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Jamie and Liam Chew

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Name: John James (Jamie) Chew, IV

Born: 2003-11-11 07:52 (Remembrance Day morning in Canada) at Toronto East General Hospital

Birth weight: 3470 g (7 lbs. 10.4 oz.)

Birth length: 21 in.

Delivery: Caesarian section by Dr. Perry Phillips, following 31 hours of labour at home and in hospital under the care of Chris Sternberg, Tia Sarkar and Ren Barrett of Riverdale Community Midwives.

Photos and Links, Etc.

Jamie's main Photo Archive is updated nightly around midnight.


Jamie's genealogy: main site and backup site.

The list of November birthdays is now a separate file.

This page is gradually being converted from Jamie Chew's Web Log to Jamie and Liam Chew's Blog.

Web Log

NOTE: If it's your first time reading Jamie and Liam's diary, you might find it less confusing to start with the older entries first. Or you can help test the new interface, which works fine if you have a monitor that displays at least 1024 pixels across, and less fine at the moment if not.

2010-03-02 47:13 (Kristen) Liam is starting to act more like his old self again, which is such an enormous relief. He's in that stage of recovery where small boys fall asleep at 5 in the evening because they haven't the energy to make it through to bedtime, and then wake up at bedtime to party on for another three hours before finally falling asleep. At 1:00 am, to be more precise. As extremely frustrating as such a thing can be, I'm just glad that he's getting better.

In the meantime, Jamie continues on his path towards world domination. He brought his report card home today and went up in every subject but art. He is doing wonderfully, and we're all so very pleased with him. He is also eating us out of house and home again, which means another growth spurt. He's been very helpful while Liam's been ill, and is looking forward to being taught how to cook eggs this weekend, after mastering the art of the grilled cheese (well, not mastered, but you get the idea). It's a good time to be Jamie, and to be with Jamie.

2010-03-03 22:06 (Kristen) Liam continues to improve, which is only good. He slept for three hours in the afternoon, so he's not all the way there yet, but I have hopes that he can go back to Hakobune on Friday. He did some homework with me, using a preschool workbook that I'd used with Jamie, and is enjoying it very much. He understands almost all the concepts in it, and the few that he doesn't (like patterning) should come along soon. Jamie went to judo with Tom, who once again agreed , most kindly, to take Jamie there and back. He came home bubbling with stories of what happened and why. It was a quiet day, but a good one.

2010-03-04 22:11 (Kristen) We found out today that the mother of one of Jamie's classmates died this week. She had been ill with cancer for most of the year, and so it wasn't a surprise. However, Jamie's teacher talked with the class about what happened, and so Jamie was full of questions about what happened to his friend. He told me that they'd talked in class about death, and people they knew who had died. Jamie hasn't experienced death in a person he knows or is close to, and I'm profoundly glad for that. I gave him a very large hug when he got home. He's sad, but not more disturbed than that. In the meantime, I've been looking at what Jamie's been reading and decided that he is old enough to read chapter books of a more challenging type. I let him pick one out of six I'd found, and we've started to read a chapter a day. I still haven't interested him much in reading books on his own, but a little at a time. That said, I found him reading a Mo Willems picture book Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus on his own a few days ago, which was a surprise and a delight to me. He was pretty pleased too. Liam made it through the day with no nap, and was somewhat contrary by the time I put him to bed. We're going to Hakobune tomorrow, and I think that he's quite excited by the idea. Jamie had a day off tomorrow, and we'll all go together to Hakobune so that Jamie can say hello to his old teachers and spend some time with me and John doing adult stuff.

2010-03-05 45:22 (Kristen) Jamie had the day off, but Liam was well enough that we thought that we'd take him in to Hakobune for the first time in almost a week and a half. Liam was excited to be going, but had a moment of separation anxiety as we dropped him off. I'd forgotten to provide comfort animals, so there was crying and yelling, but I console myself by pointing out that he was playing happily when we came back to get him. He told us that he had been playing "bookstore," but that he didn't like it because people kept stealing his books. We shared this with other former and current bookstore employees of our acquaintance, who appreciated it as we did. Jamie, in the meantime, spent the morning with me at our traditional Starbucks, doing a little of this and a little of that while I worked. We joined John for lunch at our usual Indian restaurant on Bloor, and Jamie enjoyed his meal and earned the appreciation of the staff for his willingness to try new and spicy food. We picked up Liam, came home, and did more of this and that for the rest of the afternoon. Jamie has been dreaming up video games of his own, and spent a good deal of time designing a game on paper while he waited for John to wake up from his nap. They are, I hear, working on a flash game together, but I haven't seen it to tell how far they've gone. Liam was so tired after his day at Hakobune that he fell asleep on my lap in the diningroom at Browning at 8, and had to be carried home to bed.

2010-03-06 21:21 (Kristen) Jamie and Liam were up a little after eight. Jamie had Japanese school, and John took him there. I had an appointment at the Apple store to get a new power cord, and I took Liam with me to do that. We walked over to meet up with John at the St. Lawrence Market, and headed home with him. John went off to pick up Jamie from school, and Jamie talked him into stopping off at McDonald's for some chicken mcnuggets and fries. Jamie is eating just about everything in sight right now, and complains that he's always hungry. There may be a growth spurt coming yet again. He's starting to get tall. Liam, in the meanwhile, is slowly starting to eat more normally. He's still rather picky, and yelled at me in tears when I didn't give him cereal for dinner. He was just hungry, though, and the miso soup with tofu went down well once I showed him that it wasn't poisonous. Jamie was at a party for a classmate, and came back full of complete enthusiasm for it. The party was science-themed, and he was very excited about the goo they made. It was a quiet evening after that, which was probably a good thing. Liam had exhausted himself so much yesterday that he had a relapse of his fever; it's gone today, thank goodness.

2010-03-07 23:42 (Kristen) Friends came over this morning at 10:00, and half the family was still asleep. John and Liam slept until at least 10:30, while Jamie and I were up around 8:20. Jamie was very excited to see Seamus, our friends' baby, and spent a good deal of time trying to make Seamus laugh. It was a lovely visit, despite Liam's post-consciousness meltdown, and it was nice to see them. After lunch, the boys and I headed down to the Danforth for an outing. We had Gary and Ayami for company at the outset, and they stayed to have a snack with us at the Second Cup before they went on to enjoy the day and I took the boys to St. Barnabas for a short play. Jamie was still completely wound up, and Liam had some energy for the first time in a while, which was great. We did a good number of errands and walked a great deal before we finally went home, around 5:25. We were pretty tired by then. The evening was quiet, and all was well.

2010-03-08 23:48 (Kristen) Jamie's still fighting off some nasty virus, while Liam's still not sleeping well. I woke up in Liam's bed again today, unsure of when I went there to calm him down, while Jamie woke up before 8. Jamie was in a foul mood all morning, and we quarrelled a good deal before he went to school: enough that I said no "screen time" (in Jamie's words) between the time he came home and dinner. I had to stick to it, and he was rather upset about it as he rarely gets priviledges taken away. We compensated by having Jamie and Liam paint and colour egg carton bits in preparation for making caterpillars. It's good to have a project. Liam and I went out in the afternoon, going to the library and doing other errands, which he appreciated enough to only ask for his DS once every half an hour. We went to Browning, where Jamie and Daniel spent some time going head to head in Soulcalibre IV for the PS3. Jamie's been getting good enough that Daniel has to play full out against him with no handicaps and with his best character to win. We were all watching Jamie play Yoda and Daniel the Apprentice, and Jamie was dazzling with some pretty scary combo moves. One involved having Yoda flip the apprentice and essentially stand on his head to deliver the coup de grace. It looks like Yoda is sitting on the other character's head, and as this move finished off Daniel's character, the bracing rallying cry (which had Jamie crying with laughter) was "Jamie! Kill Daniel with your bum!" The banter and joking was so funny that Jamie, on occasion, had to pause the game because he couldn't play for laughing so hard. I fear that "Kill him with your bum!" is going to stay around for some time.

2010-03-09 22:51 (Kristen) Jamie did better today and was much easier to get along with, which was a relief. Liam is taking a medicine for some thrush he picked up from the asthma medication he took at Sick Kids, and he Hates It. Poor baby. Jamie was at Jackman and Liam was at Hakobune, and it sounds like all went well, and Liam was in good spirits when I picked him up. The rest of the day was full of the usual, with the only other event of note being that I made oyako-don (chicken and egg on rice) for dinner, and everyone both ate it and liked it. This, lately, was an unusual event.

2010-03-10 22:56 (Kristen) So, remember how Liam liked dinner last night? Excitedly, I put it into his lunch box for today. John drove Liam in and picked him up, and this is the conversation they had when John picked him up:

Papa: How was lunch?

Liam: Mommy no make me tamago-no-gohan. [apparently he had been expecting to share or have the tamago-no-gohan I'd made for John as a breakfast on the go]

Papa: Don't you like oyako-don?

Liam: My no like chicken. My no like negi [onions]. Negi gives me the itches. My no like umeboshi. Umeboshi puts a baby in my tummy.

For the record, there were no umeboshi in his lunch, since I know that he doesn't like them. I have no idea where that came from, or what it means.

Other than Liam's bit of inspired food critic-ness, delivered in an appropriately crabby voice, the day was normal. Jamie had a pizza day, so it was quiet here while Liam was away at Hakobune. I made Liam walk to Jackman to pick up Jamie and walk back, which got me "meanest mummy ever" points with Liam, but he needs to get out more and to use his own feet. It was judo night, and Jamie had fun being thrown about as the beginners learned about throws and forward rolls. Then it was time for Timbits and home, and putting the boys straight to bed.

2010-03-11 22:48 (Kristen) John took Liam to see our doctor, on the way to Hakobune, and she said that the thrush was getting much better. Hooray! We still have to take the miserable medicine for it, but we hope we can stop on Sunday. Whew. When Liam came home, he was bright-eyed and busy-tailed. John took him to pick Jamie up after school, while I dealt with a bleach spill in the laundry room, and apparently Liam complained bitterly the whole way. He says that his legs hurt, and we, heartless parents that we are, have told him it means that he needs to walk more. And he does. I remember Jamie being the same way at this age; he'll be insisting on running or riding everywhere soon enough, like Jamie. The evening was slow, with dinner and Wii games, and bed was a little later than I would like but not outrageously so. Jamie asks more questions the more tired he gets.

2010-03-12 20:28 (Kristen) Once again we depart from Toronto, leaving our house and our fish in the capable hands of Gary and Ayami. Liam and Jamie went to their respective schools and daycares, and I brought Liam home so that I could finish packing, furiously, for the trip. It's my mother's 65th birthday, and we were invited to spend it with her--and who would say no to such a request? We picked Jamie up, loaded up the car, then headed out on the road. The weather was terrible, as was the trafic, and both added another hour each onto the length of our trip. The boys were good all the way to Kingston, where we had food with Ted, Ian, and Amy (thank you, Alice!). After putting the boys into their pajamas and brushing their teeth, we headed back out onto the road. Liam fell asleep at some point, while Jamie had trouble doing the same as he'd fallen asleep for an hour or so earlier in the trip before our arrival in Kingston. He finally fell asleep around 11, and we arrived in Ottawa at 11:50. The boys barely woke up as we carried them inside, and we hope they'll sleep in tomorrow morning.

2010-03-13 20:37 (Kristen) The boys were up way earlier than I would have been happy with at the best of times, but I was feeling rather rough from the long trip yesterday. They were delighted to see my mom, with Liam giving her a big hug and kiss (a true sign of favour from our boy). My aunt Millie and Scott are here as well, and the boys were hapy to see them too. The day was spent playing games and watching as much YTV as they could handle, while the evening was spent getting together with the cousins and others for a birthday celebration for my mom. The boys were shredded early, though, and we had to have them home and in bed long before the gathering was over. They fell asleep quickly, though. I should note that Liam managed to stand beside the cake for a whole minute or two, quietly scooping up icing from the plate, before anyone noticed what he was doing.

2010-03-14 20:41 (Kristen) We all slept heavily and well last night, which was a very welcome thing. Jamie was up around 8:30 or so (7:30 standard time; the switch to daylight savings time helped with the impression of sluggishness we had today), and Liam and I were up around 10, John somewhat later. It was a grey day, full of rain and heavy clouds, and I fear that I let the kids play games for a little long, as Jamie was very crabby when pulled away from them for any reason, and we had a few arguments about whether or not he was going to do what I needed him to do with or without conditions. The solution was to go to play with Cameron, Nathan, and Owen at Badger's house for an hour or so, which cheered everyone up considerably. Then we had dinner at Poppy's house, and came home for a bath. The boys are still tired and a little out of sorts, but their cousins are coming over tomorrow, and I hope that will cheer them up and keep them out of trouble.

2010-03-15 24:41 (Kristen) Taking a clue from yesterday, we got the boys out of the house earlier than we did yesterday. Auntie and Scott were going back to Toronto, so we had the traditional send-off brunch at the place at the bottom of the hill first. Jamie had a shirley temple, and sang a song about how much sugar he was drinking and how much he loves sugar. He also tortured his cousin Anna in a very funny lettuce incident (photo forthcoming). Liam ate well, and played his DS. We walked over to the mall afterwards, to play some more at the indoor playground there. Owen and Jamie ran around while John and then the women went to do some shopping errands. Liam got bored while we were gone and asked for Becky to pick him up, while Owen and Jamie were discovered on our return in a neigbouring Bay Home Store trying out the couches. There was some parental displeasure at this. When we got back, the boys watched television, played computer games, and Owen taught Jamie to play Pokemon cards. As Jamie made out like a bandit yesterday at Badger's, when Cameron and Nathan gave him a cookie tin full of their old Pokemon cards, the organizing of and playing with Pokemon cards is a daunting and exciting proposition. Dinner was eaten, fun was had, and Anna was tickled. Bedtime, when it came, was greeted with howls of distain, but sleep came quickly to Jamie. Not as quickly as I would have liked to Liam, but we'll work on getting him more exercise tomorrow.

2010-03-16 23:41 (Kristen) It was an unseasonably beautiful day today: warm, and sunny. After waking up, my mom and I packed up the boys, grabbed my sister, and had a long coffee with my dad and Liz at a local Tim Horton's. The boys had a good time, and enjoyed hanging out. In fact, it wasn't until they started getting fractious that we realized how late it was. We went home, where we met up with Noah and his mom Carrie, and went to the playground with them while Grammie had tea with Noah's grandmother Mrs. E. The kids had a great time avoiding getting wet, which their cousin Owen didn't bother with quite so much as he had rubber boots on. Once back, Owen taught Jamie how to play Pokemon cards, which absorbed them for quite some time. Tuesday is the new Sunday for dinner at my mom's, and the clan descended for lasagne and dumplings (the latter for the lactose and vegetable intolerant). The boys had a great time roaring about playing this and that, and were definitely tired when it was bedtime.

2010-03-17 23:46 (Kristen) We got in the car and headed back home today, with cousin Owen in tow for his trip to Toronto. First we had breakfast at the usual place, and the boys were a little wound up at the prospect of the trip and at the idea of having Owen with us. Owen was a great help in keeping the boys happy and entertained in the back seat on the trip home, which we made in record time. We unloaded the car, had dinner, and then still had time to take Jamie to judo. Judo was a good way to burn off some energy built up during the car ride, while Liam, Owen, and I picked up groceries from a nearby Loblaws and walked them over to the dojo. The boys were pretty tired, and so we dumped them into bed once we got home.

2010-03-18 23:55 (Kristen) Owen, Jamie and I took Liam to Hakobune today, and then spent the morning walking around the Annex running errands and hanging out in pizza joints and coffee shops. The weather was spectacular, which made it easy. Jamie isn't used to walking quite so much, but the exercise was good for him. He complained bitterly near the end, though, but pizza made it better. In the meantime, Liam had a good time at Hakobune. We all headed back home so that we could be ready for when Jamie's friends Charlie, Jake, and Sam were due to arrive for a March Break playdate. Since the weather was so good, I packed up some apples, pretzels, and juice, and we all went to the schoolyard. Oddly, some of Jamie's classmates were there too (I say 'oddly' with some sarcasm), and so the boys spent a good part of the afternoon playing hockey, climbing stuff, and refueling. I had to keep looking for Liam, who wanders off, and had to patch him up twice: once when he pinched a finger and had a total PTSD reaction to it (no blood or anything but he acted like it was the genuinely traumatized finger all over again). A bandaid fixed it, eventually. Later, not ten seconds after I told him not to run where he was because he was going to fall, he fell, and scraped his arm on the concrete steps from elbow to mid-forearm. Luckily, trained by Liam, I had the first aid kit all kitted out for such an eventuality with gauze pads and tape. We went home, where the boys played quietly with Owen and the Pokemon cards, or played video games. After dinner, Daniel and Ross came over, which was less quiet. The kids had a great time, however, so it's hard to get too upset about spilled popcorn and other small disasters. Tomorrow, however, we'll visit them, as I reminded Daniel. Liam in particular was exhausted, and barely made it to bed without major meltdowns (just minor ones). I've wrapped his arm lightly in gauze, replacing the tape, and in his sleep removed both finger bandages. We'll see if he notices before morning. The arm is a distraction, so I hope that he'll start finally be able to get over the first finger injury...hope hope hope.

2010-03-19 25:05 (Kristen) The interesting thing for the day is that I took Liam's bandage off his finger and he slept all night, unaware that I had done so. In fact, it wasn't until I touched the hand, first thing in the morning, that he noticed that it wasn't there and started to cry and panic. We managed to have a talk about the hand, and his need for a bandage, but we agreed that we'd leave it on during the day. It was the first real positive thing to happen for him psychologically about the finger for weeks: we've been in a holding pattern about the finger. Good stuff. The four of us took Liam to Hakobune, then went to a bookstore and hung out afterwards in a coffee shop, reading. It was good. We had bubble tea and then pizza for lunch and ran to get Liam from Hakobune. Jamie was tired, after more than the usual amount of walking, and a little crabby before lunch. He improved afterwards. We stopped off to pick up a thing or two for home made pizza, then I let the boys play at the playground. We saw Daniel and Ross, who came to play with us until I tired and it was time to go home. We hung out until it was time to go to Browning for dinner, and for the boys to play video games and romp. A good time was had by all, and we're planning to go over again tomorrow for more.

2010-03-20 25:09 (Kristen) Today's outing was to the Science Centre for educational fun and delights. IT took us longer than I'd hoped to get out the door, and Liam was less than impressed with being made to walk to the subway station. Once we were on the way, however, it went well. The boys were excited to be there, and spent a good deal of time looking at rocks on the way in. Then we went down to the main hall on the bottom floor where the boys played with the floor lights, and then we wandered over to the cafeteria for lunch. More exploration ensued after lunch, and the biggest hits were the cave, and the tornado generator. All three boys played there, while I had trouble keeping the three of them together anywhere else. The age gap between three and eleven meant it was hart to keep everyone happy for long. I was a little tired at the end, while the kids were still fulll of energy. I made them go to the library with me, and then headed home for a bit of a rest and a snack before going back over to Browning. Both Jamie and Owen had asked repeatedly to go over, so clearly it was the right thing to do. I should note that Jamie and Owen behave just like older and younger brothers to each other: they bicker, tell on each other, and drive each other nuts, but you can't separate them. I think that Liam dodged a bullet being born second: Jamie is a take-no-prisoners, drive you insane in a heartbeat-style little brother, and would have been truly frighteneng as a second child.

2010-03-21 23:26 (Kristen) We all slept in this morning, which was unusual. Jamie didn't wake up until almost 9 am, which was good for all of us. We hung about the house in the morning, until it was time to take Owen to the bus station. We stopped for a quick bite at McDonalds, and were delighted that Gary and Ayami came along with us. A ride on the streetcar, and we were at the bus station. Owen and Jamie continued to bug each other and bicker like siblings, while Liam did his usual level best to get dirty on the floor, swing from people's arms, and otherwise assert his independence and autonomy. Given how closely he's been glued to me since his finger accident and his flu, seeing him break away to walk on his own and explore more is a mixed but welcome blessing. We got Owen onto the bus, then went to the Eaton Centre after for a bubble tea and some shopping for necessaries. Gary and Ayami headed home with the boys for a few minutes while I went to pay our cleaning lady, who was at John's parents' house, I met up with them, and made pizza for dinner. Ayami and Gary joined us for that, while Ayami and Jamie had a good time doing some reading in Japanese, and chattering away about what I don't know but enjoying it very much. Jamie, Liam, and I watched some Avatar: The Last Airbender, which Jamie liked and Liam may have too, and then headed to bed. I tried to read a little to the from How to Train you Dragon, but they were too tired for it. The lights were off at 9:45, but it still took them a while to fall asleep.

2010-03-22 23:53 (Kristen) I got the boys up and ready for their day early, as Liam had to come with me to drop Jamie off at school. Afterwards, Liam and I headed down to the Danforth, where we picked up a few groceries and hung out together, reading Chirp and eating cookies, at the Second Cup. We picked up Jamie on the way home, had lunch at Browning, then saw Jamie off to school (Gary took him, as often happens on Mondays). Liam and I had an appointment with our family doctor, as I wanted to get his strabismus confirmed by her. I don't think that I blogged about this earlier, but I had strabismus in my right eye when I was a child, and it showed up at just about this age. It freaked my mom right out, as she didn't know what was wrong with me, but I did know when I saw Liam's right eye turning in recently. John independently noted it, all in the last few weeks, and when I pointed it out to my mom when we were in Ottawa, to see if I was right, she gasped and confirmed my suspicions. Cue doctor's appointment. At the doctor's office His eye performed on cue, and she said, yes, it's definitely strabismus. Chalk one up for Doctor Mom and Doctor Dad. Our next step is to have a opthamologist look at it, and then try some non-invasive approached before surgery. Given what I know of what happened with mine, and with what I know about Liam's likelihood of wearing an eye patch for any length of time, pirate patch or no, I think we're looking at a surgical correction. Oh well, at least it's a known for us. Liam and I consoled ourselves with more cookies at a local cafe and then picked Jamie up in the rain. We ran home, Jamie had his music lesson, and we waited for John to come home. He arrived after we were at Browning for dinner, and the boys were delighted to see him. They went to bed a little late, and fell asleep easily.

2010-03-23 24:03 (Kristen) I'd forgotten it was my birthday until Jamie walked into the kitchen, sent by John, first thing in the morning to wish me happy birthday. Liam, on the other hand, refused to believe that it was my birthday. I suspect it was because there were no balloons, cakes, or candy to be seen, and certainly no candles. If none of the above appear, it's not a birthday, in Liam's world. However, he also insisted that it was his birthday tomorrow, and it wasn't mine at all. He really wants to be four. John took Liam in to daycare and Jamie to school, and I went along with him and Liam. We picked Liam up, did a little shopping for birthday presents at the Eaton Centre for moi, then picked Jamie up at school. We went out for dinner at Nami, a good Japanese restaurant downtown. The boys were good, and the large walled booth that we sat in was just a good idea. Realizing that the boys would want whatever John and I were having, we ate communally of sushi, udon soup, ochazuke*, and other yummy foods. It was a lovely time, with just the four of us, and I felt very pleased with my family-themed birthday. The boys were exhausted, however, and we put them to bed a little early.

2010-03-24 23:26 (Kristen) Both boys were in bed with us at one time or another last night, and while they seemed to sleep well, John and I didn't. They're definitely getting too big to do that for much longer. Jamie was up early, while Liam slept until after 9. He was in a good mood when he woke up, though, despite his cold, so John took him in to Hakobune for his makeup day. I, however, took this to mean that it was Tuesday again, and didn't think about it until the school called, saying that Jamie didn't have his lunch. Lunch? Augh! I ran to get Jamie and bring him home for lunch, as we usually do on Wednesdays, and was very apologetic. He showed no signs of trauma, and we had fun talking about cool science facts from a boook we just got. I took him back to school, met up with John and Liam when they were coming home, and made dinner. Jamie didn't eat much, however, and complained of being very tired and that he didn't want to go to judo. As this is the first time he'd ever said that. we kept him home and put him to bed early after a night of watching Avatar and Anpanman. Liam took longer to fall asleep, but Jamie was asleep by 8:50 and Liam by 9:15. This, by our standards, is very early, indeed, and I hope that Jamie isn't up at 7:15 again tomorrrow after this.

2010-03-25 23:41 (Kristen) Once again, John took Liam to Hakobune. I stayed behind and worked, while John spent more father-son time with Liam (who, of course, was delighted). I spent some time with Liam myself after John got home, and with Jamie too when he got home. It wasn't a very exciting day; we watched some more Avatar before bed, and they're starting to really like it. Liam's talking about air bending, which means that it's starting to join Mario and Bowser in his list of stories to act out. Then it was off to bed for the kids.

2010-03-26 23:45 (Kristen) John took Liam in to Hakobune, and I stayed home. I'm liking this, and so is Liam, because John drives him in. This means that we don't have the morning Death March to the Bus Stop, in which he cries, wails, and otherwise beats his metaphorical breast that his feet hurt, his legs hurt, he Can't WALK, and other horrors as I force him to walk to the corner, across the street, and about a hundred feet to the bus stop. He wails for as long as it takes for the bus to arrive, then he sucks it up and he's fine for the rest of the trip. Jamie came home, and we all hung out, doing a bit of this and that before it was time to go over to Browning for dinner. It was the usual mayhem and glee, then it was time for bed.

2010-03-27 23:51 (Kristen) It was Jamie's friend Harry's last day at Nisshu Gakkuin; he's starting next month at the other Japanese school that we're considering sending Jamie to. Apparently Jamie gave Harry a hug before he left, which was a big thing for both of them. I fear that Jamie will really miss him, like he misses his friend Taka, who moved to Vancouver in the summer. Harry lives up in Barrie, which is pretty far away, but I hope that we can arrange playdates with Harry sometimes. We get along with his parents too, so it would be sad to lose contact. Before picking up Jamie John, Liam, and I had coffee with our friend Ruth. Liam likes Ruth because she draws pictures for him, and we like Ruth too. We had a fun time, then went to get Jamie. The boys played in the playground for a little while with Toshio, another Nisshu friend, then we piled into the car to head home. Once home, Jamie and I headed over to the open house for the house across the street with Ayami and Junko. We only went for a few minutes, but Jamie loves open houses. I think that it's because any open house is, by definition, much neater than our house and has the feeling of lots of open space. Sad, but true. He excitedly pressed me to buy the house, but demurred. It's an awful lot of money, and I like where we are. He subsided, but only a bit. In the evening we went to our friends' Alison and Kurt's house for their annual potluck. Jamie and Liam ran about a bit, particularly after Liam felt a little more comfortable there, but both played their DSes, ate food, and talked with John in addition to seeing what the other kids were up to. They're a little younger than the others, so sometimes it was hard to fit in. The lights were turned off for Earth Hour, and of course Liam, after being warned, put his finger into a candle and had hot wax stuck to his little finger. No harm done, but there was much screaming. Soon after, in the darkness of the kitchen, he fell asleep on my hip, his head on my shoulder, as I talked with other bookish types about books. Amazing. What was more amazing was that he stayed asleep being taken outside, put into the car, taken out of the car, and put into his own bed. Jamie stayed awake until he got into his bed in the more traditional way, but was quickly asleep too.

2010-03-28 24:17 (Kristen) Jamie's been mad to see a new movie that was due out this week, called How To Train Your Dragon. We'd been thinking about doing something family-like today, and the bad weather made it easy to decide to see a movie. Both children were well rested and full of good mood, and we grabbed Jamie's friend Charlie to come with us. The boys had a great time, although Liam was not all that interested in the movie because he doesn't like the 3-D glasses too much. He did like the dragons, though. Jamie and Charlie loved it, and Jamie now talks about how beautiful and cute Night Furies are. I think, in his heart of hearts, he wants a dragon too. And who can blame him? I want one. After the movie, we went back home to have a short playdate with Charlie. Then it was time to go to Taste of the Silk Road for a "welcome home" dinner for John's parents, who arrived safely from Mexico last night. Ian, our nephew, was with them, along with his dad, Ted, and Ian joined us for dinner (Ted chose to sleep, as he was driving back that night with Ian). The boys ate well and had a good time, and were good and tired when they got home. We watched some more Avatar, then went to bed.

2010-03-29 24:24 (Kristen) Jamie and Liam got lots of sleep last night, and were just full of energy today. Jamie, in particular, was bouncing off the walls, causing John and me to muse that perhaps keeping him tired all the time wasn't such a bad idea. Jamie went off to school well this morning, while Liam forced John to play video games with him until I pried him out of the house and made him come ot the library with me. We had a nice time, then came back to pick up Jamie and go to Browning for lunch. I took Liam home afterwards, and we played more video games until John came home with Jamie. Jamie likes it when John picks him up because John can be counted upon to buy him an ice cream come from the Evil Ice Cream Truck that parks outside the school on nice sunny days after school. Jamie gave Liam a good part of his ice cream cone, which worked out well for all concerned. Jamie had a good music lesson with Andrea, who says he has a really nice little voice, and Liam and I read books and played with games. Then it was over to Browning, where Jamie did some reading for me and Japanese homework for John. The rest of the evening was mayhem and merriment, and the boys weren't home very long before they were in bed. Both of them fell asleep pretty quickly. I changed Liam's bandage in his sleep, as it's the only time I have a chance to do it, and looked at it under the flashlight. I was delighted to see that his nail is growing at light speed, and is almost 3/4 grown back. Being three, with a hyperactive metabolism, is working for him, it seems. Most adults have to wait six months or so to have their nail grow back. Yay! Soon, I hope, we can give up the bandage, when Liam decides that his finger looks enough like it did before to not need it any more.

2010-03-30 24:49 (Kristen) John took Liam in to daycare this morning, and it sounds like they had a good time. Liam's make-believe life continues apace: I heard John laughing away at one point, and he tells me that they were playing Super Mario Bros. Wii. John had to leave the room, and Liam complained that John had "killed" him by "pushing him off screen" by doing so! We play that game far too much. Jamie was in a good mood when he got home from school, and we watched two more episodes of Avatar before bed. The boys are starting to get into the series, and it's time we're not playing video games.

2010-03-31 24:54 (Kristen) Liam had an extra day of Hakobune to make up for some sick days earlier in the month, so John took him in. This meant that Jamie and I had a quiet lunch at home, which we both found pleasant. I started to read Jacob Two-Two and the Hooded Fang to him, and he enjoyed it very much. I think that we may have finally found a non-picture book that he enjoys! Hooray. I took him back to school and John picked him up. He likes it when John picks him up because, if the ice cream truck is there, his father buys him one. In the evening, we went to judo. The boys put in an order for timbits, and Jamie actually managed to do his homework after class while we were waiting for John to pick us up. It was a good day, all in all.

2010-04-01 25:01 (Kristen) John reports that Jamie was ridiculously happy this morning. He adds that it's hard to get angry with someone who is so happy that they sing "If You're Happy and You Know It" at everything you say. "Jamie! Put your shoes on NOW!" "If you're happy and you know it..." Sigh. It was likely because Jamie knew that there was a party for his teacher, Ms. Kidd, who is going on maternity leave, and that there would be cake and DSes. John and I took Liam in to daycare and picked him up, then went to the school for the party. The boys had a great time, watching Ms. Kidd open her gifts and eating cake themselves. One of Jamie's classmates, Liam W., adores our Liam, and made sure that he was taken care of. The DSes were very popular too. After school, we played in the schoolyard with Sam and Harry, and with Tohdoki, a classmate of Harry's. All three came home with us, including Tohdoki's mom and little brother Sato, and there was a large playdate. Sam and Harry stayed on for dinner, and that was well enjoyed as well. The evening was accordingly quiet, after the activity of the day.

2010-04-02 25:13 (Kristen) I was coming down with a cold, so I ended up sleeping in this morning while John and the kids spent the morning together. I got up to be told that John had made another great breakfast for the boys, and Jamie in particular was very pleased with it as it meant that he had lots of energy for the day. By the end of the afternoon, the boys were sufficiently full of energy that we took them, by bike, to the school. Liam was very pleased with how well he can ride his run bike, and I have to say that we are too. Fun was had, and enough energy burned off that there was room and desire for dinner. More Avatar in the evening, followed by some time with Gary, and the evening was complete.

2010-04-03 23:05 (Kristen) As Jamie did not have Japanese school this morning, John drove him up to an early judo class instead. Jamie had wanted to take the Saturday class for a while, but was unsure about having to get up early to do it. As he woke up on his own in time, John drove him up. Jamie is past the three-month mark, and now can take a full two-hour class with the rest (although he passed today). He was pretty tired when he got home, but he enjoyed seeing a black belt toss two brown belts at the same time. We stayed home for the evening instead of eating with the still-ill Browningites, and had fun on our own.

2010-04-04 25:13 (Kristen) We had our usual neighbourhood outdoor Easter egg hunt this morning. The weather was fabulous, and the adults and older children had a great time hiding the eggs as the little ones ran about, gleefully rejoicing in the strange places the Easter Bunny hides them. In fact, Jamie and Liam enjoyed the hunt so much that they insisted on repeating it in the house later. After the second "I don't know where the last one it" and finding a small egg smeared along the floor in the boys' room, I called a halt to it. The nice part of the day, though, was how well Jamie and Liam played together. In the afternoon, I took them to the playground while John got some important work done, and they did pretty well together. Liam, of course, adores his brother, and chases Jamie all over the place. It's the only thing that inspires him to run as far and long as he does. We came home for dinner, then had a quiet evening before bed. And a lot of chocolate.

2010-04-05 25:13 (Kristen) I was up to my neck in work today, so John took the boys up to the Kortright Centre for the annual maple sugar run. The Kortright specializes in demonstrations of how maple syrup is made, which Jamie in particular enjoys. John reports that it was a perfect day to go: the rainy weather earlier in the day seems to have scared off most people, and he's never seen it so empty. It means that the boys had almost no competition for wagon rides or anything else. Jamie, who must have maple syrup flowing in his veins, managed to get three little cups of sap out of the workers and Tai-Tai, who came along as well. This does not usually happen, as competition for the sap is fierce. The sap is at the bottom of a tall hill, which Liam insisted on running down. John warned him not to, but the only thing that stopped him was gravity, as he overextended himself and fell near the bottom. He has a lovely scrape on his cheekbone now, and insisted on being carried the rest of the way. Jamie's friend Connor and his family came along too, and the boys all had fun playing together. Once they came home, we hung out for a while before going to Browning for Monday night dinner. Liam was cut off from playing any Mariokart at hometoday, as he accidentally (although he frequently does things like this) deleted John's finished and perfected MarioKart record, but he weaselled around it by playing at Browning, which isn't home. Afterwards, we came home and got ready for bed. Jamie announced that he was sushi, yummy yummy sushi, and had John use the blankets to make him into "sushi." He then said that he had umeboshi (interesting, since he doesn't like umeboshi) and ikura*. "Ikura are little red balls," he said, which is perfectly correct, and more accurate than how he previously described them ("little meatballs").

2010-04-06 25:13 (Kristen) It was a hard adjustment back to the regular routine from the magic of the holiday weekend. Jamie has a new teacher, as his old teacher left on Thursday to go on maternity leave. He was, apparently, fooling around and was chastised by having to sit in his chair, away from the group. The change of teacher, coupled with being in trouble (which, to be fair, never happens), was too much for him and he was utterly desolate. Poor fragile being. He felt better later in the morning, and enjoyed Science Club (where they made glow-in-the-dark goo: what's not to love?). I talked with his teacher, and with Jamie, and we're all agreed that everyone's going to start over tomorrow with a fresh slate. This sounds good. In the meantime, Liam wasn't all that happy to go to Hakobune, but (as usual) had a good time once he was there. We picked up Liam, then Liam and I picked up Jamie. We came back for Jamie's makeup music class, which seems to have gone well from what I could hear, and then had a quiet dinner. Jamie did his homework, and Liam did too, and much Mariokart was played as John works hard to recover three months of work lost at the touch of a three-year-old's Wii-mote. Both boys were sushi tonight, and I'm wondering when it'll be time to pull Jamie's very loose bottom tooth.

2010-04-07 23:00 (Kristen) Last night, Jamie woke us up with a "Mom? Dad? I just threw up." A quick investigation showed that Jamie had woken up, come into our room to tell us he needed to throw up, and then didn't have enough time to make it to the bathroom to do so. He'd tried to call us from the bathroom, but we had been too asleep to register. Oh, dear. After I cleaned up the floor and we put Jamie back to bed, I slept with Jamie in case he needed to throw up again. And he did: 6:40, I was washing out a basin. Needless to say, he didn't go to school. However, we were due to fly to Orlando tonight, so there was some stress about what was going to happen. And a lot of packing left to do. The day was spent keeping boys happy while packing and dealing with the growing realization that John and I were not going to escape this bug after all. We felt steadily worse as the day went on, while Jamie threw up one more time, but both got the packing done and did a good amount of work as there was a large Scrabble-related media storm going on as well. Ironically, a major network didn't have John on because a good portion of their camera crew had...the stomach flu. Go figure. We went to the airport, and managed to get on the plane without throwing up on anyone we shouldn't throw up on. It was a late flight, and Liam (who has managed to avoid the evil crud so far) didn't fall asleep until the plane had just about midnight. Jamie, on the other hand, slept for the whole flight, largely thanks to Gravol, I should imagine. Yay, Gravol. We got Liam from the plane to the stroller to the rental car to the hotel to the room to bed without him waking up at all. I woke Jamie up, and he stayed awake until we got to the hotel, then fell asleep quickly, around 2. John and I fell asleep as quickly as we could as well.

