Markus still not eating fruit

WARNING: As of next month I will put password on our blog. The password will be the name you get from first letters in our kids names.

We said goodbye to snow in style,

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Then we got to that weird season that is Spring in other parts of the World, but in our little zone it is just really hot and cold at the same time. We went sugaring off, but mostly we stayed indoors.

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Trevor is having fun in school this year. He said he has the best art teacher in school. He has been reading a lot. His favourite series are Jeronimo Stilton, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the Big Nate series. He wants to build a lot of land and water robots and is trying to convince us to build a lab and helicopter landing pad on the top of our house. Here is the penny arcade he made in his Maker Jr. class:

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As soon as Trev came home with the penny arcade, Owen made his own. The younger brothers do not need to make robots; they ARE the robots:

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Owen is learning a lot from his older brother.

Trevor: No, no, dating is when you start going out for dinner with your girlfriend.
Owen: Oh my gosh!

Owen is working really hard to get good notes from school. That is not to say that he still does not get bad notes. However, the photocopy of the apology note he wrote shows really tidy writing and age appropriate spelling. His tree climbing and trampolining skills are equally improving. This weekend he has biked 15km two days in a row.

Here is us going for the first bike ride of the year:

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The problem with Trevor riding a road bike was that the younger brothers got exhausted and then cold:

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Yes, Markus is wearing my pants, hat, helmet and socks as gloves. This is because Markus is still ridiculous.

Me on another occasion: Here Markus, have some grapes with whipped cream.
Markus takes a grape, sticks it in the whipped cream and then his mouth. After he has licked the cream off the grape, he carefully takes it out and leaves it aside with some amount of disgust.
Markus: It is dirty now.

Or another time:

Markus: Mommy, do you know why I like cross-country skiing?
Me: No, why?
Markus: I don’t actually like cross-country skiing. Do you know why I like downhill skiing?
Me: No, why?
Markus: Because it is fun.

And that was our winter

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Nine already!

February started warm and dry. I had already begun to consider alternate plans for March break as I was not sure there would be enough snow to go skiing. It was only about the boys four day weekend (PD day on Friday and Family Day on Monday) that we got some serious cold. Lucky Trev – that was exactly when his Cubs Winter Camp was. So how do you camp at -30C? By being prepared, of course!

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The kids had to set up their fire pit on a tray inside the cabin and then quickly go outside to light it.

While Trev was recovering from Cub Camp, Owen and Markus went skiing.
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I think Family Day is at risk of becoming my favourite holiday.

And as soon as the weekend was over we got this:
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Half a meter of snow in a single day – a record!

Such snowfall asked for two bus cancelled days in a row – the kids went to school but snow days are essentially a joke – nothing but fun in class.
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This is how we get back from school when busses are cancelled.

On the following Friday we took kids out of school early and headed off to the yurt. Trevor was skiing circles around us, Owen raced and fell over over and over and over again. Markus refused to move until he saw the yurt and after he skied like it is nobody’s business.
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Downhill season was shorter than usual, but al the kids picked up some mad skills.
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Markus (almost) eating fruit

After dinner I bring out two oranges and start pealing the first. I cut the top off and slice the peel vertically.

Markus (points at second orange): I want to eat that.
Me: Can I give you a little bit of this one? I am almost done peeling it.
Markus: No, I want the other one.
I hand him the other orange.
Markus: I want you to peel it but don’t cut its top off.
Me: Are you sure, look at this one, I have already peeled it and it is in nice slices?
Markus: No, you cut its head off. Peel the other one.
I cut and peel the next orange but it is tricky to do it without cutting the top first and there is a little bit of peel left. I give it to Markus.
Markus (as he gives me back the orange): Remove all the peel and split it into nice slices for me to eat.
I split the rest of the orange. The orange is a bit tough and the slices split in half rather than along the skin. It is still nice, juicy and delicious so I give it to Markus.
Markus: What is this?! I am not going to eat it.
He leaves and I eat both oranges as I originally intended.

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Markus convincing us he was going to pull that blue pulk.

Leap Year

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On this morning they reached the record number of dishes to spread breakfast into.

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And on this morning the deal was: Same shirt, same pants, same socks, almost the same height.

