four? really?

Elliot turned four on Saturday. Every parent says how fast the time goes by, and it does, but this year for me it was the actual age that he was turning. Four just seems a lot older than three.

We celebrated by having pretty much an all-day party with Gramma, Auntie, Renee, Tia K and Lizzy. Presents were opened throughout the day and we had a tea party for lunch (complete with a train cake, pictures to come) and the birthday dinner of Elliot’s choice: pasta with tomato sauce and sausage. We’ll likely be having the same thing on Amy’s birthday.

The highlight of my day was watching Elliot and Lizzy play outside in the 10 degree weather in the sandbox with the Tonka toys. They had the water running into the sandbox and it was pretty much a lake. Elliot soaked through two sets of clothes, but Lizzy managed to stay pretty dry in her party dress. Although about halfway through she did request a change of footwear. Smart girl. At one point, Elliot was leaping off the edge of the sandbox into the lake, and then he’d run over to Lizzy (who at this point was watching from a distance) and she’d towel off the wet sand from his face and hands. Then they’d repeat the process. Seems like we’ve come a long way in the past six months, from a point where I wouldn’t have been comfortable leaving him outside alone with another child, even an older child, for fear it would end in him getting angry and hitting.

I really enjoyed the day, and am thankful that Elliot once again requested a family party. I think he had a fantastic time, and I’m sure he loved all the attention.

where X equals…

The variable in my previous equation turned out to be me catching this virus. I guess it’s inevitable when you change that many diapers. 12 am to 7 am was pure hell, but things are improving. Not sure if it’s the Gravol or if I’m actually over the worst of it. We’ll see.

it’s just not right

Elliot and I headed out yesterday morning to join a friend and her daughter for a swim. It was meant to be a bit of a birthday celebration for both kids as their birthdays are three weeks apart. The morning was supposed to be about them, and they both were excited about swimming.

Turns out there is nowhere in Victoria to swim on Saturday mornings unless you put your kids in swimming lessons, or unless you are willing to get to a pool by 9 am (this is NOT how I want to start my weekend – rushing out of the house). I already knew this about Esquimalt Rec, but we were heading to Juan de Fuca and I didn’t think to check. We were turned away. While there I called Commonwealth Place, and they didn’t have anything available until the afternoon. The guy I talked to at Commonwealth was nice enough to check other schedules for me. He told me the Saanich pools would all have lessons, and when he checked Crystal Pool, they didn’t have anything until 11:00. (It was 10:00 at the time.)

I find this really annoying. Especially because our local pool, the one we can walk to, doesn’t provide a morning family swim on Saturday OR Sunday. You have to go in the afternoon. As long as Amy is still napping, this is not an option for us. Couldn’t they provide us with at least one day? And couldn’t Greater Victoria provide at least one pool open on Saturday mornings for a family swim?

Ottawa 2010: The Rest of Today

We did end up going tobogganing this afternoon. Elliot’s first time ever. We got to the top of a small hill which was basically an ice slide, he sat on the toboggan and went down. No hesitation whatsoever. He almost hit a tree once, but he was pretty good about rolling off at the right time. His sister refused to go.

Afterward I skated a bit with Amy at a small rink that was at the same park while Graeme and Hugh hit the puck around. Elliot wandered around on the ice for a bit in his boots and then went off with Greg to play in the playground. Amy also wanted to play in the playground but everything she tried made her cry, and I didn’t know why. So we came back to the house and left the boys at the park. I think she may have been cold.

Elliot and Hugh played all day together (no school for Hugh today), and boy, do they ever play well. It’s so cool to see. Graeme made some yummy pizza for dinner (did I mention that going home to our boring eating is going to be hard??) and Amy barely managed to stay awake for it. She was one tired girl tonight. Which made for lots of cuddles. When I was putting her to bed I sat her on our bed at one point to get some stuff ready for her, and she was so still I had to check to see if she was still awake. She was, but barely, and she was so tired she couldn’t even hold her drool in. 🙂

The kids are all nestled, I’m enjoying yet another glass of wine and about to dig in to some cherry pie. And some Olympic Opening Ceremonies.

Ottawa 2010: The Last Few Days

I thought I’d blog more often while we were here, but I haven’t really felt like it. Too much time spent playing in the snow, eating and drinking wine.

On Tuesday we went to the Children’s Museum. Elliot and I went there when we were here in October, and he enjoyed it even more this time around with Hugh as his tour guide. Amy also had a good time — her favourites being climbing in the Pakistani bus and an Austin mini, accompanied by many orders of “Mama, zsit!” (that’s not a typo).

On Wednesday Jan, Hugh, Amy and I went swimming. Elliot and Greg stayed at home as Elliot didn’t feel like going out. There was a small slide in the toddler pool and it didn’t take long for Amy to get the hang of it.

Wednesday afternoon the Verges arrived and we had a wild 24 hours with five kids in the house. On Thursday we visited the ice slides in Gatineau but as Greg mentioned in his post, it was a bit of a let down. Too many people, most of them misbehaving kids. I managed to go down one slide and it was fun, but not worth the wait.

This morning Greg, Amy and I had a short skate (and nap) on the canal, and we’ve had a pretty quiet day apart from that. I think we’re going to bundle up the kids and take them tobogganing this afternoon.

Amy needs some love…gotta go.

Ottawa 2010: The Canal

Yesterday afternoon we headed out to the Rideau Canal for a skate. Earlier in the day Greg and I went out to either rent skates or buy a secondhand pair. Greg walked out of the store with nothing and I walked out with a brand new pair of figure skates. Not exactly what I’d intended but they were on sale and cheaper to buy than rent for a week. And they are the most comfortable pair of skates I’ve ever put on.

It was a beautiful skate — it was sunny and about -5, so perfectly reasonable winter weather. We took Amy in the stroller and Elliot on the toboggan and despite a few tears, I think everyone had fun. Greg borrowed my brother-in-laws skate’s and will likely rent a pair later in the week.

I appreciated the fact that there were no crowds, as I’m pretty shaky on skates these days. It’s been a long time.

Ottawa 2010: The Plane

Years from now when Greg and I are traveling the world, I hope we never forget to appreciate how easy it is to travel without young children. Traveling with an almost four-year-old is okay. Traveling with an almost two-year-old is a lot of work. We left for Ottawa on Sunday at about 10 am Victoria time and arrived approximately 12 hours later. Amy woke up at about 7 am that morning and didn’t sleep until we arrived. She was awake for fifteen hours straight — her longest stretch ever. And then she slept for all of six hours that first night. Needless to say, everyone was a little tired yesterday.

The trip really wasn’t that bad, it’s just hard to entertain a little person who has the attention span of (surprisingly enough) a two-year-old when you’re in a confined space. The biggest hit were the iPod ear buds and the package of wipes. I’m glad I didn’t pack any toys for her. I knew they’d go ignored. We were blessed with no one sitting in front of me, so we didn’t have to worry when she played with the tray and whacked the touch screen on the seat ahead of me. Going home might be different. I was surprised that she didn’t sleep, though. Our flight home leaves a lot later and I’m hoping she’ll sleep a bit.

Elliot watched TV almost the whole time and was pretty low maintenance. And the three hour stopover in Vancouver went by fairly quickly. So like I said it really wasn’t bad…just tiring and we had to be “on” the whole time.

We appear to have adjusted to the time zone quickly, as is usual for the Fox family. Amy had a huge sleep last night and caught up on some of her deficit. I napped yesterday and was still able to fall asleep last night so I must have needed it.

We’re here for a week, and more posts will follow.