2010-04-08 23:00 (Kristen) Today was a bit of a sick day/recovery day for us. We slept in until almost 10 am, which was just what we needed. John and I spent the morning resting while the boys got caught up on a variety of unsavoury cartoons and some sort of Japanese ninja challenge, which was quite cool and required the boys to listen to and practice understanding their Japanese game show patter. John went to do some groceries and to pick up friends of ours at the airport, and I took the boys to the pool. It is an awesome pool, but I wasn't the life of the party. When John came back, I crawled into bed and slept for two hours. John slept for part of that time too, I think, and both of us were running fevers by the time dinner time arrived. We went to dinner, and I brought the boys back after they ate to watch some Avatar on Nickelodeon. Then it was time for bed. They fell asleep a little later than usual, but I chalk it up to sleeping in in the morning.

2010-04-09 23:00 (Kristen) John and I were feeling much better today, and could even think about eating without feeling revulsed! Jamie was delighted to also be feeling better, while Liam was his usual bundle of manic Liam energy. The National School Scrabble Championships began today, and John and I went to help with setup. We brought the boys with us, and we were all dressed in our red Toronto Scrabble Clup t-shirts. We like to describe ourselves as "Team Scrabble," and the boys like that idea. The boys played and did a bit of this and that while John and I did our thing, and then it was time to meet Ashley , who is the babysitter sent by a hotel-recommended agency. We've never done this before, so we were a little nervous, but it all seemed to go well. The boys weren't unhappy, and seemed more than fine staying with her. They visited on occasion, but were happy every time we saw them and happy to leave with Ashley again. We met up again after dinner at the ice cream social sponsored by the NSA, and the boys told me that they'd watched more Avatar, played DSes, drew pictures, and other things. Ashley had brought some toys, but realized quickly that Jamie was a little old for most of them. "He's very intelligent," she said, and I agreed. How could I not? The boys, John, and I ate ice cream, played all sorts of games. Jamie and Liam particularly liked Twister: Jamie because he is made of rubber and can make in-the-air scissor leaps when he untwists, and Liam because he loves to jump on parental backs while they are twisted in knots. In a game against me, Jamie won. I just don't bend like he does. I am not sure that I ever did. We came back to the room with two turbo-charged boys, and it took them a long time to calm down enough to fall asleep. Tomorrow Ashley comes again at 8:30, and will watch them in the morning until the tournament is over. I think that they'll have a good time again.

2010-04-10 23:00 (Kristen) Ashley came to get the boys at 8:30, and we didn't see them again until lunchtime. Jamie was asking why Ashley couldn't come all the time, which is a very good sign that they were getting along. Liam, too, didn't mind leaving with her or having us leave him with her, which was an enormous relief. I think that this is the first time we've left the boys with a stranger, even a bonded stranger, as a babysitter, and we (the parents) were dealing with some change and difference. The boys, of course, were fine. I had them with me at lunchtime, and then again after the tournament, when I picked them up at 3:15 or so. I took them down to the finals area, where they played outside the room and were social with passing Scrabble players from time to time. John eventually joined us, and with the boys becoming more and more in need of going back to the room, we left and started back. On the way, we found two of our Scrabble colleagues, and I stayed with them for an hour or so while John went and relaxed in the room with the boys. When I came back, we were all hungry, and so we went to the sushi restaurant off the main lobby. It was quiet when we arrived, but soon all sorts of people we knew began to show up. The boys played their DSes while the adults talked, and leaned over very occasionally to eat a piece of sushi. Eventually Liam's monkey-like attempts to climb over the back of the couch we were sitting on made us realize that it was time to take the boys back to bed, and we did so.

2010-04-11 23:00 (Kristen) Today was the day we went to the Universal Studios theme park, as we determined that there was enough for both boys to do to make it worthwhile for everyone. Liam was in a bit of a mood this morning--possibly hungry--and deleted a whole level of a game from Jamie's DS. He claimed that it was because he wanted to finish the game first on his own DS, which led to a great deal of instruction and sibling negotiation as to why two wrongs don't make a right, which lasted in some form or another for much of the day. After Jamie's homework was done, we headed down to the launch dock, where we took a launch to CityWalk, the restaurant, movie, and shopping section of the park. Oddly, you don't need a park pass to go there...(I am ironic in my use of 'oddly'). We had lunch at Emeril's restaurant, managing to keep the boys entertained and happy without the use of DSes (much to John's initial horror: "You didn't bring WHAT?"), before we went to find the Islands of Adventure section of the park. First, however, Jamie saw a kiosk advertising the types of temporary tattoo available to willing customers. Jamie saw some kanji (Japanese characters) as options that he didn't recognize, and asked if they were all real (answer: no.) He was unimpressed.

We started off by walking around the Islands of Adventure, where the boys were both impressed by the Incredible Hulk rollercoaster, with its screaming vict...I mean, riders. The Marvel superheroes section was quite loud, so it was with some relief that we reached the Comic Strip area. The boys really liked watching the Dudley Do-Right Ripsaw water ride, where screaming riders go down a steep slide in a "log" car, creating an enormous plume of water as they pass under a bridge. We were, of course, on the bridge. We kept going to Jurassic Park, where John and I got tired and a little overwhelmed by heat. John rested while I took the boys through Camp Jurassic, which was a fun little area with simulated caves, areas with woven ropes to simulate tree houses and such to climb on, and slides. Jamie did not want to go on the Pteranadon ride, despite my encouragement, so I didn't press it. Eventually we found John again, and Jamie decided that he really wanted to go on the Dudley Do-Right ride. He was tall enough, and Liam was as put out as you can imagine to find he was not tall enough, but Jamie and I went on together. Jamie was quite nervous, and very "I don't want to do this!" as we ascended in our car to the top of the ride, but he loved it as we plunged down and got soaked. Actually, getting soaked was good for both of us in the heat, and a good idea in the end. We went to find John and Liam, who had found ice cream and drinks, shared with them, then ran off to go on the ride again, at Jamie's insistence. Liam had had enough of no rides without Liam by then, so we walked around the park to Seuss Landing, which was just Liam's speed. He was utterly charmed and delighted by the One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish ride, which also offered jets of water, and he went on that twice: once with me, and one with me and Jamie. Then it was time for the Caro-Seuss-el, and finally the High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride. At that point, Liam was climbing things that he wasn't supposed to again, and we took the boys back out of the park (which was closing in half an hour) to CityWalk, where we sat down to watch a movie at the AMC to calm the boys down. We watched Alice in Wonderland, which the boys enjoyed although Liam didn't like parts and spent the entire movie on my lap, before heading home by launch again to bed. Tomorrow is Cape Canaveral, and I'm looking forward to it enormously. I hope that the boys enjoy it half as much as we will.

2010-04-12 23:00 (Kristen) After Jamie got his homework done this morning, we headed down to the car and started our drive to Cape Canaveral, to see the Kennedy Space Center. Jamie and Liam had their DSes out the moment the car was in motion, prompting John to tell Jamie that we didn't know when we were going to come back to Florida, so he might want to pay attention. This news distressed Jamie quite a bit, as the hotel is one of his favourite places, and he's really enjoyed this trip, prompting us (again) to tell Jamie that trips a) cost money, and b) sometimes it's fun to go to new places, as well as go to places we've been before. As we spent more time than we planned driving through Orlando proper (generic urban landscape), we let the boys play their DSes until we reached a nearby nature preserve. Then we made them put it down long enough to register birds and swamp before they started playing again. At least they saw it. Once we got to the Kennedy Space Center, however, the DSes were away. We went first to the Rocket Garden, where they have space capsules from the Gemini and Mercury missions to sit in (verdict: they were in that for *two weeks*? Mom: Next time you complain there isn't enough room in the car, I'll remind you of this.) The boys also appreciated seeing the different types of rocket there, including a Saturn 1B. The *big* Saturn rocket, however, was later on. We did some playing at a kid playground, visited a replica of the space shuttle Explorer, and took a bus tour around the center. The bus tour included a trip past the private viewing area for shuttle launches, and a trip to the Saturn V Center. Jamie particularly liked that part, as he got to touch an actual moon rock: a piece of mare basalt 3.7 billion years old, brought back on Apollo 17. And we saw the crawler transport, in continuous use since 1965, the world's largest propelled tracked vehicle as it travelled back from the launch pad to the vehicle assembly building. The bus was dwarfed by it; and it was all terribly cool. We spent a little time at the gift shop, headed back to the main center, and played some more in the kid play area before heading back to the car. Liam had a meltdown on the way there, which preceded him falling asleep for about forty-five minutes while we drove through some of the stranger parts of Florida in search of a seafood restaurant. On the way home, we talked about what our favourite parts were, and the boys loved the rockets, particularly the Saturn V, and seem to have enjoyed themselves a lot. We made it home at 9:30, and we're trying to put the boys to bed now. Tomorrow we spend a quiet day before flying home, after a fun-filled trip as a family.

2010-04-13 25:25 (Kristen) I forgot to mention that Liam, because he slept in the car for 45 minutes or so around dinner last night, didn't fall asleep until almost midnight. That'll teach me. We decided to have a quiet day here on our last day, and spent the bulk of it out beside the pool. The boys both spent the day inside the pool, playing together mainly, but dragging me and John out on occasion to play train or some other game. By the middle of the afternoon, the weather was starting to turn, and we decided to pack up. We went to a local Starbucks to do some homework with Jamie, who demanded a coffee frappuccino (decaf) as he claimed to love coffee,based on his taste of mine yesterday. Not too surprisingly, he didn't like it that much but did like his donuts. From Starbucks we went on to the airport, where we checked in and spent our time getting some more food into the boys before we got onto the plane. Jamie was very tired, and had a good deal of trouble getting his homework done for tomorrow, but eventually managed it. We got on our plane and had an uneventful flight before landing around 11:00. Jamie fell asleep in the stroller on the way from the plane to customs, and Liam fell asleep in the taxi in record time. Neither boy woke up when we carried them in, and stayed asleep all night.

2010-04-14 24:17 (Kristen) I got Jamie to school this morning with some misgivings, but he still made it to school on time. Liam woke up around 9:30 or so, and was in a cheery mood. We puttered around until Jamie came home for lunch; apparently it was pizza day, but Jamie chose to come home to reacquaint himself with his computer and his stuff. John and Liam went grocery shopping after lunch, then Liam and I went to pick Jamie up. We played for close to 45 minutes before coming home. I decided that Jamie should stay home instead of going to judo, given how tired he was, and we had a quiet evening watching Avatar before the boys went to bed early. Jamie was asleep before 9, but Liam had much more trouble falling asleep. It wasn't until 10:30 or so when he finally fell asleep, kicking and crying. I think that he's adjusting to being home and getting past a number of late, late nights.

2010-04-15 22:40 (Kristen) John was off to Boston this morning, after taking Jamie to school. I took Liam to Hakobune, and he was a little unsure about it, as he hasn't been there in a week and a half or so. He was won over when the younger teacher there and he started to talk about rockets at Kennedy Space Center, and that was the last that I saw of him until I picked him up after lunch. We went home, then Liam rode his bike to find Jamie with me at school. Jamie was pretty exhausted when we found him, and not in the best of moods, but we got home in time to meet up with John's mom, who was going to help him with his Japanese homework. She stayed for an hour and a half, helping Jamie to work, while Liam puttered in the living room. We had a quiet dinner with Gary, then a quiet evening before I put the kids to bed early. It didn't seem to matter much for Liam, once again, as he fought going to sleep for all he was worth. I don't think that he was asleep before 10:30 again.

2010-04-16 22:46 (Kristen) It was a rough start to the day today. Liam slept in, unsurprisingly, and I didn't wake him up until it was almost time to go. Jamie had a meltdown just as I was trying to get a crying Liam out the door and into his stroller, and I lost my temper too. There were many hard feelings on the way to school, and I was feeling a little rough by the time Liam and I were walking towards the subway. I dropped Liam off at Hakobune, where he went in cheerfully and with a kiss after an Egg McMuffin at McDonalds (another sign of maternal stress), and then went back to our local Second Cup. I went to find Jamie at the school yard during his lunch break, and we quickly made up. I shared tales of "bad mom"dom with a friend with five kids (she gets it in quintuplicate), then headed back to get Liam. Liam was happy and cheerful, and we headed home before, once again, going on Liam's bike to get Jamie. Today there was a visit to the evil ice cream truck, as John always buys Jamie an ice cream from it, and I'm infamous for never buying ice cream from it. We compromised with slushies, since it was a Friday. We headed back to our house to meet John's mom once again for homework time, and Jamie did much better than yesterday. Then we all vegged out until it was time to go to Browning for dinner. We came home late, and went straight to bed, as Jamie has school tomorrow. Not as long for Liam to fall asleep, but still way too long for me.

2010-04-17 22:52 (Kristen) My morning started when Liam woke me up at 7:10, and wriggled as much as it is possible for a small boy to wriggle. I woke Jamie up at 8:10 so that he could wolf some food down before he went to school, as Tom and Daniel were giving him a lift up to school so that I didn't have to drag Liam and Jamie up by subway early in the morning. Yay! Liam cried his heart out when he saw them leaving without him, but got me to read a book to him instead. Our friends Peter, Leslie, and their son SImon (who is friends with Liam) called to say that they'd be in the neighbourhood, and did we want to get together? Well, yes. We did. We met up at Treasure Island, our local toy store, and Liam walked out with three bags of marbles. He loves marbles, and these were very pretty ones. I picked up two packs of Pokemon cards for Jamie, to keep it even. We had lunch at the crepe restaurant across the street, and Liam and Simon had a good time. Liam is being an excellent sharer lately, and I'm pretty proud of him for it. It makes up for many things. After we finished, Liam and I went off to get Jamie from school, and to start the process for getting him registered at NIsshu Gakkuin in the fall. Gulp! We picked up Jamie and went straight home, as I was pretty tired. Dinner was delivery from the Silk Road, thanks to John's parents, and we ate some very yummy food. Liam ate the shrimp. Later, Liam and I played some Lego Rock Band, and then the three of us watched two episodes of Avatar before bed. Liam took about fifteen minutes to fall asleep, which is heartening.

2010-04-18 22:46 (Kristen) I was woken up this morning by our cleaning lady arriving an hour earlier than usual. This is a good reason to wake us up, however, and Jamie was awake enough to hear the door. Liam slept on for a bit longer, before going downstairs with me. The boys got dressed, had some breakfast, then played some Lego Rock Band with me. Liam likes singing, as does Jamie, and they like to sing "We Will Rock You". Jamie also likes "Kung Fu Fighting." Video, next time there will be video. After lunch, the boys played in their room for a while with some toys they'd forgotten about, and Jamie used the Sponge Bob throne (a funfur-covered foam chair) to pretend he was launching to the moon in a Mercury-style space capsule. Cool. Then they poured downstairs to watch Avatar and mess about some more. It was a slothful day, by and large, and we didn't go outside until after Alma had left at 5. The boys played with Sam and Luke for a bit outside, then headed inside to watch the final two episodes of the first season of Avatar before bed. Pretty slothful, over all.

2010-04-19 23:34 (Kristen) It was back to school today, with its attendent rushing and hurrying about. It does make it easier when Jamie has his bike. John went to pick him up and came back with Jamie and his friend Liam W. The two had exited the school talking away to each other, and John decide to bring them both. Jamie wasn't entirely sure what to say to Liam at one point, as Liam's mother died a month ago, and Jamie wasn't sure what the protocol was about mentioning his mom. John drew Jamie aside and told him that if Liam brought it up, then it was all right; it wasn't all right for Jamie to bring it up. And that seemed to solve that. Liam enjoyed having Liam around, although it was a little confusing. Liam insists on being "Liam L" instead of "Liam C," but that's all right. The children all got along in the end, and I'm thinking of having Liam W. over for lunch more often. After school, Jamie came home and waited for his music lesson, which ended up being scheduled for tomorrow due to miscommunication. We went to Browning, had dinner, played, and headed home.

2010-04-20 23:46 (Kristen) John took Liam to daycare and Jamie to school, so I got to spend the day at home doing house things. I gardened and I did other housewifely things while I waited for the boys to come home, and then was greeted by a very cheerful and sunny Liam. He has been an utter ray of sunshine lately; even when he's overly tired and falling over himself in his attempts to kill himself creatively, he's been completely gleeful. He is also full of spontaneous displays of affection ("I love you, Mummy!"), and (to my delight) has been playing with toys and other things lately. He has hardly played with his DS at all. He's been playing Lego Rock Band with me and Jamie (if he can suck Jamie in), and Wing Island on the Wii, so he's not without video games, but he's between obsessions. He's also been surprisingly (but should I be surprised?) generous, and is being quite the little guy. It's lovely, if still physically challenging, to be around him. He loves marbles (we picked some new ones out yesterday, and bought some chalk to go with them; now he loves drawing with sidewalk chalk). Jamie continues to be wonderful as well, although I worry that he's not as confident as his brother. He was worried about his appearance, of all things, tonight: I think that he's seeing his changing face as something of a worry. I assured him that it was just part of growing, which was a good thing, and that he was beautiful (which he is). He's getting tall, and long, and his hands are getting big, with long long fingers. It's cool to see him grow. His bottom front teeth are very wobbly, and I am not sure when they'll come out but it has to be soon. We spent a lot of time outside in the sunshine today, after which iIt was another quiet evening, which was just fine by me.

2010-04-21 23:54 (Kristen) John took Jamie to school, while I took Liam to Hakobune. When I picked Liam up, he was full of joy. "I had so much fun!" he exclaimed to John, and when John asked him what he'd done, he said "Read books!" Joy! Before we got home, however, I took Liam with me to the library and to do some grocery shopping. Then we picked up Jamie and ran home, as a rainstorm was rapidly approaching, and no one wanted to get wet. We did homework, and Liam did Japanese homework as well. John was very proud of Liam's acquisition of a bunch of new words as he did some work. Jamie finished a book for school, and I was proud of him for that. We've been a little lax in getting him to read for school in English, what with all the Japanese homework he has, but we're getting back on track. After a quick dinner, we headed up to judo. John dropped us off, and we settled down with snacks and other things. Jamie went into class, and I finally got Liam to play his DS as it was easier than chasing him under benches, behind screens, and a range of similar activities. Jamie finished up, had a shower, and then we waited for John. Both boys were a little spun, and not really listening, which was frustrating, as I had a headache myself. Judo nights are not as peaceful as they could be, sometimes... John picked us up, we got Timbits, and we sang on the way home to our car CD, which includes Liam's favourite "Crocodile Rock", as well as "(I Like To) Move It." The hand gestures are essential.

2010-04-22 23:46 (Kristen) John took Jamie to school, and Liam to Hakobune. I rode along in the car as I had something to do near Hakobune, and Liam imperiously instructed John as to what songs on the CD were to be listened at any time. Hearing Liam say "Lawdy Mama" while singing "Crocodile Rock" is worth it. We all went home later, and Liam hung out with me before it was time to go and get Jamie and two of his friends. I let Liam bring his marbles with a vague idea that we'd play marbles, but the playground was too crowded, and I'm just too anal-retentive about losing any of the darn things. Sad, but true. After a bit of a play in the playground, we wended our way home and played before dinner. After dinner and his friends'departure, we had two wery tired boys, and it showed in a couple of emotional storms with Jamie over homework and other things. Tiring, but proof that the boys would fall asleep immediately after going to bed. And lo, they did.

2010-04-23 22:22 (Kristen) It was the usual Jamie at school, Liam at Hakobune day, and all seems to have gone well. The boys were in good moods, which was nice to see. The day started off badly, however, when Liam deleted our completed game of Super Mario Galaxy, which we had spent three months finishing last year. He had deleted it because he wanted to replace the Yoshi icon with one of Princess Peach, which (of course) deleted all the data with it. He apparently also wanted to watch the opening movie again, which was another reason to delete a file. We didn't sell him on eBay, but it was a darned close thing. This is not the first time he's deleted files like this, but this is the worst. Jamie was quite upset, as were John and I, but I'm not really sure that Liam got it in any real way. The new rule, of course, is that Liam is not allowed to play the Wii unsupervised, which is going to have to stick. It's pretty frustrating for everyone else, and he's not going to budge on his right to overwrite any file he wishes for whatever reason he feels necessary. So, we remove the problem Ugh.

After school, we went to a birthday party for one of Jamie's classmates, Jenna. Jamie and Jenna are good friends, and the party was at a big indoor playground. There were 37 children there--friends and siblings--and it was a huge, chaotic, fun time. Liam spent most of his time going down the very fast slides, and I'm not sure what Jamie was doing, but it made him very thirsty and sweaty, whatever it was. They clearly had a great time, and it was fun for the parents to talk and get to know each other a little better. We went over to visit with Daniel and Ross briefly before going home and getting the boys into bed early. It's going to be a long day tomorrow, so we all need our rest.

2010-04-24 23:35 (Kristen) Today was Jamie's happyoukai at Nisshu Gakkuin, when classes put on a display of reading, singing, or a play to show how they've been learning this year. John was also one of the parent volunteers today, so he went up early with Jamie. Liam and I did some shopping at the St. Lawrence Market, then raced up to Nisshu for the lunch hour. We were a little late, thanks to less than stellar transit connections and extra time added on due to stroller and lots and lots of subway stairs. We did make it, dining on sushi as we swept uptown towards our stop. Very posh. We raced to meet John, who was meeting with the kindergarten teacher, discussing Liam and his entry into kindergarten in the fall. He's got a lot of work to do, since Liam doesn't speak a lot of Japanese to us, but he's provisionally in. Whew. John kept Liam entertained outside the happyoukai room while I waited for Jamie's class to go up, first to read a story (each child read a few sentences, then the next child did, and so on), then to sing three songs. Afterwards, the kids played a little and we headed to McDonalds on the way home. Jamie has a fondness for McDonalds, mainly because he loves the playroom at this particular branch, but still managed to pack away a cheeseburger and a half. He's still growing at a ferocious rate. Both boys were tired and sweaty when it was time to go home, and it was a quiet evening with early bedtimes. In fact, Liam asked to go to bed. Wow!

2010-04-25 22:57 (Kristen) It was a remarkably slow day to start. Eventually Liam was dressed (I think that it was around 3 pm when he did...), and the boys went grocery shopping with John. Then they went out again right after with me to the Big Carrot, and over to a big family dinner with John's family at his parents' place. Jamie and Liam love to play with Ian and Amy, and their cousins are vry tolerant of the smaller kids, with their insistent demands that they play this or that DS game. Thanks to Ian and Amy, we are now in the depths of a new Kirby game for the DS, which is absorbing both Jamie and Liam greatly. After dinner, we went straight home to the bath, and to bed. We were all pretty tired.

2010-04-26 22:47 (Kristen) This week, Liam is going to be going to Hakboune every day to make up for days missed when we went away, for illness, and other reasons. Sensei told us that Liam speaks to the teachers in Japanese, but not as much to the other kids. He needs more time playing freely to get more experience speaking Japanese to his peers, which means that we'll be getting up earlier in the morning to take him to Hakobune earlier so that he can get that free play according to the Hakobune morning schedule. I'm tired already. Liam ran errands with me after daycare, and we picked up Jamie together to bring him home for his music lesson. Dinner was at Browning, where Liam insisted on playing Bookworm Deluxe with Tom and Jamie played with whomever he could. The boys were in good moods when it was time for bed.

2010-04-27 22:40 (Kristen) When Jamie woke up this morning, he excitedly told us about the weird dreams he'd had last night. Eventually, each person in the family, including Liam, was quizzed about the dreams they had had: they were all strange. I don't know what was in the air last night, but it made for interesting morning conversation. Jamie made it to school, and John took Liam to Hakobune. When they came home, John and Liam played some serious Super Mario Galaxy to get the star count back up, then Liam and I went to get Jamie. It was cold today--not as cold as Ottawa, where it was snowing--but still cold. I decided I wasn't interested in staying out, so we came home. Jamie was ravenous, and snacked heavily after school, but still managed to eat three helpings of cashew chicken for dinner. Liam declared himself to be too tired to eat, and John reports that he did almost fall asleep in the car on the way home. After dinner, Jamie realized that he didn't have his DS or his charger (the DS was later found in my knitting bag), and that they may have been left at Browning. We sent Jamie over to Browning by himself (with a phone call for those there to look out for him), armed with the garage door opener and instructions on what to do if met with dogs, cars, dire wolves, frozen waterfalls, and other hazards that bedevil junior adventurers. He made it back with the charger (I'd already reported the finding of the DS), proud as punch with himself. He'd been very worried about what could happen, but John explained that worrying about what could happen would help keep him safe. In the end, he felt quite brave, as well he should. John and I felt quite brave too. John also reports that Liam knows more of the words to the Spiderman show theme than he (John) does. He was singing, and where he forgot a line, Liam supplied the words. Liam also loves to dance in the kitchen, which means if he sees me dancing, I have to pick him up and cuddle him as I saw back and forth. Liam kept insisting that he wanted to go to bed, and fell asleep almost instantly when he did go to bed. Jamie took much longer. One day, I'll get them to fall asleep at the same time...

2010-04-28 24:01 (Kristen) I took Liam to Hakobune (it's every day this week to make up for times lost), while John took Jamie to the Dairy Queen for lunch with Ross and Michelle. Apparently there was a bake sale at noon at the school, so both boys needed to race back as fast as they could to make it. It was a small and very successful bake sale, as John reported that the baked goods were all gone by 12:10. Jamie was slowed down by a part breaking on his bike, which is necessitating the use of the Backup Bike. He's getting pretty big, though, so we're talking about getting a larger bike for him sometime this summer. I picked him up after school with Liam, then came home to prepare for judo. Jamie got his schoolwork done quickly, then we ate and ran out the door. We took the 100 bus, which Liam loves, Jamie took his class, then John picked us up and we came home. It was straight to bed, and that was all right.

2010-04-29 24:17 (Kristen) Liam entertains us with random thoughts nowadays, as he gets chattier and more used to sharing his world view with us. Tonight, as we were trying to get more Super Mario Galaxy stars, Liam told us that evil tastes like candy. Do we have the future Dr. Evil or a sage observation on how sugary snack products are the downfall of Western civilization? Your guess is as good as ours.

Jamie had a playdate with Jake after school, which was good. He did some reading with me after dinner, finishing up Moira's Birtday by Robert Munsch, which he enjoyed because he knew the story already. He also finished the penguin book we've been working on for a while, so that gave us a good feeling of accomplishment. He has been riding his backup bike, as his main bike has had some sort of structural failure, and we're thinking about a new bike as some sort of special-occasion present. He really loves his bike, and certainly gets use out of it. Liam is getting better and better at his run bike, and is almost gliding along instead of running. A good day, in all, with very tired children at the end of it.

2010-04-30 23:43 (Kristen) Today was a big day for all of us. In a parental first, we went out this evening without the children, who were babysat and put to bed by our friend Tom. We've asked my mom to do this once, maybe twice, but this was the first time it wasn't my mom or us doing it. The children themselves clearly show no signs of trauma; when they found out that John and I were going out tonight, they couldn't wait to go over to Browning, and were very much of the "why are you still here? Shouldn't have left already?" school of separation anxiety. John mused, mournfully, whether they should be showing more signs of separation anxiety, but clearly all was well. We saw our show, came home around 11:30, and found that the boys had not only gone to bed but went to bed *slightly early* after getting their teeth brushed and their pajamas on without complaint. Hmm. Parental notetaking occurred.

2010-05-01 24:07 (Kristen) John had the boys for most of the day, so I'm not entirely sure what happened when I wasn't looking. Jamie went to school, Liam went to the market, and much Super Mario Galaxy was played. WE're getting to the frustrating bits. On the way home from Nisshu, John and the boys went to the McDonalds with the play structure, and the boys (I think) stayed there for over an hour. Certainly they were very tired and sweaty when they came home. It was a quiet rest of the day after that.

2010-05-02 24:23 (Kristen) Today was an early Mother's Day, as John will be in Malta on the actual day. We usually celebrate Mother's Day with a trip to Humber Nurseries, which we did again this year. The boys enjoyed the road trip, and eating some Haka Chinese takeout from a mall in Brampton. They put up with garden centre shopping, sitting in the oversized carts and playing DS when they got tired of looking at plants (quickly). Jamie had requested plants that butterflies would like, and was pleased with the butterfly bush I found. I also picked out some plants that the boys might like, like marigolds and pansies. We headed home to drop off plants to John's mother, who had been too ill to come with us, and stayed to put the plants in the ground. Liam had John's mom feed him dinner, which he enjoyed, and ran around in his bare feet. Jamie stayed in the car and played with his DS. Once home Jamie ate his dinner, did some Japanese homework, and watched two episodes of Avatar with me and Liam before it was bedtime.

2010-05-03 24:20 (Kristen) Jamie got to school all right, and John went to get him while I took Liam over to Browning for lunch. We had a fine lunch, Jamie went back to school, and I left John and Liam together for a few hours while I went out for coffee with Michelle. John reports that Liam was heartbroken to leave Browning, but was mollified that he was coming back for lunch. They ran a truly large number of errands together, and then went to the playground for a bit before Michelle and I ran into them on our way back from coffee. Liam and I found Jamie, did some yardwork together while Jamie had his music lesson, then went to Browning for dinner. John made scallops and fiddleheads, which Liam loved, and Jamie didn't eat. Then it was time for home and bed, and the boys were so tired that they were asleep before 10. Wow!

2010-05-04 23:32 (Kristen) It was a rough night last night, as Liam has green slime coming out of his nose and a bad case of post-nasal-drip-induced coughing when he lies on his back for too long. I ended up in bed with Liam to keep him calm, but didn't get so much of a rest myself, especially when Jamie decided to share the small bed with us. Urrgh. John still took Liam to Hakobune, and I took him with me to the library afterwards. We picked up Jamie, and brought him home, then did homework before going out with John's parents for a pre-trip dinner (we'll be busy tomrrow night). The boys enjoyed Greek food, and Liam read his Japanese ABC book (a-i-u-e-o) to John's mom, while Jamie read his weekly reading from Japanese school to her. Liam is teaching himself the Japanese characters, and knows about half of them through repetition and doing Japanese worksheets. He's really into books now, and is enjoying reading them to himself. Library trips always include a few books for Liam. Then it was home, and time for bed.

2010-05-05 23:30 (Kristen) Liam was watching his beloved papa packing tonight, and knows that John is going away to run a Scrabble tournament. He said to John, "I wish that I was grown up so that I could go with you and play Scrabble too." It was quite a speech from Liam, who adores his father. I suspect that he'll be learning as soon as he can.

It was judo day, so we had dinner in the car as John drove us to the JCCC in the pouring rain. Liam was tired, so he was all over the place, into this and under that, but eventually settled down after reading his "a,i,u,e,o" book. The boys had a bath and went to bed, feeling tired but good.

2010-05-06 23:39 (Kristen) With John mostly packed, he was able to spend some quality time with his sons before leaving for Malta this afternoon. He took Liam in to daycare, picked up Jamie for a rare Thursday lunch at home, and picked up Liam (with me). When it was time for John to go, Liam stayed upstairs in an act of classic displacement, but did come down for hugs and kisses before John left. Jamie had been designated "the papa" while John was away, which was met with the appropriate reaction from the mummy. Liam and I picked up Jamie after school. Chelsey came over between five and six, along with her little sister Hannah and her brother (Jamie's friend) Dylan, and the kids had a wonderful time playing hide-and-seek through the house and the yard. I made dinner while they did and did some dishes, and it worked well for everyone. After they left and dinner had been consumed, we did homework and watched Avatar. Jamie, to his surprise, read an entire book from school (about 24 pages, with twelve pages of text) in one sitting. He liked the story, I suppose, and commented that fiction was easier to read than non-fiction. He's also just getting better at reading, now that we've been doing it more regularly, which also makes reading more enjoyable. Whew. The boys were tired, and so I put them into bed at 9, especially after I spotted Liam yawning. They were asleep by 9:10, so it was clearly the right thing to do. I now worry that they'll be up unusually early again, like they were this morning.

2010-05-07 22:27 (Kristen) I explained to Jamie first thing this morning that it was going to be a busy day, and that I was going to need him to do things the first time I asked him to. Bless his heart, he did just that. It was so nice. Liam and I got him to school on time, and in time for him to change out of his sweatpants and into shorts for Beach Day at school. We put him in his shorts with a t-shirt from Mexico, a necklace of shells and a lei from our trip to Florida. He looked very beach-y, and came home full of tales of what he did at school. He brought me a pen with a cloth flower wrapped on the end (very nice!) and a "letter" listing the things I like and things I do with him (like watch Avatar). It was lovely, all of it. In Liam news, he went a whole day without a piece of string on his finger. If this seems odd, it's probably because I haven't explained it. Liam's worn a bandaid on his finger since he injured it back in January. He has been adamant that he must have it on or his finger hurts, and he will melt down utterly into DTSD terror if there is no bandaid. His finger, it should be noted, is perfectly healed at this point. We started by moving the bandaid to a lower point onihis finger, which worked for a while, but then he started to react to the adhesive. At that point, we started putting half a bandaid on, then about four days ago switched to a short bit of blue yarn. He's been wearing the yarn, but last night didn't notice that it had slipped off somewhere in the house. He noticed this morning, and I managed to distract him from it. As of now, he hasn't asked again, and has gone the whole day with no string, no bandaid, and no PTSD panic attacks about the finger. It's, of course, too early to tell if he's finally over the worst of it, but it's a very promising start.

2010-05-08 22:28 (Kristen) Jamie was complaining that his stomach hurt when I woke him up this morning, but he's been complaining about it for a few days now, so I didn't think of it. Tom drove Jamie in to school, then I settled in, with Liam, to plan the day. That came to a halt around 11:30, when John called from Malta to say that Nisshu had called: Jamie's stomachache was worse, he had a headache, and he wanted to come home. I called Tom, who picked Jamie up (thank God for friends), and brought him home. By this time, the weather had worsened considerably, and we watched the wind howl and the rain pour down for the rest of the day from the comfort of our living room. Jamie sacked out on the couch, and Liam got progressively more and more squirrely from lack of exercise. Both boys stuffed themselves on as much food as they could pack into themselves and then a little more (seriously. They ate all day. What is up with that?). Jamie's symptoms didn't worsen, but they didn't entirely go away, either. Gary has been fighting the same symptoms for the past few days, so it seems to be some sort of weird little gastro bug. Strange. We watched Avatar, we watched Madegascar 2, we got on each other's nerves a bit. John's mom brought over some fish she'd bought for dinner, and we had that. The evening was more of the same, and bedtime felt like a bit of a relief.

2010-05-09 22:39 (Kristen) Today was a much better day, with sun in the sky and children who were feeling better. Jamie and Liam and I all have stuffed up noses, but we didn't let them prevent us from enjoying the day. On Jamie's suggestion, we hopped on the 100 and went to Playground Paradise, and spent an hour and a bit there. The boys had a great time, once they got going, and played for most of the time with each other, separating then coming back together. It was fun to see them running around and screaming, throwing soft things through the air, and not have to tell them to be quiet, stop throwing things, or stop jumping on other things. Perfect. Afterwards, we went to the Second Cup for a treat, and to the Big Carrot for breakfast stuffs before walking home together. It felt like a good day. Jamie did four pages of homework (before we even left for the indoor playground), and we had pizza for dinner with Gary and Ayami. Ayami, bless her, watched some Avatar with us, talked about with Jamie and Liam in Japanese, and generally spoke with them for a good part of the evening in Japanese and they responded. The kids had fun, and a major anxiety of mine, that the kids aren't speaking enough Japanese, had a chance to be soothed, at least for a time. It is good to have such good friends.

2010-05-10 23:46 (Kristen) When Jamie got out for lunch today, his teacher practically bounced up to me and said "it's working! It's working!" I looked stunned for a moment, wthen she explained that our plan to make Japanese look cool is working. Jamie's class is doing a unit on Japan as part of social studies and their study of communities. Apparently, the teacher was going to teach the children how to count in Japanese, but got Jamie to do it instead. Jamie was very excited himself that he got to teach the kids in his class something, and I was thrilled because he saw some value in the knowledge that he's got. All in all, very very great. Liam and I hung out at home with the Magic Schoolbus, went to the library, and Liam chattered for most of the way, reciting bits from books he'd been read or other stories. He's a kinetic player, acting out scenes from his imagination, muttering to himself as he throws imaginary fireballs or does other things. He's getting much more rational and I have to remind myself that he's starting kindergarten in the fall; he's really able to understand more than I think. Tonight, I put Liam into his bed and Jamie into his, and explained to Liam that I was going to stay with Jamie until he was asleep and then would go lie down with him. Usually, I do it the other way around, but decided that it was only fair that Jamie get some Mom time and that Liam learn to share at bedtime. It worked out really well, thank goodness, and tomorrow we reverse: everyone gets a turn.

2010-05-11 25:09 (Kristen) It being a Hakobune/Jackman day, I got both boys up and fed before it was time to take Jamie to school. Liam and I went with him, making it just in time, and took a leisurely route to Hakobune. I picked Liam up, brought him home, and then went to get Jamie. It was cold and rainy, and I offered to let Liam stay behind with Gary while I did, but Liam, uncharacteristically, insisted on coming with me. I think it's because he hurt his hand gooding around with the little rocking chair not long before (I did warn him, but kept the 'I told you so's singular and pithy), and he was feeling wobbly. We got Jamie and brought him home, and did some Japanese homework. It seems to have gone well, but I think that Ayami or someone will have to go over it with him for mistakes. We talked with John in the evening, and went to bed early.

2010-05-12 23:46 (Kristen) I was feeling very tired this morning, as I have a cold, and the boys come in and sleep on either side of me, squishing me in the middle. I got Jamie to school, but it was a very flat morning as it was also gray and rainy outdoors. We got Jamie for lunch, which was delayed because John was on Skype and we wanted a chance to talk with him. After school, the sun was out and it was much more pleasant; pleasant enough for the ice cream truck to show up and for me to make up for the missed cone from Friday. We walked to the Big Carrot and home for some exercise, had a late dinner, and then watched Avatar. It was a fragile sort of evening, as both boys melted down at the same time during homework, and Liam never quite recovered full equilibrium. I'm pretty tired, and they went to sleep quickly, thank goodness.

