It was April fool's day today and Elizabeth was very much looking forward to this. As per tradition, I brought out the green food colouring and turned breakfast funny colours. This year it was green eggs (no ham, but I WAS tempted). I also cut their bananas into fish. Amelia made some kind of weird mask but then never actually did anything with it? I'm not quite sure she got the idea. Matthew and Elizabeth did many many things, starting with lightly colouring our milk somehow (I didn't want to know) and putting saran wrap on the top. The milk was lumpy because it had "sharks" in it. We had a small chat about food grade plastics but decided we could still use the milk. They gave Amelia a fish (poisson d'avril). Elizabeth asked for something with "cherries and whipping cream on top" so Matthew fetched her the cherries and whipping cream. The best trick of all wasn't discovered until later in the day though. I thought it was so good I told Brendan that there was a spider on the toilet paper upstairs and he needed to go and squash it. LOL
Anyway, in addition to April Fool's day it was ALSO Lego day. We have at least 80L of Lego in our house and some of us think perhaps this is out of hand. But when we were deciding on themes it did seem like a natural choice... The kids started the school day normally with zoom calls to their friends, but then we did Lego math.
Amelia (and Michael, « Too, Too! ») rolled a ten sided dice and built towers the size of the numbers she rolled. Matthew did some grouping by various numbers in a ore-multiplication activity. Elizabeth built a house and did some measuring so that she could draw each view. Another day we’ll calculate perimeter, area and volume.
Then we let them build. And build. And build. There were breaks for outdoor play and lunch and quiet time.
We finished up the school day by watching the first Lego movie! Lorianne dropped by to say a socially distant hello just before the end.
Art day was the most hotly anticipated day of all and there were Expectations.
We started with an art math class where we talked about pi and graphed a city version of the number. I ought to have done this on March 14th - next year!
Then the kids could choose to paint or make plasticine sculptures. There was much painting; luckily mostly on the paper. Elizabeth did Doodles with Mo while the other kids snacked, continued working on their paintings and watched all the (french) videos on mini-tfo that I could find that were vaguely art related. During outdoor time I tried to get them to draw outside with chalk but apparently our accessible chalk is not fit to use so that will need investigation at some point. They didn't have any trouble occupying themselves as it was a beautiful warm sunny day and our yard has acquired a temporary pond. Michael kept getting very muddy. He went through four pairs of pants and eventually the other kids just let him splash and squelch around barefoot without pants. When I discovered this I pointed out this was pushing the season...
In the afternoon there was a live karate class, which all of the kids did with varying degrees of attention and enthusiasm. I had had plans to talk about art history periods, maybe do a little work on new quilts (Matthew is very keen to make a space quilt) and maybe do some soundwave art for science but sadly we hadn't finished some crucial work that needed to be done by the end of the month. In fact, we took so long to figure out what needed doing that the kids all went to bed very very late. Amelia and Matthew had wanted Michael to have a sleepover. I initially said no, but when it was nearly 8:30pm and we still hadn't finished I changed my mind and put Michael to sleep on a mattress in their room. There might have been some fighting and kids put back into their own beds for a bit and kids-who-were-NOT-the-baby moved into the baby crib upstairs until they calmed down for a bit but EVENTUALLY the sleepover kids went to sleep until some point close-ish to morning when Michael woke up and hollered for mommy and I went and got him.
We did get our work done. It was rather late.
We're doing themed school days this week and today the theme was music. This was cleverly chosen to coincide with violin and Amelia and Matthew's piano lessons which just so happen to also be on Monday. In addition to the Skype lessons with their normal teachers we also did some other activities. During Elizabeth's violin lesson, the other children had a music note scavenger hunt. The children greatly enjoyed banging and smashing various instruments in the basement and musical freeze dancing.
We introduced the concept of a timeline to Amelia and Matthew (Elizabeth already had encountered them) and made a family timeline. Then we talked about musical timelines for classical music. We listened to some pieces by different composers from each era that we covered while cutting out their photos. I was impressed that Elizabeth was able to identify Bach, Mozart and Beethoven from their pictures. Perhaps she's learned something in music class at school after all. She did claim that she'd never heard of Handel until I played the Messiah and she took back this outrageous claim. The kids had fun figuring out where various people we've learned about recently (William Tyndale, the ancient Egyptians from Story of the World) fit in the timeline.
