March 17, 2020
St Patrick\u2019s day

State of emergency today in Ontario. All indoor recreation facilities, public libraries, private schools, licensed childcare facilities, bars and restaurants (takeout and delivery excluded), theaters and concert venues are required to close immediately.


We continued today with homeschooling activities. It was a less successful day from my point of view because Michael refused to nap. He's at a stage where he gets into moods where if he can see me ALL he wants to do is nurse, although sometimes he'll let me read him a story instead. He plays very happily if I'm not in his line of sight though. I'm thinking of cutting him off cold turkey.


Again we spent a good chunk of the day en français, but I had a harder time for whatever reason which meant that the kids followed my tendency to drop into English. Sigh. It was snowing hard in the morning so we took our walk in the afternoon. This time we went to the community center to spin pokestops. Amelia had a fit on the way out because I wouldn't let her touch the things she wanted to touch and she didn't want to hold my hand. Matthew had a fit because I insisted the kids walk at Michael's pace and Michael  INSISTED on walking. This was fine while Michael walked in the direction we wanted to go (except from the point of view of children who wanted to walk FASTER), but once we got to the community center Michael did NOT want to walk home. Actually what he wanted to do was wade through the very deep puddles and touch all the things. So I bundled him into the stroller and he screamed all the way home. Not the most relaxing walk from my point of view but hey, we left the house!


In the morning the kids were very keen to do an acro class that Elizabeth had planned. They had a great time and Brendan and I had a good hour of uninterrupted time to work together which was very helpful.


Elizabeth has been working away at her worksheets from school and Matthew and Amelia (and Michael) did some math. We continued with Doodling with Mo but only Elizabeth did the whole thing this time as the others weren't in the mood to draw. Auntie Janice posted a couple of videos of her reading stories that we watched, and we read other stories too. I'm thinking maybe I should have gone to the library after all to get more books in French after the kids made me read all the Curious George's in French...


In the afternoon the kids played with puzzles and games for quiet time. Then they had a skype playdate with Bianca and Nico, who were taking St Patrick's day much more seriously (we were wearing green, but not head to toe!). I did make clovers out of kiwi for our breakfast, although I got confused about whether they should have four leaves or three.


I read about St Patrick's life to the kids and we talked about the trinity. But the most exciting part was we declared it a feast day for supper which meant we could have dessert. I made green peanut butter cookies, mostly because I've been craving do-si-dos since seeing a GF recipe online.


After supper Elizabeth did a karate class. She didn't want to do it by herself so somehow Brendan and I got talked into doing the stretching and warm-up part with her along with some videos posted by her dojo. It went like this: video sensei Nick: reach down and touch your toes. Brendan: I can't reach my toes. Mary: OwOwOwOw. Elizabeth: Is this supposed to be a stretch?


Elizabeth: What am I supposed to do? Brendan: Reach backwards. Mary: Oooh that burns. Elizabeth: Like this? (leans all the way to the floor backwards) Huh - that's pretty easy.


She taught us how to do proper jump squats and burpees, and laughed at us. We did 10. She did 25, and that included going and sitting down and relaxing on the couch in the middle until we told her she could jolly well see how many more she could do than us. There was much trash talking and it was all very amusing. Then she did kata while we admired from the couch.

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March 16, 2020
Social Distancing: Day 1

Confirmed cases are up to 13. More stuff is closing down here, including karate. Ottawa has closed restaurants and bars aside from take out and delivery. 


Today is what would be the official start of our March Break homeschooling, so we decided that's what we would do. We'll have to figure out as we go along what


The boys caught a centipede in the basement and Matthew wanted to keep it for a pet. (Un)Luckily the centipede died after only a few hours of observation. I don't think it died due to lack of oxygen, but the kids noticed that the jar didn't have airholes and I don't think it was intended to be for long-term use. Matthew lovingly put it outside, hoping it would revive in the freezing cold air.


We've decided to keep to a schedule - our experience homeschooling during the summer is that it's much easier for all involved if we have at least a loose idea of what we are doing when.