2010-05-13 21:52 (Kristen) Both boys were delighted today when my mom arrived to help out while John is away. They both love their grandmother, and both gave her huge hugs when they saw her. She arrived just before the end of school for Jamie, and I left Liam with her while I went to get Jamie. Jamie asked where Liam was, and then answered his own question by saying "Grammie must be here, and you left him with her!" Smart cookie. It was Jamie's first Spring Concert for his school tonight, and we all went to see him and his class perform "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing". It was about as cute as it sounds, and I have video to prove it. Before, we went to Mariko for noodles, and Jamie had udon, not ramen, by mistake. We've promised him a do-over this weekend.

2010-05-14 21:57 ((Kristen) Having Grammie here makes mornings go so much more smoothly. Liam stayed with her while I took Jamie to school, then Grammie drove Liam and me to Hakobune. We picked him up, and then drove out to Scarboro Optical to pick up Liam's new glasses. He was very excited when he put them on, and wore them all over the store, peering at everything and clearly very excited at how much he could see. The boy really has a strong prescription. However, the moment we were in the car on the way home, it was no glasses and he's hardly worn them since. He claims to like them, but won't wear them. Hmm. Very puzzling. It could be that he dislikes having his eyelashes brush against them, or he doesn't like the weight on his face: hard to be sure. At any rate, this will take longer than expected. I took Jamie to his grandmother's after school to finish off his Japanese homework, then we came home to talk with John before dinner at Browning. The boys were very tired, so we put them to bed early.

2010-05-15 22:01 (Kristen) Tom took Jamie up to Nisshu this morning, which was lovely as I was not feeling entirely well. Liam played around the house in the morning until we went up to get Jamie at lunchtime so that he could go to the Jackman Spring Fair. Jamie says that he did 10 out of 10 on his kanji quiz, which would be great, as he was having a quiz on all 50 of the kanji he's been studying before now. The kids enjoyed the fair, but we were all very tired when we got home, and basically spent the rest of the day watching Avatar, eating our do-over noodles at Mariko, and playing a bit with Ben and Sam. We were all wickedly tired after such a long day, and the boys went to bed early again. I can't say it's a bad thing.

2010-05-16 23:31 (Kristen) Liam, Grammie and I slept in this morning, while Jamie was up around 7 something, as usual. In fact, Grammie "pounced" on Liam, rather than the usual other way around, around 9:10 (Liam was already starting to stir). The morning was spent quietly enough, with bursts of protest from Jamie when Liam tried to get his attention about something or anything. We ate lunch, then all trouped into the back yard for an afternoon of gardening and fresh air. Jamie decided that there were too many insects and went inside to play video games; Liam, on the other hand, decided the outdoors were a good thing, and stayed outside with my mom and I for hours. To be fair, I think that Jamie played outside for about an half hour or so before heading in. Liam played with a book he'd brought outsie, went down the slide, and amused himself with his scooter, all in the back yard as requested. He did not run off, and was, in fact, quite the angel all afternoon. Jamie went off with Gary and Ayami to Ross's birthday party at Laser Quest, where he went in with Gary on the second round. He says that he shot eleven poeple, and seemed pleased that he'd gone in to play with the big kids. Back at home, Liam helped me to plant some calendula, water the plants, and moved a bunch of yarrow clippings from the mowed front yard back to the compost bins, to be put on the curb, with his little wheelbarrow. He was just pleased as punch to be able to be useful. He kept asking me when the plants were ready for their drink. He may be a gardener... We went in for dinner, then hung out after Jamie came home from the party, tired and feeling pretty mellow. The boys had a long bath, then went to bed after a story.

2010-05-17 22:56 (Kristen) Liam was happy to spend time with Grammie today, going out for lunch with her while I picked up Jamie and took him to Browning for lunch. I met up with him and Grammie after dropping Jamie back at school, and we walked home to do some more work at home. We picked up Jamie, and did homework. Grammie and I were feeling pretty horrible, with our colds in overdrive, so we weren't very active at all. We had dinner at Browning, but Grammie had to go home after her laryngitis kicked int ohigh gear. The kids, fortunately, are both well enough and it's just us with the stuffy noses, sore throats, and feelings of malaise. They had a good time at Browning, and we went to sleep a little late.

2010-05-18 23:02 (Kristen) The boys were in lovely moods today, and I should note that Jamie continues to get dressed first thing in the orning when he gets up. Yay! I'm very happy about that. We got Jamie to school and Liam to Hakobune, then picked the boys up again. It was a very quiet day, as Grammie and Mummy still felt utterly horrible, but the boys were good. I found out that our neighbours next door were looking outside yesterday at just the moment Liam decided that he didn't really need pants on. They thought the boys were cute, and that this too could be them in a few years (they have a baby on the way). Very funny. The boys are excited that Papa is coming home, but not all that thrilled that Grammie is planning her departure. Give a little, get a little.

2010-05-19 23:07 (Kristen) Jamie went off to school today, while Liam did some more gardening with me and Grammie. Liam likes gardening, and gets very excited about it. I went to get Jamie for lunch, but saw that it was pizza day (which I'd forgotten about). However, Jamie was very clear that he wanted to come home to spend time with Grammie before she left, and would forego the pizza. Wow. Gary took Jamie back to school, and Grammie and I took Liam for a long wagon ride to the library and back. We picked up Jamie, then headed home for a rest ofr Grammie and Mummy before dinnertime and Papa's return. The boys were incredibly excited that John was back, and loved his gifts of sticker and activity books, and presents from Ezra and Miro (friends in England) of a Lego-shaped ice cube tray and some Lego Star Wars keychains. It took a long time for them to calm down and to stop pouncing on John at every opportunity, and a long time to fall asleep.

2010-05-20 24:11 (Kristen) The boys were delighted to see John, and have been making sure, each in their own way, that he doesn't run off again soon. John took the boys to their various destinations, and I took Jamie his lunch a little before lunchtime. I was told that I could stay and help in the classroom as it was only a few minutes before lunch, so I did. It was interesting to help, but more than a little distracting for Jamie. John came home with Liam, who had a great morning, and we hung out until it was time for John to pick up Jamie. Dylan, Chelsea, and Hannah came over at 5 so that I could make dinner, and stayed to help eat it. Liam has taken a real shine to Chelsea, and was visibly sad when he realized that she'd gone home. We'll have to have the trio visit us again soon. The evening was spent on homework and far too much television, and then it was time for bed.

2010-05-21 24:16 (Kristen) I woke up in the middle of the night with four people in the bed, and groggily moved off to another bed so that I could have some room. I was followed, of course, by both boys by the time the sun rose, but at least there was a little more room with only three of us together. Sigh. John and I took Liam in (John had taken Jamie in earlier), and picked him up, happy and playful, after daycare was over. John went to help out at Jamie's school with the Jump Rope for Heart event, and reports that Jamie tied another classmate for most consecutive jumps with a skipping rope (15). Jamie got a lot of exercise, and was feeling pretty tired after he got home with John around 4:30. They'd helped Jamie's gym teacher to clean up, had ice cream (blue dip is not as good as it looks, I am told), and played with friends until the last drop of fun had been squeezed from the day. They came back to pick up Liam and me before we went over to Browning, the boys on scooters. While there, Jamie lost his first tooth: it had been hanging on by the smallest of threads, and Jamie finally worked up the nerve to remove it himself. He was very proud and pleased with himself, and is full of questions about the Tooth Fairy. Is she real? Is it really your parents? Etc. I'm pretty sure that the fairy is leaving a note and a twoonie under his pillow tonight, so we'll see what he thinks when he finds them tomorrow. The boys were exhausted, and Jamie fell asleep in about two seconds. Liam took longer, but he always does.

2010-05-22 23:41 (Kristen) It was a glorious day today, full of an utter lack of responsibility. Well, not really; there were still groceries to buy, and other things, but in terms of school and work, it was a free day in honour of the glorious Victoria Day weekend. Not much was done, really, beyond a trip to the market. Dinner was low-key, and we really spent the day being utterly unfocused. Except for John, who did some cleaning, and swpt us up along with him. The boys aren't so fond of cleaning, but Liam especially has been exploring his toy collection lately and leaving it All Over The House. Particularly in the living room. The dear boy has some work to do.

2010-05-23 23:46 (Kristen) John went out this morning and bought Super Mario Galaxy 2, and that was pretty much the end of the day. The three boys tore into the game like a pack of starved lions on a lamed wildebeest, and Jamie in particular wasn't planning to come up for air anytime soon. We made the boys get some exercise in the afternoon, but Super Mario Galaxy was the flavour of the day. Liam was so excited when he saw it when he actually recognized the cover as being 2, and jumped up and down. Ross spent the day doing what we did, and so when we went over to Browning for dinner, that was what the kids kept doing. There were some sharing issues, but like cousins or siblings, they worked it out without violence. Is that cousin-like or sibling-like, then? Anyway, they had over 25 stars by the end of the day, and were very very happy.

2010-05-24 23:50 (Kristen) The day started off much like yesterday ended, with much playing of Super Mario Galaxy. I made the boys come outside again to play, but Jamie was really interested in only one thing. Liam did surprise me by cleaning up the piles of toys he keeps removing from the new china cabinet that arrived yesterday, courtesy of our friend Adrienne. We have a matching buffet, which now holds all the boys' games, and the cabinet has their puzzles and whatnot in it. It cleans up the room, if not making it look less crowded. However, it's a break-even scenario, so we're good. After dinner, Jamie played badminton with Gary and Ayami in the alley between the houses, and Liam tried to go outside but was denied until he put some clothes on. He really feels that clothes are optional at home, which included the yard (to him). Then it was off to the park for the annual Victoria Day weekend fireworks pyromania extravaganza at Jamie's school. The kids had a great time; Liam climbed everything there was to climb, age-appropriate or not, and Jamie ran his legs off chasing Daniel, with the help of his friends Makaiya and Isabelle. Liam shocked me by running with them for a few minutes and almost keeping up. He's much faster than I thought, and I knew he was fast. It was a fun evening, and John brought sparklers for all the kids to share. Despite many warnings, however, a number of Jamie's friends burned their fingers. Liam, however, was read the Riot Act, and John wound up by saying "and if you burn yourself you'll have to go to the hospital." Liam' said "Again?" I'm not sure if he rolled his eyes or it was John's little decoration, but I'm pretty sure that he did. And Liam did not burn his fingers. Once home at 10-something, we swished two sweaty boys through a bath in record time, and had them in bed. They're still going to be tired tomorrow.

2010-05-25 23:50 (Kristen) It was back to school today, with not too much grumbling. John took Jamie in to school, and we both took Liam to Hakobune. He wore his glasses the whole way in the car and into the daycare, which was great. He wasn't wearing them afterwards, which wasn't all that surprising. We came home, then went out to get Jamie. The rest of the day was taken up with more Super Mario Galaxy 2, and John made a great dinner to help us deal needing to eat in the heat. It was a good day to stay indoors.

2010-05-26 23:50 (Kristen) It was hot again today, going up to over 30 C. It was a little hard to Jamie to be in school, but they kept the lights off, and had other coping strategies. The big event was that John went into Jamie's class to talk about Japan. It was supposed to be a half-hour talk, but the kids kept asking questions and it went to an hour. Jamie was delighted to be asked to teach the class the Japanese he knew, and enjoyed very much being the source of useful knowledge. It was hotter than blazes, so we hid out after that, only venturing out to pick up Jamie and bring him home for his music lesson. The evening was judo class, and both kids were outrageously tired. It was good to get them to bed.

2010-05-27 22:54 (Kristen) We're all coping as best we can with the high temperatures (over 30 C) down here, mainly by drinking lots of water and staying indoors. Liam went to Hakobune with two new books, and read with his glasses on the whole way. On the way home, I convinced him to keep them on until finally he wore them all afternoon, only taking them off when he was playing inside with Jamie's friends, who had come over for a playdate. Unfortunately, he left them in a chair and his dad sat on them, but we bought glasses that could put up with accidents and they're fine. Jamie and his friends played Super Mario Galaxy 2, and ate dinner. After, Jamie (who had forgotten his homework yesterday) had to do a week's worth of homework at once. It took a while, but I think that he'll remember his homework from now on. John and Liam played a lot of Super Mario Galaxy 2 while I packed for my trip to Montreal tomorrow for an editors' conference, and I leave the boys in the strong, capable hands of their father until Monday.

2010-05-28 12:00 (John) Kristen left for Montreal this morning at 07:30, so in the immortal words of General Alexander Haig, "As of now, I am in control here". As part of my plans for sweeping reform in household affairs, I have already rescinded the "toilet seat down" fiat, lifted the ban on messy foods in the living room, and declared that our official language is now Japanese. I feel giddy with power.

Jamie got up to see Kristen off, and launched his own ambitious programme to finish Super Mario Galaxy 2 before her return. We currently have 65 stars, and are working our way through World 6. I carried Liam downstairs to the kitchen table at 08:00 to join us for breakfast (tamago no gohan and fruit); he gradually woke up in my arms, hungry, but had to punctuate his meal with a visit to the bathroom, not surprisingly.

We had time to do one SMG2 level after breakfast, left for school on bikes (Jamie and Liam; I was walking) at 08:35, arriving well before the first bell. Liam and I played in the playground for about fifteen minutes before deciding that we ought to do another SMG2 level before Hakobune time. Liam was a little more stressed out than usual about actually leaving for daycare, and decided that the absence of Mom was worth about three stuffed animal friends squished into his backpack in compensation. He kept his glasses on all the way there, first to play DS, then to read his counting book with me (I know the book well enough to do so without looking; it's an excellent introduction to Japanese counter words). When I pick up Liam, we'll go off to Loblaws for grocery shopping, then home for more SMG2 before picking up Jamie.

2010-05-28 22:00 (John) The most amazing thing was that Liam kept his glasses on until 15:25, for nearly six hours, taking them off only because he didn't want to wear them while biking to pick up Jamie after school. Liam was a big help grocery shopping; I wouldn't have bought half the things without him, certainly not the candy.

We ran into Ross in the schoolyard, so it was more or less inevitable that he would follow us home and play SMG2 until dinner. Dinner was at his house, and preceded by more SMG2 playing. Liam insisted on taking my Gund Chinese dragon with him for comfort, declaring it the cutest thing in the world. It took only ten minutes to find it again when it was time to go home.

The boys were well-behaved at bedtime. They got a bit goofy for Mom over Skype. Jamie was delighted with the Bakugon toothbrush that Liam had chosen for him at Loblaws. Liam only fell into the toilet once. Jamie slept with his face buried in Mom's pillow for the smell. Liam tried cuddling into me, then said my armpit smelled bad and curled into Jamie instead, where he fell asleep.

2010-05-29 18:00 (John) Did not sleep well last night. It's not that the queen bed is too small for the two boys and me, but rather that in Kristen's absence, I'm the designated peak in the bed's topography for my gravity-defying offspring to roll up all night. I'd have them sleep in their own beds, but I know that Liam would wake up in the middle of the night, and can't be sure that I would hear him crying.

On the bright side, we all had no problem getting up at 7:30, plenty of time to get ready for our big day. We had waffles and bacon for breakfast, and Jamie cleared two more levels of SMG2 while I was getting everything ready. We then drove up to Japanese school, Jamie went to class, and Liam and I went to the kitchen to make curry for the Bazaar (fundraising school fair). Liam sat in an armchair with a boy named Ryo, who watched him play DS games; I chopped a dozen onions and a dozen carrots and chatted with the rest of the parents on KP duty.

Liam and I drove down to the St. Lawrence Market to do an abbreviated version of our usual shopping; Monday will be a birthday party for Daniel and me, so I won't be doing the usual salmon or scallops and fiddleheads. We got stuffed naan, pakoras and samosas from Nupur; bacon and eggs from Rowe Farms; a newspaper from Steve; and candy and dried fruit from the bulk store in the basement. All the vendors warned us to stock up in advance of the upcoming G20 debacle, and said they'd be closed and hopefully far away during the meeting.

We dropped off the groceries at home, and made it back to Japanese school with about 15 minutes to spare, which we spent reading Liam's current favourite book, the Baby Einstein counting book in Japanese. After spending 15 minutes sitting outside the classroom, Liam needed to go to the bathroom, and in the two minutes that it took to take care of this, Jamie managed to get dismissed and run out to the Bazaar, but we caught up with him without undue panic.

The boys contributed generously to the fundraising cause with ticket purchases, traded in their 25 stamps in the end for two soap bubble sets and a pretty prolapsing popeyed pink plastic pufferfish. They each had an order of curry rice, a hot dog, a sundae, a cup of jello, a bottle of Ramune, a box of apple juice, a package of grape Kool-Aid and some water. They survived injury free until I had to start leaving them alone for several minutes at a time to put away tables and chairs; one mom came to get me to say that Liam had tried the trick where you climb up a tipping chair as it descends, and scraped both knees in the process. The bright side to that was that both boys decided that they had had enough of food, drink, merriment and sun, and were willing to sit in the shade, play DS games and calm down. One of the older boys came by and taught Jamie how to ground pound enemies in one of his games, which pleased Jamie to no end.

Not surprisingly, when I asked the boys what they wanted to do after the fair, they shouted in unison "I'm hungry!", so I'm writing this in the somewhat noisy McDonald's indoor playground that we sometimes visit on the way home, watching them play a game with what sounds like a hundred other kids (but is probably fewer than ten) and with rules that sound like Tag, but with much more scope for weaselling and lawyering. Every few minutes, a blur condenses into the form of one of my boys beside me, eats part of a Happy Meal and dives back into the fray.

In his most recent visit, Jamie said "Today is the best day ever, because you made me curry rice." Liam's most recent soundbites# have been "Here are some [imaginary] fries for you", "My bum is on fire [from landing in imaginary lava]" and "I have everything I need!".

2010-05-30 20:15 (John) We spent a quiet morning at home, recovering from yesterday's excesses. Jamie, as per his preference, lounged in his pajamas; Liam, as per his, did not. We did a few more levels of SMG2, tidied a bit, did laundry, tested out a foam air rocket toy, grazed, ate, did homework, etc. My recollections of this are a bit hazy, as Liam was up from about 00:00-00:30 last night complaining of what appear to be growing pains (muscular pain in both calves), and I spent most of the day trying to stay awake (and some of it failing).

After lunch, I told the boys if they let me work for half an hour without interruption, I'd take them to go see Shrek at Market Square. They held up their end of the bargain, as did I. We went from the movie straight to my parents' house, where my mom made us dinner (lamb and three kinds of asparagus) and then played with the boys for an hour; I was going to send the boys straight to bath and bed when we got home, but have been watching them play Calvinball with Gary and Ayami for about half an hour now, letting them burn off a little more energy.

2010-05-31 21:15 (John) Jamie can run a third of a kilometre (the 650 m around our block) in 4:08. I have no idea if he was running flat out, or how good this is for his age.

(John) The boys were both up at 7:15 this morning but I made them pretend to stay asleep until 7:30, when they both needed to pee, so I told them if they peed they could go downstairs and play video games until I woke up. I wasn't planning on waking up for twenty minutes, as I spent the night lying across the bottom of the bed to reduce the number of times I was kicked in my privates. About a minute letter I was stirred from my slumber a high-pitched squeal of alarm, bellowed "Jamie, pull your brother out of the toilet!" and lurched out of bed to see how much cleanup was required (a quick shower and a load of laundry). Liam is about as much of a morning person as I am (i.e., he would be happy to begin his morning after lunch), and while Jamie was frantically shouting "I'm sure I put the seat back down!" I was thinking that this might just teach Liam to check for the toilet seat no matter how sleepy he is at first pee.

Breakfast was what Jamie calls "big breakfast": waffles, maple syrup, whipped cream, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, bacon, fried eggs, apple juice. The boys ate well, played a bit of SMG2 while I got dressed, then they got on their bikes and I herded them off to school. Liam and I saw Jamie off, then went to play in each playground for a total of an hour or so, then went back home. I watered the garden while he played some imaginary video game, then we went inside for a snack and a real video game.

Liam rode the wagon to school at lunch, as he was lethargic from video games. The backlighting on his DS isn't good in direct sunlight, so he tried playing it inside a black canvas bag I had along. It didn't work so well for some reason, but he found that he really enjoys riding in a wagon with his head stuck in a bag, much as he likes burying himself in a tent made of blankets in bed. We didn't get any odd looks. Tami made us lunch at Browning, Gary took Jamie back to school. Liam and I went home for some Wario Land: Shake It! and a nap (for me); Kristen came home and got a big hug and a kiss; I went off to get Jamie from school, brought him home for another big hug and kiss. Kristen spent an hour re-bonding with the boys; then Jamie and I did homework, and we all headed to Browning for the birthday party.

I'll be 46 on Wednesday, Daniel will be 17 on Thursday. They got me a banana cake from Dufflet's, and an excellent selection of loot: the Collector's Edition guide to SMG2, three of George Carlin's albums on CD, Unseen Academicals, Anathem and The City & The City.

We got the boys to bed not too much later than usual tonight, and it's back to the regular grind tomorrow.

2010-06-01 22:15 (Kristen) Despite my being back, there wasn't that much of a regime shift this morning. I've got some sort of evil cough that I'm taking antibiotics to kill, and the antibiotics are foul. I'm not very perky. John make breakfast for the boys, and took them to their respective destinations this morning. He brought Liam back, and Liam and I went to get Jamie. Jamie was very grumpy about coming straight home, but I explained that I wasn't feeling very well and that the heat was tough on me. Jamie eventually admitted that he was just really hot, and that was why he was grumpy. I can't imagine being a kid in that school during this heat wave, and Jamie's at least lucky enough to be on the (relatively) cool first floor. Shudder. He had his music lesson, and then we piled outside to look at the roses in the garden when it was clear there were no kids to play with. By chance we found the first, ripe, perfect, red strawberry of the season *before the squirrels*, took it inside, and Ate. It. It was good, and we all rejoiced in our victory over the squirrels. After dinner, it was Super Mario Galaxy 2, and homework. Gary and Ayami are away, so it was just us, but we had a good time.


2010-06-02 22:26 (Kristen) Liam and I slept in this morning, while John and Jamie woke up and got their morning routine accomplished in a timely manner. Liam and I hung out in the morning, while Liam reacquainted himself with his Backyardigans DVDs. For lunch, we picked up Jamie and went to The Silk Road Cafe for a birthday lunch for John with his parents. The boys ate well and had ice cream for dessert, which is a rare lunchtime event. John took Jamie back to school, while Liam and I went to the optician (to fix my glasses) and the library (to return a lot of books). I had a doctor's appointment, so John, Liam, and I went to that while Jamie went home with Ross. This worked out well, to the extent that Ross and Jamie both protested when I came by to get Jamie, saying that they'd not had enough time to start having fun. There was no judo tonight because I was tired, and in retrospect, it was a good idea, as I was just a little tired and intolerant by the time bedtime arrived. The boys and I had dinner, and watched two episodes of Avatar after homework. The second episode, "The Puppetmaster," was very creepy, and turned out to have been aired at Halloween the year it aired. Jamie was truly creeped out, and we spent a lot of time talking the episode through and reading cheery books after the shower, but no such luck. Jamie was very anxious, and had a very hard time falling asleep. Liam only had a hard time falling asleep because he insisted on waiting for me to be with him before he fell asleep, and he had to wait for Jamie to do so first as it was Jamie's turn for me to be with him at bedtime.

2010-06-03 22:33 (Kristen) I got the boys up and out the door this morning, but forgot to send Jamie's lunch with him. John took him his lunch at lunchtime, but ended up taking Jamie home because he was upset. He'd had nightmares the night before about the Avatar episode (although none of the nightmares he later described for me had a direct link to it), and was quite anxious. He was calm by the time John took him back to school. In the meantime, I'd dropped Liam off at Hakobune without glasses, but picked him up with them on. Yay, Liam! He later insisted on taking them off because they'd make him lose a boss battle. He's all about boss battles. We hung out at home, and were there when John got a phone call from the school warning us that Jamie had fallen on his face and given hmself a fat lip and scrapes on his mouth, chin, and nose (as well as his arm and leg). He was all right, but he looked a little battered. John picked him up in the car as it was pouring rain, and poor Jamie did look a little battered up when he came in the door. I made congee for dinner to be soft on his mouth, and teased him that with a fall like that, his loose tooth was *still* in his mouth! He found that funny. He got his homework done, with some effort, and we kept Liam distracted from YTV and other joys for most of the night too. I took Liam to the library yesterday and I think that the boy's getting the idea of how to read. He has a long way to go, but this should be interesting. We watched one more Avatar episode after the bath, with Aang learning how to conquer anxiety dreams. Good episode, although Jamie still needed extra calming before he could fall asleep tonight.

2010-06-04 22:33 (Kristen) John took Jamie to school this morning (with his lunch), and we both took Liam to Hakobune. He seems to have had a good time there, which is always good. John picked up Jamie, and there seems to have been much playing at the school before they came back. I don't know if a Friday ice cream was involved, but I'm sure there must have been. Homework was done, then we went to Browning for more play and Super Mario Galaxy...and dinner too. John had some shopping to do, so he dropped us off and met up with us later. Then it was time for home, and for bed, which was met with the usual chorus of complaint, but the chorus was tired, and went to sleep pretty quickly once it was in bed.

2010-06-05 22:33 (Kristen) It was a pretty busy day today. John took Jamie to Nisshu, and then came back for me and Liam. John had a meeting with Liam's Nisshu teacher for next year about ways to get Liam to speak more Japanese (with added fun!) at home, while Liam and I hung out at Starbucks, ate yoghurt, and read books while waiting for John. We met up at the school, the boys played, and then the boys went to their usual McDonalds outing (playstructure! yay!) while I did some shopping for the birthday party that Jamie was going to afterwards. John reports that he and Jamie were talking about metaphors for people who are not too smart in their behaviour. "Jamie asked me about the 'He's a few X short of a Y' and 'He's not the Xest Y in the Z' patterns, and after hearing the explanations came up with my new favourite way of describing a stupid lawyer: 'He's not the sharpest tooth in the shark.'" Hah.

Liam didn't have the best of times at McDonalds because two kids there were being quite mean to him. Jamie helped out as much as he could (the kids were about Liam's age), but Liam was sad. He was even sadder when he realized that Jamie was going to Jake's party and he wasn't. I managed to cheer him up with some little workbooks I'd found at the toystore, but he was utterly delighted when John called to say that Liam could come to the party after all. We went, and the boys had a great time at the party. Liam even sat through most of the magician's show (which was fun). We came home afterwards, and had a quiet evening before it was time for two tired boys to go to bed.

2010-06-06 22:33 (Kristen) We spent a good part of the day cleaning up the house, which went over like a lead balloon with certain segments of the family. Jamie and I also got into a huge fight about him putting his clothes on, because Sunday is pajama day, and he didn't want to give up his pajamas. His aunt Nobuko was coming over, however, and it was a necessary thing. In the end, however, we all mellowed out somewhat, enjoyed Nobuko's visit, and managed to get through the afternoon with no more fights. Both Jamie and Liam are really enjoying playing with Lego, which is great, and they spent a good part of the day doing that. In the evening, John was out for a Scrabble event, and we sat and watched four episodes of Avatar in a row. Because that's what Sundays are for, apparently.

2010-06-07 22:08 (Kristen) We had agreed that Ross would come and take Jamie to school this week in preparation for John's upcoming trip to Bangkok. Ross will walk Jamie to school, which will let me deal with Liam in the mornings. Ross, of course, takes his responsibility very seriously and was at our door right at 8:30. Jamie and John weren't quite ready, but they were very quickly. Apparently the trip went well, despite Jamie and Ross's tendencies to get distracted by their conversations. They are very sibling-like. Liam and I hung out at home, then Liam went with John to get Jamie at school for lunch. The boys ate at Browning, then we headed back to school. I took Liam to the bookstore (not a library) and then to the Second Cup for some "work". He did five workbook pages, which was pretty great. We picked up Jamie, but Jamie gleefully went off to a spontaneous playdate at Graeme's, and so Liam and I went home empty-handed. Dinner was at Browning, and the boys were pretty tired. Jamie had to do his homework there because of the playdate after school, so he was tired but managed to get it done before it was time to go home. The boys had their bath, and went to bed.

2010-06-08 22:33 (Kristen) I'm not sure if Jamie's fighting something off, or if he's just exhausted, but he's been quite crabby again today. He was fine in the morning, when he went off with Ross and John, but he was very tired when he got home after school. Liam was all right in the morning, but he'd woken up at 6 am, and required much convincing to get back to sleep as he insisted on getting up to play (with company). Jamie was tired enough upon his return that Andrea (his music teacher) and I cancelled his lesson and just let him rest. It helped but not as much as I would have liked. Jamie ate seconds at dinner (cashew chicken and sauteed bean sprouts) while Liam rejected most of his. I think that Liam was just tired, at that point, but he still didn't eat much. Jamie ended up melting down repeatedly while doing his homework after dinner, and We ended up putting both boys to bed early, and it was the best thing in the end as Jamie was unable to speak to someone without tears or an argument. He was, of course, not at all tired.

2010-06-09 23:40 (Kristen) The boys were up this morning at their usual times. It didn't seem all that worth it, really, as the day was one long festival of rain. Liam and I puttered in the morning, John got Jamie for lunch (which was exciting) before it was time for him to go back. We slipped back into malaise until Jamie got home, at which point Liam did homework (mazes and workbook pages) with Jamie. We had dinner early, and it was clear that Jamie was too tired to go to judo. As we'd have to bus there and back, I made the decision that we'd stay home. I was unhappy about it, as I feel we've missed too much judo lately, and told Jamie that it was lights out at 9 if he was staying home from judo because he was tired. We watched some Avatar, did homework, and went to sleep at 9. Jamie claimed that he'd said he was tired so that he could stay home and play video games and watch tv, but he was asleep at 9:15 and Liam at 9:30. Really, they *were* tired, and 9 is probably their natural bedtime.

2010-06-10 23:33 (Kristen) I took Liam in this morning while John went with Jamie's class to a sushi place to conclude their unit on Japan. The boys were more than a little wound up, and there was much giggling, but the kids seem to have enjoyed themselves. Liam and I went to the bookstore on the way home (Liam's glasses continue to get admiring comments) and picked up some food for dinner before picking up Jamie. Jamie came out and asked me if I noticed anything, and I saw that the lower tooth that has been hanging around well past its best before date had finally come out. There were many congratulations. The kids played for a while before I got them home, and they seemed rather tired. Jamie did homework and Liam acted in an increasingly reckless fashion until they got some food into them. After dinner, Jamie did some homework with me, and the boys had some unstructured time. Super Mario Galaxy 2 may have been played. The boys were pretty tired at bedtime, which was a bit later than optimal. Jamie is awaiting the arrival of Ms. T. Fairy, who comes with a toonie in exchange for teeth.

2010-06-11 48:15 (Kristen) The tooth fairy visited last night, but Jamie completely forgot about it when his father woke him to say that he'd finished 120 stars in Super Mario Galaxy 2, and would Jamie like to get the 121st? It's the last star of the game (well, not really, but there are no more new worlds past this point), and we've been working pretty hard to get to this point. Breakfast must have been inhaled at some point but the important part is that Jamie got the 121st star, and they got the credits at the end of the game. Ross, who came by to get Jamie, was impressed. John took Liam to Hakobune, and I had a quiet morning to work before they came home. Then I got Liam to ride his run bike down to the bank, across to the Big Carrot, and up to Jackman to pick up Jamie. It was a long way, but he'll do it (much like Jamie did) if he can ride his bike. I see a new vista of possibility opening up. However, Liam would not leave home until he'd made some pumpkin juice first. Liam's imagination is on full bore, and it makes talking with him sometimes a little surreal. While at the school, Liam tried to play with a boy named Ben who is the younger brother of Jamie's classmate Katie. Ben will be in Liam's class in September, and it was sweet to see LIam try to hard to get Ben's attention. Ben was only interested in riding his new two wheeler, but Liam tried hard to keep up on his run bike. Jamie played with his friends, and then we went home. I love the run bike, because it has bright orange wheels, and I can see Liam from across the playground. He's fast, but at least he's visible. I spend far too much time figuring out where Liam is in the playground...

In the evening, we went to Browning. Jamie finished his Japanese homework, and then John and I went out for a rare evening together. Tom put the boys to bed, and there was nary a peep about it. How wonderful to have such good friends.

2010-06-12 24:28 (Kristen) We all were awake far too early this morning, it felt to me, but at least there were places to go and things to do. John took Jamie to Nisshu, where we've decided to keep Jamie for now. We'd thought of moving him to another, more academically rigourous Japanese school in the city, but we now think that Jamie's stress levels wouldn't benefit from more homework. So, we'll stay where we are, and that should be fine. Also, Liam will start at Nisshu in September, and the boys will be very excited to be at the same school. In the meantime, Liam and I hung out at home: he watched Backyardigans, while I napped to try and get some sort of start to the day. John came back from the market, and the three of us headed up to Jamie's school to go to a small parent meeting before the end of school. Liam enjoyed playing with toys, but didn't play much with the other little boy in the room, sadly. The boy, Neo, might be in Liam's class in September. More classmates! The boys wanted to go to McDonalds afterwards, but I think that they're finally getting tired of the food, the toys, and the playstructure there. Two weeks off will be a good thing. We came home, hung our, and then headed over to John's parents' place for Indian food and a goodbye party for John before he goes to Bangkok tomorrow. The boys played with Tai-Tai, which was nice for them all, but she was tired and we left around 8:15. The boys had a late bedtime tonight because tomorrow we'll be able to sleep in. Please, let us all sleep in. Oh, and Jamie found the toonie that the tooth fairy left for him.

2010-06-13 23:03 (Kristen) As I've been repeatedly reminded, Sunday is The Day Of Rest here, or, more accurately, is the Day Upon Which Pajamas Will Be Worn Past Noon. I don't know what time Jamie was up this morning, but Liam and I woke up around 9:30. John made the boys breakfast, and then left around 10:30. The boys didn't want him to go, so they kept coming up with new things that he had to do to leave (and John, of course, couldn't pull himself away...). Eventually I had to be bad cop so that John could leave. He'll be back in 12 days, and then he'll be home for a few months. I took it easy on the boys after he left, and didn't make them get dressed until after lunch. Jamie was pretty punky by then what with all the video games he'd been playing, so he protested pretty vociferously when I told him it was time to get dressed and to go out for a bike ride to the Danforth. However, he'd also been telling me that he was bored, and wanted someone to play with, so ... out we went. He knew that he'd feel better once we got under way, but also knew that he was going to be completely grouchy until that happened. Some self-awareness, then... Liam was delighted to go out and ride his bike, and the boys did just that until we reached Jackman. They played there for about an hour, with Jamie doing his usual "Hey! You should play with me!" routine with random children at the playground. We went to the Second Cup around 4:30, had a snack, did some drawing (both boys), then picked up dinner on the way home from the Big Carrot. Jamie did three pages of homework in an attempt to free up his Friday (get done early, no Friday homework!), and then we watched three episodes of Avatar. We're almost at the end; there is a four-part ending, and we're planning out when the best time would be to watch all four in a row. It's rather exciting, and I really should start thinking about the next series for us to watch together. I put the boys to bed early. Jamie was asleep by 9:30, while Liam took until well after 10 to finally fall asleep and to stay asleep. I think that it's because he wasn't up until 9:30, but I still think that the exercise he got today should have counterbalanced the late rising a *little* more than it did...

2010-06-14 22:42 (Kristen) We woke up on time, and Ross arrived on time to take Jamie to school. Liam and I hung out doing a bit of this and a bit of that in the morning, then Liam rode his bike (which he adores) as we went to get Jamie for lunch. Lunch was at Browning, where both boys ate well, and then Gary took Jamie and ross to school while I took Liam home for the afternoon. We played a bit of this and that, and I took the time to teach Liam ten one and two-letter words. He knows about 10 40% of the time. It's a start, and he's enjoying it (which is critical). We picked up Jamie, and the kids played for about half an hour before we went home. Jamie did homework with Ayami, and Liam joined in. He made her read his Anpanman book, which made him feel better. Afterwards, we went off to Browning for dinner, which was lovely, and the boys had a great time playing with everyone there. Jamie wolfed down a good deal of lichee, and Liam and Jamie both had muffins that Michelle had baked instead of ice cream before we left. They had a shower, then got into bed. They fell asleep a little late, but are sleeping right now in the same bed, two little boys snuggled together. It's very sweet.

2010-06-15 23:36 (Kristen) Jamie and Ross went off to school together, and I went off with Liam to Hakobune. Liam was in a great mood, which was lovely, and he seems to have had a happy day. We went home, puttered, and went off to get Jamie. Liam loves to go anywhere if he is allowed to ride his bike; he's really getting quite good at it, and can now glide at least two sections of sidewalk. We stayed around the schoolyard for a short time, during which Liam rode around and around and Jamie played with his friends, then headed home. Chelsea, Dylan, and Hanna came over to play at 4, and Jamie had his last music lesson before the summer at 4:30. The kids had been into the dressup clothes, and had put Liam into a rabbit costume, complete with ears. He ran around the front lawn for a bit until he got too hot, but it was awfully adorable while he did. Jamie is thinking hard about whether or not he wants to participate in his music teacher's annual recital next week; he's quite torn, and I'm not pushing him either way. We had a pretty basic dinner (fish sticks, potato wedges, broccoli), and Jamie did Japanese homework with Ayami and English homework with me. Jamie wrote a quick email to his father in Japanese, and then it was time for bed. Jamie had a hard time falling asleep, and Liam (unusually) was asleep first.

