Elizabeth was very happy to get her black leader badge today! She came home in between classes and asked Daddy if he wouldn't pretty please sew it on in time for her late night class with Sensei Suba. (He did)
Introducing Miss Black Belt, in full regalia, right before her first class as a black belt. She might be slightly excited...
Four year old Amelia is creative and loves to tell stories. She also is in a boundary testing phase which is how I found myself spending most of her birthday restaurant outing sitting with her OUTSIDE of the restaurant while she composed herself (ahem). But she is so darn cute that even mid tantrum she managed to make friends with a random little old lady on the street and they ended up exchanging a hug, which put her back in the mood to exhibit restaurant manners. Four is a bit thunderstormy mood-wise.
Amelia requested chocolate pancakes for her birthday breakfast - that's pretty much her favourite breakfast. Amelia has strong preferences about what she eats but will eat pretty much anything if it's firmly suggested she should or if she thinks she might get dessert out of it (she has a raging sweet tooth!). She likes her pasta plain with ample quantities of parmesan sprinkled on top but not stirred in. Amelia likes most fruit but is not super fond of vegetables, especially not squash which she claims tastes like "rotten meat". She is finally out of diapers, but still has a lot of accidents. Mostly she deals with them herself, but not always in a timely manner - she does not appreciate having to pause her play for such trivialities.
In general she goes to bed without too much fuss. Her ideal bedtime is between 6pm and 6:30pm and she sleeps through the night until woken by alarms (usually Matthew). She described the routine as follows "We play that game where Matthew wakes me up and then I pretend to be cranky and scream" Matthew: "I don't like that game because then I get in trouble." Elizabeth says the best part about having her own room will be not hearing Matthew and Amelia fight so much in the morning.
An avid reader, Amelia likes to look at pictures and make up her own stories in addition to having someone who will read to her. She loves drawing and is now mostly drawing on sanctioned surfaces. Although she can occasionally be exhausting and brings a fair amount of drama to our lives, she is generally sunny and sweet and life is definitely a more interesting place with her in it.
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.