March 14, 2021
Pandemic Church

It's now been a full year of virtual church so I thought it would be appropriate to document what that looks like for us!


Our virtual church location has actually moved around a bit; we started out in the living room but moved down to the basement in the fall as we decided that setting things up in some approximation of "pews" might help the general atmosphere.


At first allowing the kids to colour the bulletin and play with quiet toys like lego, kinetic sand and playdough seemed to work alright but they found it difficult to participate actively in the service with such distractions, so when we moved downstairs we changed our approach.


Usually we dress up for church. Elizabeth has had tournament team scheduled before, after and during live services on and off depending on the restrictions du jour so in the interest of scheduling we have relaxed the dress code. Sometimes we've relaxed it right down to pjs! Gotta take advantage of some of the perks of virtual services!


Another perk is the fact that we can start the service later! If we are running behind with breakfast, want to have some outdoor time before the service, have a child that is having a meltdown and therefore not quite in the right frame of mind for worship or conflicts with church we have been known to start our service a bit later. This has made for much more relaxed mornings.


Once the service starts, we have also taken advantage of the pause button. Are the kids being too noisy to hear the service? We can pause and start that part over. We've also had some "instructed" service times where we have done parts of the service more than once. We ask the kids to participate to the best of their ability until the sermon. During the sermon usually they are to try to draw what the preacher is talking about, but if they really don't feel like it then they can play quietly.


The kids do seem to be more engaged with the service as a result and are definitely quieter. Our Sunday mornings do still trend towards the chaotic but at least we feel that when we go back in person they won't be climbing the walls and completely out of practice in modeling church appropriate behaviour!


I'm told the best part of pandemic church is cookie time afterwards, because often they get more than one.

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Pi day

I asked the kids if they wanted egg or apple pi for breakfast this morning. They were slightly disappointed to discover what I meant hahaha. We also had cornbread pi!


In the evening Grandma came over to help us celebrate pi day with quiche, chicken and beef pies. We also had chocolate and apple pie for dessert (because of course after my "cruel" joke in the morning I was on the hook to make both egg and apple pies for supper!). I did not make any of the pie crusts but instead used the PC frozen crusts. That meant I could spend some of my afternoon reading a book instead of cooking, which I thought was a worthwhile tradeoff.

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Palatschinken at Grandma's

We walked to Grandma's for palatschinken because she's allowed to have us over as part of her household.


It was very exciting for the kids to go somewhere else for a meal! Afterwards the kids watched some skiing while Daddy fixed something on the TV. This might have been the highlight of the afternoon. Apparently sports TV is completely fascinating and we only managed to drag the kids home because Elizabeth had a zoom planned with her friends. Amelia wants to plan a date to go watch TV with Grandma (!)


On the way home Michael was tired and didn't want to walk or sit in his stroller until Amelia invited him to sit on her lap. It was kind of genius on her part because she loves sitting in the stroller and now that she's nearly six the opportunities to do so are few and far between.


We walked past the covid tree - it's so full they've moved on to a second tree.

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March 13, 2021
Outdoor party

Elizabeth's friend Remi from karate invited her to an outdoor birthday party at her house. Remi lives far enough out of town that they can have a bonfire! Elizabeth and I spent a very pleasant afternoon out in the forest. They played socially distanced games while I watched the fire, then they roasted marshmallows, drank hot chocolate, wrote on the snow with bingo dabbers and made maple taffy.


The other kids spent the afternoon outside as well, pretending Michael was a little doggie.

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March 12, 2021
Virtual School: Week 25

Amelia's class did some kind of special "atelier" where they divided into groups. Amelia picked the lego group and her brothers came and helped her. Apparently a dream house should have a hot chocolate dispenser, a kitchen, a place to sleep, a boat, a car, an airplane and lots of animals, including a stable for your horses. The decapitated legos are clothes.


Matthew finished his Australia project. Now he just needs to memorize his presentation. He's doing very well with his reading - we averaged over an hour per day in both English and French. We finished his Famous Five and now he's reading Fantastic Mr Fox. This week he also met with his teacher solo for the first time, something they will do every two weeks. They spent their time reading mostly. In cooking class he and Michael made pretzels for lent. He also made some granola bars using leftover chocolate shredded wheat. Matthew made a fishing rod at forest school and worked on his mouse hotel.


At school Elizabeth is working on grammar, division and electricity, judging from the random things she's been asking me. They are doing a dance unit. She discovered she hates flamenco music and quite regretted choosing this style to present. Luckily the next task (to choreograph your own dance) can use any style that you enjoyed from all the presentations. At first she was planning to do a "Just Dance" style but I talked her into doing ballet by promising to help her select music. At breakfast we recently covered Grieg and she remembered she'd liked some of the pieces we played so after only a few different tries we found something she decided was possible. We've moved to doing an hour long karate in-person per week instead of two separate sessions which gives them a bit more time to figure things out. In art class Elizabeth worked on acrylics and faces. I think drawing faces was their official task.


On our morning walks we are now often meeting up with our neighbour's dog Sam. The younger three are staunch members of the Sam fan club and always give her many pats. Michael often likes to hold my hand while he pats because Sam sometimes knocks him over while giving kisses. Despite this Michael still adores Sam although I think probably Amelia is fan #1.

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Matthew and Amelia had compositions to write again this year as part of MYC. Although the deadline was extended, as usual we ended up transcribing the notes from their rough draft to good copy in their own handwriting.


I'm very struck by how far Amelia in particular has come since last year. Matthew's composition this year was rushed as he didn't get motivated to compose anything of substance until I told him he needed to send it to Shana (!)


This year they were taught a composing technique where they picked their rhythm and notes independently and then put them together to see what happened. They finished their pieces at the last minute, in the dark (because we do flashlight Fridays during lent).


Both Amelia and Matthew had musical ideas beyond their ability to play (or perhaps more accurate to say beyond my ability to coax them into learning in addition to their regular pieces) so Elizabeth very kindly agreed to play them.

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March 9, 2021

Elizabeth and I met up with Lorianne this evening and went snowshoeing along the Rideau pathway! Lorianne showed us the goat graffiti under the bridge and while it was dark our adventure was remarkably beautiful.

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March 7, 2021

The forecast looks warm, so we thought we'd better get in one last ski. We thought we'd go back to Bruce Pit since the officially groomed trails would likely be busy. We met up with Dianne and ended up doing a 3h loop! We were limited to Amelia's pace but I was really impressed how well she did and how little complaining, especially after we got home and she showed me a giant blister she'd acquired in the process. What a trooper! Brendan fell hard at one point on the hard icy ground. He's decided that he prefers to ski in snow, not ice.


Dianne, Elizabeth and Matthew took a little detour where they could ski "properly fast" as Matthew put it. That was definitely their favourite part!


Michael had fun being pulled in the Chariot and even had a nap. Then he decided he wanted to run for the last half hour. He spent a lot of time chasing Elizabeth and trying to step on her skis. She was very patient with him until he tripped her and one of her poles got bent. After that she didn't let him catch her anymore. Overall we had a great time and while I put the skis away somewhat reluctantly the kids are now all ready for biking to start.

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Matthew wanted to make doughnuts again and everyone wanted to EAT them again so after skiing he got busy in the kitchen and produced some more yummy timbits.

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