2010-06-16 23:57 (Kristen) We got ready this morning with less fuss, which was nice. Jamie went off with Ross and Liam and I puttered. It was a Liam-intensive morning because he wasn't all that interested in video games or television. So, he painted, played with toys, made a mess, refused to clean it, cleaned it (with help), and had pizza for lunch. It was a pizza lunch day for Jamie too, so he stayed at school all day. It was dark and rainy for large parts of the day, but Liam and I managed to slip out between rainstorms to buy groceries at Sobey's. We walked there and back, and Liam tried hard to get me to buy lots and lots of things I didn't want to, but we fortunately agreed on all the fruit. I picked up Jamie while Ayami watched Liam, and Jamie got homework done with Ayami after. Chelsea watched the boys while I made dinner, and then we packed ourselves up and went to judo. Gary and Ayami gave us all a lift, which was wonderful, and stayed to watch the start of his class. Jamie was apprehensive and nervous about going to class, because it has been a few weeks since he last went. I told him that he would enjoy himself, and he could tell me afterwards if I was right or wrong. He wrestled, dove over another kid, laughed hysterically when he got hip thrown by an instructor, and in general had a very good time. Liam and I did a little of this and that while we waited. The best part for Jamie, however, was when his instructor pulled him aside to say that he was ready to get a yellow stripe on his white belt, and would get one in a ceremony in a few weeks. He was ecstatic, and is twice as motivated now. This is a very good thing. Gary and Ayami picked us up and brought us home, and the boys had a bath, a hair wash, and went straight to bed afterwards.

2010-06-17 23:57 (Kristen) It was a good morning after a somewhat rough night. Liam's been having nightmares, which means that I have to go and get him to bring him into bed with me at odd hours of the night. I'm a little tired. Jamie and Ross got off to school on time, and I got Liam to Hakobune a little late, but not too much so. Afterwards, I asked Liam if he'd had fun, and he told me that he'd had "lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of fun." Well, good! We went home, and then went out to get Jamie after school. I'd forgotten that Jamie was to go off with Sam for a playdate after school, but Liam enjoyed the bike ride to the school, and we all played together until it was time to go off to our respective houses. Liam and I picked Jamie up at 6, and then we went to Browning for dinner. Jamie had to do his homework while he was there, but he seemed all right with it. We went home, talked with John on Skype, had a bath and a shampoo, and went to bed.

2010-06-18 23:57 (Kristen) The main part of the day was normal, and went off without a hitch. Children went to their various destinations, and seem to have enjoyed their times there. Liam and I picked up Jamie after school, and brought him home after ice cream. Ross hung around with us to discuss possible Super Mario Galaxy 3 worlds, and walked with us part of the way home. Jamie knew that he had to finish his homework for tomorrow, but was very very reluctant to do it. It took us almost two hours to do three pages, which was rough and very unusual. Eventually, he knuckled down and got them done so that we could go to Browning for dinner. Liam was tired and hungry, and was hanging off furniture while I was dealing with his brother. Not all together a fun time. We pulled it together at Browning, however, and had a good time before we headed home to bed. Jamie fell asleep almost instantly after we hung up on Skype with John, but Liam took a little longer to fall asleep (as usual). The boys have been sleeping in the same bed a lot lately so that they both get to fall asleep with me (I lie at the end of the bed). They also seem to get comfort from it, as they come into bed with me much later than they otherwise would.

2010-06-19 23:57 (Kristen) I got Jamie off to Nisshu Gakkuin this morning with Tom, and was checking up on my email before starting the day when Tom called to say that Jamie was not feeling well. We decided to bring him home, but he didn't seem that sick when he got in. I was suspecting that he just didn't want to go to school today, since he was hungry and seemed energetic enough. I talked with John on Skype about sending him back to school in the afternoon, and we agreed that it seemed to be a case of nerves more than any actual illness. However, at the last minute, I checked Jamie's forehead and felt that it was hot; sure enough, Jamie had a fever of 37.5. It's been going up and down all day, which is how I think I missed it, but Jamie got to stay home. THere really isn't much more to report: we stayed in, watched movies and the final four episodes of Avatar (Jamie is upset that it's over; he really loved it), and did very little. It was hard on Liam, because he really needed to go outside and run around, but there wasn't anyone around to watch Jamie while he did. He got the short end of the stick today. Hopefully Jamie's fever will be gone tomorrow.

2010-06-20 33:20 (Kristen) The boys have been waking up quite early every morning. Jamie in particular has been waking up around 7 am, and is full of chatter and fun. It's a little tiring. It was going to be an unusually busy Sunday, and I explained to Jamie and to Liam what was going to happen. I cleaned up the house and let them relax before John's aunts arrived at 11:30, and got the boys to put their clothes on a few minutes before they arrived. We had a lovely time with Nobuko oand Tomoko; they brought us lunch, and made sushi for us, and some lovely cold chicken. We had lots of fun talking, and Gary and Ayami came upstairs to spend time with us as well. Nobuko and Tomoko stayed for two hours, which was lovely, and left just before Jamie was picked up to go to his friend Parker's birthday party. Liam was unhappy that Jamie was going to a party and he wasn't, so he was happy to hear that I'd arranged for his friend Simon to come over. Simon and his mom arrived an hour after Jamie had left, and the boys had a wonderful time playing with trains and toy food, and also appreciated the trip to the Dairy Queen. Simon left about 5:30, Jamie was home a little after 6, and we had a nice dinner of leftovers from the meals we've had over the last few days. Jamie did some homework, and Liam finally got the game of Pictureka! that he'd been craving all day. He was more than a little tired by then, however, and two episodes of heartbroken tears over very small incidents led us to call the game and put boys to bed.

2010-06-21 22:31 (Kristen) Jamie was really excited about Play Day at school today. He was up before seven, and full of excited chatter about this and that before he officially "got up" at 7:30. His understanding of what Play Day actually was, however, was unclear as it turned out. He melted down at me because I wouldn't let him bring his DS to school. I explained that he wasn't going to need it, and that just because Bianca *said* she was bringing hers didn't mean that she was going it. I told him that I'd talk with his teacher at lunch about it, but there was a bitter argument before he left, a little later than usual because he kept arguing, to school. Liam woke up around 8:30, and came down to have a quiet day. He isn't quite himself; he's easily upset, and he really doesn't have much energy for going outside. He does, however, want to keep playing Pictureka as much as possible, and was (barely) pacified by the promise that we'd play it at Browning after dinner. We went to pick up Jamie, who burst outo f school full of excited descriptions of the game stations they'd been to (hula hoops, something to do with pretend lava), and any thought of the DS was far far far from his mind. We had lunch, Liam made Ayami play with him, and Jamie made Gary take him and Ross back to school. I took Liam home, after it was clear that he wasn't going anywhere without a large fight, and we hung out some more before it was time to get Jamie. Liam dug in his heels and had a crying fit about leaving, so that Ayami came upstairs and offered to look after him while I got Jamie. Liam was good with that. At school, Jamie was full of more excited narrative about his day, and played with his friends for a few minutes before it was time to go home. Jamie and Jake have become friends with Kieran, another boy in the class, with whom Jamie has had some trouble in the past, so I'm glad that they've mellowed out. Jamie even sent Kieran home with John's cell phone number in hopes of a playdate some time! I talked with Kieran's mother, and was surprised to learn that Kieran is also 1/4 Japanese. I think that there will be some playdates with Jake, Jamie, and Kieran this summer. I got Jamie home, let him watch television for half an hour or so, then settled him down to go his homework. He really wasn't into it, but loved his poem for the week enough that he'd already memorized the first verse: it is, of course, a poem about hating homework. Perfect! Jamie did more homework with Ayami, but it was a long slog for everyone. I hope that he'll be less tired tomorrow. Dinner was at Browning, with multiple games of Pictureka! for Liam and Jamie (as promised). It was a good night, and the boys were home a little later than I would have liked, at 9:10. They were brushed, cleaned, and in bed by 9:30, and lights out immediately. Both boys didn't take long to fall asleep.

2010-06-22 22:36 (Kristen) The boys slept in this morning, likely because it was overcast and not bright, hot, and sunny. We had a bit of a slow start, and Jamie once again was late getting out the door with Ross. We're working on improving his time, which includes my getting breakfast on the table earlier. Liam and I went to Hakobune in the pouring rain, and he seemed to have a good time there. We came home in the pouring rain too, and stayed inside as much as we could for the rest of the afternoon. Gary picked up Jamie, and played Pictureka! with Jamie and Liam for a bit afterwards while I cleaned. I told Jamie and Liam , after they kept asking me to play with them, that I couldn't spend time with them if they made messes and made me clean them up; if they helped me clean, I'd have more time to play with them. That approach bombed... John's mom came over to do homework with Jamie for an hour, and it seemed to go well. Liam, in the meantime, played with Chelsea for an hour. It worked out. Dinner was pretty simple, with tamago-no-gohan, broccoli, and peas. The boys ate a good deal of all three items, which was nice. Then it was homework with Jamie (he clocked in at less than two minutes for both math sheets), and some Avatar repeats. The boys played with Gary for a bit, then had a shower before a story and bed. All in all, a good day.

2010-06-23 23:26 (Kristen) I realized last night that I had Jamie's class trip to Centre Island and Liam's kindergarten orientation on the same day. Whoops. I finally decided to take Liam to his orientation and then to meet up with the class on the Island, and Jamie seemed all right with that compromise. Jamie went off to school with Ross, and I took Liam to Jackman for 10:00. Turns out we were half an hour early, but that was all right as Liam had time to play in the kindergarten playground. He was very excited when it was time to go in, and sat (mostly) politely through the talking part of the orientation. He liked drawing a picture, which his teacher will save for the end of the JK year, and loved the toy kitchen in the classroom. I had some trouble, actually, getting him out of there. I hope that this is a good sign. His teacher seems lovely, and looks like she can have fun while still maintaining some sort of order. I like that. Liam and I walked to the subway, took the streetcar to the ferry, then waited for 20 minutes, as we'd just missed it. Once we got to the island, we found some of Jamie's classmates at the maze. Jamie and his group arrived about twenty minutes after, and Jamie was very happy to see us. Liam was happy to see Jamie. They played in the maze for quite some time, then ran in the lawn sprinklers to cool off, as they were all remarkably sweaty. The kids had spent the day running around the Island, using maps to figure out where things were. One parent figured that the kids walked about 3 k. I was glad that we had already decided not to go to judo tonight, as that would have been a bad idea. The kids were exhausted by the time we got back to our neighbourhood, just before 3:30. I took the kids and split off from the main pack at the subway, and walked to the Second Cup for some treats. It later turned out that Jamie, who was a ball of perpetual energy, had not eaten his lunch. When asked why, he told me he didn't know. But it did explain why he was so hungry. We were joined by his classmate Kieran and Kieran's mom, and we walked all the way to Broadview and up that street to home. We'd missed Chelsea and Dylan, because I screwed up the time, and Jamie and Liam were very sad about it (as was I). Liam, in particular, loves Chelsea. They'll be here tomorrow, which will be good. It was a very quiet evening, and I put the boys to bed early. They were both asleep before 9, in fact, which was completely trippy.

2010-06-24 23:39 (Kristen) Today was all about John's return. Jamie was excited about it when he left for school, and Liam was excited too when I reminded him after picking him up at Hakobune. We went to get Jamie right after school so that Jamie could finish his homework before John got home around 8:00: it mostly worked. Both kids had woken up with the sun (ugh), and after their tiring day the day before, they were both pretty tired. We also went to have dinner with Tom, Michelle, Ross, and Daniel before they went off to Ross's graduation ceremony from grade 6. John came home around 8:15, and the boys were delighted. John had fun with Jamie for a moment when he claimed, in response to Jamie's query about any presents, that he'd forgotten them! Oh no! It was, of course, a complete joke, and they were showered with an amazing array of toys, books, stationary supplies, and clothes from Tokyo. Their dad sure can shop. They spent some time playing with the Anpanman set for Liam, with its little Anpanman car, Baikinman robot, and other bits, then came upstairs for their bath and bed. It was hard to calm them down, which wasn't surprising.

2010-06-25 22:59 (Kristen) The boys are delighted to have John home, and are sticking to him like glue. John, for his part, is equally happy to have the boys with him but is a lot more tired than they are. Ross and Jamie went to school together for what will likely be the last time, as the responsibility for getting Jamie to school safely has worn poor Ross down. He takes his responsibility very seriously. In the meantime, John and I took Liam to Hakobune by subway. He was in a sunny mood, and happy to go in. I did some errands in the neighbourhood, and found some Avatar "cine-comics" (comics with stills from the animated series) for Jamie, and some Pokemon manga. I also (finally) got a new bike lock for him. I ran back to get Liam, and we set off home to find Papa (and we did, at Bay Station). Liam was beside himself with the thought of playing the new Doraemon game that John brought back from Japan for the Wii. He got John to play with him a bit, and then we went off to get Jamie.

It was report card day, so John, Liam, and I went to pick Jamie up and to see what Jamie's new class assignment would be for next year. Jamie's report card was, of course, wonderful, but there was no class assignment for a number of reasons laid out in a letter to parents. It seems that we'll find out in September, based on whether the school gets the extra teacher they've applied for. We're not entirely happy about it, but we'll see what happens. In the meantime, Jamie nad Liam had fun playing while parents dissected the letter, and had a good time. We went home so that Jamie could finish his Japanese homework, then to Browning for dinner. We went home a little early so that Jamie nad Liam could go to bed and have a good night's sleep before a big day tomorrow.

2010-06-26 23:45 (Kristen) We all got up in time to take Jamie to school, and then John, Liam, and I went to get some groceries before going back to Nisshu to watch the class perform a "kamishibai," which is a Japanese traditional method of storytelling. The class did very well, and Jamie was happy that we were there. He went off with his class for an hour for the grade 8 graduation ceremony, and John had a nap while Liam and I hung out in the hallway with our books and DS (it was pouring rain outside). Jamie came back and was released with his class. We got to see Jamie's Japanese school report card and final kanji test, both of which were (again) excellent. We're really very proud of how well Jamie has done this year, with all the extra work he's had to do. At the beginning of the year, he was very hesitant to read. Now he can read at a grade three level! The difference a year can make... We headed to McDonalds for the usual post-school romp in the indoor playground, then headed home. It was a quiet evening, with leftovers of various types for dinner, and more Doraemon Wii.

2010-06-27 23:49 (Kristen) The boys continue to get up early, which is rather hard on me. John, however, is waking up very early in the morning, thanks to his jet lag, and is spending time with them. John ordered Jamie to stay in his pajamas until noon and to do no work at all, and then asked him if he would enjoy it as much if he was *told* to do it. Jamie just laughed. Of course. The boys and John played an enormous amount of Doraemon, and then Jamie decided that he'd like to see The Karate Kid at the movies. We had lunch and made it to the 3:00 show, which was a little long for Liam, particularly since the charge on his DS ran out about 45 minutes before the end of the movie. Jamie, however, loved it. I thought it was a little violent, and Liam was disturbed by some of the violence too, but Jamie was full of questions about kung fu, and loved the gorgeous moves. He asked if he could learn kung fu, and I explained to him that, after consulting with Uncle Badger (who is, of course, a martial arts instructor), that we'd decided that judo was the best thing for him at this age. However, if he wants to learn kung fu after he gets good at judo, I said that I would find a good school for him. I was also, likely, a bit of a pedant about the proper use of martial arts, but I think that my kids expect that from me. Didactic Mom, that's me. We arrived home, full of popcorn and candy, and wondering what was for dinner (it was 6:10). Fortunately, we were saved by Michelle and Tom calling to see if we wanted to have dinner with them. Saved! We did, and had a great time, and the kids were happy and tired when it was time to go home to bed.

2010-06-28 23:56 (Kristen) Jamie came into bed with us around 2:00, and gave a rather disturbing burp as he did so. "Are you sick?" I asked, and Jamie replied that he was not. An hour later, John had moved to Jamie's bed because he was too hot, and Jamie was telling me that he needed to throw up. And, after we made it to the bathroom, he did. He did again at 4:00, and that seems to have been that. We let him stay home from school, of course, and John let me sleep in again. Liam was up around 7:00, eager to play Doraemon, which is easily his new obsession. Jamie can read most of the kanji in the game, as it contains first, second, and third grade kanji, and John's been teaching him the ones that he doesn't know that appear in the game. It makes it useful that Liam has two people who can tell him what's going on in the game, because I sure don't. It was a quiet morning, but Jamie was showing signs of a full recovery from the night's events. He was hungry, and ate some rice gruel with veggies successfully. Liam and I went for lunch at Browning, where Gary and Ayami played a good deal with him. John went for a nap when we got home, and we played board games before watching a little more television. Jamie and Liam have really enjoyed playing with the toys that John bought together, and it's been really nice seeing them play together so much. It will make the summer much easier for me... Eventually it was time to go to Browning to cook dinner, and Jamie ate not too badly, while Liam was clearly off his meal. I'm a little concerned... They both played crazily, full out, until it was time to go home, and then had a bath and some calming down time before bed. They were asleep pretty quickly.

2010-06-29 23:56 (Kristen) Jamie was fine this morning, and so we sent him off to school. John took Liam in to Hakobune, which was great as I had a morning to work at home. I have a deadline, so the housework has been utterly ignored, but a good deal of it consists of toys that the boys have been playing with lately. I'm happy (more than happy) that they're playing with them, but now that they are, they have to start cleaning them up... Liam got home with John around 2, and we went to Jamie's school to see if a class party was still going on. It was over, but we handed over a teacher present to his teacher, and headed back home. Liam got to ride his bike, so it was all good. We went back at 3:30 to pick him up, and it was the usual mad "last long play after school before the vast gulf of summer vacation". We stayed for a long time, had one last ice cream from the ice cream truck, and headed home for a simple dinner. It was pretty unexciting around here, and we headed off to bed.

2010-06-30 23:56 (Kristen) Today was a little overscheduled, but not on purpose... We took Ross and Daniel to the Coffee Mill for lunch, which has been the end of school tradition for the last 13 years, which is how long Daniel has been in school. We mused that next year will be the only year that Daniel, Ross, Jamie, and Liam will all be in school at the same time. Daniel graduates after that, and we'll only have three school-aged children left. After lunch, John, Liam, Jamie and I went off to a church in the Annex, which has a children's singalong play group for Japanese kids and their parents. Jamie and Liam understood everything (I didn't) but we all had a great time. Jamie put up with it, he says, because it was too young for him, but he was the one who got up to dress as a ninja for the ninja song, so we can take his statement at face value or not. We'll go back next week for the last class before summer. After the class, I had an opthomologist's appointment, so John looked after the boys while I sat in the doctor's office for almost two hours with drops in my eyes. I came home, made dinner, and then we all headed off to Jamie's judo class to see him receive his yellow stripe belt. We're all very proud, and Jamie is very very happy with it. We're going to take him to judo more often over the summer, as he won't have to be in school and so miss judo classes. We had timbits and came home, and went to bed.

2010-07-01 23:56 (Kristen) We didn't really *do* much today, despite it being Canada Day. We celebrated by staying in our pajamas until mid afternoon, and the boys did a bit of this and a bit of that throughout the house while I worked downstairs and John worked upstairs. Jamie claimed that he was bored a few times, but got no satisfaction and seems to have solved the problem as I heard no more of it. At one point, Liam was sitting quietly by himself, looking at a book of nursery rhymes, and singing a little song to himself: "Bees, bees, for a hundred days. Bees, bees, for a hundred days." He kept the tune, slowly slowed down, and ended almost plaintively, sadly: "The end." It was amazingly cute. In the evening, our friends Peter, Leslie, and Simon came over, and we went to the school to look for fireworks. Luckily Peter and Leslie had brought some, because otherwise there would have been no fireworks! The kids had a great time running with sparklers, and more kids showed up when they heard the fireworks. We left at 9:30, and put two tired boys to bed in anticipation of the big outing to Centre Island tomorrow.

2010-07-02 23:21 (Kristen) Today was the big Posse outing to Centre Island to celebrate the end of school. We went with the families of Jamie's friends Charlie, Sam, Evan, and Jake, and it's easy to say that the kids had a marvelous time. We started out early, with Ross in tow, but missed the 9:45 ferry by mere minutes (wave 'bye' to the ferry...). Three of the families were on the ferry we missed, and so we waited for half an hour in a large crowd for the next one, keeping an eye out for the fourth family. We made it to the island, and both boys had their bikes to make it easier to get them to Centreville, the children's amusement part that was our ultimate destination. We decided to get a family pass this year, as the boys are old enough to ride on more things. In fact, Jamie is the perfect age and size for Centreville, as he is just tall enough to ride the big rides, and just short enough to ride all the little ones. And ride them he did: at least three tiems on the Scrambler, and multiple times on the roller coaster. Liam and I did the little cars on a track, the ferris wheel (guess who isn't afraid of heights!), the roller coaster twice, and others. I made him go on the whirling teacups by himself, because just looking at it made me want to throw up, but he was happy enough on it. Neither of the boys seems to have my pathetic inner ear, which is just fine by me. We all had a picnic potluck lunch by the water, and the kids had a marvelous time feeding the half-grown ducklings parts of their sandwiches. Then it was back into Centreville for more rides, and finally back home. Dinner was at Browning, and both boys were blitheringly tired. In fact, both Jamie and Liam almost fell asleep on the ferry, and were a little crusty about being awake for a little bit.

2010-07-03 23:30 (Kristen) Today marked a change in routine, as I now have a part-time job working at Bakka-Phoenix, the science fiction bookstore, for a few hours on Saturdays. This is the first time I've worked outside the house since before Jamie was born, so it was rather exciting for me. I made breakfast for the boys, got their clothes out, and gave them kisses and hugs goodbye before heading out to work at 10:15. John took the boys with him to the market, which sounds like it went well, and then they went to Starbucks for fancy drinks. I'm not sure whose idea it was to go to a movie, but I got a phone call from John asking if it was all right if they all went to see Toy Story 3. I said it was, and off they went to the movies for the afternoon. They didn't eat much, John says, but they did very much enjoy the movie. Liam found one part a little scary, but Jamie was fine throughout. John reports that Liam finds the booster seats uncomfortable after 45 minutes, and spent the rest of the movie sitting on John's lap. I met up with them after the movie, and we took the boys home for a bit. Then John and I both went out to celebrate our anniversary (John had been explaining it to them, as I was met with a series of "mom and dad facts" for confirmation from Jamie when I got into the car). Tom and Michelle fed and looked after the boys, and Tom put them to bed. He reports no fuss, and that it all went very smoothly. It was a long, fun day, and I'm glad that the boys had such a nice time together on my first day at work.

2010-07-04 23:38 (Kristen) Today was the last all-day pajama day for a little while, as we mean to get into our summer routine tomorrow. Today, however, we lounged around a good deal before doing some housework/cleaning (Jamie and I got the living room and dining room cleaned up; Liam is unclear on the concept of helping to clean up and we'll be working on this). Eventually, however, Jamie got bored and wanted a play date. No one was around, but his friend Isabel was at the pool, so Jamie got John to take him and Liam to the pool. Apparently this was the right thing to do; while they missed Isabel (who was leaving as they were arriving), another four of Jamie's classmates were still in the pool. Jamie spent a good deal of time playing with them, but Liam spent the almost two hours they were there practicing his swimming. John reports that he was markedly better by the end than he was a the beginning. Yay, Liam! They all came home for dinner, and it was a quiet evening until bedtime arrived.

2010-07-05 23:41 (Kristen) Liam is going to be at Hakobune every day this week to make up for some days he'll be missing later in the month and next month. John took him in, as he had to be downtown anyway, and Jamie and I stayed home. Jamie watched television while I had breakfast, but was warned that when I was done that we would be doing some homework to keep him sharp over the summer. He was surprisingly pro forma about his protests, and was happy enough to come to the table to do work with me. I taught him the basics of multiplication (that 5 x 5 is more efficient than writing 5+5+5+5+5), explaining that doing a bunch of addition questions where you add the same number together was like what the Karate Kid had to do: putting your jacket on and taking it off had a purpose. Adding those numbers together had a purpose: it told him what 5 x 5 is shorthand for. He really liked it, and is looking forward to learning more multiplication. He also liked reading from a joke book for his reading. Sigh. We went to Browning for lunch, and Gary looked after him (and then Liam) for a bit while I had a work phone call and John and Liam had returned home. We watched some Avatar, then went back to Browning for dinner. John took Jamie to judo after dinner, as judo classes are on Monday and Wednesday nights now. We're trying to get Jamie to more classes in the summer, since we can't during the school year. Jamie had a good class, and was delighted to be the only one right to answer a question from his sensei. He was particularly delighted that it meant that he didn't have to do pushups like the people who were wrong. Jamie was telling us about the Pink Belt, which people who forget their gi belts have to wear. Liam, hearing about a Pink Belt, immediately piped up that he wanted it. Liam does like pink a lot. John and Jamie came back to get Liam and me, and then it was a swift shower and bed.

2010-07-06 23:41 (Kristen) Liam is off to Hakobune all week, so it was John's turn to take Liam and Jamie today. John reportedly spent time teaching Jamie his times tables at a Starbucks while they waited to pick up Liam after Hakobune, so we're keeping the boy occupied mentally. The complaints that he's bored certainly seem to have been kept to a dull roar. Jamie is also playing a lot of a little website called Moshi Monsters, which has just now notified him that he needs to get his parents to pay a monthly or yearly fee if he wants to do more. I did warn him about this, so it wasn't a complete surprise when a) the request for money arrived and b) I said no.

2010-07-07 23:41 (Kristen) John took the boys out to Hakobune again today, which was good. The weather has been utterly miserable, with temperatures approaching 34 C and the humidex making it feel like it's over 40 C outside. We're all hiding inside as much as we can and waiting for Friday, when it's supposed to cool down. John took Jamie to judo again tonight, in our quest to get Jamie some more practice before the end of summer. He complained, and was a little nervous, but had a great class once it started. Apparently he was the only one who didn't have to do pushups, because he was the only one who saw that the partner in the demonstration was actually off balance. Yay, Jamie! He was pretty tickled about that, and sounded enthusiastic about judo when he got home.

2010-07-08 23:41 (Kristen) Jamie was sick again last night, waking up to vomit at 3:00 and two more times after that within the half hour. Once again, he was fine in the morning, with only a slightly tetchy stomach. I have no idea what is going on, other than we have to really remind him to keep his fingers out of his mouth, and so we'll mention it to our doctor next week. In the meantime, I got Jamie to do some more work for me, and it was only after I got him to do a page of double digit addition (no carrying) that I realized that the only problem he might have had was in actually seeing the numbers on the page. He normally does this sort of thing in his head... Liam's accomplishment for the day was to up the number of two-letter words he can read or sound out to 18. He feels pretty good about that, but doesn't want to show it off quite yet. Jamie and I spent most of the day watching season one of Avatar again, which Liam joined in with when he couldn't snipe the television for Super Mario Galaxy 2. The boys also watched a good deal of Doraemon, and Liam is now angling for a Doraemon t-shirt. He gets these ideas...

2010-07-09 23:41 (Kristen) John took Jamie to assist in a judo demonstration for the day camp kids at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, while I took Liam to Hakobune. It was pouring this morning, which was pretty delightful, really, after the horrible, steamy weather we've been having. Liam reported that he had lots and lots and lots (etc.) of fun at Hakobune, which was great. In the meantime, John and Jamie's experience with the demonstration was a good one, and Jamie got to show off some of his new throwing techniques. He did one, and a parent/teacher commented to John that Jamie did it very well, and that it takes a lot of time and practice to get it right. John took some pleasure in telling the man that Jamie learned it on Wednesday. Yay, Jamie! Jamie also got to be an assistant to the sensei, which he also completely enjoyed. This is all to the good, in helping him to stay focused on judo and to become better at it. Afterwards, John, Jamie, and I went out for lunch at a new Japanese ramen place on Spadina, which had Jamie in raptures because he loves ramen. We got Liam, came home, and the kids played while the adults worked. More Doraemon, more video games, not a lot of boredome. Jamie kept Liam in stitches in the car on the way home from Hakobune, which was funny in that Liam's laugh is infection, and it's lovely to see the boys playing together like that. Little brothers make the perfect audiences.

2010-07-10 22:48 (Kristen) It was a slightly overscheduled day. I went to work at the bookstore, after getting the boys fed and dressed, and John took them to the St. Lawrence Market for Saturday shopping. He then took them to the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre for a summer festival, in which people gather to eat ice and drink cold things, and to commiserate about how hot it is during the summer. They weren't there for long, which was probably a good thing, as it was genuinely hot out and the festival was being held in the parking lot of the centre. I met up with them at the subway station, along with John's friend Daniella, and we all drove up to Aurora. John's friend Brian lives there, and some other high school friends were converging for a small get-together and pool party. While crowding three events into a day seemed a bit much, the boys enjoyed the pool, and Brian's daughter is only a few months older than Liam. She had lots of toy food, a little ball tent, and other things that keep a Liam happy. Jamie and Liam enjoyed swimming, and John actually talked Jamie into ducking his head under the water for three seconds. Liam insisted on jumping into the pool (we talked him off the diving board), and was not entirely pleased when the water went into his mouth and up his nose. He took it well, however, and enjoyed splashing and swimming. We think that he's ready for water wings, as he's really coming along with his swimming, and can actually do a version of the dog paddle. We finally left around 10:30, and the boys were asleep almost instantly.

2010-07-11 22:57 (Kristen) It was to be a make-up Father's Day today, as John was in Bangkok when the regularly scheduled one occurred. The boys made him cards, and we all cleaned up the house, because that was what would make their father happy. Well, Liam didn't help much, but he's not much into cleaning. This will change. At least, it had better. In the afternoon, we went to see Despicable Me (Liam's choice, but a good father-themed movie), which was very enjoyable for all of us. We went to Browning to cook dinner, as we've moved Monday dinners to Sundays for the summer, so that Jamie can go to judo on Monday nights. Simon and his parents were there too, and Liam enjoyed playing with Simon and even shared Tom with Simon. He won't clean, but he will share. Jamie ran all over, being Jamie. They were both pretty tired after last night's late night, so it was a quick night getting ready for bed and lights out.

2010-07-12 23:08 (Kristen) John took the boys in to Hakobune this morning, and it sounds like it was a fine time all around. Liam reported that he had his usual "lots of fun" and Jamie sounds like he had a good time (despite protests at the start) sitting in Starbucks with John and doing some homework. (John: one of the high points of my day was when the boys reunited after Hakobune, they were exuberantly rambunctious the entire way home.) He also took his laptop with him (our old one), and is acting more and more like a senior than a junior Chew in that respect. I make him carry his own, because I have enough to carry on my own. He also had books, drawing materials, and a DS. I had no worries. We went to see Dr. Kennedy in the afternoon because I had some questions, and everyone seems to be fine enough. I had some blood drawn, which concerned Liam a little as he saw the bandage, but he seemed to accept my explanation of a needle and asked for another Jolly Rancher gummy. In the evening, we all went to judo to watch Jamie. Liam had been asking to go and had been put out that he hadn't gone last week. He was delighted to get his usual treats and to drag John around the JCCC. Jamie, in the meantime, had a killer class. He stayed for the whole two hours for the first time, and found that the last half hour he'd been missing was when they do sparring. Jamie sparred with a yellow belt, an orange/yellow stripe, and an orange belt, and managed to defeat each one. John was beside himself with pride, as he said that he could see Jamie thinking very hard about each opponent, and about what he needed to do to defeat each, and saw Jamie then put that thought into practice, defeating his opponent. He was a measurably better fighter every five minutes. (John: it was much like watching Jamie play the video game Soul Calibur with a new character.) Jamie, himself, was completely soaked with sweat when he got out of the dojo, and utterly elated with the experience. Yay, Jamie! Liam, on the other hand, managed to give himself an enormous bruise on his right cheek after falling and hitting himself on a large wooden bench. I took him out to the car and held ice on it for a while, and he was better after twenty minutes or so. The mark is pretty large, however, and will be a conversation starter for a few days. Poor lamb. We made it home without further incident, showered the boys, and put them to bed.

2010-07-13 23:14 (Kristen) Liam woke up a few times last night, scratching his head and complaining in his half-sleep. I had suspected head lice once or twice, but had checked and found nothing. Turns out I just didn't know what to look for. I, myself, had been suffering from what I thought was head rash on the back of my neck and my shoulders: no. It's head lice, and we all have it. I have spent the day washing and vacuuming *everything*: carpets, furniture, stuffed animals. I have washed and combed myself and the rest of my family. We are unhappy, but very very clean. I console myself with the knowledge that head lice visit people who are clean just as much as they will anyone else. And then I get the last load out of the washing machine and hang it on the line while the next load washes.

This means that we will not be visiting anyone, or going to daycare, for the next few days. Jamie is going to miss judo tomorrow, but hopefully will be able to go on Friday. Liam was at Hakobune this morning, and had a good time, which was nice. Jamie went to an indoor playground with John, along with his friends Sam, Parker, Evan, and a few others. Another one of Jamie's friends was due to join them, but didn't come because he has...head lice. Clearly, a hazard of being of school age and social. John played with the boys and kept them happy while I roared around in a state of highly tuned stress, and helped to wash, bathe, delouse, and put the boys to bed. We can't lie down with them, of course, which cased some stress, but they've been pretty understanding.

2010-07-14 23:24 (Kristen) It was not a pleasant night last night, for me, and so I was a little crabby and stressed throughout the day. John is better than I am at keeping an even keep with the boys, and with playing with them. We gave them (and us) another round of tea tree oil and tea tree shampoo, which the boys did not like (it is smelly), but it was over with soon enough. Then it was a quiet day at home. I cleaned and did more laundry, while the boys watched an unhealthy amount of television. There was some Avatar in the evening, and a number of complaints that someone was bored. Tomorrow will have to be better.

2010-07-15 23:28 (Kristen) I found very few traces of lice in the boys' hair today, for which I am very grateful. I'm combing their hair twice a day, which they aren't fond of, but they understand that the bugs are worse. John got Jamie to do some Japanese homework in the morning, and I got him to do some math and English in the afternoon. He's having some trouble with dictionary headwords (which words appear between the first and last words on a dictionary page), but we'll continue to work at it. It's clear that he knows all the things he should know in order to do the work, but there's some sort of conceptual blockage I have to figure out how to explain past. It'll come. In the meantime, the kids tried to watch too much television again, but ended up making crafts out of origami paper and tape by the end of the day. Spontaneous craft making is good. We had dinner, watched some Avatar (including the first episode with John, since he's late to the Avatar party in the house). Gary and Ayami gave the boys an Avatar calendar, and Liam is obsessively looking at the pictures, deciding that he should be Prince Zuko, but Good Prince Zuko. He's bending all sorts of stuff, like carrots ("A carrot-bender!") and other non-canon items. It's fun to have a show that we can all share. I'm thinking about trying them out on the Muppet Show next. We went to the Dairy Queen with Daniel and Ross, and took along Jamie's classmate Bianca and her mom when we saw them on our way. The kids had a great time, and Bianca calls Jamie "James" when she wants to get his attention: hilarious. We came home and went to bed, after one more thorough combing.

2010-07-16 24:29 (Kristen) We're getting a little stir crazy, here. John went out to run a Scrabble tournament for the day, and the boys and I stayed back. I put them in front of a movie (Kung Fu Panda) for the morning while I got a project off my desk, and no one suffered too much. I did make Jamie do some more work with me in the afternoon, because he would just watch television all day if he could. Liam quietly went about his business, which involved a lot of Doraemon Vii. Since it's in Japanese, it's harder for me to say no. And, because he's Liam, he's quiet about doing what he wants. He reveals himself, however, when he starts talking to the television and laughing manaiaclly at whatever is amusing him. He trash talks at the game...we'll be working on this. In the evening, it was just me and Liam at home while John took a sufficiently de-loused Jamie off to judo. It was a great thing for Jamie, who really needed the exercise, and it helped him to fall asleep very quickly. Liam: not so much with the falling asleep quickly.

2010-07-17 23:28 (Kristen) Once again it was a ridiculously busy Saturday here at the Chew household. It was made somewhat easier by the fact that I didn't go to work today, and instead John went to the market early to pick up food for Monday dinner without the kids. After he got home, however, we packed them up and went to J-Town, a little Japanese shopping area in Markham, to buy Japanese bento lunches. Then it was a hop and a skip over to a nearby park where some of Jamie's Nisshu classmates were with their parents. It was an effort to get to know each other better and to build cohesion within the group so that we can better help our children to be educated in Japanese in the fall. The kids had a great time running about, eating food, and generally having a good time. There were two enormous rainshowers, but we were under a large pagoda-like structure, and didn't get very wet. We had brought the kids' bikes, but Liam and Maki-chan ran into each other, with a cut leg and bruising (Liam was bruised), and so the kids moved on to various ball games with Maki-chan's dad. Afterwards, we went back to J-Town for some groceries, and Jamie continued to play with some of his classmates. He cut a corner a little too sharply, however, and scraped his cheek pretty badly on the brick corner of a wall. That was the end of that, and we popped the kids into the car to come home. Jamie's friend Isabelle, however, called to invite him over to get wet with water guns, eat pizza, and watch Up, which was impossible to refuse. We dropped him off, went home, rested, ate some more food from J-Town, then went to get Jamie and Isabelle for some park time. The kids had a great time, and after we dropped Isabelle off, went home and crashed into sleep.

2010-07-18 23:28 (Kristen) It was Movie Sunday, and it was finally time to see The Last Airbender. Jamie and Liam and I love the television series, but John hasn't seen it. John was the only one who thought the movie was all right: the rest of us did not like it. Jamie didn't like all the changes in the story line, and we didn't like the way the element bending was portrayed. However, it was fun seeing a sky bison fly, so it wasn't all bad. Afterwards, we took John home and made him watch three episodes of the television series, which he agreed was much better. That's good, because we're rewatching Season 1 with him and are looking forward to him watching the rest of the series with us. Because, really, if you don't watch the series, then the hilarity of Liam's claim to be a carrot bender really doesn't sink in far enough.

