April 9, 2016
Tooth brushing

We've started an actual bedtime routine with Amelia - pjs! story! and her very favourite part... her OWN toothbrush!


Not that she actually has any teeth yet...

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April 8, 2016

Creighton and Rachel (or Crachel, as the kids have dubbed them) came for supper, to everyone's great delight. Creighton brought chocolate, instantly winning best dinner guest ever award in the eyes of my little chocolate monsters.


Then they babysat all three of our kids. We were going to go to the ballet but we chickened out. But we still went out on a date and had a great time without children! Being us, we went to Home Depot and amused ourselves contemplating how much easier it is to go grocery shopping without kids.


At home, Amelia screamed at Creighton for a while for not being mommy and then passed out! The kids played baby. Elizabeth got to be the baby and Matthew was the big brother. Rachel had to pretend to give birth and they wanted to know if Rachel and Creighton could be their parents "forever".


So all in all I think it was a great success, except that now pretty much the entire family is sick. Amelia and I are especially miserable with a terrible cold that came on suddenly this weekend (probably didn't help that I got four hours of sleep after my hot date due to Janice's latest ER visit. Turns out some brands of cream aren't JUST cream but also have skim milk powder full of sulphites.)

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April 7, 2016
Winter came back, the very next day

Well... we may have had Easter and crocuses in the lawn but winter wasn't quite done here.


That was quite okay in our house as we got to take a last sled ride to the bus stop, play in the snow and make our own maple taffy. I had some technical difficulties getting the various temperatures right so the first few batches turned into snow cream. The kids didn't complain!


On the way home from the bus stop, Matthew begged to build a snow man. "We don't have time", I replied. "But Mom" said Matthew "You said we should ALWAYS take advantage of packing snow". I helped him build his snowman. It wasn't quite "as big as the sky" but it was bigger than him. I think it was bigger than Elizabeth but by the time she got back from school Mr Snowman had been rebuilt twice and was considerably shorter due to the very warm weather (+10C)

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April 6, 2016
Art co-op

Elizabeth goes to school, but we do a lot of "school" at home as well.


Since I don't want to overload her with homework, during the school year we've mainly focussed on reading (which the school wants us to do as well anyway) and math. She's been steadily working through the Math-U-See Beta curriculum since Christmas and I've been really pleased with it. It's short enough that she can usually fit it in as part of our regular morning routine and she is definitely making progress.


To switch things up I've been giving her practice exams from Kangaroo Math which she really enjoys. I toyed with the idea of actually doing the Kangaroo Math exam but they scheduled her age group during church on Palm Sunday so that was that. In general she enjoys math, though she isn't super fond of word problems, especially the currency ones. Time to find some games that require making lots of change!


In any case, we had the opportunity to participate in an art unit for a homeschooling co-op recently. Elizabeth loves art and I think it's valuable to build connections with kids who aren't going to a traditional school (and the parents teaching said kids!), so I decided to go for it. At the time I signed up we had just come off the disastrous year that was SK so we figured there was a real possibility we'd be pulling her out of school for grade one. Luckily she has an amazing teacher but I decided that we could take Elizabeth out of school for the six mornings that co-op needed without jeopardizing her education! Or more precisely, without getting grief from her school...


 Elizabeth really enjoyed the art unit. I leapt in with both feet and taught a unit on our first day about tempura (egg) paints. Super fascinating and I had never really considered before how much work making the paints and brushes must have been during the Renaissance. Not to mention how many eggs it must taken to paint some of the larger pieces! No one ever mentions what they did with the egg whites...


At the end of the unit they had a little art exhibition complete with decorations, food and music. It was awesome, though I was a little embarrassed about my own contribution which was definitely more on the "crafty" side as opposed to the "art" side.

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April 4, 2016
Dump Truck Waltz

Elizabeth's MYC piano class has been in a friendly competition with the other two classes at her level for the past four classes (6 weeks). They were asked to keep track of how many times they practiced their piece between classes and then Mrs. Shana wrote down the overall score.


I was recently telling people that Elizabeth isn't that competitive - she doesn't like to stick out (although she does like to be the same or ideally just a little bit better than those around her). While true, apparently this did not at all apply to this competition. By the end she had played the piece more than twice as often as the other four kids in her class combined.


Elizabeth played this piece 400 times. Week 1: 33 times. Week 2: 77 times. Week 3 (March Break): 140 times. Week 4 (including Easter): 150 times. Hilariously, she missed the all time record number of times by a single rendition. Her reaction: "Mom, I TOLD you I should have played it eight more times." (I had suggested that an even 400 was quite enough.)


 She tried a number of strategies for keeping it interesting - varying the tempo and dynamics, playing it up or down an octave, or holding down the pedal. Weeks 3/4 were the most difficult. She basically knew the piece and there was lots of March Break distraction. So I told her that she didn't have to play it. But she had set a goal and by golly she was going to make her goal. By the fifth week though she seemed to get into a groove and it became fun again. Quite an interesting little exercise because once she got over thinking "this is boring" and pushed into habit territory, playing the piece got fun again.


We are pretty proud. Terrified, but proud.

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