Last year's site (11) was nice aside from the swimming, so we decided to try out site 12 instead. It's our favourite at Lac Lapêche in Gatineau park so far. The sites were larger, there was a convenient gathering place for eating right by the water (so no need to schlepp all our gear halfway across camp) and the rocks sloped nicely into the water before a big drop off so no weeds to navigate.
The boys weren't too sure about the little fish that liked to nibble people's toes but I think everyone else went for a swim at least once while we were there. The main drawback to the site was the canoe landing spot but even that wasn't so bad. We had hotdogs and s'mores for supper and just managed to get things more or less away before the promised rain rolled in. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the campsite was pretty sheltered. Some places got wet but by the fire mostly just a few sprinkles. It rained on and off at five minute intervals but after the initial downpour it was pretty pleasant actually and Brendan and I stayed up watching the fire until nearly 9:30pm. Next time we might bring a tarp!
We tried out some new ideas including clips for the canoe and twisting the clothesline to hold clothes on without clothespins and both were very successful.
Matthew greatly enjoyed playing with the fire. It was a good thing I brought two lighters as he emptied the first one on day 1! This camping trip was also notable as it was both Margaret and Yukiko's first canoe trip (!) and it was our first camping trip without any kids in diapers (!!)
It rained fairly hard all night but cleared by morning. Amelia had me up at midnight and five am (she found the dark and rain rather scary) but the boys slept in until 7 and I actually ended up waking Michael! The "dark sky" fly is definitely highly recommended!
On our way back Yukiko, Michael and I had a loon swim right under our boat and pop up to have a look at us! It was possibly close enough to touch with my paddle. I really wished I had kept my phone rather than dutifully putting it in the waterproof case in Brendan's canoe! Elizabeth, Amelia and Brendan's canoe left the campsite last but arrived first - Elizabeth's competitive nature triggered "beast mode" and they paddled hard! Her technique has improved so much since last summer. Our canoe was the slowest but we probably traveled the shortest distance and we thoroughly enjoyed our ride. Michael didn't help our speed as he insisted on "helping" by paddling backwards, especially on the journey out.
We had lunch at the beach after returning our extra canoes and were thrilled to meet Mr. Fox who came to check us out.
All in all we had a fabulous trip and everyone enjoyed themselves greatly.
We are participating in an egg hatching experience through our local homeschooling group. They provide twelve eggs and all the equipment we need. We put the eggs in and then turn them three times a day. At three different points we "candle" our eggs (holding a flashlight up to the egg). Today was a candling day and... we had no idea whether any of our eggs were good or bad. Apparently it's easier to tell at day 10 so we're going to wait until then and hope no eggs explode. That's apparently a thing...
Once again Dianne and David hosted an "at home" triathlon which was most excellent. Despite a slightly smaller than standard pool the rest of the setup is in my opinion better than the "real" thing and it's always amusing to tell your kids they get to swim 50 laps.
In the lead-up to triathlon the kids were unusually nervous about the swim section, and not at all concerned about the bike portion (historically the part they worried about the most)
Neighbours Elizabeth and Charlotte came this year as well. Elizabeth was in the same heat as Matthew while Amelia was in the same heat as her friend Charlotte.
Prior to the race, neighbour Elizabeth had been talking a great deal about how she was so terrible in the pool, so Matthew was surprised to find she was much faster and more comfortable in the pool than he was. He has resolved to learn "proper swimming instead of just doggy paddle". They stuck together all race and had a lovely time chatting especially during the run/amble/walk section of the race.
Again this year Elizabeth and Erika decided to compete up a level. Last year they did the 14-15yo group but it was "too easy".
Elizabeth and Erika Swim 350m (50 laps), bike 10km, run 3.5km in 1:20:00
Michael Swim 20m (3 laps), bike 500m, run 100m in 18 min
Amelia Swim 25m (4 laps), bike 1500m, run 500m in 18 min
Matthew Swim 75m (11 laps), bike 3km, run 1km in 31 min
We're gearing up to do an old fashioned week next week, so we thought we'd go to Cumberland Heritage Village to do some research. Unfortunately I didn't realize that all of the demonstrations stopped at 4pm (the time we reserved). On the plus side, we basically had the grounds to ourselves.
There was a morse code challenge that we spent some time solving.
We had fun wandering around and looking into all of the buildings. Matthew enjoyed getting the turkey to gobble at him. One interesting thing Elizabeth noticed was that one of the houses had two stove tops! This was the house that was closest to our target era so everyone paid close attention to how it was decorated and organized.