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We’ve got radio signal.

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And our bathroom is fixed!

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At some point Markus decided to not get on the school bus. We walked to school and he liked it so much we walked to school a couple of other times. In fact, we do it whenever we can.

In other news all of Markus’ owls are sick because they have been eating their own snot. He told them not to but they did not listen. He also got a book about the circulatory system from the school library. Here he is demonstrating how the heart works:

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Owen got in trouble at school for being rowdy so we have been trying out different sticker systems. Markus also thinks he is on a sticker system (he is not). He caused reenactment of Munch’s “Thomas’s Snowsuit” at recess the other day but mostly he is good.

We are half way through both cross country and downhill ski lessons. In this picture it looks like Owen is doing skate skiing – he is not supposed to but I did not notice that his skis need grip wax for the first four classes. Oops.

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Owen is really excited about this being the leap year. He is now able to read picture books. His favourite is “Green Eggs and Ham”. When I read to him we either read Richard Scarry or Super Diaper Baby. Hi teacher is really impressed with how much he improved his French since he started school. If only he wasn’t so rowdy!

Watcher kids!

The kids are going to be really excited in the morning then they finally see some snow on the ground. In the meantime, let’s recap December.

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It was unseasonably warm.

Owen turned six. He got a book of word searches and was really excited about it.

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He is starting to read in English. He has successfully read Dr Suss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” out loud. He is starting to ask if he can help around the house. Usually he vacuums and occasionally helps me make breakfast. He can be really rowdy and needs to play outside at least for part of the day lest he drives me crazy. He is currently enjoying the “Captain Underpants” series as bedtime stories. He loves board games, but can get upset if he loses.

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Trevor is enjoying school more than last year. He is making progress with the violin and is the easiest of the three to get to practice. Today, after a few months of discussion, we had rearranged his room to a new configuration he asked for. We brought up my old writing desk from the basement. He bought some squared paper and technical pencils and is now planning on drawing a series of aircraft. He also removed most things other than Lego and books from his room. He attempted to remove Markus but was not successful. I think that works to Trevor’s advantage because he ended up snuggling with his brother anyway. Trevor is currently reading “The Guardians of Ga’hoole” series.

Mother Cat’s Busy Morning

This post was originally written on November 23rd.

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As of this week we are switching up our schedule so we both get a few mornings and a few afternoons with the kids. I am happy to be able to see the boys more as the current schedule meant that I was either telling them to get out of bed or into bed and missed all the weekday activities. That is nothing to say that the mornings were anything to sneeze at. Here is a morning medley:

Owen usually arrives in the kitchen for 7AM. He spends the first 20 minutes eating and planking, though I think we teased planking out of him by now. We tend to get into a discussion about what day of the week it is and whether he gets “Lunch Lady” or pizza or sub at school that day. He likes to check this against out magnetic calendar because that’s the kind of kid he is. I still have to stay with him in the bathroom while he is getting ready. He does everything himself but he insists I be there because he is scared on his own. Also, if left on his own, he will spend any period of time making faces in the mirror. Amazingly enough he has only been late to school once since September.

Markus shows up in the kitchen with his pets, usually assorted owls, under arm. I then have to place them so they can see him. The other day I run out of chocolate mix and ground some baking chocolate on his porridge instead.

“I will not eat this.”
“Really? it is better quality than usual, it is actual chocolate rather than chocolate mix.”
“Where is it?”
“Here in the grater”
“Can I see inside?”
“Here, there is even some chocolate pieces in it still.” Markus shakes the chocolate pieces on his griz while I make lunches. He then mumbles something about eating his breakfast.
“Sorry, I did not hear you, what did you say?”
“I will not repeat myself!”
“O?”
Stares at me intently.
“Ok”, I shrug and go back to making lunches
“I am going to eat my breakfast now!”

Later on when I am ready for my coffee, I call him to snuggle. At some point it is getting late and I tell them to get ready for school. Markus insists that I do not finish my coffee yet as he does not want to miss out on any snuggles. He goes to get ready and then lets me finish the coffee while he smuggles with me.

