August 25, 2015
Marvellous Muskoka

Did you know National Geographic has named Muskoka as a top 20 "Best of The World - Must-see place"? It's definitely one of my absolute favourite!

It's so beautiful and we were very lucky with our weather this year. Warm water, gloriously warm days and while it did rain on a few days the sun always came out in time for playtime on the beach. The rain just meant everything was lovely and green - there wasn't enough to get to my planned rainy day activities, though Margaret says I'm not allowed to complain about that!

We were lucky this year to get to watch a nest of barn swallows learn to fly. Elizabeth and Matthew are already asking how many days until next year.

19 photos / videos

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August 24, 2015

We decided that Matthew, Elizabeth and I should all bike to the park together (a huge milestone as Matthew is only just at the point where I could consider biking myself)

Brendan pumped up my tires and deposited my bike at the end of the driveway. I was helping Elizabeth get her bike past the van without scratching it. Matthew was impatiently zooming around. The kids have a game they call "bump" which is strictly forbidden. It consists of driving into things (usually other bikes or plasma cars) and yelling bump. Being bored and two, of course Matthew couldn't resist playing bump with my bike lying on the ground. Of course he fell off and impaled himself on my upturned pedals. So he's running down the driveway towards me, screaming loudly, blood welling from his chin at an alarming rate and after the first look all I can think of is how to keep him from bleeding all over my shirt. Elizabeth starts wailing as she (correctly) assesses that we are not going to leave for the park right then and there.

Matthew didn't exactly cooperate with the whole inspection and cleaning process at first, but we let him hold Kleenex to his chin and the bleeding seemed to slow down. I called my mom for first aid support and also in an attempt to distract my sad, sad boy although that didn't work as well as hoped since their video wasn't working and Matthew was outraged that he couldn't see anyone. Then Auntie Janice got home and helped me apply steri-strips to the chin, a task that would have been better suited to an octopus as he was not keen on the process.

"I guess we aren't biking to the park after all", I sighed. "What?" said Matthew, who had cheered up a lot after being given some consoling candy. "Why?" So we put on helmets and rounded up a sobbing Elizabeth who had apparently secretly thought Matthew was dying and was deeply traumatized by all the blood. "I can't play with Matthew anymore", wailed Elizabeth. "He looks like a zombie!" Biking to the park was less triumphant than I had hoped as Elizabeth cried all the way there and Matthew was not happy that I made him ride on the sidewalk, but didn't ride on the sidewalk myself. Sigh. Then I had to cuddle Elizabeth for a good ten minutes before she felt able to play.

Not the bike outing I had envisioned, but a bike outing nonetheless.

3 photos / videos

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August 23, 2015
Matthew is 2.5

Matthew's picture with a bear had a slight delay because while we brought practically everything else with us to the cottage, we forgot Bear. (Well, and Elizabeth didn't pack her shorts, but we're not talking about that...)

At two and a half Matthew weighs 26 pounds and is 35.5" tall. He is a very loud, very sweet, very active bounce-off-the-walls-into-the-ceiling kind of kid. He adores his sisters, particularly Elizabeth who can talk him into doing nearly anything.

We are rather half-heartedly working on potty training, though Elizabeth probably is the most enthusiastic about it. I've been using the Huggies Potty Time app which is definitely more effective than stickers or anything else we've tried, but I often forget to remind him to head to the bathroom. As long as I remember he can stay dry, but in general he will not poop on the toilet. Except for Elizabeth, once in a blue moon.

He can be terrifying in his attempts to jump or climb or somersault on things, but thankfully has started to acquire some common sense. Now he'll usually wait before stepping into space. Actually, we'd say he's matured quite a lot in the past couple of months. He is still VERY two though.

Matthew suddenly increased his sentence complexity around when Amelia was born and he's become pretty chatty. He doesn't punctuate every other word with "uh huh" anymore, unless really excited. He's started to add a second negative sometimes, but for a while when trying to tell us something negative he would say the opposite and then add an indignant Noooo! ie "That dog bite me. Noooo! That dog nice. Me pat." Which could get confusing if you didn't know that he had definitely not been bitten by the dog but was actually just trying to say that he wanted to pat the dog. But now it's become more "Me not naughty. Nooo! Me dood. Me tall!"

He's very comfortable in the pool, but quite cautious in the lake after he discovered a snapping turtle under the dock at the cottage with big sister and she spun him a scary tale about being grabbed by the foot if you go swimming.

He has definitely has started the endless question phase, to Elizabeth's complete exasperation. At the cottage his bedtime stalling started with "One more ting, Mommy!" "Yes" I'd reply patiently, knowing what was coming. "Mommy, what do deer eat?" Elizabeth would roll her eyes, groan loudly and tell him that he already knew the answer. "Otay", he'd agree. "What do BABY deer eat?" "Argh!" would go Elizabeth. One time she asked him "WHY do you KEEP asking WHY??" "It sounds nice", he replied.

7 photos / videos

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August 22, 2015
Goodbye to the Cottage

Elizabeth woke me up in the middle of the night to proudly tell me that she had lost her other front tooth. I was glad that she hadn't swallowed it or otherwise lost it, but inwardly groaning at the thought of locating a shiny coin etc at 4am. Luckily Elizabeth wanted to show the tooth off to Grandma and Daddy. "I think the tooth fairy better come tomorrow night at home", she said. "Do you think she'll understand if I just don't put the tooth into my tooth bag?". I assured her that I thought this was an EXCELLENT idea and we all went back to bed.

In the morning it was foggy, so Daddy bundled the kids into the canoe and they went looking for photo ops and discovered a heron. After breakfast Grandma, the kids and I went back into the canoe for a last snack on the island.

We had a hard time tearing ourselves away from the perfect beach weather and Elizabeth was trying to figure out a way to pack her friend Dori too. I was just amazed that all this stuff had fit on the way down! We finally left around quarter to five - well past Henrietta's bakery closing time, sadly. But I did manage to get some fresh Bondi corn... The kids fell asleep very quickly and slept almost the whole way home (we arrived at 8:20pm).

20 photos / videos

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August 21, 2015
Rainy day

It was cold (only 22C, brr), windy and rainy. Elizabeth played on the beach in her swimsuit anyway. Matthew played in long pants and a sweater.

The water was still warm though so I went for my daily swim despite the weather. The kids were quite pleased to be able to have a fire - most of our time here it has been too hot to contemplate such things!

On our daily bike ride past the barn, the kids spied Nancy and decided to visit. They've decided they aren't coming home with us but are just going to live here forever. With Nancy, apparently. She has been an extremely good sport about their incessant questions and tugging on clothes as they jostle for attention. I live in fear of the day that one of them accidentally undresses someone.

In any case, Nancy let the kids feed the chickens and see the BIG horses. Matthew was brave enough to let one eat right out of his hand. Elizabeth badly wanted to do the same but every time the chickens got close she'd lose her nerve and fling the food at the startled hen. Eventually they got quite nervous and didn't want to come close anymore. Probably they weren't terribly hungry by that point either!

12 photos / videos

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