At three and a half, Michael is finally out of diapers!!! How it happened: we'd been discussing how when we ran out of diapers we were not going to get anymore and he'd be a big boy. Michael kept saying he wanted to wear them, but then one day I just suggested that he might want to wear underwear instead. So he did, and basically from that moment on was toilet trained. We got him to wear diapers overnight for the first three nights but since he was dry after that when he didn't want to wear a diaper we let it go.
He did have a few pee accidents where he forgot he wasn't wearing a diaper and didn't get to the bathroom in time to avoid dampening his clothes but nothing particularly noteworthy. On one hand we were ecstatic to find toilet training wasn't a huge ordeal, but on the other hand we wonder how long ago was he essentially ready to ditch the diapers? A big milestone here anyway.
Michael is in a definite boundary testing phase and likes to point out that he is big. He might have a tendency to pull down his pants to show off his underwear to prove it! He thinks therefore that he should get to do everything that big kids do. Unfortunately we haven't gotten him to believe that big boys do NOT colour on the walls. Or the floor. Or the iPad cover. Or our siblings' special drawings, journals and other random surfaces that should NOT be drawn on.
His favourite food is granola bars ("fibre bars"). He's not fond of pasta but does like apple sauce, cucumber, beans, cherries, any kind of berries and sweet potato. He's not the world's best eater although he definitely likes his peanut butter chex and mini wheats in the morning for breakfast. He loves chocolate milk, plain milk and smoothies to drink. His favourite dessert is currently ice cream bars. He has learned how to open the freezer to help himself and is not amused that we don't let him get away with this.
He's very imaginative and still likes to act out things. "Te-tend I am a robot and there is a monster chasing you and you are a titty tat and I am saving you" He doesn't always like to explain what the game is - he just plays by himself while making sound effects and refusing to talk if it isn't part of the game.
He loves having books read to him. He especially likes Curious George and Paw Patrol. He likes having people make him things and then destroying it a few minutes later. This drives his siblings insane. He likes to spread toys all over. He likes to play with cars.
He likes playing with his siblings. They mostly get along. Michael likes to sing, especially when he's riding along in the Chariot.
He has definite clothing preferences. His favourite colour is red and he adores his rainboots and wears them at every opportunity, except when he wants to "go barefooting". He does like to take off his socks and shoes and leave them outside, but if the grass is too long then he wants to be carried.
I was weeding in the garden when all of a sudden I was stung by a wasp. It was quite shocking and more painful than I had remembered. Looking around I realized there was a nest of ground wasps under a log just on the other side of the property line. So I talked to our neighbours and long story short I sprayed the heck out of the wasp nest just after dusk. I think Wendy and Alex were quite amused to see me all decked up in my wasp fighting gear.
When I went to check out the nest the next morning, turned out that something had scooped it all out and eaten it. I hope whatever animal consumed all those poisoned wasps didn't get sick!
The last few weeks our Saturday routine has been to take a picnic by bike to Windsor park and play at the playstructures while Elizabeth has her bo class. Then we bike home in time for Elizabeth's piano class. It sounds busy but it was pretty relaxing to go and just sit in the park for a couple of hours every Saturday. Often Erika joined us for lunch.
Last week we went for a bike ride with Tom, Claire and Lorraine before ending up at Windsor park and we passed a man doing a marathon "run" in a suit of armor.
This was our last week before the triathlon, so we did lots of practicing with daily runs. I realized that while our daily bike rides meant that for once the older kids weren't worried about the bike portion, Michael actually hasn't been biking. So we pulled out the balance bike and got him to do some practicing as well.
For shop this week the older two kids helped us make canoe clips for our upcoming canoe trip. Amelia took apart her little car and painted it.
Erika came over and helped paint the playhouse. I mostly let the kids do it while I repainted our front door. Erika is helping out with childcare so we decided we would bubble with her. Everyone is very happy to have an extra person and Elizabeth was happy to have someone to spar with again.
Elizabeth did a lot of drawing this week. In art class she was learning cartoon characters as well as shading.
While Matthew was at his riding class this week, Elizabeth was at Teevens doing a bible study with Auntie Karen. They plan to meet once a week during the summer. After bible study and riding the kids had a chance to hop in the pool! Isabelle introduced us to her pet beetle.
Xander and Matthew have a standing minecraft "date" at the end of the week over zoom which they are continuing through the summer. Erika and Matthew frequently play minecraft as well, including this week.
Last but not least we hired our next door neighbour Noemie to run a camp for the younger three kids several hours a week. She started out with a scavenger hunt, science experiment and lots of time playing on the trampoline or in the paddling pool so suffice it to say Noemie days are being looked forward to with great anticipation.