I have been having a reoccurring nightmare that Elizabeth would come down with stomach flu Saturday night and be unable to attend her black belt ceremony, so I made Elizabeth go to bed early much of the week.
This morning she came bouncing upstairs to tell me that my dream did NOT come true. For some reason the message that we ought to get there early for seating did not get passed on. Elizabeth actually didn't tell us until the morning of that she was supposed to be there early, which led to a little bit of stress!
However we made it and even found some chairs. Our whole family plus Grandma J, Uncle Chris, Auntie Yukiko, Erika, Maria, Auntie Janice, Uncle Mark and friends Dianne, David, Aidan, Caitlyn and Evelyn all came to watch.
They put on their show and got their new belts and then the newly minted black belts got to give out roses to the person that supported them the most on their black belt journey. Elizabeth gave hers to Sensei Cody. Then she went around getting pictures and signatures from various other senseis and generally had a grand time.
Now she gets to learn "the fun stuff", apparently. Many people asked her whether she's done. Her goal is to get a couple of degrees and then evaluate. She does think that maybe she doesn't need to go to the dojo five or six times a week next year, so as to carve out a bit more time to just chill. We're definitely on board with that!
To celebrate having survived 18 years of marriage we watched our daughter get her black belt. We nearly went toilet shopping afterwards but decided in the end to settle for greek food at Arome Meze and a lack of fighting children at dinner (queue foreshadowing of the following day's outing). Erika (with Auntie Janice as a backup just in case as Michael at bedtime can be a handful) was our intrepid babysitter. The food was lovely although we did find the presentation of the tiramisu rather hilariously unfortunate. After staring soulfully into each other's eyes for quite a while and wondering where the bill was we finally clued in that perhaps the wait staff were trying not to interrupt our moment. Amazingly enough the house was still standing and the kids were all still alive when we got home.
We weren't going to do Doors Open Ottawa this year because our weekend was packed but the kids were sad and I was sad about it. Anyway, I thought maybe one of the places would be pretty close and we could duck in and not break our attendance streak after Elizabeth's black belt ceremony was over.
Long story short we went to Barber Carving & Sculpture mostly because I misread the map and thought it was in the Glebe and by the time I realized my mistake I was determined to go.
I'm glad we did, because it was easily one of the top three Doors Open locations we've ever been to. From the description I thought it might be a quick visit (only two rooms of sculptures to look at), but it was hugely entertaining and the older kids would have been happy to stay quite a bit longer.
There were amazing sculptures to look at and the kids were very interested to find out how they were made, but they also had all kinds of students there to answer questions and demonstrating how they were working on various things. One station was set up to allow us to try our hand at chipping away at rocks (the hammers are heavier than they look!) and another to carve our very own soapstone pendant. Amelia and I tried to make an A but she was not patient enough to get the result she wanted. Elizabeth made an ice cream cone and Matthew made a bird.
Elizabeth enjoyed it so much she wanted to know if they had a summer camp program and is contemplating whether she could try a class sometime.
Amelia had her family birthday party today. She requested a pillow fight. It was terrifying but somehow everyone survived.
Spring has sprung. The flowers are out and we have started planting the garden.
Elizabeth had her first communion today. I tried to talk Matthew into staying home but he insisted he was fine and since none of us wanted to miss this special moment we let him come. He seemed pretty chipper at church but afterwards he went to lie down in bed and pretty much stayed there all afternoon.
Shout out to Michael who drove five and a half hours to come to bear witness with us. Amelia counted his presence as the top "highlight" of her week, despite the weird face she's making in the picture with him. She actually dragged him up to the altar so that she could have a photo with her godparent in the same place as Elizabeth did with hers!
She received her first communion from Creighton, which was pretty special. After the service the first communicants came forward to be blessed in front of the whole church. Then we had cake! Afterwards we came home for more cake and Elizabeth's baptism anniversary since we happened to have all the godparents in the same place at about the right time!
Matthew had stopped throwing up Saturday afternoon and insisted he was fine to run. Since Auntie Janice was being a medic that morning and it was such a short distance we decided to let him. He was very excited to run and explicitly told Elizabeth that she should run ahead. "I want to know what I can do on my own" She finished in 4:37, he finished in 6:33 (bettering Elizabeth's time at the same age, to his great satisfaction and her chagrin).
