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May 19, 2019

Elizabeth competed at her first nationals competition this weekend. We were moderately worried about her competing at the national level. Due to the size of the competition and the importance of placement in determining who gets to move on to worlds the format was a bit different from what we were used to. All events are split into two rounds and the rounds are held on different days. This gives the competitors a chance to recover and regroup if they have a bad round. This also meant that this occupied pretty much our entire weekend. Elizabeth qualified to compete in both classical kata and sparring. Friday was kata round one and Elizabeth did very well. One judge scored her as third place. Overall she placed 7th.


Saturday was round 2 of kata and round 1 of sparring. While her kata seemed to be on par with her first round the judges felt otherwise and scored her lower. Overall she finished somewhere around ninth. Between kata and sparring Mommy had the clever idea of visiting the museum of History (the old Civilization) across the street. This provided a great distraction and change of scenery. Mommy then stayed at the museum with the kids while Daddy and Elizabeth went back for sparring round 1. Of course they were running behind schedule and so by the time she actually got to fight three hours and twenty minutes later the museum had closed and the kids had lost their collective marbles. It was a brilliant idea in theory, and would have worked if the normal number of competitors had shown up! We're guessing that since Worlds are not overseas this year more people were interested in qualifying!


Sparring round 1 Elizabeth drew the odd spot out of nine competitors and lost her only match. She had trouble figuring out how to score against her opponent and couldn’t really hear her coach over the extremely loud noise. Towards the end of the match she found a weakness and scored a couple of quick points but it was too little too late.


Sunday was sparring round 2. She had an absolutely amazing match and traded points back and forth forcing overtime with 2 seconds to go in regulation. She then managed to get up a point over her opponent and was one point from winning. Sadly her opponent scored a quick two points and took the victory. Elizabeth said she got tired in overtime, prompting some teasing about needing to improve her conditioning. Retorted Elizabeth: "You wouldn't have lasted ten seconds!" (She's not wrong...) In the end it turned out that her two matches had been against the gold and silver medalists! Having missed beating the silver medalist by one point we were beyond impressed.


Throughout the weekend the camaraderie of the team was pretty amazing. Elizabeth had a wonderful time rotating around with her team figuring out where and when various teammates were competing and then making sure they could cheer everyone on! Our original thought was that Elizabeth and Daddy could perhaps come to church with the rest of us after her second fight if it finished soon enough but Elizabeth was scandalized at the thought of not staying to cheer on her friends. Olivia kicked her opponent right off her feet! There were some pretty intense moments. The younger kids and I went off to church (there was a baptism! we got cake!) and even made it back in time to watch sensei Cody crush his opponent 10-0.


Overall it was a great experience and solidified our sense that Elizabeth has earned the black belt she’s about to get in a couple of weeks. She is quite the force to be reckoned with and has a lot to be proud of.


May 18, 2019

The three youngest and I went to the History Museum as soon as we got tired of watching kata on Nationals Saturday (read: the kids were being menaces and Mommy got tired of wrangling them).


Daddy and Elizabeth joined us for lunch after her division ended. We spent some time playing in the children's museum and then I talked Elizabeth and Matthew into going to see an IMAX film, where we had the entire theatre to ourselves. Amelia didn't want to go so she and Daddy stayed in the children's museum to play and I took the other three to see a film about backyard wildlife in french. Matthew was captivated by the 3D parts although he said he needed to shut his eyes a few times when it got too intense. Michael even left the glasses on for the first five minutes but after that he got tired of watching and mostly nursed. I was hoping for a nap but no such luck! The film was okay, but not worth a special trip.


There is currently a special exhibit on Neanderthals, so they had a sand pit set up to brush sand away from "bones" and some woolly mammoth stuffies to pose with. Elizabeth was a big fan, as you might imagine.


