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February 22, 2020

Rachel from the cottage is competing in Ottawa for figure skating again this year so we invited her and her mom to come stay with us overnight and Elizabeth skipped tournament team so as to have more time to play with Rachel (!)

 

They like to spend their time doing bendy things which is always amusing to watch. Rachel likes to see Elizabeth do katas but Elizabeth was quite reluctant to show off. Eventually she was cajoled into showing some of it.

 

The next day we did some painting and then headed to the museum of Nature where we checked out the new microbe exhibit and then showed off all our favourite parts of every single other exhibit.

 

Apparently we didn't wear Rachel out too much as she went on to win a gold medal and score a personal best! Woo hoo! Sadly by the time she was done competing the canal had melted too much to be fun to skate on. We'll try again next year...

   

February 21, 2020

Ski day three and I filled the van again but traded Olive for Erika. Turns out that Olive and Elizabeth are pretty much at the same ski level so they spent most of the afternoon skiing together on the same three (easy) hills. "Let's just ski the same hill over and over again until we master it". Which I guess isn't the worst idea in the world!

 

I made a plea to speak more French this time which the kids seemed to take to heart.

 

The others mostly skied together, though in the end they split into a couple of groups. It was pretty warm by the afternoon and gorgeous which meant that it was challenging to pry the kids off the hill (!)

 

   

February 17, 2020

We celebrated Elizabeth's birthday with breakfast (well, okay - brunch). We had Lorianne, her brother Caleb and his girlfriend Anna, Chris and Yukiko and Mary, Dave and kids, Grandma J, Rachel and Creighton, our family and Janice. We confused everyone by trying out one big table in lieu of a "kids" table because Elizabeth thought it would be nicer not to have a kids table.

 

Caleb and Anna became best friends with the kids especially Theo. (They were really good sports.) I accidentally only put seven candles on the birthday cake. In my defense I have had practice with seven candles on cakes lately... Anyway, Elizabeth didn't notice but I did so we relit four and I made her blow them out again. She alternated between clapping and blowing. I'll have to make sure I get the right number on her real birthday!

 

After brunch (and presents) we took the snobus to go and see ice sculptures before it was too late. Some of them were badly melted as feared as we've had a number of warm spells but there were still many in good shape. Not that many from the competition though; perhaps they've dismantled those that melted and replaced. They've moved to a format where they make new ones every weekend in addition to the competition to try and avoid disappointment. At the snobus stop we checked to see when it was running until. 4pm - well we need to be back before then anyway because the middles have music, so no problem, right? Spoiler: it was a problem.

 

The ice sculpture plan seemed like a good idea but it wasn't at all clear to us where the sculptures were this year. There appeared to be quite a lot of people at Confederation Park so we got off at that stop, only to discover that whatever winterlude type activities had been scheduled there were superceded by a Wet’suwet’en protest. Then I remembered that sculptures had been moved out of Confederation park last year into the Byward market. So we started walking that direction and luckily for us it turned out that this year they were on Sparks Street. Honestly, I did look at the website and I didn't find it very clear about where to go.

 

Anyway, we wandered up Sparks Street and we enjoyed the sculptures and the strange spinning things but about a block into it Michael decided he was done. As in I'm just going to scream inconsolably done. Partly he was tired (no nap), partly he had a foul diaper and apparently rookie parents who forgot to bring any kind of diaper, and partly (we discovered later) he was cold. In any case it was about 3pm and time to head back. So we headed back to the snobus stop. It was not exactly easy to locate but we did find a sign and duly stood in front of it. After about five minutes, this guy shows up and starts physically dismantling the bus stop sign. Weird, right? "Excuse me" I ask "Doesn't the bus service run until 4pm?" "Oh yes" says the man. "So there's still a bus expected to come to this stop?" "Oh yes" he says. Then he packs up the bus stop and leaves. Spoiler: the bus stopped running at 3pm according to the website. The 4pm physically printed on the bus sign at Dow's lake was the time the bus got to the other end. (Also we must have JUST missed the last bus or else it was early, because we never saw it). Anyway, after we waited another fifteen minutes with an increasingly hysterical baby we finally thought to check the website and figured it out. Luckily we did have some cash with us, although I did NOT have my presto card. Unluckily downtown Ottawa is a wasteland when it comes to OC Transpo these days. We were passed by about 50 out of service busses. We walked by 5 out of service bus shelters (some of which apparently are part of the LRT detour network but it wasn't clear if said detour was currently running). We walked from Elgin up to Bank and then down Bank before a bus came. Then we overpaid for a family pass (no exact change). We made it home around the time that Amelia's piano lesson started in Alta Vista. Nevertheless I grabbed piano books and kids and stuffed them into the car thinking well at least she'd get 5 minutes, leaving screaming baby behind with Daddy and Elizabeth.

 

And then I suddenly came to my senses. "Forget music!" I told the kids. "I don't want to drive halfway across the city to barge into class late. We're going to have a movie night instead!"

   

February 16, 2020

We were super happy to be able to celebrate our neighbour's birthdays at Dovercourt with them again this year. They rented the whole pool!

 

We laughed a bit together about how crazy it is to throw these large parties that are as big as some weddings. They think this is the last year they'll do a combined party like this (just like we are contemplating the changes that must come for gingerbread - clearly we need to scale back a wee bit so that we don't end up like the house in the hippopotamus song)

 

Anyway it was super fun to go swimming and hang out. Amelia especially approved of the Paw Patrol masks. A good time was had by all!

   

February 14, 2020

Erika slept over again (double sleepover!) because we were going skiing at Vorlage again in the morning - six preteens and a real teenager this time (!)

 

First I did manage to pull together some semblance of a Valentine's day celebration although I was not feeling all that great. Matthew had a fever the night before and a terrible cough so he didn't go to school. Instead he stayed home and helped Daddy with Michael. He must have been feeling rotten because he was quite subdued all day.

 

Brendan made me heart-shaped eggs and I felt very properly spoiled.

 

Skiing would have been cancelled again regardless of the strike because the temperature in the morning was below the -26C including windchill that the school uses. We just brought Vaseline and a case of handwarmers and a case of footwarmers and resolved to take many breaks. However, it turns out that Vorlage is in a bit of a bowl so it was actually not windy at all. In fact, I had to drag the kids in after their lesson to warm up - they were all keen to keep skiing! We probably skied more than last week because it took less time to get ready and everyone knew what to do! I was glad we didn't let the cold chase us away because it was GORGEOUS and we had a wonderful time.

   

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