This spring, Samantha finished preschool and Matthew finished grade two. We don’t really have any pictures related to Matthew’s last day but on Samantha’s last day, there was a big party. It was a chance for the kids to say good bye to each other and their teachers. Cynthia and I both attended and it was a great time. There was a pool party and it was a great day to spend an hour or so in the water.
Samantha misses Connie who was a very special teacher for her. But soon enough, she will be starting junior kindergarten which is a big step for her.
In April, Matthew and Samantha’s dojo held a karate tournament. Matthew did quite well at the previous one but Samantha was sick and couldn’t attend. She was very impressed with the trophy Matthew brought home so she was determined to make it to this one.
Early in the morning, Samantha competed. In her class, they were split into groups of three and then asked to mimic the actions of their instructor while they were judged on their technique. Samantha ended up in a group of three with two older girls but in the end her score put her in second of the three. She was so excited when she was handed her trophy.
In the previous tournament, Matthew was close to finishing his belt and was among the oldest in his class. He ended up bringing home a second place trophy that time. This time, he had progressed into an older age group so he was among the youngest and was just learning his new kata for the next belt. But he did very well. Since the tournament, he has continued to work hard and is still improving. I am sure he will do even better in future tournaments also.
The video is a bit of fun using the new iMovie. It has templates for creating “movie trailers”. So, piecing together some of the raw video from the event, I put together the video above, brought to you buy Rand-omonium Pictures. Enjoy.
We do things a bit differently at Easter at our house. Because Samantha is diabetic, the Easter Bunny doesn’t leave as much chocolate here. He does hide some chocolate eggs around the house but there are no chocolate bunnies. Instead, he gives a little gift to Matthew and Samantha.
Samantha and Matthew grabbed their baskets Easter morning and started searching for the eggs. We encouraged Matthew to leave some of the easier ones behind for her sister to find and he focused on finding some of the ones which were more hidden. In the end, I think Samantha maybe gathered a couple more than Matthew did.
In the video, you can see the moment when they found the presents the Easter Bunny left behind. It was a couple of Nerf guns which shoot foam darts. I guess the Easter Bunny assumed that the best approach for a couple of kids who argue as much as Matthew and Samantha is to arm them. Maybe a bit of “mutual assured destruction” will help.
Later in the day, some good friends of ours came to visit and join us for dinner. I made roast cornish hens and it came out quite good and I think impressed our guests. After dinner, we played a bit of Rock Band before it got late and it was time to call it an evening.
A short distance from our new house is a great tobogganing hill. So, we picked up a couple of sleds and took the kids a couple of times this winter. It is a reasonable walk for Matthew and I from the house to the hill. The walk becomes unreasonable when you end up having to carry Samantha and pull the sled though. The second time we went, we drove if only to avoid a cold walk back when everyone is tired.
The hill starts at the edge or a residential road and drops down a good distance to a soccer field. So, when you are heading down the hill, you don’t have to worry about running out into traffic. You can just keep going until you run out of momentum.
Matthew went up and down that hill too many times to count and just didn’t stop until we said it was time to head home. Samantha went down the first couple of times with me but after that she started going down by herself. But, that didn’t mean I could stay at the top of the hill. Instead I had to go down to the bottom and pull the sled up for her next run. Sometimes, she would be tired and sit in the sled for me to pull it and her up.
Afterwards, we would head home for some kind of treat. For some reason, we had ice cream after a cold day tobogganing as you can see in the photos. As the kids get older, they will be able to go the hill on their own and spend some of their winter days there the way my brother and I used to do at “the hill” next to his friend Greg’s house.
Months ago, Christmas Day came and went and although we took a few pictures I hadn’t gotten anything up on the website. Until now. Matthew was very happy when he found a couple of Lego sets under the tree. But, he also got some other interesting toys like some Snap Circuits which lets you make simple electric circuits from some standardized snap-able pieces.
Samantha got a electronic dog which still drives me crazy. If she leaves it on, it will bark when its light sensor detects a change in the lighting. So when I turn the lights out at night when I go to bed, suddenly this fake dog barks and often makes me jump. When its batteries die, I don’t seem to rush to replace them.
