November 1, 2018
Flu shots

Once again we did the whole family flu shot appointment with Ottawa Public Health. Michael gets two this year because it's his first time.


We had a chat in advance with the older two about a) why we have flu shots and b) not being silly about getting them.


Matthew was particularly anxious. A certain stuffy was demanded. At risk of being late, we stopped home to get it. But of course it was missing, so I brought the entire box of stuffies for him to choose from.


Amelia was great as usual and revelled in her status as the "bravest". Michael hardly noticed. Elizabeth screamed but (in an improvement) she didn't run away. Matthew got super anxious and was worse than last year. We ended up having to hold him while he screamed. It was ridiculous. The older two say they'll be better next year, but at this rate they will be teenagers before they get shots without excessive drama.

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October 31, 2018

I have to say I quite enjoy the creepy Halloween food.


I made Halloween themed cupcakes for preschool (I did let my children eat a few too) and a special Halloween lunch which I was QUITE proud of because I made three special lunches at the last minute. Okay, so I was not proud of not having had my act together the night before but at least I pulled it off!


The real reason lunches had to be done at the last minute was because I was slightly distracted by a frozen worm crisis. You see, I thought I'd try my hand at the "jello worms" using straws that I've seen floating around the internet for a few years. The only trouble is that when I started pouring the jello down the straws, it just came out the other end of the straw, which of course makes sense but was not at all as advertised. Clearly my jello needed to be a bit thicker so that it would stay in the straws - and having the jello at the bottom being firm so I could pour the rest into the straws would also help. So I stuck it in the freezer for "ten minutes"... and then went to bed. Oops. Good thing jello can be melted and reformed! The worms eventually did work very well.


I also made mummy hotdogs and chicken, ghost strawberries, monster eggs, green spaghetti, lentil and rice stuffed pumpkin, ghost cheese, and veggies. We forgot to take a picture, but we also had bbq mealworms. When else to buy the gourmet bugs? (I've been dying to serve them to my kids ever since I first noticed they were available) We invited all the neighbours to come and munch our spooky snacks before trick-or-treating. Some of them were even brave enough to eat the bugs!


Erika, Elizabeth and Bianca went trick-or-treating with Brendan. Matthew, Nico, Simon were theoretically in a separate group with Nico's mom and Richard because Matthew and Elizabeth insisted they wouldn't want to trick-or-treat together, though I gather they mostly stayed in one big group in the end. Amelia went with Lorianne.

Michael and I walked down the street with little Elizabeth and Charlotte, and back up the street with Maggie from a few doors down. Auntie Janice manned the door.


Much candy was acquired, so much that the girls ran out of space in their bags and Elizabeth started filling her hat and Erika stuffed her sweater.


On the way home to drop Erika off, Janice, Elizabeth, Erika, Matthew and I all went to the scary house on Fourth Avenue. It was quite something with all kinds of people hiding ready to jump out at you. Matthew wasn't sure about it at the last minute but since he's been talking about it for weeks I decided I would encourage him to go. He was very proud of himself. There was a very creepy man hiding in the bushes with a chainsaw and the kids weren't too sure about him until all of a sudden he said "Hi Matthew!" Turned out it was John, the older brother of the kids that share our bus stop! I don't think he recognized Elizabeth under all the green paint though.


Then Elizabeth and Erika went to a couple more houses on Sunnyside before calling it a day. My kids ended up with 8.4lbs of candy for the switch witch (after basically unrestricted access for two days) - yikes!

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October 30, 2018
French class Halloween

It was Halloween at "French class" which meant lots of costume fun. Also making pumpkin spice playdough, with flour everywhere which was a bit nerve-wracking for me.


Michael had a really great time playing peek-a-boo in the little popup tent.


Amelia played with her doll for a long time. She carefully considered all of her options before selecting this one "because it looks like me Mommy". I found it fascinating that of all the various dolly attributes what mattered most was not skin or hair colour but the brown eyes!

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October 28, 2018
Snow, NAC, GNAG Halloween, dinner

Sunday started with shrieks of joy at discovering the first snow of the season outside. Matthew and Amelia got ready in record time so they could play.

Elizabeth had a sleepover birthday at Olivia's the night before, so we went to pick her up (in a blizzard). Then we picked up Elizabeth's friend Juno and took her to church with us. After church we quick ate lunch and dropped off Michael at Uncle Chris and Auntie Yukiko's house and headed to the NAC. We got to try out many percussion instruments before enjoying their special Halloween show for kids. I completely forgot that we were allowed to wear costumes, which would have simplified our logistics. Oh well!


The Halloween show was super fun because most of the orchestra was dressed up. The conductor came out on stage in a coffin (he was Count Dracula). Elizabeth's favourite costume was the double bassist with an octopus on his head. I quite liked the scuba diver violinist, but my favourite was probably the clarinet with a recorder through his head. Amelia liked the lady with the bright shoes. Matthew thought the pirate was pretty good. We weren't sure what the lady with all the balloons was (a cloud? grapes?), but I was amazed that she could still play! As the various instruments were played, the NAC broadcast a closeup of the musicians onto the video screen. It was very entertaining - so much so that the kids missed some of the dance numbers altogether because they were too busy watching the orchestra. One thing Matthew did not like was the green smoke machine which smelled awful. He felt they could have achieved a similar dramatic effect in other ways. He had a point!


After the performance we went home and quick changed into our costumes. We were going to pick up Michael, but he had fallen asleep so Uncle Chris and Auntie Yukiko decided to keep him until supper. I took the kids to GNAG for the annual Halloween party there. We started out with a Halloween version of a Christmas Carol, which could have used a better script writer in my opinion. The kids enjoyed it though, mostly because there was candy thrown into the audience at the end.


Afterwards we went around to all the games which was about as chaotic as usual but less frustrating because they were giving out stamps for effort instead of skill. All the staff were greeting Amelia and Matthew by name which Matthew adored and Elizabeth found quite annoying (she never really did programs there so they don't know her).


Matthew's favourite game was shooting nerf bullets at obstacles over a spider web. Elizabeth enjoyed the "use tweezers to feed the elephant pompoms" and Amelia liked the balloon room. GNAG usually has two spooky mazes, but the less spooky maze became a kiddie activity room this year. Elizabeth felt herself a bit too big for it at first but eventually had fun doing the activities. There was discussion about whether she wanted to do the seriously scary maze but she did not want to do it by herself and it was not appropriate for the younger two. I offered to do it with her after the other two got picked up by Daddy but she decided she wasn't brave enough. I was quite relieved (shh...)!


After we were done we headed to Sunnyside to find Michael and have supper! The supper was wonderful - super tasty and really nice to have this branch of the family back in Canada. Amelia and Matthew spent much of the time pretending they had been raised by wolves and we are vowing never to take them anywhere to eat again. Michael did really well - he was mommy-less from about 1:30 to just after 6pm - the longest stretch I've ever left him! He's growing up!!

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October 27, 2018
Pumpkin Carving

We carved pumpkins. Amelia picked the pink one, Elizabeth picked the yellow "peanut" pumpkin and Matthew picked the orange one.



Elizabeth's is an elephant, Amelia's is a frowny face and Matthew's is a monster. Michael seemed to find the whole process very interesting. He does not object to the texture as much as Elizabeth and Matthew. But all the kids complained much less about the sliminess of pumpkin interiors so carving the pumpkins was much more fun for us parents this year.

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