I got rather enthusiastic about celebrating Christmas in July this year. Decorations, Christmas music all day and Christmas themed food.
We had waffles and bacon and eggs for breakfast, o nigiri snowmen for lunch and a Christmas feast for supper. We even managed to invite Grandma Margaret and Uncle Chris and Erika to join us. My only regret was that we seem to be out of store bought Christmas crackers.
In ordinary times we would be celebrating the Olympics so we decided to have an Olympics themed week.
Monday, Elizabeth and I went sailing. Or rather, we attempted to go participate in the sailing time trials but our boat had technical issues and we ended up motoring out and back in (we couldn't get the main up). It was super windy and we were extremely shorthanded so we had just planned to cross the line and then retire. In any case it was nice to get out on the water again.
Tuesday we participated in the Triathlon.
Wednesday is karate day around here. In addition to our regularly scheduled activities, the kids decided they wanted to do some sparring and dance. Sparring was a bit fraught with peril. Matthew was inclined to take the excuse to wallop Amelia, and Elizabeth kicked Erika very hard in the chin. They decided to stop before we needed an ER visit but we'll try again soon.
Thursday Brendan set up a makeshift "net" and got the kids playing badminton and volleyball. When they got bored they used the rope to make hammocks. Or as Brendan put it "they did terrible, terrible things" with the rope.
Friday I took the canoe for a walk again, just me and five kids. We rented one canoe and paddled across Dow's lake in the blazing hot sun. We immediately headed for the little wooden bridge and spent some time paddling around that little space in the shade. Elizabeth and Erika were very entertained paddling through the branches dangling into the water until they discovered that there were spiderlike bugs in the branches. Luckily Elizabeth did not swamp the canoe in the resulting excitement.
In the non-sports side of life, Amelia finally went to get her 4-6 year old vaccines on Monday. Don't get me started on why she doesn't already have them or why she needed a third chicken pox vaccine but she's up to date now. She had no trouble wearing a mask and happily told the technician all about how her big brother once hid under a chair to try and avoid getting his flu shot but "SHE'S the bravest". She didn't cry at all. After the doctor's we went to the library for the first time post pandemic to pick up some holds. We had to make an appointment and you can only get one per week AND I'm not used to this so I missed the first one. I was a little worried about missing my time slot and not getting our books but it turned out to be remarkably painless. Let it also be known that I very nearly (but not quite) managed to pass as a francophone. About five minutes into my interaction with the librarian I couldn't remember the word "renewal" and she suddenly looked horrified and said "Oh! I thought you were francophone but would you prefer service in English?" (she had started out speaking to me in french and I just went with it). Anyway I was quite proud.
Matthew finished off Math U See Beta this week which means he's moving on to multiplication!
We did a bunch of art - I suggested we skip the Star Wars JJK episodes but apparently that was crazy talk. Daddy had sent me a video showing how to make a silhouette video featuring an elephant so we sacrificed a toothbrush and tried it. The result wasn't quite what we were going for but we learned a lot and everyone had fun aside from those of us who had to scrub paint off the floor.
There hasn't been a kids triathlon in Ottawa for a number of years now and with a global pandemic in full swing it might seem like the last thing you'd expect us to be doing, but seeing as the group that runs it had already prepared materials including having medals made they actually encouraged folks to run their own home triathlons. Dianne did a huge amount of both figurative and physical legwork organizing the details, including painting and plumbing so that there would be bathroom facilities available! There were 24 participants in total, with four doing their triathlon elsewhere and the rest meeting up to do a distanced race at David and Dianne's.
The actual race was as her place as they have a pool and live on a fairly secluded stretch of road right next to a long walking/biking trail through the woods. All in all a pretty ideal spot.
Bright and early (too early) the whole family piled into the van and loaded bikes on to the back (making use of our amazing although somewhat lonely and forlorn bike rack). Erika had slept over to save herself the 6:00am bike ride to our place and Grandma even pried herself out of bed before anyone ought to in order to come and watch Michael so that Daddy could go along and act as the official race photographer.
Each heat was set up with kids of similar abilities so that they could have some sense of racing, but only heats of 2 so that we could easily keep our distance. There was extra time between heats to make sure we weren't all crowding together.
The kids started in the pool with David recording start times and counting laps. Amelia swam 3 lengths (20m), Matthew 4 (25m) and Erika and Elizabeth did 43 (300m). The older girls were a bit concerned they were going to get dizzy with all the turning around as the pool is only 7m long but it was fine. Elizabeth decided to compete in Erika's age bracket to keep her company despite it being roughly 3 times the distances (and it isn't like she isn't fit enough to do so). They then dashed out of the pool and out to the bike coral (aka the driveway). Then off into the woods for a bike ride and back to drop their bikes and run up and down the road. Amelia biked 500m, Matthew 1.5km and the older girls 10km. Amelia then ran 100m, Matthew 500m and Elizabeth and Erika 3km. They finished by running through a magnificent pool noodle arch where Dianne recorded their finishing times.
Amelia finished in 12 minutes (3rd in her group of 5). Matthew finished in 14 minutes (1st in his group of 4). Erika and Elizabeth were the only participants at the black level and they finished in 61 minutes.
The whole thing was great. Everyone was pretty good about staying socially distant and wearing masks when not racing. The kids all had lots of fun and even got a little bit tired out.
We've been working our way through our cooking class curriculum again this summer with all four kids.
We continued our biking adventures with the chariot this weekend. The kids seem to really enjoy it and it has been super nice to be able to all do something outdoors as a family. We also went to a playground for the first time in many months as they are now open again. The kids are pretty good about keeping their distance from the other kids. We also had church at home which while chaotic and noisy is still an opportunity to stop whatever else we’re doing and spend some time with God as a family. Hopefully some small part of it sticks with the kids in between all the wiggling, poking each other spilling snacks on the floor and drawing on each other’s colouring sheets. To finish off the weekend we watch the three younger kids do a circus presentation complete with popcorn. It was adorable.