Andrew Haydon Park is a pretty unique park in Ottawa that has consistently made the top ten lists of play places. Unfortunately it recently was "refurbished" and although the online plans looked promising the end result is classic Ottawa design. In short, they completely ruined it.
The water play area is why people drive from all over the city to visit it - in the old park there were many different ways to move water around and setting up the various wooden structures to transfer water and sculpt the sand was a fun engineering challenge. The "water slide" was pretty amazing too.
The new water play area is a small fraction of its former self and on the day we visited at least, all the kids were crowded into the water play area almost completely ignoring the rest of the park. We went pretty early in the day, as the sun got higher the lack of shade on much of the structures made them very unappealing. Perhaps they'd get more use on a cooler day.
It's been long enough since we'd visited that the kids didn't remember the old version - I'd never brought Amelia and Matthew at all I don't think - so they didn't spend the whole visit fuming about missed opportunities and inept "improvements" the way I did. In fact, it would only be fair to note that they enjoyed their visit very much and would like to go back.
Brendan and I came and picked up our kids from the sleepover bright and early so that we could be in the pool for swimming lessons at 8:20am. Erika tagged along to watch, while Maria stayed back to help Isabelle catch ants.
Apparently they slept well and Karen said "They did very well. No reminders after lights out. And quiet in tent until I put the signal on the window telling them they could come in!"
Brendan and the kids headed back to Barrhaven after swimming but Janice picked me up from the pool to go for root canal part 2. It's actually the same blankety-blank tooth I wrote about previously, which basically hasn't been right since and was progressively getting worse. I had part 1 done three weeks ago - cleaning everything out, disinfecting and packing with antibiotics. The recovery was pretty awful but it does seem to be improved if not yet perfect. Lovely endodontist says I need a crown but we'll have to hold off until we're sure tooth is settled.
When Janice and I got back to Dave and Karen's the kids had settled into today's activity: the marble run! Isabelle had especially asked to build a marble run in the backyard today as it is her birthday! Everyone was very amused by my "British accent" (aka lisp) courtesy of three shots of freezing. I have to say I was feeling rather sorry for myself.
Erika and Maria came home with us for lunch and afterwards decided to go to the wading pool by Landsdowne park. Now that Matthew's five he doesn't have to be within arms length anymore so he had a wonderful time splashing around. Maria demonstrated her "toes of steel" on the burning hot sand at the adjacent playground. Amelia spent a long time trying to stand on a turtle shaped float board. We even dipped Michael's toes.
Cousin camp was a little later today, so we went to the so-called car park around the corner from us for a picnic lunch.
Why was cousin camp delayed you ask? Well, when I asked the kids what they wanted to do for "cousin camp", the first thing they all said was "SLEEPOVER"
I can't remember who first suggested putting up a tent in the backyard, but I do know that I said it couldn't be at our house outside as we don't have an enclosed backyard and it's just not safe. (We get far too many visitors wandering up our driveway to check whether our car is available for petty larceny and neither the lights nor the fairly obvious security camera deter them.)
Dave and Karen bravely volunteered their house and even offered to take Amelia! So both Matthew and Amelia have now had their first sleepover away from mom and dad in someone else's house!
The kids slept by themselves outside!
Theo and Amelia knew they didn't get to sleep in the tent with the big kids but seemed okay until they had a chance to go inside the tent with the other kids to help them set up. Then Theo had floods of tears. So Karen setup two miniature tents inside for the littles. Amelia was so happy she could hardly wait to go to bed!
Monday was supposed to rain so we decided to go to the Science and Tech museum. It wasn't as busy as we feared what with being about five million degrees outside and a statutory holiday. Yukiko was surprised by how much the museum had changed since the renovations.
We went to the Art of the Brick exhibition which was super cool. I particularly enjoyed the artwork made out of legos. All the kids had a wonderful time building at the end and had to be dragged out of there. Dave and Karen and kids left afterwards but we decided to eat at the museum and check out some of the other exhibits.
-The crazy kitchen. Had to give the kids a limit on how many times they went through.
-Jumping up and down trying to get the "perfect" shot of everyone floating. Elizabeth was doing handstands too but I don't have a picture of that.
-The medical science display, especially the miniature axe used for surgery (compare ancient and "modern" tools!). Kids were grossed out by the spin the urine wheel.
-The room aimed at the under eights, especially the climbing wall.
I don't think we saw even a quarter of the exhibits so we'll have to go back...
The kids probably would have been happy to spend the rest of the day at the museum but Amelia was showing signs of fatigue and my friends had just texted me to invite us to their pool! So we headed out to Brian and Meghan's gorgeous pool to have a little swim.
Erika was holding Michael on the way out of the museum when she tripped and fell down the stairs. I looked back and she was sitting on the ground cradling the baby. She scraped herself pretty badly but mostly was in shock worried about Michael. He was completely fine - hurray for protective instincts.
After the pool we headed to Grandma J's for a post father's day father's day celebration with the traditional palatchinken and marillenknodel.
It was my birthday and we decided it would be fun to do a repeat of last year; namely go to the fair, have supper with family and see fireworks.
It was hot. The heat warning decided our morning plans - it was obviously not a good day to walk to church, sit in an unairconditioned church and walk home - Michael and probably Amelia would have overheated and going to the fair later would not have been possible. So we picked up Erika and Maria and went to Dave and Karen's church, followed by lunch at Dave and Karen's and then the fair!
It was hot. How hot? The temperature in the shade outside our garage hit 39.37C. It felt much hotter than that in the sun at the fair and it was extremely humid to boot. The official humidex was over 47C! Even holding ice packs to Michael, keeping him in the shade and dowsing him in the misters stationed throughout the fair wasn't enough to keep him from getting slightly overheated in just under an hour (our agreed time limit!).
We didn't have to wait much for any of the rides, but even so most of the kids were showing symptoms of heat exhaustion as we were leaving - especially Erika and Michael. We were super glad that our cars were only a short walk away and so thankful for working A/C!
The kids were happy to alternate play in the paddling pool and handing out in the cold basement, with a break to watch the most recent SpaceX launch. We put Amelia and Michael down at Dave and Karen's and took the others to watch the fireworks where we narrowly missed a mini riot. Apparently the youths of Barrhaven were tossing fireworks into the crowd, swarmed a policeman and ended up with arrests and pepper spray - we wondered at the police cars that suddenly showed up but didn't find out until the next day what was going on. It was so humid that all the smoke from the fireworks was trapped low to the ground so it was pretty smoky, but the actual fireworks were very pretty.
All in all a lovely day.