My mom popped into town overnight. It was great to see her "in the flesh" as she had been quite ill back home in Angola first with malaria, then typhoid, then an allergic reaction to the meds that were supposed to be making her better. I made roast beef, Yorkshire puddings, rice, roasted vegetables and broccoli for supper. We had lemon meringue pie, which Elizabeth has decided she doesn't appreciate (even though she likes lemon - I don't get it, but I'm happy to eat her portion...) In any case, she begged to be allowed to have banana with milk and a little sugar instead. I agreed. "Oh thank you Mommy! You are a BIG softie!" she exclaimed while the adults all cracked up. Why yes dear child but I'm guessing most parents would allow you to eat fruit instead of lemon meringue pie...
I made gluten-free galette des rois as per tradition. Also per tradition: the annual complaining that Mommy didn't get any frankincense, and that the myrrh is smelly. There was no complaining about the chocolate coins.
We tried a litany of "chalking the door" this year. The kids told me that it was "not cool" and they thought we were going to do something "fun". We sang "We three kings" on the way to bed to the tune of wailing children. But then the kids totally demanded We three kings for the next three nights, so I guess they enjoyed it even though they pretended not? In any case I'm probably going to inflict it on them again next year.
After bedtime I came downstairs and had to call 911 because Janice had her third serious allergic reaction since Christmas. On the plus side we now have a "how to deal with serious allergic reactions" protocol in our house, including a section on when to chase people around the house with an epi pen and where the afflicted should sit so that the paramedics don't destroy the hardwood floors when they come in with their snowy salt covered boots (by the door with the lights on).
Auntie Janice had a birthday so we made her a brownie raspberry cake.
Elizabeth is really excited that Janice is almost thirty - she's announcing it to all and sundry with great glee and anticipation. Meanwhile I've somehow gotten confused and started telling Elizabeth I was 39. This greatly freaked out my husband (he's apparently not ready to be 40 yet, whereas I apparently can't wait lol).
Once the kids were in bed our household played the Game of Life (the version where you sell your kids, of course). Our house rules require you to come up with names and story for your life. We thought it was hilarious...
Janice: "I became a doctor. I had a great salary, but there was a rocky start when I was in a tornado and set back. I then married Vincent, a professional photographer. Then my aunt Lorianne left me 50 cats, which I had to place in foster homes. It was expensive. After the trouble with the tornado, I decided to build my own medical building, and I expanded the business. Vincent and I climbed Mount Everest together, and then while we travelled we decided to adopt two kids - Enrique and Georgia. They were well behaved kids, which was good because my uncle left me a skunk farm to deal with and I'm not sure I could have dealt with any extra family drama. It cost a lot to humanely dispose of the skunks, but then my uncle decided to release one into the police station and I had to bail him out and rescue the trapped police officers. After that my business acquired a helicopter from my aunt Lorianne for an air ambulance service. Flush with success after finally paying off my many promissory notes, I decided to buy a yacht and help yet another orphanage, after all we wanted to travel as a family and give back to the orphanages where Enrique and Georgia were first raised. We discovered along the way that Brendan's life insurance fraud had negatively impacted my business, and I successfully sued. After travelling quite a bit, one of the stock companies we bought hit oil! We may not have ended up the richest family in the world, but I ended up a millionaire and we enjoyed our retirement in style. "
Lorianne married Gilbert and had two kids William and Kate. A general BA, life was looking good - she was way ahead. She inherited 50 cats from an aunt but bequeathed them to her overly acquiescent niece. They went zip lining with their teenagers on a cruise of a lifetime to South America. (Gilbert was a doctor). She was in the helicopter business and did pretty well, even sold one to her niece. She liked to play the stock market and Gilbert was understanding. Unfortunately her golden years weren't so kind. Her teeth fell out and then she went fishing instead of looking after her business and was surpassed by competitors. They lost track of time - Gilbert was reading her poetry. Her son got into expensive coin collecting which was a huge drain on her resources. She ended up living happy but destitute in a field.
At seven months, it's all about the motion. Amelia's very into exploring the world and she is getting quite fast. There have been several destroyed magazines, drawings and card games as a result of careless older siblings. Matthew has learned to haul Amelia away by the legs (he's not allowed to pick her up). Usually Amelia thinks this is hilarious. Elizabeth hauls her around too, although after she dropped her sister we got much stricter with both older kids about remembering that Amelia is NOT a toy! Brendan wants me to point out it was only a couple of inches and Amelia is fine. But still. Beloved sister is not a toy...
At six months Amelia was mostly slithering. By six and a half, a well developed army crawl. Now she's getting up on all fours and even actually crawling. The other kids shriek in great excitement whenever she gets on all fours which tends to startle her back on to her tummy.
Amelia has started doing what her parents lovingly refer to as "blowing bubbles" and her aunt Janice refers to as "lightly misting me with her spit". "Meelee bows me wasbewies", says Matthew (although he's started saying Meelia instead sometimes, sadly).
She's still very smiley. Still a good sleeper. Loves to taste her solids but aside from Mum-Mums which she can demolish quite effectively ("I don't remember Mum-Mums being so messy" says Brendan) she has a hard time actually ingesting anything of substance. The problem is that she tries to nurse everything - her tongue is in the way of actually eating. But she keeps trying and at least she isn't regurgitating most of her milk anymore - we have actually gone a day or two without getting puked on!
I took the kids sledding (or "Bogonning" as Elizabeth likes to say) for the first time this season as we FINALLY HAVE SNOW!!! Yahoo! We got about 26cm while we were away apparently and came home to a driveway full of snow and cranky notes on our mail from the mailman. Auntie Janice's car was so covered in snow that she had to shovel out the door in order to open it. Then she moved it forward so that Brendan could get the snow blower out and Brendan had to shovel her out again because she was trapped!
The kids are LOVING it. Anyway, I drove to the Agriculture museum because I figured it was probably too cold for the kids to walk all the way to the Arboretum and back in addition to sledding. But there was no parking at the Arboretum. We randomly ran into Elizabeth's teacher at the top of the hill, which was amusing but also nice because I realized I'd forgotten to warn her that Elizabeth was going to be late for her first day back at school tomorrow due to an optometrist appointment. Ottawa is a small town, you guys!
The first time down any hill is always terrifying to me and I insist on holding onto the sled and kind of sliding with it. Plus I don't let the kids go down from the top of the hill, or at the steepest part. I'm such a spoilsport. But I gradually loosened up. Elizabeth didn't think it was fair that Matthew got to ride up the hill as well as down, but it was rather steep. After a while we went to a less insane part of the hill and I let Elizabeth go by herself. And then we started all going in the sled together because it was faster and I still didn't want to let Matthew go. Elizabeth wanted to keep sledding but Matthew was starting to get cold. I realized I probably let them do one too many runs because it was a good ten minute walk back to the car and by the time we got there Matthew was thoroughly chilled and both kids were wailing about how cold their hands were. But after a bit of warming up in front of Curious George and some hot chocolate they wanted to know how soon they could go back.
Less fun was Janice needing a second ambulance ride after a second epipen since Christmas.