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January 1, 2019

Elizabeth insisted that we must do Sensei Nick’s New Year’s Day fitness challenge “to start the New Year our right!” which is primarily why we came home yesterday.

 

I signed up, Matthew signed up, Janice signed up and Elizabeth signed up. Predictably Elizabeth didn’t want to go this morning at 7:30am but I was having none of that nonsense! I even let Amelia come at the last minute since Michael had had a poor sleep due to a stuffy nose and generally feeling unwell.

 

I kind of wished I had let everyone sleep in when we arrived and I discovered it was a TWO HOUR fitness class, rather than the 45 min class I had fondly imagined. Anyway, it went surprisingly well given that I brought a rambunctious three year old to work out at 8am after a very late night the night before. Did I mention it was for two hours and that we skated the evening before?

 

Actually I did discover it’s surprisingly fun to punch the punching bags and the activities changed often enough that the time went very quickly. Elizabeth thought it was super fun.

 

I did bribe Amelia with Tim Horton’s and let her play on my phone for the last ten minutes but she did pretty well for her age. Her kicks are hilarious (but probably better than mine...)

 

After we had a well deserved brunch, turned Elizabeth into a unicorn and then I kicked the older three outside to play with the neighbour kids. When they got cold they disappeared to the neighbour’s house to play while Brendan and I reassembled playmobile so we could vaccum the living room. The glamour! 

 

It’s kind of a New Year’s Day tradition to go visit a museum. This year I took the four kids to the museum of Nature - getting the hang of this solo with four thing. Michael mostly hung out in the sling. It was the happiest he was all day - he just looked and looked at everything. We saw the artic exhibit (aka let’s put our hands on glowing ice), the new sloth exhibit (which had sloths, cheetahs and mammoths featured, so everyone was super happy). Amelia and Elizabeth started watching the “live animal show” but the chameleon’s tongue was too scary for Amelia so we went and learned about caloric intake requirements of various animals instead.

 

Elizabeth picked the sloth exhibit; Matthew decided to go to the Earth exhibit (aka gymnastics in the cave, sparkly jewels and blowing up volcanoes). This time round we spent quite a lot of time figuring out what kind of rocks are made if we apply various amounts of erosion and pressure. Our last stop was the birds. Amelia just wanted to play with the stuffies but the older two played the guessing game. I was quite amused on the way in when Amelia casually identified various birds (we’ve been working on them). “Owl, owl, jay, loon, owl, falcon, tweety bird” 

 

When we got home it was playtime. Elizabeth and Matthew pulled out some Christmas crafts. Amelia listened to music on Aunty Janice’s phone (she cracked and handed it over after many renditions of the first three words of Let It Go). Michael pretended to vaccum and I made supper using my newest toy (an “Instant Pot”). 

 

All in all a good first day, even if we did burn Elizabeth’s beads while cooking them.

   

December 31, 2018

We drove home with only one stop (!) for Michael’s first A&W burger pieces (stolen from Amelia). Matthew and Elizabeth had bacon and egger sandwiches, which Elizabeth liked and Matthew declared “too salty” and “too greasy” and unfit for consumption.

 

We arrived home in time to grab skates and head for the canal. Brendan kept baby at home while I bought some groceries for dinner and helped the other three lace up and skate almost the length of what was open. We went from Patterson to Pretoria to Pig Island and back to Patterson, stopping for a beavertail on the way home.

 

Amelia wanted to skate much further than anyone else wanted her to. She did skate from Pig Island almost all the way to Fifth before her siblings managed to talk her into getting back into the sled via a combination of pointedly skating many tight and unappreciated circles around her and catching her interest with a play where she was running a team of dogs...

 

The other two basically now skate as fast as (or faster) than I’m comfortable going myself, though Matthew did complain a couple of times that I should slow down since he’s “like a cheetah - mostly fast but low endurance”. Spoiler: he didn’t seem to need much rest. My legs may be sore tomorrow!

 

We had sushi for supper as per Elizabeth’s meal plan, Christmas chocolates for dessert and sparklers outside in the snow. Michael thought the sparklers were interesting. Then we did a countdown and went to bed - about quarter to nine I think so the countdown didn’t coincide with any particular time zone other than that of the land of tired parents wanting to get tired children into bed stat!