A few months ago I'm not sure I would have believed that the most dangerous and stressful part of my day would be grocery shopping by myself but here we are. I managed to complete my trip while only using my right hand to touch anything so that when it came time to pay I could use my left hand to get out my credit card. Brendan printed out the list so that I wouldn't have to use my phone in the store, and he organized the items by section. I picked up a few items for three neighbours on the street, which I was glad to be able to do. The shelves weren't too bare, but there was a limit of only 4 items on everything in the store and a limit of 2 cartons of eggs, 2 bags of milk and 1 of any kind of paper product (aka toilet paper). I did manage to get the five Easter bunnies I wanted because the clerk asked me if I had a lot of kids and when I replied affirmatively she said she'd bend the rules. Actually I got everything on my list, though for some items there wasn't too much choice. There was only one kind of 3L oil - everything else was out of stock. The store also appeared to be out of flour and yeast. Apparently everyone has taken up baking. Plenty of bread so I assume that this will soon go back to normal unless the baking craze is in response to boredom rather than the bread shortages we recently had. When I entered there was a staff member disinfecting the handles of grocery carts and reminding everyone to stay 2 m apart in the store. There was an announcement on repeat saying the same thing every few minutes as well as assuring us that they are cleaning regularly. The store did seem unusually clean.
I found the store to be busier than I had hoped and people were not paying as much attention as I would have liked. I did manage to stay at least a metre and mostly two metres away from everyone but I had to pay a lot of attention to do so. Lots of people shopping in groups of two, which I found really odd. Most people seemed to be in good spirits and pretty friendly though. The staff were clearly on edge. My cashier was giving a running commentary on Canadian Covid-19 statistics which I could have done without. I was underwhelmed by the plexiglass "protection" - I don't think it's particularly useful because there was a big gap at the bottom to allow access to the interac machine. I don't think it provides much real protection. I was also underwhelmed by the dots on the floor - it wasn't obvious where to stand exactly and people kept getting too close when they were going up and down the aisles. I think they'd be better off closing the ends of some of the aisles. Every other aisle was closed to provide separation which was good. One funny thing: my cashier thought I didn't have the use of my "clean" hand at first. When she realized I was just keeping it clean she offered me a squirt of hand sanitizer. I had heard that reusable bags weren't allowed but I was told that's not true. Cashiers are apparently not allowed to bag people's groceries anymore so if you want to bring your own bags in that's okay. We now have everything we want until Easter, though we'll undoubtedly want more milk and fresh fruit. We could manage without though.
When I got home I found out that Michael had not napped and he wasn't fit company until he got to nurse. So as soon as groceries were away he had a little lie down. Then I put on the Curious George episode about sound acoustics while I got supper ready before piano.
At suppertime the kids were briefly interested in hearing different styles of music but lost interest long before Daddy did. Instead they had a silly faces contest.
Elizabeth decided that we just HAD to have a week where everyone dressed the same. So she declared that we were going to wear red on Monday, orange on Tuesday, yellow on Wednesday, green on Thursday, blue on Friday, Pink and Purple on Saturday and Black and white on Sunday.
I actually wore red on red day (and Elizabeth wore red under her pink sweater). Pink was considered acceptable for red though. When we looked back at the photos we all got confused about which photo was red day because it's so pink. I hadn't yet thought of changing the tablecloth to match the theme - it was pink only because of Laetare Sunday the day before!
Our third Sunday in isolation and I have to say that I think I could get used to church at home. At least the part where I get to listen to the sermon every week and hold my husband's hand!
I made eight colours of play dough before the service for the kids to play with in addition to colouring their bulletins while they listened. This was very popular. Michael particularly liked stabbing his with a fork and growling.
Amelia somewhat wistfully pointed out that we used to have cookie time after church, so I even made chocolate chip cookies. We had them as dessert though, because by the time junior church is over it's lunchtime.
Junior church used breakout rooms in zoom for the first time to simulate small groups leaving. I was pretty pleased by how this worked, although I think there were still too many kids in the youngest group. In other news Matthew learned how to "steal" being the host from the liturgy leader. This caused a lot of confusion.
After lunch we told the kids they could each pick anyone to connect with. Amelia picked Auntie Janice, Elizabeth picked Erika and Matthew picked Auntie Mary. We had some lovely conversations.
Then I took the kids for a walk in the pouring cold rain. They (correctly) figured that no one else would be crazy enough to go out so they wouldn't have to duck and dodge. The observant will notice that Michael is not wearing boots. That's because he completely filled his boots with water on the LAST walk and they are still not dry. They squelched when they came off and water was streaming out of them.
After our (somewhat abbreviated) walk with the umbrella brigade, we came home for hot chocolate and marshmallows. Once we'd changed our wet stuff and warmed up a bit we settled down to watch Frozen II. I personally liked it better than the first one. Elizabeth had already seen it, so she told Matthew and Amelia when to put their heads under their blankets ("here comes another scary part! But don't worry, it's short!")
It was a pretty relaxing day. Elizabeth is definitely a tween now - she's started experimenting with different skin care regimens...
Elizabeth picked a Tie Dye kit as her "toy" from Mrs Tiggy Winkles' going out of business sale and today she finally got to do part one as her shirt arrived (and was out of quarantine). She says next time she's going to use more dye, but in general she's pleased with the results.