2010-07-19 23:28 (Kristen) We're starting to get back to normal. John took Liam to Hakobune, and I kept Jamie at home. I did take him out for a walk down to the Big Carrot and the bookstore, with a five-minute pit stop at the school playground. We ate lunch at Browning, then went home to do some homework before John and Liam got home. We hung out in the afternoon, and then went to Browning for dinner. We had to finish early so that John and Jamie could go off to judo. Jamie's really enjoying it now, and so I understood he was setting me up when he asked me "Do I have to stay for the last half hour?" (an old complaint) Not being dense, I said "Yes, you do." His response was "Yay! I love staying for the last half hour!" They do sparring then, naturally. Liam had fun playing with Tom and watching Pokemon videos with Ross, and eating Michelle's apple-cinnamon muffins. He has come to expect them when we go over, and so poor Michelle has to make sure some are around or Liam comes looking for he, asking *why* there are no muffins? He knows what he wants. John and Jamie came to get us, and then it was home for a shower and for bed.

2010-07-20 23:28 (Kristen) Jamie threw up again last night, and so we took him to see our family doctor. She thinks that the tenderness and occasional stomach complaint could be a number of things, but we are to give him something bland to eat before bed and see if that helps. We'll see what happens.

(John) Liam is enjoying his new Anpanman workbook for ages 2-4. There are a few pages where he gets a little sticker for correctly naming each object in Japanese, and a big sticker for completing a set, and it took a lot of argument to get him to stop after four pages. Which is amusing and a little frustrating too, because there are a lot of times and situations where he flat out refuses to speak Japanese, despite clearly having the necessary vocabulary. Not only that, but he can read too. He first identified a pair of socks as sokksu, but when I told him he had to use the word printed next to the picture, he had no trouble making out kutsushita (literally, "under-shoes"). He has a few hiragana he's not sure of: ma sometimes comes out as na, and mo as ma, but he's working on it all the time with his collection of alphabet primers.

(Kristen) The boys were exhausted and hungry after we left the doctor's office (it was around 6:30), and so we drove to T&T to get some dinner and groceries at the same time. Jamie and Liam were crazy children, eating their food quickly but also being loud and running around a lot. I was just about to take them and put them in the car to wait for John, and John says that I was looking a little ragged. When we got home, we had to do the second application of the tea tree oil to get rid of the lice, and both boys hate that. I really really hope that this works, and that the damn things are gone for good. Please please please. As I explained to Jamie as I was going over his scalp with a fine tooth comb for the third time, if I leave just one egg or baby louse behind, we'll have to go through this all over again. He seemed to get it, but I really really hope that days like this are going to be few and far between...

2010-07-21 23:33 (Kristen) Today was the big Wasega Beach trip. Every summer, we go up to Wasega with the Sagara clan, and spend the day eating, swimming in the shallows of Georgian Bay, and playing. The boys were excited to go, and we got on the road only 45 minutes later than planned. You may scoff, but this is excellent time for us. The trip was uneventful and marked by the usual stop for Starbucks in Barrie. I made a new CD for the car (I was getting tired of the old one) and the boys were enjoying it. I rather liked pulling into the parking lot at the beach with the radio blaring "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys; it set the tone for the day. Jamie and Liam dragged Tom, John, Daniel, and Ross into the water at various points, and helped John to build the traditional sand (mud?) castle at the waterline (Wasega's sand is very heavy and close to mud). The boys ate well; even Liam, who has been somewhat anti-food lately, to the detriment of his temper and our nerves, as he really gets crabby when he hasn't eaten. Also, he's been pitching rather loud fits lately whenever he is tired and stymied. It's a phase, I tell myself, but John and I are not enjoying it much. Liam was crazy to have a cheezie, and I got him to eat by promising him a cheezie at the end of his meal. It worked, and that's all that matters. As the long, warm, lovely day wore to a close, we knew that the boys were having a great time because Jamie (who had been nervous about missing a judo class) decided that he'd like to stay and not go to judo. When it was time to pack up, the boys all fed the rest of the hotdog buns to the seagulls, which was an interesting chance to observe flock feeding habits and the differences in the aggression levels of brown and white gulls. Liam and Jamie turned into seagulls after the feeding was over, and "ate" Daniel and Ross as they were magically turned into pieces of bread. It was fun. The trip back was, again, uneventful, with the new trip CD lasting as long as it took to get home plus a repeat of one song.

2010-07-22 23:28 (Kristen) It was back to Hakobune for Liam, while Jamie went off and had a whole day playdate with his friend Liam S (to differentiate him from Liam W.). It sounds like Jamie had a great time and that both boys got along very well. Liam, in the meantime, hung out with me after Hakobune, and we stayed inside in the air conditioning to avoid the muggy heat outside. He had "lots [x10] and lots of fun" at Hakobune once again. I'm really happy that he's enjoying himself so much lately. He likes playing with a boy named Rowan, and of course still plays with Oscar. It's nice to see him being social with his peer group. The afternoon was pretty mellow, Jamie and Liam did some more homework with John, and we watched Avatar in the evening after a meal of Chinese steamed buns and fried rice.

2010-07-23 23:28 (Kristen) I took Liam in to Hakobune in the morning, while Jamie and John went off to help out in the judo demonstration at Kamp Kodomo in the morning. John reports that the only other assistant was a green belt, so Jamie's help was much appreciated. We all had ramen at the Japanese ramen place again, and Jamie was almost past his best before date before the food came: the demo must have used up all his resources, as he was tired and low blood sugar boy. We picked up Liam, who helped us to finish off our bubble teas, and arrived home in time to avoid going outside again into the heavy, muggy heat. Jamie wanted to go to judo again in the evening, so John took Jamie, Liam, Daniel, and Ross to judo. There was no sparring this evening unfortunately, as that was what Daniel wanted to see, but Sensei Takashima wasn't at the dojo so it seems that there was no sparring when he isn't around. Either that or the other sensei was just evil in making them work on form for 45 minutes. I wasn't home when the boys got back, as I was off with the mothers of some of Jamie's classmates for a rare night on the town. John reports that he alternated between Jamie and Liam's beds every ten minutes until Liam got irritated and decided that if I wasn't here, he didn't want to sleep with anyone else and kicked John out. He fell asleep on his own, which happened earlier this week too. Interesting, but I'm unsure if I should make any more of it than that.

2010-07-24 23:51 (Kristen) I was off to work this morning, but fed and partially clothed the boys before I left. John was very tired, but took the boys with him to the St. Lawrence Market to do some shopping. He reports that Liam both refused to eat much and melted down a number of times (with piercing screams). He, in fact, lost three priviledges as a consquence of not behaving, which led to more ear-shattering sadness. Sigh. He's so stubborn... The boys spent a lot of time playing in a playground near to the market with two Iranian children (who asked if John was Iranian too). Only the increasingly heavy rain parted them from each other. John took the boys to the Eaton Centre to buy a new battery for Jamie's laptop, and then came to Queen St. Liam needed to pee, so we had a pee break, then headed home. We had an early dinner and snacks, and a bunch of Avatar episodes, but the boys were starting to show signs of exhausted and less socially acceptable behaviour by the time of the last episode. It was up to the bath, where Liam melted down again with demands to go straight to bed. The boys got to watch a Youtube video of their current favourite song, a Japanese song called "Ryuuju no Dengon", and had two short story books before lights out. Liam, unusually, fell asleep before Jamie, and it was only 9:40.

2010-07-25 20:18 (Kristen) Ted, Alice, Amy, and Ian came into town today, so we knew what we were doing for dinner, more or less. Before then, the boys hung out around the house until we eventually got them on their bikes and took them to the splash pad at Withrow Park. The fun thing was that it was the first time we had all, as a family, been out on our bikes together. John declared us "Team Bicycle," which Liam heartily approved of. The boys splashed at the pad, and then changed their clothes to go to the Silk Road Cafe for dinner. It was fun, and the boys ate a great deal of chicken and broccoli and my mu shu pork. Then it was the return of Team Bicycle as we pedaled or pushed our way home, and to bath and bed.

2010-07-26 23:51 (Kristen) Today's stress came when John went to play Super Mario Galaxy 2 with Liam and they found that the Wii was not working. Boo! On the plus side, Jamie had a good first day at his new daycamp, and Jamie and I biked there together as it is in the neighbourhood. Liam continues to have "lots and lots and lots and lots...(repeat many time)...of fun" at Hakobune. We had dinner at Browning, and Liam enjoyed playing with Gary and Tom while John and Jamie were at judo. When Jamie and John got back, we all had birthday cake for Ayami, which was a high point of the day, and a good point to end on.

2010-07-27 23:51 (Kristen) Jamie and I biked to day camp together again today, which is a fun way to start the day for both of us. Today they were supposed to go to the splash pad at Withrow, which is a great idea, given the hot, humid, sweltery weather we're having. John took Liam to Hakobune, which Liam enjoyed, and brought him home again. I picked up Jamie at day camp, and came home to cool off. Afterwards, John took them to the grocery store, where they pigged out on sushi and other delights before coming home to a small meal. Things were a little on the late side by then, and so John did some homework with the boys before watching some Avatar with us before bed.

John notes the latest Liam quotes of the day: "Where are the destructions (=instructions, or lyrics) for the Kiki song?" and "I dekita'd it!", an interesting mashup of Japanese and English, meaning "I did it!" John also notes that it is very hard to correct "destructions", since it is so cute.

2010-07-28 23:51 (Kristen) John had some meetings today, so I took Jamie to day came, biked home, and picked up Liam and took him to Hakobune. I picked him up again, and brought him home via the Big Carrot. He didn't want to go to the grocery store, but I bribed him with a promise of a visit to Book City, right next door. I bought the boys a book of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales, as John discovered last night, while doing Japanese homework, that Jamie doesn't really know many of the classic fairy tales. We'll try to rectify this. I made dinner, and John drove us up and dropped us off at judo before going off to his next meeting. Jamie did well, and was sharing food with a boy named Nicholas, who is also a blonde, quarter-Japanese yellow stripe. Thank goodness Nicholas is shorter than Jamie, or we'd have trouble telling them apart in the scrum of the dojo. We bussed home, had a bath, then went straight to bed.

2010-07-29 23:51 (Kristen) I took Jamie to daycamp, which was interesting. We take the same route, and Jamie declared that he knew the way without my telling him. He led the way, and made no mistakes as he took me to the community centre his daycamp is at. Then he locked up his own bike, and declared that he could now go to daycamp by himself. I noted that, in fact, I had to sign him in and out of camp, so this wasn't possible, but that I was very proud of him anyway. I volunteered to stay far behind him, and that it was OK for him to ignore me, if he wanted. He laughed, and said that it wasn't necessary. Part of my heart whispered "For now," but I'll take what I can get when I can get it. John drove Liam and me downtown, Liam to Hakobune and me to the downtown to do some shopping and to get my hair cut. It's a lot shorter now, but the boys haven't noticed. Liam did, I suppose, because John picked him up, and then both of them waited while I got my hair finished in the salon. We came home, I picked up Jamie, and then it was some television to zone out by while I made dinner. The boys and I watched Mulan together in the evening, after homework (where Liam started to write down Arabic numerals for the first time), then it was time for bed. Liam was up at 6 am this morning, and took some convincing to fall asleep again before he did, sleeping until almost 9:30. Jamie was up early this morning because he had a big field trip to the Famous People Players Theatre out in the west end, so both boys are crazy tired. I need to get back upstairs to get the boys out of the bath now.

2010-07-30 23:18 (Kristen) John reports that Liam asked him why he (Liam) never gets to go anywhere. We think that he's missed Jamie at camp this week, and I'm thinking that next year we'll send him to city camp, at least, so that he'll not feel left out. He'll get to spend some Grammie and Auntie time in Ottawa while Jamie's at judo camp. however, and I have one or two little outings in mind for him to keep things even. Jamie and I biked into camp this morning, and he asked me to stay behind him and to pretend that I wasn't there so that he could pretend that he was biking into camp by himself. He did a great job, and I told John later that he's really starting to gain some confidence and independence. I attribute this to his recent successes at judo, which is certainly giving him more physical strength as well. This new independence doesn't extend to goodbyes, however, as Jamie takes all his love and affection and gives it to me in one big bomb, taking a running jump at me to hug me with his legs around my waist. Liam's been pretty awesome lately too, insisting on playing a junior version of shogi with John at meals. He gets to make a move if he eats a bite (he's easily bored by eating). It's a basic strategy game, and he's loving it. We had dinner at Browning tonight, and played with Sam, Ben, and Luke on the way over there. They're moving next week, and the boys are going to miss them a lot.

2010-07-31 23:51 (Kristen) When is it not a busy Saturday? I left for work at 10:15, and barely made it in time as the streets were clogged with people going to Caribana. John took the boys to the market for a quick shop, as we won't need much this week. Then they came home and packed up to go to a pool party at the home of a high school classmate of John's in Guelph. They arrived around three, and John says that the boys spent most of the day in the pool, playing MarioKart, and playing. Apparently there was an air hockey table, which was a great cause for delight. They ate hamburgers and had a good time, and then Liam melted down quite spectacularly at 8 when John said it was time to go and not time to play more MarioKart. They were home by 9:15, and the boys split a bowl of tamago no gohan before going up to the bath and then to bed. I'm almost packed for the beach tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to hanging out at the beach with the three of them. Nine hours apart is a long time!

2010-08-01 22:42 (Kristen) We are off to Wasega Beach today, to visit our friends Reid, Luisa, and Ronnie, along with Tom, Daniel, and Ross. We were out of the house around 11:30, after a pit stop at Tai Tai's and a quick stop to drop off a manuscript for me, in time to hit all the slow traffic to cottage country. We ended up taking the scenic but unclogged route, and arrived around 2. We had lunch then headed to the beach, which was calling loudly and powerfully to the boys, practically deafening them. The afternoon was spent playing in the lake, which was much colder than last time, and smooth as glass instead of full of waves and surf. The placidity of the lake meant that the boys could lie on top of John, as he floated on an inflatable donut, and they could snuggle on the water. John says that was his favourite part, especially when Liam, as he got off, said "I love you, Papa." For the win. Otherwise, Liam showed his usual disregard for cold and any sort of fear of the water, while Jamie (like me) took much longer to get in. We played and played, then played on the shore, then went in for dinner. Dinner was full of laughter and fun, and the evening was full of games. The boys were asleep around 9:30, which wasn't so bad, given the fact that so much fun was still going on outside their bedroom door.

2010-08-02 22:42 (Kristen) Jamie was up at 7: why? O why? He stayed in bed until 7:20, then went out to play his DS. Ross is also an early riser, so he joined Jamie not too long after, and the rest of the house slowly started to wake up. The boys had breakfast, and our friend Jeff Kesner and his daughters Megan and Jennifer arrived for a day at the beach. The rest of the day was spent on the beach once more, with more swimming and playing. By the end of the afternoon, Liam was floating on my chest as we lay in the inflatable donut, and I was reminded that he won't be a baby much longer. It was the closest we've been to him as a baby in a long time, with him curled up on me and my arms curled around him, and he even nearly fell asleep as the waves rocked us. I warned him that I'd dump him into the water if he did, and he smiled as he sat bolt upright, staying awake. Jamie, in the meantime, was practicing judo in the water as the big boys all wrestled and threw each other about in the water. The cry "Oh no! Jamie knows judo!" might have rung out across the water at one point. Jamie was feeling pretty good by the time they all came in, particularly because he'd finally managed to throw Daniel into the water. We ate dinner with everyone again, then went out for ice cream before heading home. The boys fell asleep in the car, and didn't stir as we brought them inside to bed.

2010-08-03 22:42 (Kristen) We all woke up a little late this morning. Liam and I were up around 8:45, and managed to be out of the house a little after 9:30. Jamie and John were stirring around then, and got up not long after. I dropped Liam off at Hakobune, got some work done, then headed back to pick up Chatty Happy Boy. We actually conversed in Japanese for a little bit before I ran out of vocabulary and switched back to mostly English. We came home, and the boys went off and played together for a good long time. They also grabbed Gary and watched Monsters Inc. for a bit while John and I packed for our trips. Dinner was at Mocha Mocha with John's dad, then there was ice cream for dessert from Dairy Queen. The boys were wound up but calmed down with some Avatar before it was time for the bath, and time for bed.

2010-08-04 23:56 (Kristen) We spent the morning getting ready for our two-week trip to Ottawa; cleaning, taking out the garbage, washing the dishes. Well, John and I did: the boys just stayed out of our way, which was not a bad idea. John drove us to the train station, and we got onto the train quickly and easily. John himself is off to Dallas for two weeks, and we are delighted (once again) to have Gary and Ayami to take such good care of our house while we're gone. The boys were very excited to be riding on the train at first, but the excitement soon subsided as the train picked up speed and we left the city behind. I did get them to watch the fields of corn that went by, and to notice the odd farm animal or river, but they spent most of their time playing with their DSes or on their computer. Jamie only asked how much longer until we reached Ottawa or what time we were supposed to arrive eighteen times: after that, I pointed out that his computer has a clock function in the top right-hand corner, and that he should use it. He asked again when we were ten minutes away from the station, and I told him that he had one more time to ask me that question, and did he really want to use it then? He decided to bank it. Grammie and Becky were waiting for us at the station, and they greeted us with huge hugs and kisses. Liam held hands with Grammie all the way to the car, while Jamie and Becky romped there. We went home, met up with Owen and Auntie Jen, and ate a goodly amount of Chinese food. There was Pokemon card playing, cousin wrestling, and all manner of activities to make two small boys very happy. We went to bed a little late, but that was just fine. We were all pretty exhausted.

2010-08-05 24:04 (Kristen) We all slept in this morning, and declared it a pajama day by virtue of our not really bothering to change until after noon. A phone call from Anna, asking to meet us for lunch, finally motivated us to dress and go find her, Becky, and Auntie Jen (Owen, of course, already being with us). We ate, and had fun, and then took the bus down to the mall since the Grammie Car was full and we didn't want to make her take more than one run down the hill. The bus ride was fun, and we then met up with Owen and Becky at the play park there. The kids ran their faces off, joyfully, before we dragged them back to Grammie's house for dinner. Dinner was leftover Chinese food, which was just as good the second night, and Jamie did his homework with no complaining afterwards. I took a photo of it so that John could make any corrections and send them back in the morning: modern long-distance parenting. The boys went to bed a little late, and took a long time to fall asleep. Liam woke himself up twice with coughing, and seems to have a bit of a cold.

2010-08-06 24:11 (Krsiten) Despite our best efforts, it was another pajama morning today. The bulk of the day was taken up by playing with Owen, who has been fabulous with the kids. They've played Pokemon, hide and seek, and a whole lot of stuff that I didn't see. My dad and Liz came over in the afternoon, which was nice, and the boys broke off from watching Kung Fu Panda long enough to say hello and give hugs. Liam was sniffling by the end of the day, and has a runny nose. He was tired enough by 9 that when I brushed his teeth and put him into bed before Jamie he stayed there. Grammie went to talk with him, and he stayed there quietly, falling asleep while the light was still on and we were getting Jamie into bed. Remarkable. Poor lamb. The boys had a good day today, and may actually have had enough Owen time by the end, as hard as it is to believe.

2010-08-07 22:41 (Kristen) It's Saturday, but it's hard to tell. The only way to know for sure is that the YTV schedule has changed somewhat, as the boys (including Owen) are glued to the television. Jamie was up first, as usual, and we had the leisurely sort of morning that we usually have here. Breakfast was eaten, and nothing was done in any particular hurry. The boys played well, and there were very few "I'm bored" comments. Jamie got his homework done, and photos were taken to show his father for corrections and comment. In the afternoon, Grammie and I went to a wool store, and took the boys. They were armed with their DSes, and were very good. Grammie went golfing later in the afternoon, so the three boys and I ordered pizza for dinner. They were delighted with the treat. They watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in the evening, and then went to bed. They're still not having much ease in falling asleep in less than half an hour. We'll have to work on this.

2010-08-08 24:11 (Kristen) Today's big adventure was going out to the house of our friends Badger and Jeanette, who have two sons, Cameron and Nathan, who are good friends to Owen and the boys. The boys always love going to Badger's, and this time was no exception. We took the bus there, as Grammie's car was full, and it was a good chance to test out the bus system before going off to judo tomorrow. Once we arrived, Jamie grabbed Badger right away and did judo with him for about twenty minutes. He demonstrated his holds, throws, and breakfalls, and impressed me by asking Badger if he knew how to do breakfalls before he started to show him throws and such. At first it was funny, because Badger has been doing martial arts for over twenty-five years, but we didn't laugh. Instead we praised him for ensuring the safety of his partner by establishing prior knowledge of techniques. Badger demonstrated his breakfall ability, and they were off. Jamie was delighted, and happy to hear that Badger also thinks that the dojo he's going to tomorrow is a good one. The rest of the afternoon was spent eating Jeanette's wonderful coconut bread, eating bagels and cream cheese, and playing (if you were the boys) Wii games, Imaginex, and other fun games. Eventually it was time to go, and we headed off to Rod Matheson's for dinner. The boys ate well (Jamie had two helpings), but Liam was clearly feeling tired and somewhat fragile. He melted down in the car on the way home and nearly fell asleep, but woke himself up as we approached the house. That three minutes of sleep reenergized him for more meltdown action once we were in the house and trying to get him to sleep. We had the boys in bed at a little after 9, and Liam was asleep by 9:54. Jamie, on the other hand, was still wide awake, unable to sleep. Eventually, I left to get his judo bag ready, and I think that he fell asleep around 10:15 or so. I hope that he's going to be able to get up at 7:00 tomorrow morning. It's going to be hard.

2010-08-09 24:33 (Kristen) Jamie woke up at 6:15 this morning, but claimed not to be excited about going to judo camp today. I had everything ready the night before, so it was just a matter of waking up at 6:55, feeding Jamie (who was already awake), and then heading out to the bus on time. I made the excellent discovery that when you buy a day pass (which I was planning to do anyway), you don't have to pay extra for the express bus. We'll be doing that from now on. We made it to the dojo at a couple of minutes to nine, and Jamie got himself dressed. He met a boy named Samuel who also speaks Japanese (although, of course, they speak English to each other), and was relieved to know that there were going to be first-timers there, necessitating a review of the rules. Excellent. I headed home, after talking with Samuel's mom for a bit, and hung out with Mom, Becky, Owen, Liam, and Anna (who was not feeling well, and was spending time at Grammie's as she recovered). We did some groceries, then I headed back downtown to get Jamie, taking Liam with me. Liam enjoyed the bus ride, and Jamie was in a very good mood when we picked him up. It sounds like he had a great time. We headed back home, taking the express (of course), and had a good dinner. Jamie was exhausted, and had a bit of a headache, but improved after a lot of water and a bit of children's Tylenol. I put him to bed at 9, and he fell asleep right away. Liam took a bit longer, but he was pretty tired out too and was asleep by 10. I know this because it was when my mom woke me up to ask me a question.

2010-08-10 24:40 (Kristen) Jamie was up again at 6:15, but something happened to my alarm so that I wasn't up until 7:27. Jamie has strict orders to wake me up at 7:00 if I'm not up already. It was a much more rushed departure, but we still caught the buses we were supposed to catch and made it to the dojo on time. I went back home, and got the troops fired up for a visit to the Museum of Natural History here in Ottawa. Alice, Ian, and Amy were coming up to Toronto for the day from Kingston, and we decided to all go. We brought Owen, and Jamie was sad to have missed them but understood. Liam loved the museum, looking at all the videos, playing with this and that, including a child-style mockup of a Coast Guard ice breaker, and finally the mammals and the bugs. Liam was exhausted by 2:30, so Mom and Owen took him home while I went off to get Jamie. We were late getting home because somehow Jamie managed to lose a sock. We suspect, since it was in the shoes, that someone scooped it up off the bench beside us when they were leaving. We left an APB for the sock, and I hope that it'll turn up soon. Jamie was exhausted again, which isn't a surprise, and both boys ate a good deal of lasagne and garlic bread for dinner. We watched some Doctor Who with Becky and her boyfriend Ian, Owen and Mom, and then went to bed.

2010-08-11 24:36 (Kristen) We're getting pretty good, Jamie and me, at going out and catching the bus to judo camp with little fuss or mess. Today, the camp had an outing to Westboro Beach in the west end, and I'd agreed long before to go too. I was feeling sniffly and was pretty tired, but I checked out the details and went home to get Liam. Grammie, Becky, and Owen decided to come too, and we all ended up at the beach just before Jamie arrived. Jamie was a little scattered with his stuff, forgetting his water bottle and wearing his indoor shoes to the beach, but we got him sorted out and fed. We fed the other kids as well, and then spent a happy hour and a half in the water playing "shark tag," and other games. Liam was his usual fearless self, and enjoyed wearing water wings for the first time. A good time was had by all, and as there wasn't enough room in the car, I went back to get Jamie and to go home by bus. It's harder and harder to get Jamie out of the dojo, and he's been telling me that he really enjoys Sensei Phil's company. He also said that he thought that the Ottawa dojo was more fun than the one in Toronto! I reminded him that camp was different from regular class, and he seemed to accept that grudgingly. When we got back home, we had dinner and Becky and Owen were here as well. The boys were exhausted, and so it was to bed a little early. It was a good thing.

2010-08-12 24:50 (Kristen) I leave in the morning with Jamie, take him to judo camp, and then head home on the bus, get picked up on the last, small leg by my mom in the car, and then come home. Mom and Liam hang out until I get home, and Liam has enjoyed the experience. He is very affectionate and loving with everyone and doesn't complain wheen he wakes up and I'm not around, but I've been bodyslammed with a lot of hugs and kisses lately when I get home. Today Jamie did aikido and kendo at camp, and got to learn what a joint lock was. He also got to hit things with a padded stick, so life was about perfect. We had a largely quiet day, with the exception of an excursion back to a wool store, during which Liam sat with his DS and was a little mouse beeping amongst the piles of wool. He chose to stay with Mom and Becky as I got onto the bus to get Jamie, who did not want to leave the dojo. I, on the other hand, had a coffee date with my friend Badger, and did not want to be late as I didn't think that I had a way to tell him I was going to be so. I managed to finally get him out, but I had about ten minutes between the time we arrived home and the time I left to go out again. The boys were good for Mom, Becky, Jen, and Owen, but Liam kept them in stitches. At one point, he was told to do something at the table (stay and eat?) and he said, "OK." Then, a heartbeat later, in that loud voice, "BO-RING!" My son. I got home in time for bathtime and bed, and Jamie was asleep in his usual record time. Liam took a little longer, but fell asleep eventually as well.

2010-08-13 24:56 (Kristen) Jamie was not ready to leave judo camp today, on his last day, despite some extra time at the end. We'd managed to get there on time this morning, despite missing our first express bus, and I got a morning by myself before I had to be home to look after Liam. Mom reports that he was as happy as a clam, and just wanted to be near her as she did housework and other things. Liam pounced on Owen to wake him up, which is his job, and all was good with the world. We decided to go together to pick up Jamie, as it was his last day and it would be a bit of a treat, but we were late because the traffic going into town (away from any rush hour traffic) was hideous. No one had noticed, however, and I still had to pry Jamie out. His sensei said that he did pretty well (pretty good praise!) and told me that he was quite the character, with quite the definite personality. That would be my boy. He seemed to have gotten along very well with Sensei Phil, and Jamie was full of promises to see everyone next year, if not sooner. The traffic home, where the rush hour traffic was supposed to be, was free and clear, and we were home in record time. Liam lost his DS stylus, but armed with much experience, I found it between the seatbelt buckles in the car, along with other lost items. The boys ate a good dinner, played, and Liam ran around the garden (and Jamie did too, later) to show us how fast he was. It was commented that he'll do anything for Becky, including running around the garden repeatedly, as he was doing to get some exercise. Eventually Becky left, along with Jen (Owen is at his father's tonight), and we had the house to ourselves. It was bedtime, as Liam was a danger to himself and others, and the boys fell asleep pretty quickly.

2010-08-14 24:56 (Kristen) Really, there isn't much to report from today, as we were all utter slugs after a long week. We slept in, meandered around the house in our pjs, ate breakfast, and then wasted the afternoon in much the same fashion. By the end of the afternoon, however, the boys were starting to suffer from a lack of exercise. Liam, in particular, was starting to act out in ways unpleasant and destructive, so I made him go outside into the back yard. This was met with unhappiness, but eventually Jamie, Liam, and Owen were playing some sort of tag by the end of the afternoon. Dinner was eaten, and a leisurely evening had. Grammie was out, so Jennifer and Anna made a lovely goulash that the boys inhaled. Liam had two bowls with his aunt's dill bread, which pleased his aunt greatly. Eventually it was time for bed, and the boys fell aleep without too much fussing or fanfare.

2010-08-15 24:56 (Kristen) We were sluggish again today, but in order to prevent the same events as yesterday, Grammie took the boys down to the mall to run their little legs off at the playpark. They had a great time with Owen and Becky there, and I got a lot of work done on a deadline crunch that showed up on Friday. It was pouring rain all day, so going to the playground wasn't an option. Grammie took the kids less Jamie to Poppy's for dinner, as there was only room in the car for five. Jamie and I took the bus together to get there, and had our usual fun time hanging out on public transit. The boys were good, and Jamie did some of his homework while we were waiting for dinner. The boys had eaten at the mall (quesadillas) so they didn't eat as much dinner as they might have, but they enjoyed the fresh corn and veggies, as well as Poppy's homemade blueberry pie (with whipped cream). Then it was home and straight to bed, where they fell asleep pretty quickly.

2010-08-16 24:56 (Kristen) It's hard to say where the last two weeks went. It has been a very short trip, really, or certainly has felt that way. Because it was our last full day, all three cousins came over to spend the day with us. The big outing of the day was to the Museum of Science and Technology. Jamie and I took the bus again, and met up with the rest, arriving at the same time (yay!). The boys rampaged through the museum, enjoying the Crazy Kitchen and the hall of communication in particular, and looking at the steam locomotives in the train hall. We called time after two and a half hours, and Jamie was Not Impressed with this. Clearly, we need to go to museums more often. Someday, they might even read the displays instead of roaring past them. I went home on the bus by myself, to better do some grocery shopping on the way home, but the boys were happy to play with their cousins. Games of hide and go seek and tag kept breaking out in the middle of television programs and other things. Becky's boyfriend Ian came over for dinner, as did Jennifer and her boyfriend Zac, and more rampaging happened after a yummy dinner of tacos. The mosquitoes drove us in, and people started to go home. We aren't likely to see Owen or Anna tomorrow, as they're off to their dad's, so love and farewells were exchanged tonight. Becky is staying with us, which is great, and we'll have her with us when we leave. It's nice seeing Liam with Anna in particular because he always makes her smile. The boys got to stay up late doing this and that, spending time with their cousins before we leave, and fell asleep quickly. I know that they're going to miss their cousins terribly, but they're starting to look forward to being home again.

2010-08-17 24:56 (Kristen) We had a lovely morning with Grammie and Becky before heading to the train station and home. I was stressed out because I couldn't find Jamie's DS case, which has three little Japanese DS games in it, but searching had not turned it up anywhere. I couldn't remember the last time I'd seen it, but got the bright idea to check at the train station in case we'd (remote chance) left it on the train and not at someone's house. With ten minutes before boarding, a very nice man opened up the lost and found, said (when I described the case) "Oh yes, I think that it's here," and produced the case. I was ecstatic, he was pleased that it found its owner, and Jamie was satisfied that his case was back, having not really noticed it was missing. We got onto the train quickly as it was festival seating and I wanted the seats where four seats face each other two by two. We were able to board with families and those needing extra help, and got our seats. We waved goodbye to Grammie and Becky, sent our love, and then settled down into our trip. We snacked, and Jamie and Liam very much enjoyed the three containers of apple sauce each that I'd brought (two of course were to have been mine, but...). Jamie played on his computer and complained about the speed of the Internet connection, while Liam played his DS the entire time. We pulled into the station, left the train with ALL our stuff, and trooped out to the street to wait for John, who had landed an hour or so earlier from his trip to Dallas and was coming to pick us up. John had a rapturous reception from the boys, and we happily piled into the car and started to talk about dinner. John's bright idea was to go to the farmer's market near Riverdale Farm and pick something up there in addition to letting two small boys who had been cooped up in a train all afternoon have a romp through the park. We bought smoked fish, carrots, ice cream, and other treats, the boys romped, and we headed for home. As we got into the car, though, John's mom called to say that she'd made dinner for us, and could we come by to get it? We did, and they eventually joined us at our house for a welcome-home dinner. Afterwards, the boys had their bath and we got ready for bed after a long day. It was a good trip, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely, but it's always good to come home and sleep in our own beds.

2010-08-18 23:00 (John) I see we're a week behind in our blog, and I hope Kristen's been keeping better notes than I have. From my memory, I made the family bacon, eggs and waffles with blackberries and whipped cream for breakfast, then drove us first to MEC to get an air mattress for our upcoming trip to Ryde Lake Camp on Friday, then to MITS to pick up some Japanese videos for the boys for the first time, and finally to Canadian Tire to pick up our first fishing rods. I think at some point today we also got the 240th star at Super Mario Galaxy 2. I took Jamie to the JCCC for judo in the evening, and Kristen stayed home with Liam and played Wii games.

(Kristen) Liam spent the evening going through the Doraemon, Anpanman, and Precure (in English, Pretty Cure). Liam loves Precure in particular, which is what they call a "magical girl" anime, and Jamie seems interested in it too. I think that we're going to have to find more in the series.

2010-08-19 23:00 (John) Still trying to remember what happened today. I know I went out to get a fishing licence and return yesterday's Japanese videos. I think the boys had quiet time at home with Kristen while I did so, because everyone was still exhausted from travel Tuesday and shopping Wednesday. In the evening, Kristen and I left the boys at Browning, much to everyone's delight, while we went to Ematei for dinner and then to see Scott Pilgrim vs. the World at the Scotiabank Theatre. Jamie got the 241st star, and came very close to getting the 242nd at Super Mario Galaxy 2. Liam played a lot of Doraemon Wii, with my help whenever I could spare it. We packed for tomorrow's departure for Ryde Lake Camp. Boys spent a lot of time watching the new Japanese videos: Doraemon, Anpanman and HeartCatch PrettyCure. Yes, we know that last one is supposed to be for girls, but they just can't get enough magical fight scenes in boys' cartoons.

2010-08-20 23:00 (John) Left the house at 12:30, drove to Ryde Lake Camp via the bank, Starbucks in Barrie, and a pit stop just short of Gravenhurst. Settled into our cabin with two other Hakobune families. Took a canoe down the river in a light drizzle to the fishing rapids. Learned a few ways to fail at fishing, made it back to the dining hall just in time for dinner. Got the boys to bed surprisingly early considering in-car naps. Boys delighted that we brought the Super Mario Brothers Coin Adventure Board Game (forecast is for a very rainy weekend), and to see what I brought back for them from Dallas (Super Mario Bros. Collectible Chess).

2010-08-21 23:00 (Kristen) The day was overcast, but there wasn't much actual rain. After breakfast, we canoed out to the rapids again for more fishing failure (Mom has now made it clear that she will not be hooking any more live bait onto any more hooks, thanks), where we caught some plants and an underwater branch (and lost two hooks, and broke a badly wound factory-issued line). We headed back for lunch, ate, and then the boys and I hung out in the dining hall, where there are a number of games and boys. I taught Jamie how to play backgammon, and then John came to play Junior Scrabble with us. We went back to the cabin, hung out, and then went back for dinner. The after dinner fun was the big campfire singalong, but the boys were more interested in wrestling with each other for the duration of our time there. We packed them up early, had our showers, and hung out in the cabin watching videos until bedtime. Some of the other boys came in and watched too, which was funny.The boys fell asleep quite easily, given that their day hadn't been that outdoorsy, all things considered.

2010-08-22 23:00 (Kristen)The heavens opened up overnight, and all was very very wet today. We ate breakfast, played more backgammon, and then went back to our cabin for more Super Mario chess. The father of one of the other families we're sharing our cabin with said that he'd played a game of chess against Jamie and thought that he was going to be pretty good at it; certainly Jamie likes the game a lot. Who knows? We packed up the cabin and the car, watched some more videos, and went for a short pedal boat ride before lunch. Afterwards we piled into the car and headed for home. First, however, we stopped to visit with Jamie's Nisshu friend Harry Jones, who had transfered to the other Japanese school and had been miserable there. We're hoping that he'll come back to Nisshu this year, as Jamie misses him. The boys all had a great time playing with each other, and the parents all had an interesting discussion of how to make Japanese fun when most of it seems to be homework. We ate dinner, ran an errand, then came home. I didn't think that Liam would fall asleep easily, given his hour-long nap in thecar, but he managed to fall asleep not too late.

2010-08-23 23:00 (John) I took Liam back to Hakobune for the first time this month. He read his AIUEO (Japanese ABC) book (actually, the one that Akemi Sasaki gave us to replace the one that went missing) most of the way, and played DS the rest. He appears to have had a lot of fun at day care. While he was there, I took Gary up to Pacific Mall to go birthday shopping for Liam. We picked up all manner of Doraemon merchandise, and think Liam will be a very happy boy tomorrow. Meanwhile, Kristen and Jamie rode all over the neighbourhood on other birthday-related errands, going to Treasure Island Toys, the Big Carrot, and Dairy Queen. We spent a relatively quiet afternoon (quiet enough for me to get a nap in), playing Doraemon and other video games; Jamie and I went to judo class in the evening.

2010-08-24 23:00 (John) The first words out of Liam's mouth on the morning of this his fourth birthday were a groggy "Hey, let's get this party started!". We went over the day's schedule with him: Hakobune in the morning, party preparation in the afternoon, then a dinner party for a dozen friends and family in the evening. We confirmed that we agreed as to the essentials of a birthday party: friends, cake, candles, singing, presents and hats (I think in that order). We tried to congratulate him on turning four, but he insisted that that was not appropriate until he blew out the candles on the cake. We've learned that it's best to go along with all of Liam's ideas, unless they're seriously dangerous.

I took Liam to Hakobune in the morning, dropped by the Eaton Centre on a futile attempt to find an iPhone 4 for sale, then went to the St. Lawrence Market to buy food for the party. Liam reported that he had a lot of fun at day care, but ate so much his tummy hurt. Kristen and Jamie had bought balloons while we were out, and Liam was pleased to see a couple of them tied to the front porch.

