February 14, 2016
Winterlude (Ice slides)

It was super cold for the last Winterlude weekend (of course) with extreme cold warnings for Saturday and Sunday. Family day Monday was supposed to warm up significantly, so we figured the line-ups for the ice slides would be ridiculous as everyone else would be waiting for the warm weather.

I wasn't too scared by the extreme weather warning in any case because we have good snow gear. Also, last year I took Erika and Elizabeth sliding on an extreme cold weather day but we didn't get too chilly because we warmed up in between and the lack of lines meant we weren't standing around waiting.

Brendan took Amelia home as it was really too cold for a baby to be out and rest of us caught the bus over to Jacques Cartier park.

It was a gloriously sunny day and we had a really good time. My phone battery died after about thirty seconds due to the extreme cold so no pictures of the actual ice sliding or of Elizabeth being an extra for a kid's TV program. Anyone know of a series that recently showed a blue wizard sliding down the ice slides into a foam wall? I can't remember the name of the show but Elizabeth got to jump around with a foam finger for the blue team. Matthew could have too but he bailed in the middle of the first take, partly because he was cold and feeling shy and partly because he spotted the Winterlude baby dragon Cybčle doing a dance and he wanted to dance too.

All too soon it was time to catch the bus back to Ottawa. I didn't want to risk frostbite, so we got off at the stop conveniently outside Grandma's house and borrowed her phone. The kids may have had cookies and hot chocolate for supper. Then we had a family movie night (Despicable Me) and now we know what minions are.

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February 13, 2016
Coldest day of the year

It was -45C with the windchill here (-29C "real" temperature) so obviously it was a good day to introduce the kids to snowshoeing.

Grandma J gave the kids snowshoes for their birthdays and they were too excited to wait until it warmed up to use them. We put on two pairs of everything except underwear, three sweaters and our warmest winter gear. We drove to the park, hopped them out of number one pair boots into snowshoe attached boots (my kids have two sets of boots each) and off they went. They both could easily march around - Elizabeth even started running. She wanted to stay out longer than the short time I had decided was safe for Matthew but mindful of the "extreme cold weather advisory" complete with advice about how to treat frozen eyeballs I didn't want to overdo it. So we drove home for hot chocolate and nachos. No one got frostbite but I was glad we didn't walk to the park as I think that would have ended badly.

Auntie Janice helped demonstrate some cold weather science for Lorianne (we did bubbles too but no photos - it was too warm by the time we got around to that). And then it was time to say goodbye to Angie until next year. The kids were very very sorry to see her go.

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February 12, 2016
Family party

Elizabeth and Matthew had a hard time deciding on a "theme" for their combined birthday party. Matthew wanted Spiderman. Elizabeth did not. Matthew wouldn't budge, so eventually we settled on "My favourite things", which basically was . Spiderman and Minnie Mouse plates. Yellow (Elizabeth's current favourite colour) and green (Matthew's current favourite colour) napkins. The kids also got new cups, because Matthew really wanted one and he also really wanted Isabelle and Xander to have something to take home after the party. Well okay then!

The kids asked for broccoli, spaghetti and meatballs for supper. Elizabeth wanted an elephant cake. Matthew wanted spiders (of course). The cakes had to be chocolate.

We might have done slightly more spider-themed games - I figured that Elizabeth would get her fill at her friend party later this month. They had to retrieve balls with tongs without touching the yarn "web" and walk along tape on the floor avoiding obstacles. They would have liked to keep the tape for much longer, but Daddy was a bit afraid it would damage the finish.

This *might* be the last time we get away with combining birthdays, we'll see... 

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February 11, 2016
Matthew is 3

At three, Matthew is very sweet, very noisy and a little mischievous.

He is a real talker, although people don't always understand him unless they've had some time to learn "Matthew". Part of the problem - he rarely stops talking even to breathe, so if you've missed something it's easy to get lost in the sheer volume of words. He does not appear to be able to pronounce the /kuh/ or /ell/ sounds yet, which further complicates matters.

Favourite words or catch-phrases: "Actually" "Help is on the way!" "I can't do that until Thursday" "Why can't spiderman have a balloon? He'll shoot his web at you!" "Peese may me see dat?"

He now calls Elizabeth "Livbeth" instead of "DeeDee" and Amelia "Melia" instead of "Meelee". Interestingly Elizabeth made a fairly concerted effort to switch him back. "I won't play with you if you call me that. Call me DeeDee or Emma." and he does try half-heartedly for a few minutes but she's definitely losing the battle.

He's still a very musical child and loves to do "his" piano practice just like Elizabeth. He's very particular about needing to use his own music book for practice. Often he sings along ("like Lorianne"). I think the result is hilarious, even if it's a stretch to describe it as music!

He loves spiders, building stuff out of lego, playing with forts, cutting stuff up with scissors (not always sanctioned), reading books, cuddling with Mommy and Curious George.

The potty training app helpfully emailed me this week with the opening line "So... You must be done potty training now, right?" HA! The timer part is still good and I can see hope in the future but HAHAHAHA not quite there yet. New spiderman underwear for his birthday from his sisters was a big hit and he's in underwear more often than not. There have been a few puddles (sigh), but if he remembers that he's in underwear (helped by frequent reminders) he goes pee all by himself. Less popular was Mommy and Daddy deciding that we are done dealing with toddler poop where possible - he now has to wash his own bum (Outraged son: "but it's TOOOOOO YUCKY!!!" Mean parent: "Then use the toilet") He's at least trying the toilet occasionally but this clearly is still a challenge for him. And one of the times he forgot he was wearing underwear had truly horrifying results. Of course he lost his head and went charging up the carpeted stairs for help leaving Poor Poor Auntie Janice to discover the "presents" left behind.

Ahem - so... Anyway. On his birthday Matthew requested that he have YOTS of candles and YOTS of cake. I think we delivered. Amelia was allowed to sample some cake for the first time. She approved. Matthew wanted to go to the dinosaur museum and to see spiders so we went to the Museum of Nature. He enjoyed the current bug exhibit that's visiting although he flatly refused to pretend to be a dung beetle and push around the giant (brown) bean bags on the grounds that they might be smelly. He very sweetly explained to Amelia everything that I explained to him, and asked me to take pictures of certain things "for Elizabeth" since she was at school and couldn't see them. "Livbeth yikes butterfies." "Livbeth yikes elefunt beetles cuz she yikes elefunts".

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February 9, 2016

The canal might not be cooperating for Angie's visit, but we are very pleased to have her visit (especially the kids, who have been asking when she's coming for a number of weeks now).

Karen and the kids came over this afternoon to hang out. It was not calm or sedate and I immediately vowed to limit free play time at Elizabeth's birthday party later this month on the grounds that we would otherwise break all noise bylaws. We did get a brief Skype call in with my parents, who I think were amused by all the commotion.

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