Halloween 2014

P1100288Here is a picture of Matthew and Samantha a couple hours before going out to do some “trick or treating” this year.  Matthew is dressed as a hobbit.  Cynthia tried to curl his hair to more closely match the hair of the hobbits from the movies but it just didn’t work.  His hair is straight and is going to stay straight it seems.  Samantha is dressed as princess Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

The pumpkin came out pretty good this year also.  There was a diagonal ridge on one side which we thought looked good as a scar.  So, we made it look like our pumpkin lost his right eye in some kind of accident leaving an odd hole and the diagonal scar.

The weather cooperated.  It was about as cold an evening as we have had this fall but it didn’t rain on us or worse – snow.  Samantha went around our block for the first time.  In the past, she would give up before completing the circuit but she made it this time.  Matthew scoured the neighbourhood and brought home two large bags of candy.

And we seemed to have fewer kids come to our door.  We have ran out of candy the last couple of years so we had more than ever.  I think we have candy enough for Halloween 2015 and then some.

Tobogganing with James

Steve, Katherine and James came to visit us this winter and we spent much of the time at the local tobogganing hill.  I grabbed some video of the kids as they enjoyed the day with their sleds.

Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadoo

We got a cat a couple months ago and named him Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadoo.  I had something to do with that name but the kids were definitely on board.  And Cynthia puts up with us.  We call him Joey for short but at formal occasions, we sometimes call him Mr. Shabadoo.

But not long after we got him, I found him chasing his tail.  Check out this video with the appropriate musical accompanyment.

Learning To Swim

IMG_2642Matthew and Samantha took some swimming lessons this summer. Some good friends of ours have a pool and wanted to put their son, Alex in some private lessons. Matthew and Samantha had the opportunity to join in also. Samantha had one on one lessons with the instructor and Matthew and Alex both had instruction at the same time. Both Matthew and Samantha showed great improvement in only one week of intensive lessons.

Samantha’s lessons were mostly about being more comfortable in the water. She spent much of her time jumping in and swimming around with a bit of flotation. Matthew made great improvements and by the end of the week, he could jump in the water from the deep end and then swim all the way to the shallow end and grab the far edge without any extra flotation.

Cynthia and I would like to get them in some more lessons this summer. Perhaps if they can get to be better swimmers, we may even consider getting a pool of our own.

Summer Visiting

IMG_0315This summer, we have had lots of visitors here in Ottawa and we have travelled ourselves to see friends and family. Cynthia’s grandparents from Montreal came to visit early this summer and we all met for a wonderful dinner out. My mother came to visit for a weekend and Cynthia’s dad and Nannette also were in town at the same. You can see some pictures at a park where many of us took turns on the swings.

Both my mom and dad came for a visit in July and then by the end of July and into August, we travelled to SW Ontario. We stayed at mom and dad’s place where dad and I worked on a special project which I will have to post about separately. Also, we had a chance to see my brother, Katherine and James, my nephew. While there, we caught up with Jeff who is an old friend who I don’t get to see often enough these days. We also spent an evening with Erin and Dennis and their kids who moved to London from the Ottawa area not long ago. You can see some pictures of Dennis and I making some noise with a couple of guitars and having a great time doing it.

Over the long weekend just past, Steve, Katherine and James came to visit which was their first time to see our new house since moving back to Ottawa. James was lots of fun and helped us by pointing out all of our doors. While he was hear, we engaged to child locks on the cabinets in the kitchen which was always good for a laugh when Cynthia and I would forget and struggle to open the door. I don’t have any pictures from that visit up yet but hope to soon.

Now with school started again, most of our summer visits are done. Hopefully we had a chance to catch up with you but if not, drop us a line or stop by some time.

Dance Recital

Samantha had a great time this past year in a ballet class. She attended weekly classes and was working towards a big dance recital at the end of the term. Before the recital, they did a dress rehearsal and parents were allows to attended the rehearsal and record the show. You can see some of that footage in the movie.

After the rehearsal, Samantha had two performances at Centrepoint Theatre. We got tickets for the first evening so we got the chance to watch most of the show. Samantha was enthralled with the music and dancing and thankfully there was enough room in the aisle for her to dance along. A couple of numbers before her performance, we escorted her backstage and then quickly returned to our seats to watch. She did really well and only fell down once.

Samantha Ballet - 3After her number, we picked her up from backstage and watched the rest of the show. Even though it finished up very late at night, she was still so excited to watch all of the dancers and loved the music.

The next day, she performed again. We didn’t have tickets that night so we waited backstage while she performed and then went home afterwards. Unfortunately we don’t have any footage of the actual performance yet because we weren’t allowed to take pictures or video but we are supposed to get a DVD of all acts soon. So, perhaps I can include a better quality video of her dancing soon.

Samantha is going to do ballet again this year and she is also keen on tap dancing also. So she may end up in two performances in next years recital.

Last Day of School

P1070073This 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.

Karate Tournament

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.


P1060897We 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.