April 23, 2021
Virtual School: Week 30

This week Michael decided to find out what would happen if he used scissors on Matthew's violin bow. So we might be in the market for a new one; it will depend on how old the bow is and how bad the damage actually is - it's luckily still playable and the teacher will assess it later.


Matthew is finally feeling able to bike again as of Saturday. Unfortunately the weather this week was not ideal for biking. It was cold and windy with gusts of up to 80km one day and it snowed the next but these were not deemed acceptable excuses so we still biked. I even biked the day after vaccine. Brendan stayed in bed. Matthew was at school and needed to go later but by then I felt pretty unwell so Elizabeth graciously volunteered to go a second time so that he could maintain his streak. On the snowy day we saw and photographed a heron at Dow's lake! We also saw a flock of birds that look and dive very much like loons but since there were five of them and also they were at Dow's lake they clearly are not loons. I'm pretty sure they are not merganser ducks as the head shapes are quite different from what I can tell.


Matthew planted some seeds at forest school and has been faithfully watering them. Remains to be seen if they will survive long enough to be planted outside! He's working towards his grade 1 RCM exam which means he has two lessons this week. This would not be his favourite but he allows that he IS making progress. He's got a supply at school for the next two weeks, in addition to the long term supply he's already got for math. Apparently that means that he doesn't have his check-in with his teacher, which I don't understand since I feel that a supply would be quite capable of listening to a second grader read. In any case, it's just as well that we are asynchronous. His private french teacher introduced him to boukili which means that he's excited about reading again as it's much easier than the books left at allo prof. He does have some appropriate reading material at GB+ as well but he really enjoys the quizzing aspect.


Elizabeth finished her puzzle and was dismayed to discover a missing piece. Oh well. She had to make a cartoon for English class. In math she is doing "endless, boring fractions". For art class she was learning about fog. "I actually messed up the fog and will have to try it again with more water on my brush", she explained. "I had fun and I learned a lot though." She liked her attempts at sunflowers better.

In addition to her school work and reading about science, Elizabeth's been diligently working on her daily coding project, usually 45-60 min every day after classes and piano practice. She had great fun learning to make her lights flash different colours. She also made a rather foolish choice to try making rice in the instant pot without the liner. It's still to be determined whether or not we are in the market for a new instant pot.


We built (and destroyed) some epic forts. Amelia's godfather Michael gave her some clothes and some playdough. Everyone was especially excited by the playdough and it got heavy use this week. Amelia did quite a lot of art this week, including making a little bird out of paper that she and Michael played with for several days. At the end of the week Amelia's class got to watch a puppet show via the "tout petit festival". Michael was thrilled to be invited to watch too and they both really enjoyed the show. Lots of imaginative play this week, which would be more thrilling if there wasn't so much strewing of clothing ALL. OVER. THE. HOUSE. to accompany it.


At Grandir Ensemble Michael was invited to play with colour mixing.


I finally got around to repotting my orchids - I completely underestimated the size of container they would need. Amelia was completely fascinated by the process, especially the part where I put dirt into my largest pot and covered it in boiling water. "Are we going to that?" she inquired somewhat anxiously.

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April 21, 2021
We've been shot

While many things could be said about the state of the nation (or more specifically our province) it is probably best if I (Brendan) don't rant too much about the sad state of affairs.  COVID-19 is out of control and our leaders have more or less abandoned ship. This week the province did open up vaccinations to those 40+ years old through pharmacies.  This meant playing a ridiculous game worse than trying to register children for summer camps to secure a spot at a pharmacy for the pair of us.  In the end we were successful and the whole experience was actually pretty good.  The next day less so - but if that's the price to pay to put this pandemic to rest it is a small one.

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April 16, 2021
April Break

April break turned out a bit differently than originally planned due to Matthew grievously wounding himself but in general we had fun.


We always homeschool during breaks, but since I'm currently homeschooling Matthew and the kids are all at home all the time my enthusiasm was somewhat muted.


We decided that April break would be a good time for Elizabeth to start her birthday present "30 Days Lost in Space" which is a kit to learn about circuit boards and coding. She is loving it. She also started a 1000 piece puzzle we got from Auntie Mary for Christmas and she's writing a story about Mars. There was lots of art - Elizabeth got some new watercolor pencils and is trying out new techniques. Matthew and Amelia worked on reading and math. Matthew and Xander zoomed and played Minecraft together.


There was lots of playing together and fort building and lego and general mayhem. It was even warm enough to have a water fight before the rain came and drowned out the rest of the week...


We also had a dedicated chore time every day in a vain attempt to get started on our spring cleaning projects; or at least unbury the house a little. Of course there was also our bike challenge (complicated by Matthew being unable to bike). Prior to Matthew hurting himself Amelia drove into the curb and fell off her bike, which prompted us to order a new first aid kit just for our bike. It came with two tourniquets which I sincerely hope we never have to use.


Matthew and Elizabeth invented a game called taxi where he gives her rides on the back of his bike. Amelia mastered her brakes and is working on signalling. Actually Matthew is still working on that too but has at least figured out the mechanics now (he's occasionally prone to signalling left when he means right).


Matthew started a new french class as I am exploring options for next year. So far he's enjoying it greatly, even though it means more homework.


The kids suggested we should have a cooking class every day and in a fit of madness I thought that would be a good idea. We had a cookie bake off. The judges won because we got to eat cookies. Matthew won best looking, Elizabeth won best tasting, Amelia won cook's choice and Michael won most unusual. The rest of the week we mostly had cooking class in shifts and it might have doubled as dinner prep hahaha. We made vol au vents and smoothies and chopped veggies. We had a gluten free vs regular oreo blind taste test. I'm actually not a big fan; I find the texture of oreos offputting. I'm told that they taste very very similar and at first most of our tasters could not tell the difference. We'll have to try again with some other GF oreo knockoffs lol.

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Erika is old

Happy Birthday to Erika! Elizabeth keeps reminding me that she'll be old enough to drive next year. How can this be???

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April 12, 2021
Puncture wound

In the life's never dull files... The kids were playing nicely outside while we snatched a few moments to do some work. Apparently they were playing hide and go seek. Elizabeth and Michael were hiding (in a stinky garbage can???) and Amelia was counting. Amelia has been known to peek while counting, so instead of walking across the deck, Matthew decided he would climb around the outside of the railing. Let it be known that this behaviour has been observed before and it is NOT ALLOWED.


Long story short, my workday was abruptly cut short by much screaming and blood after Matthew fell off the deck and managed to acquire a rather gruesome puncture wound in the back of his thigh. I was super thankful for neighbour C who gave me remote advice from work(!) during the initial panic and for our neighbour R who came home from his day job as a plastic surgeon and without batting an eye put in six stitches!


I was so grateful to not have to spend my evening at CHEO worrying about potential Covid exposures and Matthew was really grateful he didn't have to ride to/from the hospital in the car or spend time trying to get comfortable at CHEO while waiting for the stitches.


Praise God for wonderful neighbours.

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April 10, 2021
Backyard camping

The kids have been quite desperate to go camping in the backyard even though the overnight temperatures have been negative. Finally Elizabeth noticed that the forecast was a highly unseasonable 15C overnight and long story short I agreed they might.


Of course the forecast was promptly revised under 10C. We pulled out the big blankets and I resigned myself to being chilly. It wasn't too bad but let's just say that I didn't sign up for a second night outdoors. Matthew and Elizabeth did though!

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