The party started at about 18:00 as the first guests started to arrive. We served cherries, salmon, rice, pasta with green beans and pesto and potatoes, Hawaiian pizza and pepperoni pizza; my aunts Nobuko and Tomoko brought a huge platter of sushi. We somehow all managed to squeeze fourteen people into the dining room and enjoyed a convivial meal. For cake, we had a strawberry Blizzard ice cream cake from Dairy Queen (and a non-fruit dessert for Ross); from Michelle's response I'm thinking we have to get one for her next birthday.

(Kristen) Liam really liked his cake, and was very happy with all of the Doraemon swag that he received, along with the Bus Stop game from Browning and other great presents. He was pretty tired by the end of the evening, however, and bedtime was just a good idea.

2010-08-25 23:13 (Kristen) I was pretty crazy busy today with a deadline that I needed to meet, and so the boys were left to their own devices for a good part of the day when JJohn wasn't actively looking after them. The tricky part is getting the boys to do things that don't involve television, and Jamie in particular needs to be surgically removed from the bright glowing box. It's near the end of the summer; we're all a little tired of the long vacation, I think. John took the boys to judo in the evening so that I could get my deadlines met, which was lovely. The boys were good at judo, John says, and Jamie apparently has a date with an older boy to be taught how to win at a particular level of some DS game. It's social.

2010-08-26 23:44 (Kristen) The boys were beside themselves today waiting for Grammie to show up with Auntie Jen, Becky, and Ian. They weren't due until the evening, however, so it was a loooong wait. While waiting, Liam went to Hakobune with John, and Jamie and I went to Sobeys for a grocery shopping trip for weekend supplies. Jamie was very put out that we were going off to do this (and that he had to leave the house with all its charms), and was Full of Complaint. As we walked to the store, he had become somewhat indistinct in his fulminations, and I stopped for a moment to repeat back what I'd heard: "Zombies? What about zombies?" Jamie was shocked enough to laugh, and say that he hadn't been talking about zombies. We extablished, eventually, that he was pronouncing "Sobeys" with an initial "zzz" sound, not an "ess" sound. We may have to call it "Zombies" from now on, where every aisle is the brain aisle.

After we got home, we waited for John and Liam to show up back home. I don't think that much was accomplished except that Liam managed to outdo himself on the suicide commando front. John says that he heard Liam from the office, calling out "a little help, please" in a voice that sounded a little strained. John rushed into the green room (a second-story room at the front of the house) where he saw that Liam had removed the screen from the window, had gone halfway out, and realized a) that he was really rather high up and b) that the screen was really too heavy for him to hold onto easily and that he was going to drop it soonish. Now the green room is over our porch, which has a roof, but the roof is steeply sloping and it wasn't as much of a save so much as a delayer of the inevitable drop. We were a little shellshocked, and John lectured Liam on how he could fall and die if he went out the window. Liam agreed. It didn't stop him from climbing up onto Jamie's dresser less than an hour later, facing the wall with his bum flush against the outside edge of the dresser. We instituted a "no Liam left alone" rule which lasted for the rest of the day.

We went to the park after dinner, played with Momoha, and failed to get injured (yay!). Then we came back home to wait for Becky, Ian, and Grammie, who dropped Becky and Ian off before going back up to my aunt Millie's home. The boys were delighted to have an Ian and a Becky, and all was well before bed.

2010-08-27 23:54 (Kristen) Today was a little rough at the start. John took Liam to Hakobune, but found that the car battery was dead when they went out to leave. This necessitated a boost from our neighbour, but meant that John and Liam were late for Liam's birthday celebration at the daycare. Liam seemed happy, though, and that was the important part. Jamie and I ran some more errands while Becky, John, and Ian went to check out Fan Expo, where they'll be spending a good deal of the weekend. Jamie was again unhappy to be doing so, but eventually mellowed out when a trip to the Second Cup came his way around lunchtime, and a National Geographic Kids magazine landed in front of him. We had fun looking through it together. We went home, met up with John and Liam, and then hung out together until John, Becky, and Ian came home from Fan Expo. Becky and Ian were babysitting as John and I were going off to my cousin Jeff's wedding, and Tom and the Browning folk helped out as well. John and I spent a good part of the evening regaling everyone with Things That Liam Says, which was pretty funny. When we got home, we found that Liam had only fallen asleep when Ian had gone in to him, said good night to all his stuffed animals, and then said it was time to sleep. Which the little monster did. Needless to say, it's not so easy for the rest of us, but Liam has a real soft spot for Ian. Jamie, of course, was his usual good self, and I've really appreciated how much he's been helping out around here while John and I have been so crazily busy.

2010-08-28 23:54 (Kristen) John, Becky, Ian, and Daniel were at FanExpo all day. Grammie, Auntie Jennie, and Zac (Auntie Jennie's boyfriend) all came down before 10 so that I could go off and go to work at the bookstore while John was at FanExpo. Yay for family! I am told that they had a great time with the boys, having their snack at the Second Cup, going to the playground, and having fun being together. In the evening, we went to Browning, as they won't be here for dinner on Monday and we decided to do salmon dinner tonight instead. The noise levels were extreme, even for us, but a good time was had by all. We packed the boys off home after lots of play and fun, and put them to bed far too late.

2010-08-29 23:54 (Kristen) It was a much more relaxed day today than it has been in a while. John, Becky, and Ian went off to FanExpo again, and we all hung out with Auntie Jennie and Zac. In fact, Liam did not put his good morning clothes on until close to dinner time, and was unimpressed with it even then. It was a pretty mellow day, in truth, and not much to report beyond that. Jamie and Gary have been playing Godzilla Unleashed for the Wii, which has excited Liam too. After dinner, while they were playing it, Liam cheerily announced to Gary that his baby (Liam's) hated Gary. Wha? we all said. Yep: Liam has a baby, apparently, and that baby only likes Liam, me, Jamie, and John. Liam, on the other hand, loves everyone. Liam's been talking a lot about this baby, and told Ian earlier the same thing. I have no idea where this is coming from. Grammie came down from Unionville with Auntie millie to pick up Jen and Zac, and to say "goodbye," as they are all leaving for Ottawa tomorrow. The boys loved having them here, and Liam already wants to go back to Ottawa so that he can lie in Grammie's hammock in the backyard.

2010-08-30 23:54 (Kristen) It was another quiet day, for the most part. It was Becky and Ian's last day here (they stay at Ian's aunt's house tonight, then go home tomorrow), so they hung out watching season 2 of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Liam stayed home from Hakobune to be with them. Jamie, on the other hand, started his Science Centre day camp today (Science Magic!) and was out of the house before everyone else was up (other than John, of course, who drove him there, and me, who made his lunch). It was another quiet day, otherwise. When Jamie came home, he proudly showed off the superball he made in science camp, which was a pretty awesome thing, really. It has a pretty good bounce, is purple and sparkly, but is not a perfect sphere so that it has an odd, hard to predict bounce. Not a bad thing by any means. Becky and Ian had left for his aunt's before Jamie got home, so we had a quiet night after a dinner of fried rice. Jamie and Gary played Godzilla Unleashed again, as Liam had managed to delete all their progress and it had to be regained.

2010-08-31 23:54 (Kristen) We were up this morning to take Jamie to the Science Centre and Liam to his opthamology appointment at Sick Kids. Becky and Ian showed up briefly as they were meeting Poppy here for their ride back to Ottawa, and it was good to give hugs back and forth. Liam and Ian get along particularly well, and it was good to have one last goodbye. Liam's appointment went very well. When John ahd told Liam about it at the breakfast table, Liam modelled (in jest) some bad behaviour upon receiving eye drops. Fortunately, he didn't need eye drops, to his immense relief. The clinician told us that the glasses are doing their job in correcting the strabismus, and while his right eye is markedly weaker than his left, Liam is still mostly using both eyes rather than having one become lazy and ruin his stereoscopic vision. Whew. We're going back in three months because he needs to be monitored, but it's good news so far. Afterwards, we went to the library and the bank and then off to the Science Centre (Liam's promised reward for being good at the hospital). Liam and I were there for about five hours, all told, and did lots and lots of things: saw the birds of prey exhibit, saw the planetarium show, rampaged through Kidspark!, and did lots of other things before it was time to pick up Jamie. Liam particularly liked a view of the solar system in the Space section, and it was hard to get him away to do other things. We picked up Jamie, visited the gift shop to buy polished rocks, and then were picked up by John, who had dinner from Swatow with him. We ate dinner, had an early bath as the boys were almost hysterically tired, then tried to have a quiet Japanese movie night (Ponyo). Jamie played half an hour of Godzilla Unleashed with Gary but came up afterwards for the rest of his quiet time before bed.

2010-09-01 23:54 (Kristen) It was a pretty busy day today. Jamie went off to Science Centre camp, while Liam went off to Hakobune. There was a moment of confusion as we realized that it was now September, which means that Liam starts going to Hakobune in the afternoons, but it was quickly agreed upon that Liam will start his new schedule next week. In the afternoon, Liam hung out with me but then it was the hurly burly of dinnertime and getting ready for judo. John was off to the first club meeting of the new season, so he drove us up but it was me and the boys at judo again. Liam did a little bit of this and that but mostly played with his DS. Jamie had a blast at judo, and seemed to be smiling or laughing every time I looked at him. After class, we talked with various sensei about Jamie's schoolyear schedule and what classes might be best for him to attend. We're all very happy with how much Jamie enjoys judo, but we also need to make sure that he doesn't burn out. He's only six; he should just be having fun. And have fun he does. We waited around for John to come and pick us up, and then it was straight into the bath and into bed.

2010-09-02 23:54 (Kristen) Jamie seems to have had another fabulous day at camp. He really enjoys these things, and I think that he's been missing the social aspect of school. We haven't seen much of his friends this summer, and there will be much catching up. Sam has a dog; Charlie's little brother broke his arm; Jake traveled around. Jamie is also tired of hanging around with me, but he's still happy to play with Liam, which is good. Both boys had good days. In the evening we watched "Ghostbusters," because Jamie and Liam had been asking about it and I thought, from my hazy memories, that there wasn't too much that would bother them. I warned them whenever a scary ghost was about to show up, and that was cool, but they didn't laugh as much as I thought they might. Some of the humour was over their heads, like Venkman's innuendo and exactly what made him a bad scientist, and some of it was just too quick (Ray: "Listen! Do you smell something?"). Liam lost interest in part of it, but Jamie watched until the end, needing much explanation as to this and that. They seemed to enjoy it, but it wasn't a hit. Maybe in a few years.

2010-09-03 23:54 (Kristen) It was Jamie's last day of camp, and I think that he got an awful lot out of it. It was also the perfect way to get him back into the swing of a schedule just before school starts again. He was thinking, and is starting to use his little scientist brain again. Liam was at Hakobune, and accompanied John and me home. We rented some more Precure DVDs for the boys, and they happily dove into the world of Japanese Magical Girl Anime once we got home. We didn't go to Browning for dinner because Tom and the boys are off camping, but instead went to our friends Geoff and Derrick's house for some Scrabble. The boys were good enough while John and I got to play one game each of Scrabble and socialize, and it was fun to see everyone again. We got home a bit late, and the boys were pretty tired when we did.

2010-09-04 23:54 (Kristen) John had the boys for most of today, as I worked during the day and went out in the evening before bedtime. He reports that the boys went with him to the market, but that it would have gone better if he'd realized earlier that the boys had not eaten breakfast (a little bobble between me and John, as we'd both thought the other had taken care of it). He took the boys to see the Cats vs Dogs movie, which the boys enjoyed, and then all three swung by to pick me up at the store. We picked up another Precure DVD, and the boys spent most of the day watching that. I'm not thrilled normally about the amount of television the boys watch, but if it's in Japanese then it's Second Language Acquisition and is therefore Educational. After dinner, we bathed the boys early as I was going out. John reports that Jamie was asleep a little after 10, and Liam was not asleep until 10:40. When I got home, they were all asleep in the same bed together. Sweet.

2010-09-05 23:54 (Kristen) We're starting to get the boys onto a school schedule starting today. Jamie won't have much trouble adjusting, but Liam is in for a bit of an adjustment period. He was up around 9 this morning (coincidentally the time class starts for him), and really isn't a morning person. I was up at 10 after my own late night, and am not thrilled myself at the prospect of getting up at 7:30 in the morning again. The day was spent quietly, including a family outing to Loblaws and Riverdale Farm. Liam doesn't like the chicken barn, claiming that it smells, but I think that the pigs smell much worse while that smell doesn't bother him as much. Most of our time was spent on a hill climbing trees and playing games like "Climb the Tree" and "relay race". Jamie and John did some rolling breakfall practice on the grass, and trial and error has brought Jamie to the point where he can almost do a cartwheel. We went home, ate dinner with John's parents, had another quiet evening, and then went up to the bath at 8:00. The boys were in bed with lights out (after two stories) at (;30, and they were both asleep by 10. Excellent.

2010-09-06 23:54 (Kristen) We woke up at 7:30 or so this morning for a dry run for tomorrow's return to the scholastic routine. We were, when all was done, about twenty minutes behind, which wasn't bad. It was a good thing that we did do the dry run, however. It felt rather strange to have the boys up and about so early in the morning, both fed and dressed. John did some homework with Jamie, and I think some with Liam as well, and we both talked with the boys about what to expect tomorrow and what we expected of them. They seemed pretty clear. Neither boy seems particularly sad about the end of summer, and Liam in particular is very ready to start school. He's not happy that he's not going tomorrow, but is being mollified with the knowledge that he's starting afternoon daycare, which included some practice work on hiragana and katakana, with the "big kids." Clothes are laid out, lunches are being made, and I think that we are ready for the big day as much as we can be.

2010-09-07 23:54 (Kristen) We were up at 7:30, and managed to get both children dressed, fed, and ready to go to school on time at 8:20. We were to meet a family that just moved from Japan outside the school, as Jamie and the older child, a girl named Momoha, are in the same grade. Haruto, the younger child, is Liam's age but he'll be in the afternoon junior kindergarten class. I explained to Jamie that Momoha really doesn't speak that much English, and that he was going to have to help her. He was the only one who could speak enough Japanese in his grade to make sure that she knew what was going on, and to translate what the teachers say. This was more of an issue than it would have been, even normally, because there is a bit of chaos surrounding the grade 2 and grade 3 classes in English at Jamie's school. They have too many children to meet the provincially mandated cap on class size for their grades (set at 20), but have not yet been assigned another teacher by the TDSB (Toronto District School Board). So, the children in grades 2 and 3 for the next week or so will circulate in groups through the classes of the three grade 2 and 3 teachers. Since it's already a confusing situation, Jamie's help would be even more valuable. Jamie and Momoha weren't in the same group today, due to an oversight, but will be tomorrow. Jamie was as much of a help as he could be, however, and was as proud as I could remember at my asking him to help out. It doesn't hurt that Momoha has lovely long black hair halfway down her back, and is a pretty and fun girl to play with. Jamie reports that his day went well, and that Mr. Moore (the grade 3 teacher) provides freezies and (somehow; I'm not sure how) a snowball fight on the first day of school. He officially loves Mr. Moore. Liam, in the meantime, was not entirely pleased that he was not going to school himself, but put up with it. He liked going to the daycare in the afternoon, though, with the big kids. Afterwards, Momoha, Haruto, and their mother Reiko came over for a playdate, which went very well and was lots of fun for all of us. The evening was full of dinner, some homework (Japanese review for Saturday), and being early to bed. Both boys were asleep by 10. I hate to say that's early, but it is at this point.

2010-09-08 23:54 (Kristen) We managed to arrive at school by 8:30, which was fabulous. I'd forgotten Jamie's lunch, but I dropped it off later and that was unnoticed. Jamie and Momoha are in the same group, which makes Jamie happy as Jake and Charlie are in the same group too (but not Sam, which is sadder). I get the sense that he was helpful today again, and that the teachers are happy that Jamie's there to help out. Jamie was extra happy because, having switched groups, he was put into the group that had not had freezies or a snowball fight yet with Mr. Moore. Hence, two freezies, two snowball fights for Jamie. If he gets Mr. Moore next year (it's unlikely that he'll get Mr. Moore this year, as Mr. Moore normally teaches Grade 3, but he could set a school record for most first day of school snowball fights with Mr. Moore). In the meantime, Liam's first day of school went off without a hitch. He was a little clingy for a moment in the schoolyard, but we walked him in to his classroom, a parent on each hand, and helped him to hang up his coat and his backpack. Then he sat patiently while the rest of the kids got organized, and we parents were ushered out the door. He ran out once when he saw us before the door shut to give us enormous hugs and a big cheery "I love you!" before running back and not looking behind once. What a guy. John and I wandered off, a little off balance, with the knowledge that we have two school-aged children now. It felt strange, but good, but I keep grabbing Liam and folding him up into little balls and kissing his still-round cheeks whenever I can. He was happy when he came out of school, and seems to have had a good morning. I took him to Hakobune for lunch by subway, and (thanks to similar experiences with Jamie) had a snack ready for Liam. We arrived, I dropped him off, and that was that. Liam reports that he had "lots and lots and lots [ad infinitum] of fun" at Hakobune, which might be in part to the strawberry shortcake that was brought in for another boy's and a sensei's birthday celebration. Actually, Liam usually loves Hakobune, so perhaps he would have had that much fun anyway. We went back to the school to pick up John and Jamie and to meet Sam's new dog, Daisy. Daisy is very cute, and the boys had fun playing with her and a stick. We went home, had a swift dinner and went out to judo. Jamie had a good time, but Liam was almost hysterically tired. Both boys ate almost another meal after judo was over, and were in bed almost as fast as we were able to do so.

2010-09-09 23:54 (Kristen) We're batting a thousand, here, as we got both boys to school with time to spare again. Liam spent his time waiting to go in with his nose pressed against the glass of the door, looking into his classroom and waiting patiently for the chance to go inside and get his schoolday under way. We picked him up for lunch and he was still enthusiastic and happy. There was no problem transitioning him between Jackman and Hakobune, and he went into the daycare in his usual cheerful manner. John and I went to have lunch with a friend, feeling slightly odd that we could do so, but were returned to reality by finding a Hakobune friend of Liam's at the restaurant, out with her mom and brother for lunch. We picked up Liam and then went to get Jamie, spending the usual amount of time out in the playground, and eating ice cream. We got home, had dinner, and had a quiet evening before hitting the hay around 9:00. We're a little tired.

2010-09-10 23:54 (Kristen) Liam's teacher remarked this morning, after noting Liam's nose pressed against the glass of the classroom door again, that Liam was very enthusiastic about school. He apparently answers all the questions, and seems to know quite a bit, she says. He was quite the ball of energetic sunshine as he shot out of his classroom after school, full of happiness. Jamie and Liam were home for lunch, then Liam ran errands with me and John before it was time to go and get Jamie. Liam and Jamie were both very tired at the end of a long first week of English school and enjoyed an evening at Browning to celebrate Gary and Ken's birthdays. Then it was home and to bed, since another first is tomorrow with Liam's first day of Japanese school, and Jamie's first day of Grade 2 at Nisshu Gakkuin.

2010-09-11 23:54 (Kristen) Jamie and Liam were just as marvellous this morning at Japanese school as they have been at English school. We stayed close to both boys as they went into their classrooms, and they were good. Liam speaks Japanese there, which is an enormous relief. He can't get away with speaking English! Jamie says that he teacher is nice, and Liam has Nishinori sensei, who was Jamie's teacher in JK and is fantastic.

2010-09-12 23:54 (Kristen) On Sundays, we rest until noon. There is no need for anything other than pajamas, and we eat breakfast late. We did clean the house up a bit today because Momoha and her mom and brother were coming over for a study sesson. Jamie and Momoha go to Japanese Saturday school (but different ones) and so we parents thought that it would be a good idea for them to come over and do homework together. Jamie managed to get homework done, and so did Momoha, despite Jamie's clowning. Afterwards, they played and had a good time. Haruto, Momoha's brother, loves Jamie's transformable robot, and spent most of his time playing with it. He and Liam interset on occasion, but they're still not much into playing with other kids their own age. Afterwards we had a quiet rest of the day, had dinner, and watched Lilo and Stitch (at Jamie's request) as a family. It was a good day.

2010-09-13 23:54 (Kristen) It was back to school, and Liam leaving new noseprints on the windows outside his classroom as he waited to go in. Jamie came home saying that he's decided to try out for the cross country running team, which is great. He's very fast, and some staminia would make him that much fleeter. I think that he'll have fun; he loves running flat out. The boys went to Browning for lunch as Tami wants to keep in contact with them now that Ross and Daniel have graduated from Jackman, which was lovely. Liam and I hung out for the afternoon while John went to pick up Jamie at school. We had dinner at Browning, and the boys were good but exhausted--especially Liam. Liam, in fact, fell asleep faster than Jamie tonight, which is a very rare event.

2010-09-14 23:54 (Kristen) So, we know that Liam has a very active imagination. He has coined the word "zuzunia" to mean the highest number than you can think of (and has been exploring basic addition concepts at the same time, being able to add 10 + 9 in his head). He also loves toys that are animals. Today on the subway back home from Hakobune, an older man made him a clever little paper mouse. Liam was delighted, and thanked him with his best manners, and promptly named the mouse Cheddar Chuck. Cheddar Chuck was going to sit on his desk, and Liam needed to know where Cheddar Chuck was while he played on his DS. This evening, we went to Yamato restaurant to have a birthday dinner for John's aunt Nobuko. The boys were well behaved, given how tired they were, and Jamie spoke well in Japanese to his aunts. His time with Momoha is certainly improving his fluency. Both boys got a kindersurprise on the way out, and Liam's contains a little dinosaur half out of his shell. Liam has christened the figurine Eggy, and notified us that he is going off to the bathroom to poo, and that Eggy wanted attention while he was going so, so he'd set Eggy up with a movie about baby stars. Not to worry, though, because he's set up Baby Doraemon to babysit while he was in the bathroom. It's not all pure imagination with Liam, though: tonight, at the restaurant, John's dad was asking Liam at dinner if he liked wasabi (the super hot horseradish-style green stuff you get with your sushi). Liam said no. Jack said "I like wasabi." Liam said, picking up the lump of wasabi, "Here. Try one," thereby compelling his grandfather to accept the lump of wasabi and put it discreetly somewhere without eating enough wasabi at one go to blow the top of his head off. Heh. It's been a good Liam day. Jamie has finally received his class and teacher assignment, and has Mrs. Plytas for the year. The downside is that the new teacher for the other Grade 2 class is Mr. Katsuras, Jamie's adored gym teacher from last year. The upside is that Momoha, Jake, Charlie, Sam, and Parker are all in his class. Jamie told me that he'd have to tell Mr. Katsuras that he still liked gym, school, and science every time he saw him so that Mr. Katsuras would still like him. I told Jamie that I was pretty sure that Mr. Katsuras still liked him anyway. Sweet boy.

2010-09-15 23:54 (Kristen) It's odd, having both boys in school. There's so much more free time, in some ways, and in others it's so much busier. Today John took Liam to Hakobune, and I had a day at home to work and do what needed doing around the house. I had a migraine, so I wasn't all that productive. I did go to the school to pick up Jamie, though, as John and Liam were stuck in traffic on the way back from Hakobune. It was a close thing, and they joined us in the school yard afterwards. The boys rode their bikes home (Liam's was at school with Jamie's), and we did home work and relaxed a little (well, the boys did; I made dinner) before judo. We catch a ride up with John, which means that we arrive quite a bit before class starts. This suits Jamie just fine, as he hates rushing. We ate the rest of dinner, played with Mioko (a judo classmate who also arrives early), and then Jamie went into class. Liam played with his DS the whole time (he was tired) and then it was home and to bed. Jamie's going to be trying out for the cross country running team, which means tryouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays next week, and we're steeling ourselves for the early morning post judo.

2010-09-16 23:54 (Kristen) Liam continues to love school, and every morning there is a new nose print on the glass as he waits impatiently to go in and start a new day of conquering the world. He was disappointed yesterday that he wasn't able to paint (the paint station was full) but he managed to today. The boy has no interest in representational painting: he just loves to play with colour, which has led to some interesting conversations with us about ways to paint and see the world. John and I took him to Hakobune, in the pouring rain, and then we picked him up afterwards and brought him home. Jamie had a playdate with Jake, so we didn't see him until after dinner. I went to pick him up, and he talked all about a new toy that is all the rage now which led into a discussion of the movie Coraline (which gave his friend Connor nightmares) and a host of other subjects. The evening was quiet. Liam is obsessing over WarioLand ShakeIt, and Jamie is his big ace in the hole; if Liam can't get it, he knows that Jamie can. It's nice to see them working together. John went out to a high school friend gathering, and I put the boys to bed. Liam fell asleep quickly, but Jamie had trouble falling asleep because we had a blackout just after Liam fell asleep and the blackout was unsettling enough that he had trouble settling. That, and the excitement of his first cross country tryout tomorrow.

2010-09-17 23:54 (Kristen) John and I were up at 7:15 so that we could get Jamie ready to go to his cross country tryout. Jamie was excited; John and I were conscious. I stayed home with LIam while John went, and he reports that Jamie did well. His friends Sam and Charlie are also running, and a few others, so he was happy and social. He was a little anxious about what was to happen after the practice, and John had to keep reminding him of what the drill was between practice (which ended at 8:15) and school (which starts at 8:45). He ate a second breakfast, which helped. Liam and I got to school just as Mrs. Purmalis opened the doors. When John picked Liam up at lunch, Mrs. Purmalis noted that Liam's math abilities were quite noteworthy. He can pattern and knows his numbers very well for a kid his age; apparently he was chattering away that if Friday was the 17th, that meant that Saturday was the 18th, and Sunday the 19th, and Monday the 20th, and so on. When John told me this, I dug out some math flash cards that do simple addition with single number that total up to 10 (10 + 0; 9 + 1, etc.). The monkey can add and subtract numbers with sums up to 10 with little to no trouble. It makes you wonder exactly what he has locked away in that little brain that he hasn't told us he can do. Jamie came home with his new reading homework, which requires 10 minutes a day minimum. If he gets 6 hours or more of reading done before October 28th, then there is a party for those kids who had done so in the class. He's excited, and wants to read because of it, so I'm making a list of books that he could read. John and I think that he's the right age for Encyclopedia Brown, which could be fun.

I almost forgot to say that we had five of Jamie's friends and siblings of friends over for lunch today. John picked them up (along with Liam), and came back with Sarah and Georgia, Harry and Sam's mom and sister. Sarah stayed to help, and we together managed to serve the kids lunch (KD and hot dogs), clean up, and get them out the door. The boys were happy, calm, and ate most of their food with no complaints. It was...remarkable. And fun. After school, Jamie had a playdate over at Sam's, and John brought him over to meet Liam and me at Browning. We left a little after eight to get the boys int obed and ready for Japanese school the next day.

2010-09-18 23:54 (Kristen) The boys went off with John to Nisshu Gakkuin today, and were pleased to know that John was to be hall monitor today. This means that he gets to carry around textbooks, AV equipment, and other items to from class to class. The boys were thrilled that they got to see their father during school, which was lovely. Liam told John, when Liam's day was over at lunch, that he had had "lots and lots and lots of fun," which is great to hear. Nishinori-sensei, his teacher, commented to John that Liam and Jamie really are very different people, aren't they? And we have to agree. Jamie also had fun at school, however, and enjoys having music as part of his curriculum, which he mentioned specifically. While John was hall monitoring during the afternoon session, he kept Liam busy by showing episodes of Pretty Cure on his laptop. This kept Liam amused, along with the little siblings of Maki-chan, one of Jamie's classmates. Their mom was also on hall monitor duty, and appreciated having them be occupied. The "I die of cute" moment was when Maki-chan's little sister and Liam both did the Pretty Cure dance at the end of the episode, John says. After Jamie got out from school, the boys played for a long time in the playground before talking John into going to McDonalds (the one with a play park). I cheerily said that I'd come up from Queen St. to join them, but the traffic was truly horrific and it was 5:30 by the time I made it to the McDonalds. I drove everyone home, and we had some dinner before sitting down to watch Lilo and Stitch together. That was lots of fun, and a nice way to spend a family evening before bedtime.

2010-09-19 23:54 (Kristen) We spent a good part of the afternoon with John's aunts, eating lunch and visiting. Before, the boys were up not long after their usual time, and we had a very leisurely morning. Pajamas were worn long past their usual time, and pancakes were eaten. After we came home from visiting John's aunts, Momoha and her mom came over for some Japanese study. I assume that study was done; there was also a lot of giggling going on. Afterwards, it was taco night for dinner, and the boys watched part of the Spiderwick movie on television. They managed to solve a good part of Wario Land Shake It, which put both of them in a good mood before bedtime.

2010-09-20 23:54 (Kristen) We all set out for school today, full of happy energy. Liam was pressing his nose against the windows of his clasroom by 9:45, almost a full ten minutes before the door opened, and calling inside to wish his teacher good morning. I was quite surprised when I met up with the boys and John at Browning for lunch at noon when John told me that Liam's teacher, who had been teaching part time at two schools, had been offered a full-time position at the other school (there was some sort of funding ok there) and had left to go there. Liam has a new teacher, who seems fine enough, but we're very very disappointed that Liam's teacher is gone as we quite liked her, her energy, her firmness and kindness, and that she 'got' Liam. There's quite a bit of unhappiness about this, but Liam seems to be adjusting well to the sudden change and declared the new teacher to be nice. Jamie and Gary went back to school after lunch, and I took Liam home to spend the afternoon. At one point, as I was making a cup of coffee, Liam asked for a cup of apple juice and for me to sit down so that we could have a talk. We did, and while he drank his juice, we chatted about this and that, his school, and some of the usual amazing and random things firing out of his brain. Then he was finished his apple juice, and was back to playing Wario Land. We hung out for the afternoon, having a very pleasant day, and waited for Jamie to come home. Liam really misses Jamie when he's at school and Liam is not. Liam is also very clingy lately, for Liam: he wants us around to "keep an eye on him," and claims to be scared of this and that where he is normally the least afraid person I know. Sometimes I think that he just tries on the idea of being scared, because it's just so foreign to him otherwise. I think that it's a combination of being out of the house so much and a big big cognitive leap he's going through, so we'll dispense a little more hugging and a little more cuddling until the world is a little less enormous and he's a little more comfortable with the new reality of it all. Jamie, of course, is also growing up so fast, it seems. He's getting longer, and taller, and more clever, and more...mature, I suppose. He's just such an interesting person. The reading program for his Gr. 2 class has an unexpected comptetitive aspect to it: he was saying that this friend Parker had already logged a few hours of reading time, while Jamie has only logged 20 minutes (since Friday). Jamie has declared that he is going to do a lot more reading tomorrow to catch up. If reading is going to be a competitive sport, you had better believe that Jamie is going to be in the middle of it. And I'll take that and run with it.

2010-09-21 23:54 (Kristen) Liam was a little apprehensive about school this morning, but I think that it was just change. He seemed happy enough when he came out of class, and his teacher said that all the kids were a little rambunctious today. I think that they were testing her, myself, but that's only to be expected. He said that he had fun at Hakobune too, which was good. Jamie reports that school is fine, and he seems to enjoy himself. He read for ten minutes, but complained again that it wasn't very long. We'll try again. Jamie was pushing hard for a playdate today, but there wasn't one to be had on such short notice. It was a quiet evening, and then bed.

2010-09-22 23:54 (Kristen) Liam was not his usual self today, and complained bitterly of being tired. He was not excited to go into class, and held onto my hand until he'd settled in on his bench, unhappy to see me go. Part of me thought that he was missing his old teacher, and this made me quite sad. Another wondered if he was really not feeling well. On pickup, he was still complaining of fatigue, but cheerily ate his snack in the car. When we picked him up, however, a very quiet boy came straight out and needed to sit in my lap for a bit. Apparently Liam had, uncharacteristically, had a total meltdown while doing crafts. We weren't sure if it was because he had to stop, or if it was because he wasn't able to draw what he wanted to. Either way, he did melt down entirely, and his teachers were concerned about him, as this is the boy who usually runs around with an enormous grin and tells us that he's having "lots and lots and lots of fun." We thought that he was just very tired, and I was a little worried about the trip to judo in the evening. Jamie had a playdate over at Momoha's house, which apparently went well. The boys ate dinner and we got ready to go, and both were good when we had to run for the bus (with a quick side trip to meet our newest neighbour, one-month-old Clark). Once at judo, Liam hung out quietly with his Ds, while Jamie worked hard. He came out at 8:30, however, and said that his sensei was sending him home because he was only 6, and needed his sleep. I was puzzled, and asked if Jamie could stay until 9 only because our ride (John) wasn't due until then. He grumbled, agreeing, but was clearly of the opinion that Jamie should be home in bed. When we got home, and put him into the bath, I saw the huge shadows under his eyes that his sensei clearly saw before I did, and realized why he was trying to send Jamie home. Whoops. Time for an early night tomorrow.

2010-09-23 23:54 (Kristen) It was a good book day. Liam's teacher reported to me that Liam's gym teacher (who is also their librarian) had read him a book called "Didn't Didn't Do It), which Liam thought was just hilarious. His reaction was worthy of Madame telling Ms. Vear, who told me. We found out that the book, of course, if out of print, and we'll be trying to find a copy used, online, because the TPL, unusually, doesn't have a copy. He also had a much better day at Hakobune, thank goodness. Jamie had a playdate at Parker's house, which sounds like it was fun. In the evening, Jamie read for 20 minutes, which was great, and it seemed like he was enjoying himself. The boys did their homework, played for a bit, then went to bed. Bedtime was 9; Jamie was asleep by 9:05, and Liam was asleep by 9:15. Yay!

2010-09-24 23:54 (Kristen) Liam was invited for a playdate at Jack's house (Jack being one of Jamie's friend Charlie's little brothers), having a playdate all to himself without me around for the first time ever. It was very exciting! And a bit of a surprise; I'd expected him to be there for lunch, but not for the whole afternoon. That was a treat for me, although I had packed together a bunch of Liam things and had planned an afternoon at the Second Cup for the two of us. The nice part of Liam being off at his own thing was that Jamie and I got to spend some alone time together at lunch. I picked him up, we went home, and then we ate peanut butter and banana sandwiches together while I read him some more chapters in Owls in the Family by Farley mowat. He's just the right age for it, and he was very interested in the adventures of Wol and the boys. I walked him back, and spent a quiet afternoon before picking up the boys at 3:30 from the schoolyard. It was very windy, and I was quite nervous that we were going to get poured upon. We got our Friday ice creams (which I wasn't all that happy about doing, see fear of being rained upon) and headed home. The windstorm never really delivered much rain, but I was glad to be out of it with the boys all the same. We spent some time watching television and some time reading, and then headed over to Browning for some lasagne. I forgot to mention that Jamie, realizing that he was 10 minutes short of an hour this week in his reading, read for 20 minutes this morning to make sure that he got to that mark. Yay, Jamie! Right now, the boys are asleep and have been since 9:15 or so. John is just coming home from a night of gaming with friends before going back tomorrow to the Scrabble tournament he's running tomorrow. It's going to be a busy day, but I think that it's going to work out just right.

2010-09-25 23:54 (Kristen) I didn't actually see much of the boys today. John is running a Scrabble tournament in Toronto this weekend, which meant that I had to arrange babysitting for the boys so that I could go to work. I was able to take the boys up to Nisshu, and we had a pleasant time, made easier by John's having made breakfast before he left. I left both boys at school and headed down to the St Lawrence Market for foodstuffs before going off to work. Ayami was at Nisshu attending the curriculum meeting that neither John nor I could attend, and she brought Liam home to where Alexandria was waiting to babysit him. She took him for a walk down to the Danforth for a cookie, which suited him just fine. Tom picked up Jamie at 2:30 and dropped him off at home at 3:00 to spend time with Alexandria too. I, unfortunately, got delayed, so Daniel went over to cover off from Alexandria until I got home. When I did get home, the boys were happy and untraumatized, and Daniel wasn't too traumatized. Alexandria is willing to do this again next weekend, so it's all good. Yay! The boys and I spent a quiet evening together, and plan further quietude as the weekend wears on.

2010-09-26 23:54 (Kristen) There were pajamas, there was television. It was all too early for me, though, as the boys' internal clocks forgot it was Sunday and woke up all too early. Pajamas did have to come off and good morning clothes eventually, however. We spent a quiet day inside, reading books, playing games, and being quiet until Momoha and Haruto came over to study. Things were a little more crazy for a little while, but the boys got lots of work done. Afterwards, we went off to Browning for a Monday dinner as Ross will be at camp next week and we didn't want him to miss a Monday dinner. It was the usual barrel full of monekys, and all is well.

2010-09-27 23:54 (Kristen) It was back to school this morning, and all is well. The boys each had a good day, and seem to be enjoying school. It's such a relief to know that they do. I made a chicken for dinner, and they enjoyed eating it. Jamie did some reading (Binky the Space Cat) and Liam read some books with me as well. I feel that I should be reporting more, but I also feel like I'm not seeing very much of them. Liam is happy to come home and play video bgames and play on his DS (he has a bit of a cold), but Jamie is wild for playdates. He went over to Charlie's today, which worked out for both of them. The only downside is that he's so tired when he comes home that it takes forever to get homework done. Momoha is coming over tomorrow, and they'll have a page or two to do before they get to play.

2010-09-28 23:54 (Kristen) It was running time this morning, which would have been fine if it hadn't been raining. Practise was John and Jamie hung out around the school and ate breakfast there just the same, but I know that we all could have used a little more sleep instead. Liam was delighted to go off to Hakobune again today; the boy really loves to go to school and daycare. I am not entirely sure what exactly it is that he loves to do, but he's always happy to go, and I am not for a second unhappy about that at all. Momoha came over, along with her mom and Haruto (who adores Jamie), and the kids had fun playing after homework was done. It's nice to see Jamie have so much fun with her. Jamie had to change first, however, as he was utterly filthy. He's normally a fastidious person about his clothes (although not excessively) but I am pretty sure I've never seen him so dirty. Apparently they were playing in the sand pit, which was pretty mucky after all the morning rain. Liam does his own thing during playdates, which is to be expected. It was a quiet evening.