Elizabeth was so fast that Daddy didn't even notice her running by at the finish. I thought I saw the back of her head - twice.... Obviously I was wrong one of those times but it was hard to see as I was holding both Michael and Amelia up so they could see over the barrier. The race was NOT small child spectator friendly just there. Next year Elizabeth's planning to wear something more distinctive on her head so we can pick her out a little more easily.
They were very happy to get their medals and head back home to change for church.
Matthew was not feeling well and Brendan had to go to Home Depot, so although the girls really wanted to go check out the garage sale they had to content themselves with staying on our street. Although they complained bitterly about this restriction it didn't seem to stop them from buying a ton of random stuff, mostly various desserts from the pink ladies on our lawn and toys from our neighbours across the street.
Elizabeth bought Matthew a plastic cheetah and some lego which was very much appreciated by the pale, exhausted sickie who was so sad to be missing out. Amelia bought Michael a fire engine because she thought he ought to have it. She also got herself some books. Elizabeth found a random small elephant.
Auntie Janice soon was up and volunteered to take them to the community center. Amelia was very keen to go because her afternoon teacher was apparently painting faces and selling sno-cones and COTTON CANDY. She bought some cotton candy and Elizabeth got a sno-cone but I think they were too early for the face painting. They came back all sugared up with much chocolate and big smiles.
Race Weekend is hotly anticipated around here. Matthew was looking forward to getting TWO medals. Elizabeth and Erika were excited about running their first 5km with no adults to slow them down.
I had reluctantly concluded that I couldn't run this year. After breaking my toe twice this winter it has been slow to get back to normal and I can really feel it after too much standing or running. Matthew needed a running buddy for the two km race though, so Brendan was thinking about stepping up. He really wanted to take photos though, so when we discovered that Yukiko was willing to race he decided to be official photographer!
Unfortunately, after dance on Friday Matthew suddenly told me his tummy hurt. We went home quickly and ascertained that 1) he didn't want to go to sparring (hmm) 2) didn't want his cookie from dance ("too sugary") 3) didn't want supper.
He started throwing up not long after. We like to quarantine our pukers from the healthy kids (one drawback to sharing a room with siblings!) so we stuck him on the basement, where he did his thing apparently all night and without needing parental assistance! Elizabeth is such a deep sleeper she frequently vomits in her sleep so I am profoundly grateful Matthew has reached the stage of mostly using the toilet and washing out his own bucket.
In any case he continued to throw up regularly all morning while insisting he was going to race. Auntie Yukiko arrived around 1pm to find him dozing on the mat in the bathroom. He told her he was not able to race, but a few minutes later we were surprised when he came downstairs dressed in his race shirt all ready to go. Or as Elizabeth pointed out later - he kind of flopped on the couch real pale and lethargically announced he was racing - not at all his usual self. We all looked at each other and then I told him he could have unlimited screen time but he wasn't racing. He was very sad.
I dropped the girls and Brendan off downtown for their races and went back home. Elizabeth and Brendan escorted Yukiko to the start line and cheered her on! She finished in 14 minutes, which is the same pace as Matthew and I did last year! She is clearly a better runner than I because she felt after that 2km "wasn't so long" whereas I was tiiiired. We'll have to try running together sometime.
Erika and Chris showed up then and the lot of them saw Erika and Elizabeth off on their 5km race. Janice and Amelia meanwhile came to cheer too, while I looked after the boys at home. Brendan says he ran his own race getting photographs - his phone claimed about 8km worth of movement!
The girls ran an enjoyable but leisurely 5km in about 39 minutes, which was their target time that they trained for. I should add that the training was entirely self driven and they did it all by themselves since I wasn't able to run with them this year. They started and finished holding hands so that neither would be ahead and stopped at every water station. They were clearly not tired at the end!!!
They were greatly amused to discover that the 5km medals were bigger than the 2km medals. Everyone had fun despite the sprinkles of rain and are already plotting their next races.