Soon it was time for Elizabeth to go back (or so we thought). The other kids and I went to check out Neanderthals, which was kind of interesting but a bit above their heads. Matthew liked the skulls though (Amelia thought they were too scary) and they all enjoyed looking at the various weapons. There was quite a lot of material comparing what we know about Neanderthals now versus what made its way into popular culture and what misinterpretations scientists of the past made in part because of false assumptions. I would have liked to spend more time reading but walking through with very small children isn't super conducive to getting to linger over museum panels.


Back to the children's museum for a bit to ride on the camel, but by this time the museum was starting to lose its appeal. I tried to talk them into seeing the other IMAX movie but they were having none of it. So we went and played outside for a while until the museum closed. At that point everyone was tired and hungry so we headed back to the tournament for slushies and some supper. The slushies were very popular!




May 12, 2019

The kids brought me breakfast in bed. Elizabeth apparently wanted to serenade me with the violin while her siblings did a dance but said siblings didn't cooperate. So she played me a private song later.


We went to church and then we picked Grandma Margaret up for a lovely lunch at Uncle Chris and Yukiko's. Daddy went and helped his friend do some wiring. I'd planned to chill at home while Elizabeth and Erika practiced their running, but Auntie Karen texted to say they were going to the tulip festival and would we like to meet up?


I checked with Yukiko to see if we couldn't talk all the cousins into tulip photos and suddenly we were all meeting at the tulip festival. It was a bit hairy getting there. Amelia and Matthew brought their scooters and Amelia managed to let hers get away from under her. There's a steep hill between our house and the festival on Carling and she literally did a somersault down the hill, narrowly avoiding landing on the busy road. I may have shrieked. Luckily no harm done.


We found cousins and they were duly photographed. Maria wasn't too happy to have to come as she had just come with her mom in the morning. The kids all felt we should have bought cotton candy like we did last year but the tulips were beautiful and the sun was shining and I had a lovely time.


Erika and Elizabeth did go for their run. When they got back the kids decided they needed to build a rat trap. There were copious amounts of peanut butter and very elaborate contraptions constructed. We will see if we catch anything.


May 11, 2019

It was piano recital day. Elizabeth had been at a sleepover the night before for Adi's birthday. We dropped her off after tournament team (the last one before Nationals so she couldn't skip it) and then picked her up early for the recital.


The recital itself was uneventful, except that Elizabeth had a fit of nerves right before. She was talking herself into a bit of a meltdown so we went and found her a piano to do a quick practice on and after playing through her piece a couple of times she settled down. Matthew decided he was going to play his piece from memory and did so quite well. Elizabeth was the last person to play and she was quite pleased about that. Amelia even managed to do her thing.


After the recital we went to the mother's day karate class and Elizabeth and Matthew put me through my paces while Daddy wrangled the other two and tried to get the odd photograph.


I took Matthew to his friend Sianna's birthday party (theme: LOL surprise) and while we were waiting for him I went shoe shopping with the younger two. The store clerk brought me one pair of shoes to try on at once, with a five minute interval in between shoes. Meanwhile Michael and Amelia were doing their level best to dismantle the store. "How do these fit?" the clerk would go. I'd put Michael down, try on one shoe. Michael would make a run for the exit. I'd run after him with one socked foot, setting off the store alarm because I was wearing the store product on the one foot. Michael secured, I'd put on the second shoe. I think I need a bigger size. I locate the clerk. He disappears. Amelia has to pee. She has no diaper because she's experimenting with potty training. Of course the nearest toilet is up the escalators and around the corner from the store. I tell the nearest staffer to tell our guy that we're coming back, because I can't wait for him. We bolt out of the store. We successfully make it to the toilet. We get back to the store. The clerk has meanwhile put away my shoes. It's a miracle that I buy anything, but I do manage to acquire new shoes and we aren't even late to pick Matthew up.


Brendan didn't quite understand why I was so determined to go out for dinner after that but he humoured me.


May 8, 2019

It was Elizabeth's turn to go to the optometrist and this year she's a little near sighted but not worth prescribing for yet. Elizabeth had convinced herself she had Grandpa H's eyes so she was a little dismayed to hear the doctor confirm that she's pretty likely to end up with glasses sometime in the future. Just not yet!


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