September 21, 2019
Karate Book Club: Aru Shah

Book club is back after summer break.  You'd think Elizabeth and Erika hadn't seen each other in months.


It was outside at Windsor Park again, which the kids greatly enjoyed.

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Extracurriculars start again

The kids do karate pretty much year round but their other activities pause over the summer.


This year Elizabeth is taking grade 5 ballet (4:15-5:15pm on Tuesdays and Fridays), Acrodance (5:15-6:15 Thursdays) and Contortion (6:30-7:30 Thursdays). The contortion was kind of an accident; we agreed to allow her to try acro on the grounds that she's doing it at home anyway and we were concerned she was going to injure herself with no training or supervision. Turns out that our extra flexible kid jumped ahead some levels, and more advanced levels need to take additional classes in order to avoid injury. We told Elizabeth that she might have to drop something else if it was too much, and she probably has to find her own way home from dance sometimes. She's also taking violin lessons again through the school and in theory is doing piano, but we haven't located a teacher yet. We aren't exactly in a rush. One great thing this year is that we have an amazing carpool again so we only have to drive one day a week. It's amazing what a difference that makes. We also don't have to find parking because the kids at Osgoode are old enough to be "autonome" and can find their way to our designated parking spot. She doesn't have any activities on Mondays, so she's been assigned responsibility for making dinner that day, which has been nice for me and a great experience for her. I was sad to see that the ballet class was on Tuesday; last year it was Monday which would have worked better for our schedule.


Matthew and Amelia both have piano Monday evenings out in Alta Vista with the lovely Shana. I pick Amelia up at 3:20pm and then get Matthew and Elizabeth's friend Maddie from the big school at 3:30pm. I drop Maddie off at dance and carry on to music class. Matthew is enjoying piano class much more this year because it comes with a regular dose of screen time every week. Amelia enjoys that part too! It's her first year of piano and she seems to find it fun. The middles are also doing swimming and skating, by request. Elizabeth did the big swim at the cottage specifically to get out of having to do swim lessons and her level isn't offered at the same time as the middles anyway. I did inquire if she wanted to skate but when she discovered it meant she'd either have to miss her favourite karate class with Sensei Suba or miss her bo class she decided to pass. Swimming is at 8am at Dovercourt on Saturdays and skating is at 10am at St Laurent, so there's more driving than I'd like, but it's only for the fall term and there's plenty of time to get changed, dry hair and get into skating gear. In theory the kids could even play at the playground but so far it's been too cold or wet and I doubt that's likely to improve as fall turns to winter.


In any case so far everyone is enjoying their extracurriculars and we're getting into the groove. The main problem - aside from Elizabeth not being able to join us for dinner on Tuesdays - is that Mommy and Daddy don't have any days off from driving. We're looking forward very much to Matthew getting his blue belt 235484965 months from now, as the karate part of the schedule should then get a bit easier...

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September 20, 2019
Kindergarten Report

Amelia seems to be settling into kindergarten pretty well. She seems to love going and the teachers thought she followed along so well that they weren't sure whether she was a shy francophone or an anglophone who isn't talking because she doesn't have enough French words. Actually she does have quite a lot of French now, but she's gotten into the habit of inventing her own French to fill in the gaps so the result is rather difficult to understand. I was amused but pleased to know that she at least isn't just chattering away in English.


One problem does seem to be that she is very frequently having toilet accidents. After a couple of weeks where she peed or pooped herself nearly every day on the bus home from school (and even before) I finally got the teachers to be more assertive with their suggestions about using the toilet. Amelia tends not to tell anyone when she has an accident but I was kind of at my wit's end. The current issue does not appear to be related to her previous constipation issues, more general stubbornness. 


Today she was "ami du jour" for the first time and she got to present a homework sheet all about her favourite things (kittens, the colour pink, potatoes - don't ask me why it's purple!) and what she doesn't like ("loud scary tigers"). Matthew helped her draw the kitten.

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September 18, 2019
Black Belt Stripe

Elizabeth has completed the requirements for her first stripe towards her full black belt (1, 2 and 3 break falls). These are now red because the black stripes don't show up on the black belts.


For the record, Elizabeth says that break falls are when you throw or toss people on the ground. 1 and 2 don't involve tossing though. And we aren't to worry because she doesn't actually punch or kick her partner when practicing this, "because that would hurt".

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September 15, 2019
Nature Museum with cousins

We went to the museum of nature with Isabelle, Xander and Theo. Turned out that it was the beginning of science literacy week so there were some neat activities going on. We missed the "touch a starfish" but got to see some of their creatures close up as they were going away. Then we talked to a deep sea caver explorer. She was pretty interesting and gave the kids some posters.

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September 14, 2019
LRT Grand Opening

Elizabeth had karate so we didn't quite manage to make it on the first public trains but I did manage to talk Brendan into bringing the family to ride the rails on the very first day.


We were expecting Lorianne for dinner so needed to be back by a particular time, which meant we didn't quite have enough time to go from one end to another. Instead we parked at St Laurent and took the train until Bayview. Then we got out and took the train back to St Laurent. The kids thought it was pretty cool but Michael was mostly over the novelty about three stops in. This was the point that Elizabeth and I looked at each other and decided it would be more fun to drive to London at the end of the month rather than entertaining him for seven hours on a train. They also thought it smelled a bit like cows. They weren't wrong.


We travelled on a family pass which was confusing because it turns out you can't put a pass on the presto card. Oh well. There was an army of people in red jackets directing everyone. We were clearly not the only LRT tourists onboard - there was a festive air with many people taking selfies and just taking the train for fun.


We were impressed by how smoothly everything was running. The trains came when they said they were going to come and there wasn't much waiting.

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