It is time to put our jackets on and as it has been getting colder, I pull out his one piece snow suit. He attempts to put it on while walking down the stairs but I put the end to that. In the entrance way he puts the snow suit on and then takes it off as it is too warm. Then he puts the boots on and takes them off. Then he puts the shoes on. Then he puts the sweater on and the vest. Then he takes the vest and the sweater off and puts the vest back on. Then the takes the vest off and puts on the snow suit. Then he takes the snow suit on and I put the sweater and the vest back on. I do not even bother with mitts and hat – they go directly into the backpack and I will put them on at the bus stop if he lets me (once he has a good idea of how cold it actually is). Amazingly enough we only missed the bus twice this year.

Fall outdoors

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Forest School

Owen has really embraced French Immersion. He is handling homework well and is enthusiastic about school. His current fascination is with optical illusions. Now that I think about it, he has been asking me about perspective and drawing choices in his picture books forever. Particularly a few years ago when we were reading “Dino Hockey” – why is the background on this page light and on the next it is dark? Where is the other dinosaur? Why is only half of him drawn? Why is the closer one larger than the other? etc… I guess now he is doing the same thing but in abstract.

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Geoheritage Day at Carleton U

Yes, Owen is full of beans. Sometimes he needs a lot of reminders to behave. Though at the end of the day, he usually shows us that he can listen (he just chooses not to a lot).

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Hoodie battle in Vermont

He was disappointed we did not let him climb up to the top of Mt. Mansfield – but there are other kids climbing it!!!

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Not without equipment they are not.

Markus is also enjoying school. He likes his teacher and he even recited a poem he learned about pumpkins on a gate this weekend.

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Four!

When we did a first few hikes last weekend he was a bit underwhelmed. However, once we made it to the Long Trail, he really got into it. He was doing some sort of rock hopscotch trying to keep off the grass (Long Trail gets a lot of foot traffic) and then he discovered blazes.

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M: I have real hiking shoes.
B: Turn around so I can take a picture of you!
M: I am busy!

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Super

Blazes are called Supers and he gets energy when he steps on them. The longer we hiked, the more complex the narrative about each subsequent Super or puddle or rock became. He had to step on each and he could not step on them until the whole story was explained. Needless to say, we did not make it very far.

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Long Trail

Trevor seems to be having a better school year. He has been complaining about having to play the violin but it seems he is ok for now. He actually figured how to play the Star Wars theme on his own the other day so I guess he can pull through the lessons until he completes Book 1.

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Stowe

Trev really embraced the the Cubs though. All of his best friends are in his pack and he is really excited about all the hiking and camping activities, both with the family and with the scouts.

Summer camps 2015

Boy, summer camps are exhausting! Trev did swim camp in 2013, but this is the first year we really embraced the concept and did about eight different programs between the two of them.

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The summer started off inconspicuously enough with Trev at the Zagreb Zoo.

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Maro Club at our resort was not camp per se but it functioned similarly enough. Trevor got into a fight and after that preferred to hang out with me during the day, but Owen looooved it.

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Camps Canada programs worked out well for us and not just because the drop off locations were really close and easy to get to on foot or by bike. Trev enjoyed horse riding camp the most.

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Between camps, we went camping. Trev worked towards his watercraft badge.

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Owen is getting ready for school. Here is one of his thoughts: “If mommy was born today and you were the same age as when mommy was born would I be older than you now?”. Word problems, here he comes!

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Chipmunks are the best toys ever!

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Violin camp went well for Owen, accounts differ for Trev.

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Though he did design a plane during one of the arts sessions. Actual quote: “I ordered a Pat and Willy engine!”

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Sailing camp was exciting but the wind and the waves were a bit more than what Trev was ready to put up with; he had the best time on the motor boat. Here are some summer thoughts about risk:

T: Of course, I would never do that because I’m Mr. Safety Safety!
O: Me too!
D: Really?
O: Actually no. I’m more like mr. Danger Danger.

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Chipmunks – if you can’t trap them, join them at Disney.

The first week of school had its share of excitements. Everyone likes their new class and teachers. We had some transportation mishaps, Markus was stuck on the bus for an hour (fortunately he was asleep and never noticed) and Trev fell off his bike (he is almost healed up by now). Overall things look good for the academic year.