I collected a series of photos of Matthew that I felt summed him up at four.
Some of his favourite activities:
-Doing "school" with Mommy
-Figuring out how electricity works with Snap circuits
-Being a "present" for church (he really likes to get dressed up)
-Building mazes out of lego for robotic cockroaches
-Playing in the snow
-Creating hiding places for his trains
-Playing at the park
-Cuddling his sisters
One last gathering of siblings with mom and dad - despite stomach flu, ear aches, colds, a freezing rain warning and general exhaustion we managed to all get in the same room for one last family photo.
It was really too nasty outside for a BBQ but we managed "greek-ish" nonetheless (tzatziki and homemade GF pita, chicken souvlaki, lemon baked potatoes, greek salad and corn. Store bought cookies for dessert.)
After supper Grandma read stories, my kids tried to talk me into a sleepover with the cousins (HAHAHA no) and then we said good bye and see you on Skype to Grandma and Grandpa for a little while.
We went to Winterlude with Grandma and Uncle Ryan and admired the ice sculptures.
No one was throwing up and Elizabeth seemed fine so we decided to risk going to Winterlude's Snowflake Kingdom and show Ryan and Rebecca the ice slides. "Are you SURE you are all better?" I asked Elizabeth "No one wants to be at Winterlude throwing up in their snowsuit, with no real bathroom except a porta-potty around". Then for reasons unknown I ate a muffin out of my freezer of unknown origins. It seemed to be some kind of corn meal with whole corn kernels and about the time I got to the top of the third slide I knew that I was about to be violently ill.
Amelia and I went spinning down the hill in our tube, then I handed her to Janice and bolted for the first aid portable where I terrified the poor kid staffing the first aid station on his very first shift. At least I didn't have to use the porta-potty...
After a sleep at home I felt completely fine so I decided the muffin was probably not gluten free and went on with life. If the muffin was fine it was the world's shortest stomach flu because I felt okay (albeit exhausted) within an hour.
I made it to the recital by the skin of my teeth, but opted to let Janice take Amelia up on stage. Amelia was quite willing to go up and hold her shakers but she was not about to do anything so radical as actually standing on her own two feet or actually shake the shaker. "Nooooooo!" Of course as soon as we got home from the recital she started singing the recital song "Woo wooo" she sang. (I tried to video it. "NOOOOOO video" she commanded. Sigh.)
It was Matthew's first piano recital. He started playing a year early and ten weeks into the course, so while Elizabeth tried to convince him to play Mary had a little lamb like she did, I lobbied heavily for a piece I was confident he could manage to do on his own. At first Matthew rejected all my suggestions. "That's too short" "That's too medium" "That's too hard" but when Mrs Shana told him he could play his favourite piece twice he made up his mind to play 3-2-1 My song's done, which he's been using to finish his practice times with for quite a number of weeks. It's technically six notes long. Matthew clambered onto the bench with great enthusiasm, played a bunch of completely random notes before settling down to play his piece starting on the wrong note and using all the wrong fingers. But he did it himself with confidence and I was super proud of him. Plus, what a bow!
Elizabeth was uncharacteristically nervous (come to think of it she's been nervous the last couple of recitals) and told me in the morning she wasn't going to play. "Let's do the recital tomorrow instead", she suggested. "It's not a good day." I suggested she might like to bring a stuffie like she did for her first recital and after finding an appropriately themed animal ("a frog with wings, because he's funny and likes jokes") she calmed down. She played "A little joke" from her RCM primer. She did great!
Uncle Ryan and his friend Rebecca were coming to visit, so of course Amelia started throwing up. They decided to come anyway.
On the first day of their visit I lay low with Amelia and sent the godparents out skating with Matthew. By then Elizabeth was throwing up too.
By the second day Amelia had recovered so Matthew, Ryan and Rebecca, Amelia and I went out to feed the chickadees.