June 21, 2017
Racoon proofing

There are a lot of cats in our neighbourhood, so when we first installed our sandbox we decided we needed some kind of way to keep them from using it as a litter box.


I made vertical curtains to keep the cats out, which worked extremely well for quite a few years. But then, being outside, the fabric started to wear out.


We have this one neighbour down the street who irritatingly allows his dog off leash all the time. Checkers likes to visit all of the backyards and we've had our run-ins with this neighbour because we don't enjoy cleaning up the presents left behind, I don't enjoy nearly running over the dog when it darts behind my car unexpectedly while I'm backing out of the driveway, and the dog has occasionally been aggressive towards the kids (once knocking Elizabeth off her bike). The relationship has been improving though as he's made a small effort to keep the dog out of our yard and also to help the kids make friends with the dog.


In any case, on this particular day in the spring last year Checkers was running loose (again) and his dog friend Molly from across the street was chasing him. And the dogs ran right through the now-flimsy curtain in the sandbox. The neighbours did offer to replace it but I figured it had needed replacement anyway so I turned them down. And then didn't replace the curtain. We actually got away with this for quite a number of months, but eventually a cat started to poop in the sandbox and we stopped letting the kids play in it and I decided I really ought to make curtains. Daddy was convinced the culprit was "our" cat and we even stopped giving it food treats, which some of us were sad about.


Anyway, one thing led to another, and winter came and I thought well, maybe it's silly to put curtains up right before winter. So that particular chore got put off. And put off some more. And the cat kept pooping in the sandbox, and I kept getting more and more creative with putting bits of wood and netting over the sand to keep the cat out and spent much quality time sifting the frozen sand etc until it finally snowed and that seemed to stop the cat.


Then spring came, and I hoped the cat would not come back. But it did. So I buckled down and made the curtains. By the time I did it was June and I was pregnant and therefore banned from dealing with litterboxes so Daddy had to take over the cleanup duties. He sifted out all the cat poop and he bleached the sand and combed it flat and we were pretty happy to think we'd finally have the sandbox back in use...


The very next morning we noticed that the sand had been disturbed AGAIN. Despite the curtains. I looked at the footprints left in the sand and realized I had been fighting against a racoon (not a cat!).


So Daddy built us a very sturdy wooden cover and then he sifted and bleached the sand again. And now we have a sandbox again.

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June 19, 2017
End of year field trip

They were looking for volunteers for Elizabeth's end of year field trip and playing mini golf didn't sound too strenuous so I agreed to do it.


They neglected to mention the part where we got to go for a hike in Gatineau park. It was very short, but of course I had one kid in my group that wanted to run ahead and while the other kids were quite willing to keep his pace I was simply not up for it.


The mini golf course was extremely nice and we're going to have to go back. Ottawa is experiencing a bit of a tent caterpillar population explosion at the moment and there were hundreds of them all over the place. Some of the kids found this scary and gross, but far more of them decided they needed pet caterpillars. I have a lot of experience enforcing a no-bringing-live-animals-into-the-house-or-vehicle rule, but some other groups weren't so strict. Madeleine outdid everyone by collecting at least a hundred in a ziplock bag. I have so far resisted the urge to email her mom and find out if any arrived at home alive!


After the hike we went to see the little museum they have, and then I let the kids run around and play Frisbee.


It was a fun (but exhausting) day.

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June 18, 2017
Daddy day

I've been feeling completely terrible, throwing up three or more times a day and generally being unwell and exhausted all of the time.


So I was extremely thankful that my kids' schools organized some love for their Daddy. The kids are old enough now that they also decided to organize breakfast in bed. We were somewhat terrified to discover this when they showed up with a tray with breakable objects teetering precariously as they carried them - together - into the bedroom. Not that we could object without shattering a great deal of pride in their accomplishment, so I just closed my eyes and hoped they made it the rest of the way without dropping anything!


After church, we went to Grandma J's for palatchinken and marillenknödel. Yum!


Then we went home, where the kids put on a special and very long "boat show" for Daddy. It did not end in tears, surprisingly.

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June 17, 2017
Ballet, farewell to Lorianne

I don't think I've written about it, but Elizabeth joined her friend Olivia's ballet class this spring and today was the long awaited recital.


Olivia invited Elizabeth to join her at dance camp this summer, and before we signed up we thought it prudent to check out the free ballet class they were offering. Since Olivia was taking several classes a week and those classes conflicted with karate, it never occurred to me that we might be tempted to sign up ourselves.


But then Elizabeth moved to tournament team, suddenly "freeing" up her Friday afternoons, and it turned out that karate skills transfer to ballet more than I'd have expected, so Elizabeth wasn't completely out of place in the class. So when they invited her to be a penguin for their production of Mary Poppins, we couldn't resist Elizabeth's sales pitch.


I enjoyed the Mary Poppins ballet very much! I thought the dancing and choreography was quite well done for a production of this kind, and Elizabeth did very well indeed. We were extremely surprised to find that she had a role with a bit of personality. She carried it off very well. Daddy was especially proud of his "stand out" penguin. Grandma J, Lorianne, Auntie Janice and our family all came to cheer her on.


Lorianne was leaving for camp followed by a year in Spain right after the recital so we had a special farewell breakfast in the morning. We're going to miss her very much!!!

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June 16, 2017

Amelia quite enjoyed sportball. Like her brother before her, she was especially fond of those sports that required her to whack things. She generally preferred not to do the demonstrated activity more than once, and liked to pretend to be the helper. Ie "I'll hold the hoop, Mommy throws the ball".


Elizabeth had a couple of PD days and came along to "help", to the great amusement of both girls (Matthew was at preschool across the hall).

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