2010-09-29 23:54 (Kristen) A normal Wednesday, by and large. Liam's fighting a bit of a cold, but doesn't seem to be too under the weather with it. Apparently he really got into drawing at Hakobune, which was lovely. He's also been impressing everyone with his scary math abilities. Liam talked John into picking up a new DVD rental of Precure on the way home from daycare, and into buying him (Liam) some more sembei. Jamie went to Momoha's for a playdate, and Momoha's mom made us some oden*, a Japanese stew that was completely delicious. The kids were hilarious as they stretched out the longest goodbye they could as Jamie and I had to leave to get ready for judo. Judo was fun, as Jamie's sensei was in a playful mood and partnered up with Jamie for the exercises. He can benchpress Jamie, which made Jamie dissolve into giggles. Jamie was late going back out to the car because just *had* to finish his book (Binky the Space Cat), which pleased me immensely.

2010-09-30 23:54 (Kristen) It was a running morning, and Jamie has made the Jackman running team (which is a pretty big team). He was pleased by this, and gets to go to a big track meet on Monday. Field trip! Liam went to Hakobune, and was in an excellent mood. John picked up Jamie as I brought Liam home, and we got homework out of the way early. Not much to report, really: a normal day.

2010-10-01 23:54 (Kristen) John is off to Victoria for the weekend, and so it is just me and the boys this evening. John left in the afternoon, after having lunch with the boys at Browning. Ayami babysat Liam while I was off at a business meeting, which pleased Liam. We went to the school, got Jamie, and watched Magic Schoolbus DVDs until it was time to go to Browning. The boys were in bed by 9:30, and had their lights out in anticipation of our usual Busy Saturday.

2010-10-02 23:54 (Kristen) It was a busy day, as per usual. I got the boys up to Nisshu Gakkuin on time, despite waking Liam up to go about ten minutes before departure. I had his breakfast ready to go, and fed it to him on the subway, but he was not interested in going when the time came to leave. Liam needs time to adjust to being awake, but it's a hard call sometimes between 'needs more sleep' and 'will he have trouble being conscious this morning?' Alexandria picked Liam up and brought him home, and Tom did likewise with Jamie. I made it home on time, and the boys were happy and untraumatised. Yay! I thought that a quiet evening was in order after a busy day, so we watched Beauty and the Beast. Jamie loved it, and Liam seemed to enjoy it as well. Then it was bathtime and bed, which went well too. They were quite tired at the end of the day.

2010-10-03 23:54 (Kristen) The furnace didn't come on last night, so it was cold cold when we woke up this morning. I did go around and close all the storm windows and turn up the heat, but didn't get warm again until close to noon. The boys didn't seem cold, but were both up very early for a Sunday. Jamie was up at 7:15, but I made him stay in bed until 7:30. Groan. Liam was up at 8:15. We ate oatmeal in honour of the weather, but decided to forego our trip to Ashbridge's Bay to rehearse the route for the track tournament after Jamie's cramping and bad tummy reappeared. He's had it since last night, and I'm worried that he won't be well enough to go to run tomorrow. He's so looking forward to it. We'll see how he is tomorrow. He was in bed and asleep right at 9:30, so I hope so. The boys hung out in their pajamas and watched Beauty and the Beast again in the morning, and managed to live without the television for the rest of the day. They did, to compensate, play a lot of DS (at least Liam did). Momoha came over to do homework with Haruto and their mom, and Ayami helped Jamie, who did four pages of homework. Miyuri, who is staying with us for the month while she visits from Japan (she is a friend of the Sasakis, who run Hakobune), made us a lovely Japanese-style curry for dinner and the boys ate a good deal. In the evening, Ayami played with Liam and Jamie played with Gary, and then it was time for bed. I finally remembered to teach Jamie, at his request, a little Old English. He had a dream that he was stuck in Anglo-Saxon England and couldn't speak the language, and so now really wants to learn it in case it happens again. I had my old Bright's Old English text, and we talked about a list of words that still meant the same thing, a list of words that now meant different things, and a list of words that no one uses anymore. He seemed quite interested, and likes thorn and eth, and stumped me on whether or not there is a name for the ae ligature (I don't remember one, but couldn't say for sure). Then it was lights out, and Jamie was asleep instantly. Liam, not so much.

2010-10-04 23:54 (Kristen) The big event today was the big cross-country run for elementary schools in Toronto, down at Ashbridge's Bay. I made the decision to go with the school at the last minute, and helped out with ferrying kids here and there. It was a great day, but cold and the wind was whipping up waves on the lake that would have been quite at home on the ocean. The course is a kilometre long, and the grade 2 boys did very well. Jamie's friend Charlie came in 13th, while Jamie was much further back in the pack at 189th. He wasn't sure of the course, so he didn't run as fast as he could, but I was very proud of the fact that he finished the race. I can't run a kilometre. I was standing at the finish line, cheering him on, and he told me later that he was very happy to hear me cheering for him as he passed. Yay! It was worth standing in the cold wind for that. I made it back to the school about ten minutes late to pick up Liam, but he was happy and didn't hold it against me. We went out for lunch afterwards with my friend Badger and his friend Kadri, and Liam insisted on eating my udon rather than the yakisoba he'd requested for himself. He also ate his own ice cream and half of mine. Fink. We went to pick up Jamie, came home, and were delighted to see John come through the door around 4:15. We said goodbye to Uncle Badger and Kadri, then went over to Browning for dinner. I don't think that I saw much of them after that, except when they, as a team with Ross and John, defeated the final boss on Super Mario Brothers Wii. Then home, and to bed.

2010-10-05 23:54 (Kristen) What to say about Tuesday? There was gym for Jamie, and Hakobune for Liam. It poured down rain in a miserable, gloomy, iron gray torrent, and it was cold. John and I had to buy new rubber boots for Jamie, as he had none that fit and no rubber boots was not an option. Liam wore his Pikachu rubber boots, refusing the better sized fireman boots, because the Pikachu boots were cooler. Somehow nothing really got done today.

2010-10-06 23:54 (Kristen) It being Wednesday, we brought the boys to school, and then I went home to make them lunch. I'm not making lunch when they leave but after, partly because it's so dark when we wake up we're having trouble waking up. Darn rain. Liam requested and received the fireman boots, which got him the matching fireman raincoat, and that pleased him. I took Liam to Hakobune and brought him back, and found John, Jamie, and Charlie off to Treasure Island to buy go-gos (some new toy craze) and silly bandz (?), which are fancy rubber bands, as far as I'm concerned, but all the kids are wearing them as bracelets. Bah! I made veggie burgers for dinner, which were better received as ideas than as food, and took the boys to judo on the bus. Jamie had a good class, Liam plaed DS, and then Jamie did some homework while we waited for John to pick us up. Jamie insisted on reading in the car on the way home because he was really close to the end of his book (the sequel to Binky the Space Cat) and really wanted to finish it. And who are we to say no? Really?

2010-10-07 23:54 (Kristen) We were discussing Halloween costumes in the bath tonight, and Liam asked for a dragon costume (thankfully, we have one in the closet already). Jamie has decided that he'd like to be something scary, like a vampire, and I'm wondering if I can nudge him over to something like Draco Malfoy, and nip this whole scary thing in the bud (I have visions of blood and zombies, and I'm not so much into that). John asked if Jamie wanted to be a knight again and he said no, but then segued into last year's costume, where he was (unbeknownst to me) King Arthur. I thought he was just a knight. Then, talking about Liam's junior knight costume, Jamie said "and Liam was King Arthur's son. What was his name?" "Mordred?" I said, flashing on the basically evil nature of Arthur's bastard son and how interesting this conversation suddenly is and wondering how much Jamie knows of Mordred. "Yeah!" Jamie said, and then Liam piped up that he was a Bad Guy, and riffed on his Evil Plans. Sometimes life does imitate story...

It was a normal day, by and large. The weather was beautiful after days of gloom and cold and rain, and it was almost impossible to get Jamie home after school. All the kids just wanted to run, and run, and run. I had a brief talk with Jamie's teacher, who told me that Jamie is a lovely boy. I think that Jamie has made points with the teachers for his willingness to translate for Momoha and to help her out. His teacher does a good imitation of Jamie, however, which made me laugh. Apparently he doesn't always know the right word, and his teacher accurately mimicked Jamie's head tilt, sigh, and way of speaking when he is being very thoughtful in his response about something as she described it to me. Very funny. Liam had a good morning, and chattered away almost non-stop about all sorts of things. He walked ahead of me when we got to our subway stop and I almost reached out to get him to hold my hand when I stopped. I was struck, for a moment, by the fact that he isn't two, or even three, anymoe. He's four, and brave and capable and getting old enough to go ahead a few feet from me and not have to hold my hand or have me dictate his every step. . It was a happy moment, but a sad one too as my little son grew up, suddenly, before my eyes.2010-10-08 23:54 (Kristen) It was another beautiful day today. Rather than fight Jamie re coming home after school, I just let him run around with his friends after school. He played with Momoha until she had to go home, and then he played with Makaiya until it was almost 5. John had taken Liam out with him in the afternoon to do grocery shopping in preparation for Canadian Turkey Day on Sunday, and they joined us at the playground for some running around in the beautiful weather. They promise more of this weather this weekend but it is Indian summer, and by nature brief. Best to enjoy it thoroughly while we have it.

2010-10-09 23:54 (Kristen) It was a good day today, although I didn't see much of the boys. I got up soon after they did, and made them breakfast, and then headed out to work at the store. I hear that they went to the St. Lawrence Market and had fun. I was greeted with "Mom! I missed you!" when I got home, which was nice as it was accompanied by hugs. We went over to Browning to share Indian food, which was a spontaneous thing and something that the boys enjoyed immensely. I was a little late, as I stayed back to make the stuffing for tomorrow's turkey, but was in time to see two overly tired little boys pinging and ponging off everything. It was soon time to go home and to bed, which they needed.

2010-10-10 23:54 (Kristen) Not only was it Thanksgiving for us, it was also 10-10-10, which will happen only once this century. Fun! The boys were up at their usual early time (when will I learn to turn the alarm off on Sunday mornings?), and soon it was time to get up and start getting ready for the mad feasting we planned on for the evening. John's brother and his family were due to arrive from Kingston with their share of the food and their children, and Jamie was having trouble waiting. John and I were peppered with "when will they arrive?!" in various tones of impatience for much of the day. I'm not entirely sure what the boys did other than watch television and play video games while I took care of the turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and sugar snap peas. We eventually made it over to John's parents' house with the boys, and with our part of the food, and the boys were delighted to see Ian and Amy. In fact, they didn't end up eating as much of their food, as they were more interested in playing, but they were happy. They did eat a lot of pie, however, come to think of it...Ian and Amy, and their mom, stayed with us while Ted stayed at his parents' house. This pleased Jamie and Liam, and they are enjoying having their cousins around to play MarioKart and help out with DS game levels, and other games.

2010-10-11 23:54 (Kristen) Jamie was asking tonight what a ponytail was. John explained that it was when you tie back the hair at the back of your neck. Jamie then asked if he could have one. John said, "When you're older." Liam immediately, in exactly the same tone as John, said, "When you're a pony."

The kids were all up early, Jamie at 7:40 or so and Ian about twenty minutes later. Liam woke up by deciding that I was a mattress that needed lots and lots of love, and that should live in intense fear of having its nose bashed in by an excessively loving kindergartener. The morning was very slow, and I think that the baromentric pressure was dropping like a stone because I was very mussy-headed when I got up. John and Alice made breakfast, which was good, because if it was up to me, we'd still be unfed. We eventually decided to go up to Pacific Mall for some lunch and a bit of wandering around, and so we did. Lunch was at a Tea Shop 168 (there are at least 4 in the mall), and we all enjoyed sitting around a table and just hang out while we drank our tea and ate our food. We wandered around, picked up some things for the kids (some Pokemon cards for Jamie, and a stuffed Angel/Halo Kirby for Liam), bought some of the best cream puffs EVAR* from Beard Papa, and headed downtown to Kenzo for excellent ramen. The kids are having a lot of fun playing with each other, and when Ian and Amy left after dinner to go back to Kingston with their parents, Jamie and Liam were quite at a loss as to what to do with each other. Jamie announced "I'm bored," but quickly admitted that it really meant that he missed playing with Ian and Amy. It was time for some reading, then bath time. They're likely little prunes by now, so I should go and get them out.

2010-10-12 23:54 (Kristen) After a long Turkey Day weekend, Jamie ended up staying at home today with a bit of a miserable cold. He was slightly feverish, and while he seemed all right, he really wasn't if pushed to do anything other than television or video games. We tried to do some reading for school, but that ended somewhat badly in a fight for no particular reason than he was sick. Liam, on the other hand, had a great day. He wants to go to Hakobune more often, as he likes it there, which is a surprising request but one that we can accomodate if he wants it.

2010-10-13 23:54 (Kristen) It was Liam's day to have an enormous tantrum about schoolwork. He really wanted to play his DS instead of do work, and was willing to scream at the top of his lungs for 10 Minutes about it. John says it was ten minutes; all I can say was that it felt longer. The funny part, though, was that Liam suddenly stopped and not only did the two pages John wanted him to do but insisted on finishing off all his homework at once (six or so pages). Just to make the point that he could, thank you. What a kid. The kids and I went on the bus to judo, and spent the usual sort of evening there. We came home, rushed a shower, and put the kids to bed as fast as we could.

2010-10-14 23:54 (Kristen) It was crazy busy today, and it wasn't even Saturday. Jamie and Liam were both off to school in the morning, and I picked up Liam to take him in to Hakobune. He still wants to go more often, but there isn't a space for him on Fridays at the moment. We've told him that we're going to keep trying. In the meantime, we walked to the subway and read Liam's new Scholastic books on the train. He was very excited. When I picked him up, he didn't really want to leave, and it took some work to get him to come home. John had already picked up Jamie, and that was good. If I'm late leaving the daycare with Liam, I'm too late to pick up Jamie on time, and that can be stressful. Jamie had a birthday party after school, and it was also Curriculum Night at the school, where we go to meet teachers, see the classrooms, and hear about what the children are going to be learning this year. The party was a great success, and a good number of Jamie's classmates and their siblings (many of whom are Liam's age) were there. We all raced back to the school in time for the presentations, and we enjoyed meeting Jamie and Liam's teachers. Liam's teacher made a point of showing us the picture Liam had drawn. The children had been asked to draw a self-portrait with their families, and Liam had been uninterested in the exercise. Eventually his teacher got him to sit down and Liam, with that flash of "fine, then" he's been displaying lately, drew a picture of: his brain. Then he drew a picture of John's brain, a video game level in the background, and the letters for my name and Jamie's scattered in the bottom right corner, next to the dad brain. Liam's brain had a circle around it for a head and two circles to represent glasses. My son.

Jamie's class is a very cosy place with writing on almost every surface. They have silver boards that they write and erase on, which I have never seen before, and that look very cool. Jamie's teacher gave us a very detailed overview of Jamie's year, and it sounds like it's going to be fun. Certainly, the room looks very welcoming, and Mrs. Plytas seems to have a good eye on everything. They've been talking about bullying lately (as have so many people), and the idea of our lives being buckets: you can put good things into a bucket or take things out, and diminish people, if I understand the analogy correctly. Jamie's teacher told me that there had been an incident with Jamie just that day, and that he had come in from lunch looking very sad. When she asked him what was wrong, she said that Jamie had told her that "someone took something out of his bucket." That's my boy: internalizing the conversation. Turns out that some older boys that he knows have been teasing him about his hair (it was messy or something). I wasn't sure what to make of it (was it a misunderstanding?) until I asked Jamie about it on the way home. Turns out that they were also teasing him about his friendship with Momoha, and that was when I thought to myself, "no, this stops." I felt very good that Jamie's teacher caught it and had already told me that she was going to talk with the boys' teacher about it. Jamie has played with these boys for years, but I think that they're feeling a little shut out and resentful that Jamie's playing so much with Momoha and not with them. So, they're trying to make him feel bad about his friendship. Well, well. I've written a long email to Jamie's teacher, explaining the situation, and I have no doubt that this will get resolved. Jamie is the sort of boy who wants to be happy; he would rather this blew over and everyone played happily again with each other again. I hope that this will be the way it resolves itself. In the meantime, Jamie is still spending huge amounts of time with Momoha, which makes everyone happy.

2010-10-15 23:54 (Kristen) Today I felt like goo on toast, so John got the boys ready and out the door for school for the most part. It was Friday, so we had decided yesterday to do a big posse lunch. Apparently word got around that five boys were having lunch together, and this was causing some excitement. I hope that it won't be a thing. Jamie's class is a very, very nice bunch of kids, and I want to keep that good thing going. It was a standard posse lunch, with lots of MarioKart and only one real argument, and that was good. They even ate some food. Liam stayed home with me in the afternoon as I worked, and John went of with Jamie's class to help with their Scientist in the School visit, as he loves to do. The rest of the posse went off to some cooking thing at Loblaws after school (which I had forgotten about and not signed him up for, whoops), but Jamie sptend the rest of his time playing with Momoha. John finally got him home around 4:45. Homework was finished off, dinner eaten at Browning, and bed and shower attended to. Gary told us that Liam told him a story that Koopa had a toothbrush with a cat on it, but that the cat hated Koopa and beat him up. This is on the same level as Liam playing "I Shoot" at school with John, where he chased John with laser-beam eyes, and John has to freeze for ten seconds if he is hit with Liam's laser beams. Hilarious.

2010-10-16 23:54 (Kristen) I didn't see much of the boys today, as I was home from work with a cold. John took them up to Japanese school, picked up Liam, hung out with Liam for a while while waiting for Jamie, and picked up Jamie. In connection with Wednesday's meltdown then embracing of homework, Liam came rushing out of class all excited because he had homework. He had been ticked that he had no homework left after he finished it all on Wendesday. (Yes, I know...) His enthusiasm got some envious looks from some of the other mothers, whose boys could not be less interested in homework if they had been genetically programmed that way. Wait... John then took Jamie and Liam off to Makaiya's birthday party, which was held at a trampoline club in the far reaches of Mississauga. They reportedly had a very good time, and it sounds like it was fun. They were, of course, utterly exhausted at the end of the day, which was as it should be. I came up to check on them in the bath at one point, and found them lying on their stomachs, side by side, in the water. I announced that I saw them (with a little mwahahaha thrown in, maybe), which made Jamie look up at me and say "This can't end well." I just about hurt something laughing.

2010-10-17 23:54 (Kristen) Again, I don't have much to report about the boys today. They slept in a little, for them, and hung out all morning in their pajamas. I did make them put some toys away in anticipation of our cleaning lady's arrival, which evinced much complaint but they did do it. That was good. They spent their day watching television, playing MarioKart, and doing homework with Momoha. Aparently John had Jamie and Momoha do some English reading together, which made everyone happy as it was good for the both ot them. The kids had a hard time parting, as usual.

2010-10-18 23:54 (Kristen) Today's good news was that Jamie and his reading buddies have made up. They apologized, and Jamie was really really happy about it and is all ready to play with them again. It's good at this age: usually an apology goes a long way. Apparently the boys were very contrite, and had already been feeling quite guilty about the incident. The air is clear, and everyone is starting over, which is about the best outcome that we could have hoped for. Yay Mrs. Plytas, yay boys who admit they were wrong, yay, Jamie. Liam had a good day too; he had a playdate with Nate (Parker's younger brother), and has an invitation to a birthday party on Wednesday for a little girl in his class. My little boy has a playdate! He's starting to play with other kids! How wonderful! He told me that he had popcorn and milk for a snack, and this was a Great Thing. John had taken Jamie to see Dr. Kennedy about a sore neck he'd been complaining about since Sunday morning, and she said that he'd sprained his trapezius muscle. So, no judo for Jamie this week, and he has to be careful at gym. That reminds me, I need to write a note. After school, we went home, did homework, and went to Browning for dinner. It was a fun time for all, and then it was home to bed.

2010-10-19 23:54 (Kristen) John took Jamie to see our chiropractor, as Jamie's neck was still hurting quite a bit. He suggested that Jamie's rather large head is putting strain on his neck, and that he be careful about certain activities like jumping for a long time. Sigh. For sure there will be no judo tomorrow. We also got Jamie to take some Advil, and to see how that might help. Liam had Hakobune, and seems to have enjoyed himself. It's nice to have Mayuri here, as she's helping out at the daycare and reports back on all the cute things that he's doing.

2010-10-20 23:54 (Kristen) I got the bright idea to get Liam to read from Hop on Pop, and he's able to read the first 10 or 15 pages with some small assistance. Yay, Liam! Jamie too is getting better at reading. We've settled on reading picture books that are enough of a challenge, reading-wise, to make them worth it. He read Stellaluna to me, and has averaged half an hour of reading a night for the last three nights. Yay, Jamie! Liam had Hakobune; Jamie had school; everyone seemed happy and well at the end of the day. Mayuri made yakisoba for dinner for us, and Gary came home with some cream puffs from Beard Papa to share. I kid you not that these are the best cream puffs evar*, and the boys and I wolfed down the wonderful treats after thanking Gary profusely.

2010-10-21 23:54 (Kristen) Liam and I read more from Hop on Pop, and went to Hakobune on the subway. Jamie went to play with Jake after school, and was full enough of snacks to fail to eat his grilled cheese much (although he always has room for broccoli and tater tots). The kids were good, and loving, and all that boys should be for their mother and father.

2010-10-22 23:54 (Kristen) Liam's getting good at dates; he corrected me today when I said that I thought it was the 21st; he looked at the calendar, frowned, and corrected me. "It's the 22nd, Mummy!" I stand corrected. John went off with Jamie's class today on a field trip to the Kortwright Centre, about 45 minutes away from the school. The centre is a natural conservancy, and they do a lot of educational programming (and their sugar bush is very popular in spring). The kids spent the morning on a two-hour walk, learning about the water cycle (involving a close look at a natural system for purifying human waste out of water. Poo: good in conversation, not so good in real life). Jamie told me later that a water molecule looks like Mickey Mouse. Well, I guess it does. Afterwards, they walked through the woods and had a good time. The extra fun was on the way home, when the bus broke down on the 400 highway, near the 401. A new bus was sent, all safety procedures were observed, and the kids were back at the school about half an hour after school was over. Jamie now knows the words to "I know a song that gets on everybody's nerves". Liam was content to spend time with me this afternoon, but started to miss John and Jamie more and more as time wore on. We did a puzzle, and a little of this and that, but I had work to do and was therefore Boring. He was delighted when John and Jamie got home. John reports taht Jamie's big breakthrough today was learning a level of self-control when he is getting overly wound up by recognizing the state and calming himself down. Wow! The evening was spent at the school's harvest festival with Mayuri joining us (who has been staying with us this month), and at Browning for dinner. It was very nice, and the boys fell asleep very quickly.

2010-10-23 23:54 (Kristen) John took the boys up to Japanese school this morning, and picked them up afterwards. I got home from work, and we scrambled to get our things together to go over to our neighbours' house for a birthday party for their son Zachary. Zachary and Liam are of th same age, and we've been trying to arrange playdates for them for ages. We went over with Jamie and Liam, and the boys made crafts and snacked for the first little while. Apparently there is a boy named Liam in Zachary's class, so our Liam is now "my friend with the glasses." Zach's parents had a man come in with a host of small animals for the children to discuss and look at. Liam was a little nervous with some of the animals (the snake, the rose tarantula), but loved the bunny and claims to have loved all the animals. After a fun time there, we went out for Indian dinner with Mayuri, who is going back to Japan tomorrow. She and Liam in particular get along very well, likely because of the time they've spent together at Hakobune. The boys ate well, and drew with the crayons and paper they had in their loot bags (awesome loot bags). Then it was time to go home and sleep after a long and exciting day.

2010-10-24 23:54 (Kristen) John left early to go and run a Scrabble tournament today, and so the boys and I spent most of the day hanging at home, quietly. We did say goodbye to Mayuri first, however, and Liam made sure to give her a hug and a kiss before she left. I think that he's won her heart pretty well. I don't usually make a thing about the boys wearing pajamas into the afternoon on a Sunday unless we're going somewhere; it's good for them to have one day of total veg. Liam set a record for a non-sick day, however, by not getting dressed until close to five pm. The only reason that he did ever get changed was because Momoha and her family were coming over for dinner. I made a chicken, and everyone seemed to have a good time. The children all had a great time playing together and watching Ghostbusters on television, and it was lovely to see them enjoy each other's company so much. We've mused before, I think, that if Momoha and Jamie remain such good friends that we're going to have to go and visit in Japan when their time here is over in two years. It was a very enjoyable evening, and we're hoping to do it again soon.

2010-10-25 23:54 (Kristen) Liam's feet are growing quickly, and his old shoes really don't fit. I gave him an old pair of Jamie's today but in the fuss and bother of departure, I forgot to tell Liam. Apparently he had a substitute teacher today, and she was a very rules-oriented, everyone in line-kind of lady. Apparently Liam refused to wear the shoes, and they got into a bit of a head-to-head about it. Liam ended up not wearing his shoes but ran around in his sock feet. Don't go head to head with my boy. We had lunch at Browning, and Gary took Jamie to school while I took Liam home. We hung out while I did some work, then waited for Jamie and John to come home. Afterwards, we went back to Browning for dinner, and Liam had fun playing chess with Ross's friend Basil. We came home, and were pretty tired. Jamie had trouble falling asleep, though, and it took a while for that to happen.

2010-10-26 23:54 (Kristen) John points out that Liam has been missing Mayuri, and talks about her all the time. Tonight, he asked John when Mayuri was coming back, and he said, "Well, she has family in Japan and things to do there." He countered "We have *lots* for her to do here!" Also, John reports that, during homework, Jamie asked him what "mainichi" meant ("every day"). Liam asked what the opposite of "mainichi" was in either language, but John had to say he didn't know!

Jamie managed to finish his six hours of reading for school this evening. Students who complete six hours of reading by Friday all get to go to a special class party (a nice incentive!), and Jamie was very motivated. The nice thing is that he'll now read for half an hour at a time; however, we really need the time incentive to get him to do it. I am looking forward to getting the next goal. I found a copy of Hop on Pop and I'm getting Liam to read it. He's doing very well, actually, and can read 12 pages more or less, with a little help. He's very excited, however, which is the best part.

2010-10-27 23:54 (Kristen) Liam really got the bit in his teeth today about reading, and managed (with a fair amount o help, but not as much as you think) to *finish* reading Hop on Pop. Wow! He's exceedingly pleased with himself, and rightfully so. Jamie had a great time at judo, we bought Hallowe'en candy, and a gargoyle too. It was a good day, and I feel that I really had more to say but I'm tired and not really sure what else I can say.

2010-10-28 23:54 (Kristen) It was a quiet enough day today. I've been working really hard, and quite late, so John has been taking care of the kids in the morning. We both took Liam to Hakobune, and he brought Liam home while I went and got Jamie. He was in his usual good mood, and ate lots when he got home. I really have to organize snack better, or give him and Liam bigger lunches, because he really devours a fourth meal when he comes home. Homework was done; time was spent playing with Gary. Liam came home with a bag of candy from Hakobune, as he'll be missing the Hallowe'en party tomorrow, not being a Friday kid any more. He didn't seem to mind too much.

2010-10-29 23:54 (Kristen) Jamie was so excited that he was able to wear his Hallowe'en costume today that he just about exploded. Actually, he did a little when he asked me if he could wear his costume in the morning, and I said that I thought he should save it for the afternoon. Boom. Only then did I realize, because I'm slow in the mornings before my coffee, that he has been thinking of wearing that costume for a week, every day, and has been fully possessed by the Desire to Costume. Being cut from the same cloth myself, I sighed internally and helped him to put the satin vampire costume on, complete with medallion and long satin cape. He actually looked really good. I dressed Liam at school (after observing lots of kids arriving in costume too) for his morning kindergarten costume parade. His little surgeon's outfit, complete with stethoscope and box with a brain on it (I utterly failed to find a rubber brain this year) to show that he was a brain surgeon went over very well, and he was very pleased to be all dressed up. Jamie's parade was after lunch, and he was very excited about that. John walked with him around the block with the rest of the school, and Jamie was beside himself, playing with the cape and being very mysterious and swooping around with it. He's about as in love with that cape as a kid could be. I picked him up and brought him home, and there was homework and other things before dinner at Browning. Then it was off to bed. It's going to be a long day tomorrow.

2010-10-30 23:54 (Kristen) It was a crazy crazy busy day, even for a Saturday, but I didn't see much of it. I had to work a full day at Bakka-Phoenix, which is moving, and John is away in Kingston. At Nisshu, it was curry day, photo day, and Hallowe'en party day. Our collective asses were saved by Ayami, Daniel, and Gary, along with Ken and Tami, who ushered theboys through the day. John dropped them off at school on his way out of town, while Ayami came and made sure that they all got changed into their costumes, into their nice shirts for pictures, and made it home. She entertained Liam until it was time to pick up Jamie and bring him home. They went to Browning, where they played with Ross and Daniel (whose own parents were out of town at a convention, and who were being babysat by Ken and Tami). Ken and Tami made dinner, Gary came too, and all was all right as rain for when I made it there around 6:45. Crazy, but all taken care of. IWe have amazing friends.

2010-10-31 23:54 (Kristen) Jamie was up first, Liam second, and I staggered out of bed last. Breakfast was around 10, and it should have been earlier. Jamie in particular was so wound up about Hallowe'en that he was almost impossible to be around. Late breakfasts, and low blood sugar, just made the day more challenging. It was very low key, or as low key as I could make it, until the afternoon. Tami came over and helped us to carve pumpkins, and we watched it snow briefly. It's the coldest Hallowe'en that I can recall. John got home, dinner was eaten, and then the kids got dressed and burst outside, ready to be creatures of the night. Jamie swooped down the streets, and Liam was just pleased to be there. He got a lot of guesses as to who he was supposed to be: Dr. Kevorkian? Dr. Kildare? No, just a brain surgeon. The boys came home after finding some of their friends, and with bags full of candy. Perhaps a little too much candy was eaten afterwards, but I won't say by who. It may not have been a kid.

2010-11-01 23:54 (Kristen) A good number of Liam's classmates didn't make it in to school this morning, as they and their parents nursed sugar hangovers and the effects of a late night of trick-or-treating. We had our little monsters at school, and they seemed to cope well. We had lunch at Browning, and they were both in good moods. Jamie came home right after school to get homework done, as he just doesn't do well at it if he doesn't get it done right away. The nights where he has playdates before homework are always that much harder. Ken and Tami made dinner, as we'd not had time to do the shopping for dinner earlier, and it was very nice not to have to worry about it. The boys roared about, ate well, and went to bed more or less on time.

2010-11-02 23:54 (Kristen) I spoke too soon last night. Liam was up last night with diarrhea, and got up at least three or four times because of it. I ended up sleeping with him to keep an eye on any problems, and we kept him home from school in the morning because of it. He slept in until close to 10; he was a tired bunny. We sent him to Hakobune in the afternoon because he seemed fine by then, and he was energetic enough. Jamie isn't showing much sign of what is bothering Liam, for which I am grateful. Jamie is full of bubbly fun, and is growing up really quickly. I look at his face, and his long hands, and think that he isn't going to be my little boy for much longer. Then I see some baby in him, and hug him tightly.

2010-11-03 23:54 (Kristen) Today was our trip to the dentist. The health nurse had seen some sort of a problem on Liam's back tooth last week during a "welcome to school, let's check out your health" look-see, and so we made an appointment right away to go and see our dentist. Jamie's teeth are fine, and he did very well. Liam also did very well, but he does have a small cavity that will need attention. They think that Liam's deeply grooved back teeth were what caused the nurse alarm, but it was coincidental (and lucky) that they saw a real problem too. John took Liam off to Hakboune afterwards, and I rushed Jamie over to his school, where he joined a lunchtime video party ("It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!") that was the rewards of all kids in the class who had done more than 6 hours of reading that past month and a half. Yay, Jamie! I picked him up, let him play in the playground for a bit, then brought him home to do some homework before judo. We made it to judo, but Liam had an intense bout of diarrhea while we were there, which was very hard on him. He was pretty tired by the time we got home, and we got the boys to bed as quickly as we could.

2010-11-04 23:54 (Kristen) One of the things that I love about Liam is that he thinks that "a girl" is as viable an option for a grownup occupation as any other, more traditional occupation. He stayed home with me today for observation after last night's epic bouts of diarrhea, which was nice but unusually time consuming. He needed a lot more attention than he usually does, wanting to play, talk, sit, and have my undivided attention. It's lovely, but playing merry hell with my work schedule. He missed Jamie, of course. We sent him back to Hakobune in the afternoon after it was clear that he was once again feeling better, and he enjoyed that very much. I picked up Jamie after school, who was about turning himself inside out for a playdate with someone. He had an agreement with his dad, however, that there were no playdates until all his homework was finished. He did all his English homework, and did 6 pages of Japanese homework tonight, and worked his ass off. If he gets up and finished his kanji test in the morning, he's more than earned the playdate. Liam claimed to be too tired to take a bath, but utterly melted down when he went to bed without one. Sigh.

2010-11-05 23:54 (Kristen) Last night ended up being quite a bit different than usual. Our neighbours had a fire in their house, and John and I spent a few hours feeding lots of neighbours tea and taking care of those who needed it until the fire was put out and people were off to places to stay for the night. No one was hurt, but the property damage was extensive. We weren't sure if we were going to need to move the boys for a short time, as the flames were going across our neighbour's roof, but we were in no real danger in the end and so we let the boys sleep. Their room is the quietest in the house when it comes to road noise, and Jamie only woke up at the end, when the fire engines were packing up and leaving. I think that he'd woken up around the time he usually wakes up, and found the lights on all over the house. He'd missed the door constantly opening and closing, the sounds of people talking loudly, and the smell of smoke that hung over everything. John quietly explained to him what had happened, and then he went back to bed in his own room because it was quieter. This morning, John pointed out to the boys the damage and the house it had happened in, and that was that for them. John brought the boys to Browning for lunch, and then John took Jamie back to school while I took Liam home. He insisted that I play Super Mario Bros. with him for a good part of the afternoon, in that insistent Liam way of his that means "I will not brook 'no' for an answer, puny mortal mother." I was allowed a coffee. I picked up Jamie and his friend Dylan, taking Liam with me as John was out. On the way home, Liam tripped, Dylan tripped over him, and fell on Liam's head. Liam's glasses drove into his eyebrow, creating a lovely gash. Liam was pretty upset, and it hurt lots, and I couldn't tell after cleaning it whether or not he needed stitches. I packed up the boys, called John, and went to the clinic, while John came back. John took the big boys back, and I had Liam seen in a fairly quick order. No stitches, thank goodness, but we got one of those little butterfly bandages to hold the wound together. He'll have a nice little eyebrow scar, just like all the boys I know. I'm wondering if I should buy a box of those bandages... After Dylan went home, we went to Browning for dinner, and then it was home to bath and bed.

2010-11-06 23:54 (Kristen) Today was Jamie's first mini judo tournament. They call it a "dojo exchange," where one dojo comes and spars with another for practise. It was a good deal of fun for Jamie, I think, and he was 1 and 1 at the end of the day. All the kids got medals, and Jamie was so proud of his that he wore it all day and was searching for the best place in his room to hang it up so that he could see it every day. He also confided in me that he hoped that his kids would take judo too. I was very pleased.

I didn't go with them, as I had a large project hanging over my head and needed the work time badly. John was the hero today, as he took the boys up to school, picked them up, and brought them back home after the tournament. The kids were more than a little wound up, and were pushing Papa's buttons, and I think that he was glad to have a nap while I looked after them. Pass them to the fresh parent, I always say. Dinner was eaten, and more Hallowe'en chocolate consumed before two very tired and somewhat wild boys were put to bed.

2010-11-07 23:54 (Kristen) John's turn today to work all day; he had a Scrabble tournament to run while I looked after the boys. I tried a number of times, and failed, to get them out of the house and into the sunshine, and instead I cleaned the house and made them help me. The boys were surprisingly helpful, which I was grateful for, and keeping track of who dried more dishes. They even helped to clean up toys, which usually they hate doing. By the evening, the house was clean in time for Momoha and her family to come over for study and dinner. Reiko had made oden, which is a stew, I suppose, but much better than that, and some little Vietnamese-style spring rolls. It was, needless to say, yummy. The kids had a good time playing together, and it was the usual mayhem. Jamie was a little more wound up than usual, but I attributed it to not enough exercise.

2010-11-08 23:54 (Kristen) Jamie had been turning himself inside out with the desire to eat chocolate ever since Hallowe'en. We've let him eat a little, and tonight he had a chocolate chip cookie, too. Then he got hives. The big one on his cheek was unmistakable, and he's back to a totally chocolate-free existence again. I think that the histamines were responsible for some of his less attractive behaviours over the last few days, as well, including a difficulty sleeping. Well, as they say, that was the end of that. Jamie's good with it, fortunately, but he misses the taste of chocolate. In other news, Liam had a playdate with Jack White, one of the younger brothers of Charlie White (Jamie's friend). The boys got along well, although Liam wasn't used to having a playmate his age around--in fact, this was the first time Liam had a schoolmate over for a playdate, shockingly enough. The biggest upside was that Jack wnet through Liam's toys, and Liam was left thinking, "I own *that*? That's kind of a cool toy..." That was a great development, as I've often thought that we have far too many toys left unplayed with in the house. John took the boys back to school, dropped Jack off with his mother, and brought Jamie home. Dinner was at Browning, and we put the boys to bed as early as we could. I read them some books, and they liked that a lot.

