics and circus! Xander had a super hero theme which was hilarious. He was most excited by the prospect of somersaults, which he ably demonstrated during his show. Yay Xander! Brendan, Elizabeth and Uncle Dave couldn't make it to the show but the rest of us were there to cheer him on.

We thought we'd try out one of the Dovercourt camps this summer because they sounded pretty cool. I tried hard to convince Elizabeth to do the outdoor survival camp (biking everywhere! making fires!) but she wanted to learn how to "jiggle" and so that was that.

I may be working on trying to correct her pronunciation of chocolate "cock-let" but as far as I'm concerned juggling can stay "jiggle" forever. (Sorry Elizabeth, you are too cute!)

Anyway, Dovercourt is very well organized and as Brendan texted me the first morning at drop-off, they kind of have to be because "There are 200049849382789508383 people here. I counted." I laughed. Elizabeth got to go swimming three of the five days. There was a carnival during which the kids got to shaving cream pie their councillors. There was face paint. There was a lot of theatre and learning the art of clowning about. There were "flower sticks" and spinning plates and diabolos. And of course there was jiggling.

Elizabeth came home all excited to tell us about the things she could now do and was blown away when not only did I know the names of some of the new things she got to play with based on her description, but I actually was able to produce a pair of devil aka flower sticks. Mind blown!

She wants me to get a diabolo now...

I was quite impressed with the show they produced at the end of the week. Grandma joined our family to come cheer Elizabeth on. There was much debating at the beginning of the week about what skill Elizabeth would choose to show us, but the juggling won in the end. "Mommy" she said seriously. "I can do all the other things too. When you see the plate spinners, remember I can do it just like them, only a bit better." At the end of the show I had a long conversation with the teacher about the (non-existent but maybe coming soon) state of circus schools in Ottawa which ended with me purchasing a set of juggling scarves and a peacock feather.

14 photos / videos

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July 23, 2015
Last OB appointment
It was my last OB appointment for Amelia (and possibly my last OB appointment ever). I was late and ran out the door just me and the baby. No change of clothes. No wipes. No spit cloth of any kind. Which is how I ended up dabbing ineffectively at a massive puddle of spitup on the floor with a kleenex, covered in goo down my front and clutching a screaming child in my arms in front of a whole pile of very pregnant ladies. I didn't dare make eye contact but I gather some of them had no kids yet and were horrified at this glimpse of their possible future. Luckily the office staff took pity on me and let us into a room where I could upgrade to paper towel for cleanup and nurse Amelia as she was staaaarving after all that throwing up. After that the actual appointment went smoothly. Dr Gravelle agreed happily to my request for a photo of her with Amelia. Amelia even stopped being super cranky long enough to get one that wasn't mid-scream!
3 photos / videos

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