August 29, 2015
Lorianne is home

The kids have been looking forward to Lorianne coming home and finally meeting her goddaughter Amelia.

We must have had a moment of insanity after Amelia was born because after the craziness that was June and all our visitors departed to Angola (my parents) and Japan (Yukiko and the girls) we decided it was obviously time to start a new house project.

To be fair, the ceiling did look like it could fall down at any moment (though this wasn't actually the case) and the wallpaper had seen better days. So we figured we'd take advantage of the room being unoccupied for the first extended period in twelve years and strip the wallpaper, fix the cracks and give it a lick of paint in the hopes of making it more inviting for Lorianne.

It's never that simple, is it? Turned out that not only were there multiple layers of painted wallpaper, but we had to remove the wallpaper because the painted layers had failed and were peeling badly. Brendan really doesn't like wallpaper but the removal process was so painful we actually contemplated looking for new wallpaper instead of finishing. But with Auntie Janice's help we perservered. Brendan cut out all the cracks with the angle grinder. Then we had to wash the extremely filthy walls. Then we had to scratch coat all surfaces because it turned out the original walls had never been finished to paint grade.

It seemed a shame to leave the old rotting and sometimes biting ladybug infested window in place while we were doing everything else. So we looked into replacing the window and next thing we knew pretty much all of the upper storey windows in the house are being scheduled to be replaced. No, we aren't doing them ourselves because Brendan doesn't have a great head for heights and I am not strong enough to help him carry a window up the second ladder that would be needed. Consider this proof that we know our limits!

We even started sanding down the floor before coming to our senses at last - we really didn't have time to finish this off in the time available given that floors can't be walked on immediately after varnishing.

The kids were sad they weren't allowed to help with much of the project but they did enjoy playing in the "tents" at the curtain store. I wouldn't normally have sanctioned such an activity but the game was invented by my friend Jane D from our old church who works there...

We were still hemming curtains just hours before Lorianne arrived but I'm very pleased with the result. Much thanks owed to Auntie Muriel who helped with the curtains and Auntie Janice who helped with stripping, washing, painting, etc...

Funny story: Lorianne came with us to church on her first Sunday home and met our pastors in real life (as opposed to just on Skype at the baptism). Pastor Michelle had seen the room in progress and commented to her "I've been in your room". Lorianne's response cracked everyone up: "Well. That's not creepy at all!"

So... Lorianne: Welcome Home!

20 photos / videos

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August 28, 2015
Uncle Dave's birthday

Auntie Muriel came to meet the babies and we took the opportunity to celebrate Uncle Dave's birthday while we were at it. I think Matthew ate his weight in broccoli salad and corn.

Theo is now bigger than Amelia again - he's grown a ton while we were away at the cottage. Uncle Dave is leaving for Sweden tomorrow to get a week's worth of training at his new job. There were many IKEA jokes.

Uncle Dave spent too long pretending to blow out his birthday cake candles, so Auntie Karen helped him out. The cake was very, very good.

32 photos / videos

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August 27, 2015
Elizabeth is 6.5
Somehow Elizabeth has gotten bigger, older, taller, less toothy and possibly wiser.  She now weighs 44 pounds or about the same as the average 4.5 year old.  She can reach all kinds of things and what she can't reach she finds innovative and terrifying ways to get at.  She can write in cursive, perform various feats of mathematical wizardry and sing just about any song from Frozen.  She is a great big sister and has started to play really nicely with her brother for extended periods of time.  She can bargain like no one's business and will do so to her advantage shamelessly.  Sleep is finally something that she has figured out how to do for an entire night at a stretch and if for some reason she gets interrupted or otherwise shortchanged she is a bit of a grump to put things mildly.  She is very proud of being able to handle the monkey bars like a true monkey and has finally figured out that swimming is not the terrifying impossibility she once thought it was.  We are very proud of her and can't wait to see what she will tackle next.
4 photos / videos

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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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