   

December 30, 2018

We stopped at Muriel's on the way home to Ottawa. The kids were extremely excited to see the cuckoo, even if we did forget the whistle again. Elizabeth was very impressed by the Christmas lights coming into the house!

 

I unfortunately somehow poisoned myself on the way there (crumbs from sandwiches in with the treats?) and had to put myself to bed midway through dinner.

 

We were glad to have a leisurely morning breakfast before heading out in time to avoid the incoming poor winter weather.

   

December 29, 2018

We made it to the hippo house for our family Christmas. Dave and Karen and crew had to stay home because of Dave's back and Mom and Dad are in Angola but the rest of us made it! We actually managed the drive all the way to Mary's with only a single stop for a bathroom. There might be hope for more peaceful travelling in our future! It was super foggy - when we stopped the fog was just obscuring the tips of the trees but by the time we left again you could hardly see the trees at all anymore!

 

After we put the big kids to bed Mary and Brendan and I played ticket to ride and I misinterpreted the rules so I lost! Oops!

 

We gathered at the Crosshill church for an epic lunch featuring ham and turkey and a remarkable number of gluten free dishes, including stuffing, scalloped potatoes and so-called funeral mustard.

 

I was extremely interested by the "funeral mustard", having never noticed it before although Mary tells me there was quite a lot at Grandma's funeral and it's apparently a thing around here. This was the mustard of her childhood.

 

Funeral Mustard Recipe: 1 egg, 3/4c sugar, 1tsp dry mustard powder, 2 heaping tsp gelatin, dash of turmeric and salt, 2/3 c vinegar, 2/3 c water

Mix everything except vinegar and water. Stir well. Boil in microwave (stir a couple of times). Mary boiled it for 2 minutes in her microwave which resulted in a mustard explosion so I’d watch it closely... The boiling is apparently important. Stir in vinegar and water. Let sit/ Chill.

 

Triple it and stir into 10lbs of potatoes to make 1qt of potato salad. Original recipe from Anna Mae Steinmann.

 

It was fun to catch up with cousins and aunts and uncles, albeit too briefly... We played many games. I had a rematch of ticket to ride... and misread the board (in my defense it was upsidedown) so lost AGAIN! Great fun was had by all.

 

Matthew lost his second tooth! The tooth fairy had some miscommunication - Matthew duly put it out on the table, but when I woke up in the middle of the night in great panic to "assist" the fairy I could not locate the tooth. So I ended up hauling my darling husband upstairs and eventually located the tooth in the garbage. Mary had accidentally put the tooth (in plastic bag) in the garbage. Then in the morning Mary saw the bag (but not the money!) and thought - oops so she hid the bag just as Matthew came up. Of course he was then confused as to where it was and she had to finesse unhiding the bag and putting it back on the table. We had a good laugh over it all.

 

In the morning Elizabeth showed Aunt Judy some karate moves, to the great amusement of all. Then we invaded Great Aunt Esther and Great Uncle Roy's house next door and barely escaped with the house intact. One small child needed to leave slightly earlier than the rest after getting a bit... wild. It was fun to see everyone and Elizabeth was thinking maybe she shouldn't have signed up for karate adventures January first so we could have had more time!

   

December 27, 2018

Nora and Simon (and parents) came to visit us which was very exciting. Elizabeth and Nora still get along really well.

 

We ordered Swiss Chalet and my kids' minds were BLOWN when they discovered that it was Daniel, Nora and Simon's first time eating Swiss Chalet. Elizabeth reminded me that when she was very little she didn't even know that there were other restaurants. 

 

Jessica reminded me that they still have chicken, vegetables and fries because she's still teasing me about a rather awkward conversation I had with the staff at Swiss Chalet back when we were teenagers and still figuring out this whole ordering out by ourselves thing. But I maintain that it is still weird that you can't get all three together in one meal without ordering an extra side and you used to be able to.

 

It was super fun to see them and we'll have to go visit them in Boston sometime.

   

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