I got tickets for a musical version of “Legally Blonde” at the NAC for Cynthia and she was pretty surprised. When the day of the performance arrived, I took care of the kids while she enjoyed the show with one of her sisters. Not being a fan of musicals, I didn’t mind missing it…
Christmas evening, Cynthia’s mother came to visit and help me with a turkey dinner. I can’t recall anything much about the meal after all these months so I assume it was uneventful. I am sure I would remember if I ruined the dinner somehow so I guess I pulled it off OK.
With Christmas over, we had to prepare for our trip to visit Cynthia’s dad at his place near Collingwood where we stayed until just before New Year. Unfortunately I was feeling very under the weather with a terrible cough so I mostly just stayed around the house resting. But Cynthia, her dad and Matthew spent quite a bit of time skiing. Samantha went skiing one of the days also. Actually, she mostly was held up and chaperoned down the hill but she had a great time.
We have some video also of Samantha and Matthew skiing also. Matthew is pretty much ready to try something a bit harder than the bunny hill. Because it is such a shallow hill, you will see that he just goes straight down. Something a bit steeper would hopefully put a bit more fear into him and convince him to make some turns.
The kids had a great time and I am sure they would love to visit again next year and try some more skiing. Thanks for your hospitality Steve and Nanette!
With Matthew’s birthday past, Christmas was coming quickly. So, I took an afternoon off work and our plan was to take Matthew and Samantha to see Santa and pick out a tree. Thinking that getting to the mall early would beat the line for Santa, we arrived to find that Santa didn’t arrive until after dinner time. So, instead we went in search of a Christmas tree.
Not far away, we found a lot with some nice trees and did a bit of browsing. Normally we get a very tall tree but this year we opted for something a bit smaller. That way, we could more easily fit it in the trunk of my car and we had a perfect spot between the stairs to the second story and the stairs to the basement where a small tree would fit. The tree we picked was just about my height so not tall. A couple of bungee cords later and it was secure in the trunk of my car.
We headed home to drop off the tree. Now the plan was to leave the tree at home, get back to the mall and find something to eat and then get in line for Santa. After a quick dinner in the food court, we got the line up about 10 minutes early to find only one other family in line. So, shortly after Santa arrived, Matthew and Samantha were confiding in him their wishes for Christmas day.
Later that week, we decorated the tree. Having the tree right beside the staircase made it very easy for Matthew to put the star at the top. We bought another strand of lights this year because we always found the bottom just a bit too bare with our larger trees so this year, our tree had lights to spare.
We were all ready for Christmas.
Matthew decided he wanted to hold his eighth birthday party at his karate dojo like he had for his sixth before we moved to California. Many of his same friends from that party were there this time along with many more from his new school here in Kanata. The kids have a great time and I think Matthew likes using the sword to cut the cake the best. In fact, that alone may be enough for him to do his 9th birthday party there next year.
Happy birthday Matthew. You are halfway to driving age.
In early December, we made our first trip since getting back to Canada to Montreal to see Cynthia’s family and celebrate Chanukah. Many of the people there we hadn’t seen in a very long time and it was great to catch up with everyone. Although the winter months aren’t the best, being back in Ottawa and close to family and friends is worth it.
Matthew and Samantha were very happy with their Zhu Zhu Pets although Cynthia’s Nana thought they looked a bit too much like rats. We look forward to our next visit to Montreal to see everyone there.
Matthew was in karate classes before we moved to California and now that we are back, he has gotten right back into karate again. But this time he is in a class for older children and it is more serious. The first thing that happened was during a tournament that he attended, he won second place. We have a video from that tournament below and a picture of him with the trophy. We were very proud of him.
But he was also working very hard to earn his yellow belt. And about a month ago, he tested for his yellow belt and got it. Leading up to the tournament and his yellow belt, he seemed to be getting discouraged with karate. Now, he is as eager as ever to attend his sessions and continues to enjoy himself. If only we could get him into some swimming lessons too…
Samantha saw her first Santa Claus parade this year and Matthew hadn’t been to one in many years and probably didn’t remember it. Matthew went to one in Kinburn a very long time ago but we had never made it to the one in Kanata until this year.
Samantha found some of the moments loud like when a truck would pass and sound its horn. But she enjoyed the music. Matthew gathered candies and waited for Santa who finally came at the end riding atop a firetruck.
This was definitely a good start to the Christmas season for Matthew and Samantha.