The schedule isn't entirely set in stone; we're going to need to shuffle some things around to accommodate weekly activities like house group, work meetings etc.


We're also still figuring out the main goals: going outside at least once a day, speaking french during the weekday, "chore time" after lunch, quiet time in physically separate spaces after chore time, and having the kids clean up the basement and their rooms before they go to bed.


We've moved breakfast time to 8 instead of 7:30am. We can sleep in! If the baby allows... We'll have to see what kind of expectations the schools have once March Break is technically over - we don't expect the kids are going back to school until September.

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March 15, 2020
March Break

The ski hills and sugar bushes are still open but we decided too risky. We’d also decided to do church at home. Then the whole congregation went virtual which was great as we got to listen to the sermon as a family while the kids coloured. Then we used zoom to connect with other jr church families for our junior church story and small groups. It worked pretty well.


We figured that it would be safe enough to visit Grandma J before things get too crazy here and go for a swim in her pool. We thought too that going swimming would be a more normal March Break activity for the kids.


I was slightly surprised the pool hadn’t been closed to outside visitors, but I’m sure that will come.


The kids all enjoyed splashing around very much, and the cookies even more. Brendan took the opportunity to set Grandma up with video conferencing so we can have virtual play dates.

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March 14, 2020
Goodbye to Mrs Tiggy Winkles

Our local toy store is closing down and I promised the kids that they could go to visit Mrs Tiggy Winkles and Lost Marbles (or Tinky Winkles as it's known around here) one last time before that happened. Their last day is March 22nd but we want to be limiting our community exposure and anyway I think the selection will be pretty poor after the weekend. Actually I nearly took the kids out of school early because we are worried about covid-19/corona virus but in the end we decided that we figure the medical system could still manage if we got it now.


We asked the kids not to touch items in the store, which was a hardship but they did comply. Michael didn't get to go in, but we texted him photos and he got to pick his own toy too.


By the time we were leaving it was starting to get quite busy - I was glad we'd scheduled it first thing in the morning! We did see many people we knew in the store - everyone is very sad to see them go.


Elizabeth picked a tie dye kit, though she strongly considered both thinking putty and a couple of stuffed elephants. Matthew looked at robots and lego and science kits, in the end settling on a slime making kit. Amelia picked a colour changing sequined unicorn, and Michael picked a lego fire truck.

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Pi day

It was pi (or should I say pie?) day, so we had chicken pie at lunch. We suspended our lenten dessert abstinence and I made chocolate and apple pies. A great treat!

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March 13, 2020
Corona virus

Elizabeth was scoffing at some of the changes in her life recently due to Coronavirus precautions. So I tell her the story of the grasshopper and the ant (la cigale et la fourmi). “Bah”, she says. “Don’t grasshoppers eat ants?” 😂

In her defense, this was prior to any cases being confirmed in Ottawa (current count is 3)


For those of you wondering what the state of the nation is for us:
1) School is out for the next three weeks. Some of my kids are more excited about extended homeschooling opportunity than others (we usually homeschool during breaks)
2) Panic buying is out in full force. Line-ups over an hour long at many stores. Just the line to drive into East end Costco this morning was backed up well down the highway. Apparently the fire marshall closed the Barrhaven one for being over capacity. Lots of gaps on the shelves of most stores especially toilet paper, bottled water, flour and canned goods. We’ve only gone into stores without crazy lines; they still exist and even Costco allegedly calmed down this evening - probably because they are definitely out of toilet paper.
3) City is mostly shutting down. All city facilities are closing until April 5 at least. Pools, libraries, community centres etc. Museums are closed indefinitely.
4) Elizabeth’s dance classes have moved online. Her piano is offering an online option but will go ahead as per normal if we want for now. Karate is making everyone wash hands on the way in, no one is touching cards except staff, and there’s no contact. People who are sick are being told they can’t come. Otherwise business as usual. Michael's music class is on hold indefinitely. Amelia and Matthew's classes are on break for March break so I guess we'll find out the plan later.
5) Not seeing much impact at work yet, but we work from home.

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