2010-11-09 23:54 (Kristen) John took Jamie and Liam in to school, and I took Liam in to daycare in the afternoon. The kids did lots of homework in the evening, as we want to get it out of the way before Jamie's birthday on Thursday. John's opinion is that having to do homework on your birthday is an Abomination, and I can see that. It was another largely television-free day, which made me very happy.

2010-11-10 23:54 (Kristen) Today, while I was picking up birthday presents for Jamie's birthday tomorrow, I was at the Harbord Bakery. They gave me a loaf of bread to share with the family in honour of Jamie's birthday, which was lovely of them. I picked Liam up at Hakobune and brought him home, just in time to see John leaving for Scrabble and to feed the boys dinner before leaving for judo. When I picked Liam up, I'd asked him what he'd done at daycare. After hemming and hawing, he blurted out, irritated, "It's a secret!" Clearly, Christmas pageant training is strictly on a need-to-know basis. Jamie's judo class went well, and the boys and I had fun on the bus there with a spelling and math challenge. Liam aced the reading flash cards that I sent, and Jamie stayed the last half-hour to practise his sparring. John picked us up, and the boys were home and in bed as fast as we could make it happen.

2010-11-11 23:54 (Kristen) Liam was so excited that it was Jamie's birthday that he was up at 6:15 am. He demanded to play, but we managed to keep him in bed until 7:30, when Jamie woke up and was greeted with birthday wishes. The boys went off to school, and Jamie was very excited that he was going to be the object of the Birthday Bear, which apparently has a soother that spins while it wishes you happy birthday. I took Liam off to Hakobune, then brought him back. For dinner, we went out to Yamato, a teppanyaki place that Jamie chose. We were accompanied by John's aunts, Momoha and her family, and Jack. John had picked up a strawberry cream cake from Dufflet, and we brought presents with us. The kids had a delightful time together, and everyone had a lot of fun. Jamie's big present was a copy of Minotaurus, a Lego board game. He also received a copy of Wii Party; a physics experiment set; some books; and an electric paper plane launcher that you have to build yourself. Yay! He was happy, and that was what mattered. Despite our best efforts, the boys were not asleep until 10:20, which was a little late.

2010-11-12 23:54 (Kristen) Jamie, having finished all his homework last night, earned his Friday playdate this week. Jamie, Liam, and I went over to Aidan's house, where I sat and had coffee with their mom while Liam and Jamie played with Aidan and his brother. Liam fell in love with the rocking horses there, referring to them as "ponies," and described for us, with chalk and a chalkboard, the long and detailed list of chores he had for the day. The list, by the way, included milking the cows and getting hay for the ponies. It was, in a word, adorable. The morning was good, the boys had lunch at home, and Jamie went back to school with me. We ran the entire way, and made it there in record time. After school was the playdate, which involved chess games and Lego, and a dinner at Browning. Given the overall fatigue levels, we left early and got the boys to bed as quickly as we could.

2010-11-13 23:54 (Kristen) I really didn't see much of the boys today at all. John took them to school in the morning, and kept them out until almost five in the afternoon. I am told that it was onigiri* day at school, and that the boys enjoyed their lunches, but I found that they didn't eat their snacks when I opened up their backpacks after their return. They also played a good deal after school both in the playground and at the McDonalds they play at sometimes on the way home. Ted, Alice, Amy, and Ian were expected in town this evening to help celebrate the trio of birthdays around here (Jamie's, John's mom's, and John's dad's; my own father's birthday is the first of the group for the month of November). We went over to John's parents' house to eat Indian food with them, and the kids had a wonderful time playing with each other. Ian, Amy, and Alice are staying with us, while Ted is staying at his parents' house, and the boys were thrilled. In fact, by the end of the day, they were so overtired and overexcited that we had to put them to bed before they did injury to themselves or others.

2010-11-14 23:54 (Kristen) Because we had the cousins staying with us, we all decided that it would be a good idea to go out and see a movie. Poor Ian was not feeling well, but still managed to spend some time with his cousins. We all saw Megamind, which was surprisingly good, and much popcorn and junk food was ingested by all. We came back home so that Jamie could do homework with Momoha, and so that Jamie could trade more Silly Bandz with Amy, then went to John's parents' house again for another dinner (Chinese this time). Liam conceived a love of playing the piano, and built quite a little structure with blocks. Jamie and Amy spent a good deal of time drawing together. It was very nice to see the kids playing so well together. Eventually it was time for them to go back to Kingston, and we had to go and put kids to bed.

2010-11-15 23:54 (Kristen) I haven't been posting as frequently as I have in the past, although I'm hoping that will change as I don't like writing masses of posts. However, I find that people call more when I don't post as frequently, so I'm torn. However, in the interest of keeping this thing going (which we have maintained for more than seven years now), I shall try to be more frequent. Today's big event was Liam reporting that he'd hit another boy in the head with a block and was not allowed to play in the block area any more. Surprised, John and I quizzed him further and he said that he'd hit the boy (later identified as Ben) because he'd been cleaning up and Ben was in his way. We had a long conversation with him, I think both me and John separately, about the importance of using words to tell people that you're frustrated with them, and not hitting them. We know the mom of the boy in question well, and will be asking her about it. In more positive news, Jamie had a report card today (or an "interim report," or whatever they're calling it as it has no letter grades), and it was excellent. He sounds like he's doing really well, and we're already aware of the areas in which he needs to work. Yay, Jamie! It was dinner at Browning in the evening, and the usual mad rumpus. Oh; I forgot to mention that Liam also had a filling this afternoon. John was with him, and reports that Liam hated the taste of the anesthetic so much that he screamed as long as he could taste it. Finally, John got him to calm down enough that they could finish the filling, but reports that Liam sobbed quietly the entire time. Our dentist, being a very cool sort, then showed Liam how false teeth were made using lasers and a putty. Liam came home with a false tooth that he'd made himself (he got to hold the laser) and was utterly delighted. Apparently our dentist's comment on Liam's doctor costume for Hallowe'en was sniff and say it wasn't as cool as being a dentist. Pure awesome.

2010-11-16 23:54 (Kristen) John spoke with the mom of the boy Liam hit yesterday, and the story has mutated in a somewhat Rashamon-sort of way. Apparently Liam had built a tower that had fallen on the boy (the blocks are big), which made the boy cry very hard and earned Liam a warning about being more careful in the block station. Ben's mom said that Ben didn't see the blocks at all until he got hit by them. Now John and I are wondering what happened at all; all that we do know is that Liam really doesn't want to talk about it. We have invited Ben over for a playdate on Friday morning, so I hope that will help to smooth things over. Jamie had choir at lunch and a soccer game at recess, and continues his busy social schedule. I took Liam to Hakobune and brought him home, and John picked up Jamie after school. The boys were great about getting their homework done, and I got dinner finished early, so there seemed more time than usual to play, read, and play Wii Party. Jamie played with Gary, and there was a mad rumpus for about five minutes when he came up with Gary afterwards. Both boys had a hard time falling asleep, and we think that Jamie is fighting something. He's got big circles under his eyes, which is often a sign.

2010-11-17 23:54 (Kristen) Jamie wasn't quite himself again today, so we kept him at home and didn't take him up to judo. I think that John was a little disappointed, while understanding, as he'd taken the night off from Scrabble before he leaves for his trip tomorrow to spend time with us, and was looking forward to taking Jamie to judo. This, however, gave us a little more breathing room in the early evening to have a relaxed parent-teacher interview with Jamie's teacher as a post-progress report meeting. Everything is well, and we're delighted with how well rounded he is turning out to be. We haven't had a meeting with Liam's teacher yet, as John is going to be away, but we'll schedule one for when he's back.

2010-11-18 23:54 (Kristen) John left for Dallas today, and it's just me and the kids for the weekend. I arranged for Jamie to have a playdate with Momoha because I had to pick up Liam from Hakobune after school gets out for Jamie. Jamie was just fine with that, and was clearly having fun with Momoha and Haruto when Liam and I arrived. They had spent time decorating little sponge cakes with fruit and whipped cream, and we all had fun eating them. We brought the leftovers home and ate more while watching A Bug's Life. The boys have a day off tomorrow, as the school is closed for parent-teacher interviews, which was good, as I had the usual extreme difficulty in getting Jamie and Liam out of Momoha's house and dinner was later than I'd have liked. Eventually it was bedtime, and the boys were good for me as they fell asleep.

2010-11-19 23:54 (Kristen) It was a very busy day with a surprise bonus! Becky. The boys had a playdate with Ben and his older sister Katie (one of Jamie's classmates from last year), which went quite well in the end. Liam is still figuring out how to interact with kids his own age for more sustained periods of time, but they all bonded over marbles. Jamie and Katie spent a good deal of time drawing, and Jamie produced some very neat pictures. The drawing trend continued after the playdate, when I took the boys for lunch at the Silk Road (Jamie's choice). The boys had a great time, colouring and doing this and that when not eating a good deal of chicken, broccoli, and noodles. Then I had them walk to Treasure Island, where we had to leave after Jamie lost his mind a little bit wanting Silly Bands (the latest elementary school craze) and not taking no for an answer. I knew that John was buying him some in Texas, and so buying more seemed unnecessary. Then it was off to the library, and then back to the Second Cup and home. It being Friday, we had dinner at Browning before heading home for bed with two very tired boys. We'd heard in the afternoon that we were going to have a surprise visit from Becky for the weekend, and the boys were very excited about this. It was a little hard for them to fall asleep, but promises of Becky-pouncing in the morning helped.

2010-11-20 23:54 (Kristen) Another very busy day made possible by friends. I took the boys up to Nisshu Gakkuin in the morning after they pounced on Becky (who had pre-authorized the pounce). Liam, however, did not want to go. In fact, Jamie reported to me that Liam told him that Liam told him that "he quit." Quitting school to stay home with Becky was clearly the preference, but we managed to get Liam out the door with promises of more Becky after school. Tom, Michelle, and Becky picked him up and that apparently mollified him. Tom and Daniel looked after him, and I ran up with Becky after work to pick Jamie up from school at 2:30. This Jamie liked. We headed home to get Liam, then hung out with Becky until dinnertime, when we went back to Browning for much fun with Becky and Browningites. We got to bed a little late, which was all right for a Saturday night.

2010-11-21 23:54 (Kristen) Jamie was up first, as usual, at 8 or so. Liam and I were in bed until almost ten, and so it was a slow start to the day. Becky slept in too, and so was pounced upon. The morning was slow, but Becky and I took the boys out (with Gary) to the Second Cup in the afternoon to give them a little exercise. Jamie and Gary went home after Gary hit his head on the play structure in the playground across the street, while Becky, Liam, and I went to the bookstore and picked up groceries for dinner. It was a quiet evening after that, which was good as Sundays are days of rest.

2010-11-22 23:54 (Kristen) Jamie and Liam have a game that Jamie started where they stand still with their arms in the air and bend, and say "I am a cactus." You have to not look at the cactus or the cactus will not move; it only moves when you are not looking. This means that you are sometimes attacked from behind by a cactus. Very funny. Other than Becky's presence, it was a normal Monday with lunch and dinner at Browning. John's reappearance from Dallas just before dinner was much appreciated by all, and the boys were delighted to see him. Becky is going home tomorrow, and I told the boys tonight that this was so. Liam, when told, went and gave Becky a long hug for at least two or three minutes, an unsolicited kiss, and then sat in her lap for a while before being distracted by the next thing. That boy appreciated his cousin, as does Jamie.

2010-11-23 23:54 (Kristen) Becky left for home this morning, and the boys miss her already (as do we all). John took Liam to Hakobune, and I picked Jamie up after school; I made him come home right away, as he wasn't feeling well and was complaining of stomach cramps. He felt better by the time we got home, however, and played with Dylan for a bit when Chelsea brought him with her to her Japanese lesson wtih John. I was concerned about Jamie until dinner time, when he ate his usual enormous meal (where *is* he putting all that food?). We got the kids to do a good part of their homework, as there is a birthday party for their friend Simon on Friday, and we want to make sure they're finished in time to go to the party. Simon would miss them if they didn't make it. It was a little late to bed, then sleep.

2010-11-24 23:54 (Kristen) It was my turn to take Liam in to Hakobune, and we enjoyed the trip on the subway. We had to rush on the way back, however, and stop off at the grocery store on the way to get the ingredients for dinner. I've been trying to get Liam to walk further and further more and more, as I'm somehow convinced that he's not getting enough exercise, and it's working (more or less). It helped that we stopped off at the school on the way home to pick up his bike. We rushed through dinner and set off with John for judo. We arrived in time to get a fair amount of homework done before class started, and Liam surprised me by spending most of this time either drawing or writing in his workbooks. He really does like his workbooks. Bedtime was quite late, and I'm concerned that the boys are going to be quite tired tomorrow.

2010-11-25 23:54 (Kristen) John's been teaching Jamie math again, and he's been applying it. In class today, Jamie's teacher was talking about the fact that it was the 51st day of school, and as an exercise, the kids could work on their own to think about how many ways they could write number sentences to equal 51. Jamie stuck up his hand and asked if they could use exponents. John has been teaching him to work out powers in his head (2 to the power of 2, etc.), and now he was putting his newfound powers to use (so to speak). The funny part was that he had to ask his teacher how to write them down, because he's only ever done them in his head and didn't know the writing convention. In other news, Liam is going through a bit of a stage. He is utterly infuriated if Jamie gets anything that Liam doesn't, like a hat or something else mundane. They have to have exactly the same thing or there is fury and heartbreak. This is somewhat tricky, as it is not always appropriate for him to have what Jamie has, or possible. He also needs to fall asleep with his arms wrapped around my neck, throttling me. The good news is that he falls asleep quickly that way. He will also kick up a fuss if he can't fall asleep on top of me now. Sigh.

2010-11-26 23:54 (Kristen) It was another cold, dark morning, and Liam and I are having trouble waking up in the mornings. Liam will often call out "Anyone?!" when he wants help with something, in the hopes of getting more help if he casts his net widely, but he also calls it out in his sleep and so I often end up sleeping with him in his bed because he won't stop until someone is there with him. After the end of the day, it was time for our belated parent-teacher interview with liam's teacher. It was very quick; nothing unusual to report, or much of anything that we didn't know. We discussed how deep Liam's focus can be, and how it's hard to get him to shift focus. He's very good at giving you half of his attention. He does this with reading too, and we'll work on making sure that he's paying attention to the words instead of guessing. The boys had finished their homework, so it was off to Simon's birthday party, where fun was had by everyone. We came back to Browning, had dinner, then headed home for an early bedtime. Both boys are exhausted, and really have had their bedtime drift a little late ver the last month or so. Early bedtimes would solve a multitude of problems.

2010-11-27 23:54 (Kristen) Last night, Liam woke up with a moderate fever and complaining of a bad headache. John and I decided to give him the liquid Tylenol (which he loathes) at some point in the middle of the night when it became clear that he wasn't going to sleep well without it. He loathed it, screamed bloody blue murder, and then went to sleep immediately. The next day, however, he sadly and somewhat reproachfully told me that we gave him the medicine last night, and he didn't like it. More than once. The fever went down, however, and he slept, so I'm not feeling as guilty as I could. All right, I feel guilty because I don't like overpowering his wishes like that, but when a child is crying that he can't stand how much his head hurts, you make choices. That's parenting for you. I ended up staying home from work at the bookstore and looking after Liam while John did the grocery shopping and took Jamie to and from Japanese school. Liam was perky but very much needed my attention for long periods of time, and I was relieved when Jamie came hom and could spend some time with his brother too. It's early to bed tonight.

2010-11-28 23:54 (Kristen) Strange day today. Liam and I fell asleep at the same time last night, and Liam had another restless night complete with unwanted application of medicine. We both slept in the same bed, and didn't wake up until 11:30 am. I was more than a little shocked, and actually woke Liam up as he'd have kept sleeping if I hadn't. That was about thirteen hours or so of sleep. I guess we must have needed it. The rest of the day had a "stuck in molasses" feel to it; everything was done about three hours later than usual, and our afternoon errands were done in the dark of early evening. I was worried that Liam wouldn't fall asleep after a largely inactive day, but he did manage to fall asleep again. He seems all right, over all, and I hope that all that sleep will kick whatever it is that plagues him. Jamie and John seem all right, fortunately.

2010-11-29 23:54 (Kristen) We all seem back on track again. The boys both made it to school, although it was close, and Jamie seemed in good spirits at noon when we met for lunch. Liam had a playdate with Jack White, and by all reports it went quite well. I picked both boys up from the school, and Jamie managed to spin a "no playdate" afternoon into over half an hour of playground play time before we headed home to get a goodly deal of homework out of the way. We're a little behind given the oddness of the weekend, and Jamie and Liam both worked hard to get caught up. Liam has started singing his Japanese songs around the house, and is very cute when he does. Jamie has a song for his Christmas pageant that we have tracked down, and he's very insistent about practicing that too. The holidays are bearing down upon us, but we first have to get past Jamie's birthday party on Thursday.

2010-11-30 23:54 (Kristen) Jamie needed a late slip this morning, as we were that late getting out of the house. This upset him enough for him to ask to go to bed early tonight so that he won't sleep in tomorrow morning and be late again. This morning was a very dark, grey morning, and it made it particularly hard to get going. John took Liam off to Hakobune, and picked up some PrettyCure and Doraemon DVDs for him on the way home, because Liam knows that he can talk his dad into doing that for him. I got Jamie home as quickly as I could as he has a big project due on Friday, and a lot of other things between then and now to do also. We worked hard for about two hours, and have another couple o f hours of work to do before it's done. He's supposed to do a culture project on one of the countries of family origin, and I decided that he could do it on Iceland. He's interested, but I regret the lack of books on Iceland for kids in our possession (No. of books about Iceland for kid in house = 0). We do have a good book about Vikings, and we have used it, but Time for Kids has turned out to be very useful (online). Liam did his work too, and asked for a big pile of books to be read to him. It's hard to do homework with just Jamie, as Liam is very insistent on doing his work and having his share of the attention now, but both boys need a fair amount of attention while doing their particular tasks. It's always a fine line to walk. Then it was off to bed, early, as agreed upon with Jamie.

2010-12-01 23:54 (Kristen) This morning went better than yesterday, with the boys arriving at school on time, as planned. John took Liam to Hakobune, and I picked Jamie up from school for another push at finishing off his homework before Friday. We got a good part of the project finished, but I'm worried that we haven't spent enough time on objects or any sort of art. The fun part, however, is that Jamie is figuring out when to use a thorn and an eth (Icelandic letters representing the 'th' in then and the 'th' in 'bath'). His spelling words this week all had the 'th' sound in them, and he had a blast replacing the 'th' sounds with eth and thorn in the appropriate ways as he recited them back to me. "Their" is "Eth, e, i, r." He is also very interested in an Icelandic game called Fox and Geese, and I may have to find him a set if I can't find him a place to play it online, at his very imperious insistence. Liam was very tired by the end of the day, and did not want to go with Jamie and me to judo. He actually fell asleep in the car, which was remarkable to me, as he hasn't done that in ages. It was only for about four minutes, as John and I panicked and tried to figure out what to do, but I took him with me and Jamie into the JCCC, and it all turned out all right. It was straight to bed for him when we got home, and he did a godo enough job of falling asleep. Jamie needed to have the digestive system explained to him and how blood worked before he could fall asleep.

2010-12-02 23:54 (Kristen) Jamie demanded that I wish him "happy birthday party day!" this morning when he woke up this morning. We later found that Jamie's party is the talk of the class, and that there was much excitement about the upcoming festivities. It's a wonder anything got done today. I brought Liam home by bus from Hakobune just in time to get into the car and head out to the party. We decided to have a movie party for Jamie and his sixteen closest friends, and it was mayhem. We think that, next time, we will let the kids loose in an indoor playground, and be damned with the "cool" factor because the amount of energy in that room could have powered a small Canadian city in winter. The main effort was keeping food from flying all over the place and ensuring that no actual injury was committed by any children upon others in the rough housing and general mayhem. We did get pizza, drinks, and cake into the kids, and managed to have Jamie open his presents without too much disaster. His friends, I should say, know him really really well. He got an amazing array of cool loot, and there wasn't a dud in the lot. There were Lego games, beyblades, some science kits, and other stuff of the same type. Quite marvelous. Even more marvelous was that the kids, boys and girls, all sat through the movie. Liam sat on my lap for most of it, but that's typical for him. I may have mentioned that he's going through a clingy phase right now, which is pretty standard for this age, but still startling in a boy who I think of as very independent. We all were home around 9:30, and fell into bed as quickly as we could.

2010-12-03 23:54 (Kristen) The birthdays just keep coming. Tom, Michelle, Daniel and Ross had presents for Jamie at dinner (and cake too!) because they couldn't make it to Jamie's party last night. That was lovely. Jamie has even more beyblades now, and he's very very happy about it. He's got the lingo and everything ("3-2-1, let it rip!"). The day itself was spent happily dissecting the party last night (even Jamie's teacher mentioned that it must have been a very good party) before the evening, and Liam spent the afternoon at his dress rehearsal for the daycare Christmas pageant. The funny was from last night, when Jamie admonished me for something by saying "Mom! Listen to Papa! Don't be like *us*!" (pointing to Liam). Snort.

2010-12-04 23:54 (Kristen) Jamie was particularly tired this morning and complained that his stomach hurt. John, who was on hall monitor duty, let Jamie lie down for a bit in the afternoon. He was still complaining when John and the kids came to pick me up from the store, but seemed fine enough in the evening when he wanted to go and play with Gary. I'm not sure what the problem was, but it's clear that the boy needs a lot more sleep than he's getting. Liam was tired too but much more healthy. John says that he had a meeting with Jamie's Japanese teacher today who says that Jamie is doing very very well this year (Yay!). Liam's teacher told him as an aside, that Liam really likes singing in class, and I have to say that he is a little songbird around the house as he sings to himself a fair deal. It was a quiet evening, which was good.

2010-12-05 23:54 (Kristen) Today was Jamie's judo exchange day, and so we packed ourselves up to go and watch. Liam was just too tired and active to spend any time in the dojo, but we did manage to be there when Jamie had his two bouts. The first bout was very quick, as Jamie was up against a girl with more experience who threw him early on, but his second bout lasted a bit longer before he was once again trhwon. Jamie was down about the results, as I think he'd been hoping to equal or better his 1-1 record from last time, but he managed to cheer up a bit by the time we left for home. Momoha, Haruto, and Reiko were waiting when we got home for some Japanese exchange, and the kids all had a great time running around together and playing. Haruto and Liam are starting to play more together, which was great. The rest of the night was quiet, and we tried once again to get the boys to bed early, with a little success.

2010-12-06 23:54 (Kristen) Monday, Monday; another week starts. Jamie and Liam were home for lunch at Browning, and Liam hung out with John and me in the afternoon before it was time to go and get Jamie. Dinner was at Browning; lots of homework was done. Jamie's behind on his readingfor school, and has a good deal of time to make up before he reaches his six hour goal for the term. He's able to do it; it's just making the time to do so. He gave his Culture Kit presentation today; last year, we talked about his Japanese side. This year, we did a Culture Kit on Iceland. Jamie's really interested in the langauge, and in the 36 letters in the Icelandic alphabet. He talked about boats, clothes, games, language, and volcanoes, and used a toy Viking boat for the bath that Auntie Millie gave him to talk about the boats. I think that he had fun, and he's expressed a desire to go to Iceland some day, despite his fear of earthquakes and volcanoes. Some day! The evening was the usual Browning evening, and we got the boys into bed at almost a decent hour.

2010-12-07 23:54 (Kristen) It was a busy day today, and I'm somewhat pressed to remember the details. Both boys were at school; Liam has a playdate with his friend Nico lined up for Friday, and he's very excited. He and Nico are best buddies in the classroom, apparently, and John and I are delighted that he has a friend like this. Nico's mother, apparently, feels the same. John took Liam to Hakobune in the afternoon, and then brought him back. Jamie came home with me after school without a playdate, which annoyed him to a moderate degree, but he was very good about getting his homework done, as was Liam.

2010-12-08 23:54 (Kristen) Jamie wasn't all that interested in returning to judo tonight, citing a deep fatigue, but John told him that he had to get back onto the horse. Sure enough, once we got to judo, Jamie had a great time and opted to stay for sparring at the end without my even being asked (him knowing that it would be OK, of course). He did much much better, and came out feeling pretty good about life, especially since he had a talk with an older boy about bugs after class. Liam didn'th ave such a good day, complaining bitterly that he was tired when we ran for the bus to go to judo, and falling asleep on the bus. I looked at him, kneeling on the bus seat, looking out the window, and I realized that his face was pressed against the place where the window meets the seat and he couldn't possibly be looking outside. I woke him up, and spent the rest of the trip keeping him awake in a warm bus on a dark cold night. He has only just drifted off, so I was able to to tease him awake. If he'd been any more asleep, that would have been a much more miserable trip.

2010-12-09 23:54 (Kristen) Jamie didn't do his reading last night, so he was faced with an hour and a half of reading before bed tonight, plus his usual Japanese homework. The big push was over his class's goal of having read six hours worth before this Friday. All those who do the reading get to participate in a class lunch party. Those who don't...don't. Jamie was saying, daunted, that he didn't care about the party but we all know that he would have minded very much on the day. So: we settled down to read. And broke it up into two 40 minute segments. And, darned if he didn't do it. And, at the end, when he'd re-read two picture books and a magazine and read more of his Weird but True 2 book from National Geographic Kids, he said, "I really love reading, Mom!" I just about exploded with happiness, truly. How cool was that? Liam had a good day, preparing for his Christmas pageant tomorrow. He's also looking forward to his playdate with Nico. He's all finished his homework, and feeling pretty good about it.

2010-12-10 23:54 (Kristen) Today was the Busy Day. We had planned school for Jamie, Liam's morning Christmas concert, his playdate with Nico, a gingerbread house-making workshop with friends from Jackman for both boys, and a night at Browning while John and I go out for one of our all-too-rare dates. We got Jamie off to school, and took Liam to his concert, where Liam was adorable and performed with gusto in all his dances and songs. He was also the First Shepherd, and kept a good hand on his Sheep. He was delighted with his playdate with Nico, since they spent the whole time playing Donkey Kong Country for the Wii, which Liam has been coveting ever since he saw the ad on television. We gathered both boys after school, and raced out to the gingerbread house workshop, which resulted in two gingerbread houses for both boys. They did a good job, with minimal help from me, and now both want to eat their gingerbread house Now. Tom says that they had a good time at Browning, and were no trouble at all, but were a little chatty after lights out. Given how busy and exciting their day was, i'm not at all surprised.

2010-12-11 23:54 (Kristen) Today was Saturday, and so involved a day at Japanese school. John reports that the boys were the last to leave the playground, as they really wanted to play soccer with Toshio-kun, who was also the last to leave the playground with them. I reminded Jamie, when we were home, that he should remember to do some English reading so that he didn't fall behind again. He practically mugged me to read his Weird but True 2 book, as he wants me nearby to explain things to him (I am a walking encyclopedia, pronunciation guide and dictionary for him). By the end, he'd read for 40 minutes and I had to pry the book out of his hands so that we could go to John's parents' house for dinner. On the walk to Pearls, Jamie told me how much fun he had reading (as much fun as video games), and we riffed on the opening scene of Kung Fu Panda thus: "I see you like to read. Maybe you should read...on my fist!" Reply: "Enough talk. Let's read." Much for the rest of the evening, particularly from Liam, ended with the words "On my fist!" The boys, I should say, had a wonderful time playing together, and had each other in stitches for at least half an hour after dinner as they made up games with blocks, a cloth easter egg, and a zombie teddy bear. It was delightful to hear, and made it very hard not to smile too.

2010-12-12 23:54 (Kristen) John left early this afternoon to take his parents to their winter home in Mexico, and we didn't hold it against him that he was going somewhere lovely and warm as we dealt with the threat of oncoming winter storms. We are a loving family. And forgiving. It helped that Jamie had a birthday party at a friend's house around the time that John left, so the boys had something to do. Well, strictly speaking, Jamie did. Liam was so upset that he wasn't going to Dylan's party toothat he threw back his head and howled, his little heart breaking. I got out of him that it was because he was going to miss CAKE, and offered him a shot at cake or a cake-like substitute at Starbucks. This was acceptable, and made even better by the purchase of two chicken souvlakis (2 for $2.50!) as a local Greek restaruant. Chicken on a stick makes anyone's day. Liam and I had a snack at Starbucks and picked up books at the library, then went to get Jamie. It was still pouring rain, but we bought fruit at a produce store, looked at books at the bookstore, and then headed home for a quiet dinner and a quiet evening. Liam fell asleep by himself in less than five minutes; I suppose that making him walk all that way had the happy side effect of completely tiring him out.

2010-12-13 23:54 (Kristen) I managed to get the kids up, fed, out the door, and to school on time in the bitter cold this morning; yay us! The boys were helpful, except when it was time to put their outer clothes on, which is pretty much normal. They always lost focus at that point. Miss Vear told me, however, that Liam was the fourth fastest in getting his outer gear on today. Wow! Certainly a personal record for Liam, and praiseworthy. The boys and I had lunch and dinner at Browning today, and Jamie got a good deal of Japanese homework done, thanks to Ayami's help. I got the boys home and into bed at a decent time, and Liam once again fell asleep fairly quickly. Jamie is still having trouble falling asleep, but I told him to think of dragons, and having his own, and that happy thought seems to have done the trick.

2010-12-14 23:54 (Kristen) We managed to get to school on time this morning, but it was a closer thing. Liam was pretty good about going on the subway with me to Hakobune, as he's not all that fond of walking quickly as we have to do in order to not be late. He chose to have a snack rather than play his DS, which let to chooser's regret one stop from our destination, but we got past it. I dropped him off, picked him up, and then we headed home to do a few groceries and pick up Jamie from Momoha's. Jamie was really overwound, despite the fact that he was supposed to be doing homework with her; a few pages were done, but it wasn't a stellar number. We ended up staying later than intended, as usual, and walked home in the full dark with the snow falling around us. Dinner was perogies and salad, and Jamie ate all his salad while Liam bonded with the perogies more than Jamie did. I think that if you put enough sour cream on the food, Liam would eat just about anything. And crispy bacon. A quiet evening, then bed.

2010-12-15 23:54 (Kristen) It was a much more challenging morning, with an utter failure to get Jamie to school on time. Part of it was that we started breakfast about ten minutes too late, and Jamie and Liam both had somehow managed to open a can of Slow and douse their feet in it. I have no other explanation for why they were unable to move any more quickly when it was time to go. I took Liam to Hakobune again, picked him up, and brought him home, where Jamie and Gary were waiting. Liam likes to go downstairs with Jamie and Gary now, and is permitted to more and more now that he's a little older and knows better not to touch stuff. It was a judo night, so I got the boys fed quickly and onto the bus earlier than usual, making up for the difficulties of the morning. We caught the bus home too, around 9:23 or so, which was very late. I was frustrated that we had just missed a bus, but Jamie and Liam didn't care. They were enthralled by the large, fat, fluffy snowflakes falling in greater and greater profusion, and how they lit up in the glow of the streetlights. Jamie in particular lay on his back and blissed out a little while waiting for the bus, and kept reminding me that it was all beautiful. And so it was.

2010-12-16 23:54 (Kristen) Today was Concert Day at Jackman. I wasn't able to make Jamie's afternoon concert as I had to take Liam to daycare, but Jamie was all right with that. He was playing in the schoolyard, looked over by the other moms (by arrangement) when I got there with Liam, and the boys played in the snow all the way home. John was due back on a plane at 5:45, and Jamie's concert was due to start at 6:30, and it was a close thing for him to be back in time for it. He just missed Jamie's performance, which was a very sad thing for him. Jamie knew that his dad had tried, however, and both boys were just happy to see him. Compounding John's misery was the fact that he has a full-blown case of the flu. He came back home and went almost immediately to bed, and the boys and I did much the same as soon as we could.

2010-12-17 23:54 (Kristen) The boys were happy to have John back in the morning, but I still took them to school as John was still feeling pretty awful. They both had their class Christmas parties today, and were pretty happy. Jamie was very concerned that I bring in enough cans and other food donations for the food bank (apparently I was on the hook for eleven items; late night shopping last night for me), and to bring drinks and snacks for the party. He was happy with what I brought, which is all one can ask for. They had lunch at home, Jamie went back to school, and Liam spent a mellow afternoon doing this and that. He's been playing with toys more lately, which has been messy but lovely. We got Jamie, who did some homework with a finally vertical John, then I took the boys to Browning for dinner. John was asleep when we got back, and didn't wake up despite the usual hurly-burly of getting boys ready for bed. That's tired.

2010-12-18 23:54 (Kristen) I took the boys to Nisshu Gakkuin today, and they enjoyed the novelty of taking the bus and subway to get there. John was well enough (barely) to pick up Liam and Tom picked up Jamie. Ayami took care of the boys while John went back to bed, and I really don't care to think of how I'm going to even out the karmic debt I owe those two (Tom and Ayami). The afternoon was spent hanging out and vegging, which was much needed. Dinner was eaten; bed was sought and found.

2010-12-19 23:54 (Kristen) I really enjoyed the chance to sleep in without the alarm; I even turned it off. Bliss! The kids came and pounced on me anyway, but it was a little later than usual, so it was all right. It was a mellow day, a much deserved rest after the rush and stress of the last week or so.

2010-12-20 23:54 (Kristen) More sleeping in! I could get used to this. The boys had a quiet day in comparison to me and John, each of whom ran around doing a billion things of this and that in preparation for Christmas. It was another day of watching television and playing games for Jamie and Liam, disturbed only by going over to Browning for lunch and dinner. If it wasn't for that, we would have cocooned all day, I think. Gary and Ayami spent time with the boys too, which is always much appreciated by everyone upstairs.

2010-12-21 23:54 (Kristen) It's getting clear that we need to set up a playdate soon for Jamie, who is getting bored with playing video games and watching television all day. We took him and Liam Christmas shopping in the afternoon, but I am not convinced that this is something that they were really hoping for. The nice part is that Liam and Jamie have been playing together really nicely, with lots of laughter and giggling. I can put up with that, certainly.

2010-12-22 23:54 (Kristen) Jamie has been desperate for a playdate; desperate, I say. When I called around this morning, I was reminded that there was an expedition planned to the nearby Brickworks to try out the outdoor skating rink there. I scrambled to find a pair of skates for Jamie and Liam (borrowed a pair for Jamie; Liam was all right still), and set out with Jake and his mom and brother around noon-ish. The skating rink was nice; there were walls around it, which created a sheltered area for the skaters, and the rink itself had two raised flower beds in it for skaters to skate around. Jamie got onto the ice and skated like I've never seen him skate before--two years ago, he wouldn't glide. Now he was out there, working as hard as he could to skate in long strides and not flinching at all whenever he fell, which was frequently. Liam found a glider to hang onto, and managed to go completely around the rink, falling frequently and picking himself up, all by himself at his own pace. I was proud of both of them. All the children were wild animals inside, when we stopped to have some expensive locally made snacks, and it was just a good idea to get them back onto the ice again. They really enjoyed themselves, and it appears that I'll be buying some skates for me and Jamie so that we can do this some more.

2010-12-23 23:54 (Kristen) The kids had separate playdates today, although they were with siblings from the same family. Charlie came here, and ran errands with me and Jamie; Liam went to play with Charlie's brothers Tom and Jack, and did errands with their mom. The secret seems to be that if you're doing errands with someone else's mom, or have a friend with you, then it's all right. I made Jamie and Charlie walk all over the Danforth with me doing errands, and they spent the whole time talking with each other, playing some sort of game that Jamie was designing on the fly. They hardly spoke at all to me in two hours, except to say "yes" when I asked them if they wanted a cookie at the bakery. No complaints; nothing. Amazing! Liam, in the meantime, managed to impress the oldest of Charlie's younger brothers by not only knowing who Godzilla was in a game of Godzilla, but was able to name other monsters and likely their attacks as well. Yay, Liam! He seems to have had a good time too. Both boys were tired enough to be absolutely mental at the grocery store, but calmed down enough to eat noodles with me and John at Kenzo Ramen. We're home now, and I hope that they'll sleep soon. This Christmas on a Saturday after a week off school is for the birds, I say.

2010-12-24 23:54 (Kristen) Finally, it is Christmas Eve. We had lunch at Browning, as we didn't have dinner there. John looked after the boys there while I did some cleaning and food prep for tomorrow, then brought them home for a bit before it was time to go up to my aunt's for our traditional Xmas Eve festivities. Jeff and his new wife, Jessie, were there, along with Jessie's two boys, Connor and Taylor. Connor and Taylor are just between Liam and Jamie in age, and the boys had a good time playing together doing this or that with Jeff or John. Food was eaten, presents were opened and played with, and a good time was had by all. We're having to teach Jamie that saying "Is that all?" is not a good response after a flurry of present opening. We understand that he's excited and wants to know if he has any more to unwrap, but still. We made it back home late, with two tired but excited boys, and then managed to get them in bed with dire warnings that Santa does not arrive when small boys are awake. It seems to have worked.

2010-12-25 23:54 (Kristen) The boys were up at their usual time, more or less; none of the "It's 5 am! It must be Christmas!" that I feared. We went downstairs to open stockings, and the boys were very happy with the candy, little toys, and other items that Santa left. Just around the time we finished, Tami called to say that they were starting breakfast at Browning, so we quickly got dressed, gathered together the rest of the presetns for exchange, and headed over to their house. The boys ate not to badly, considering their level of excitement, and we quickly as possible got down to the serious business of opening presents. The boys loved their new DSiXLs (from me and John), as well as the rest of the truly impressive loot they received (books, Wii games, Lego games, and more). The carnage was over by noon, but the boys ended up staying at Browning for most of the afternoon while I went back home to put the turkey into the oven for the evening festivities.

We had decided to host Christmas dinner this year, and invited John's aunts Nobuko and Tomoko over, along with our friends the Anayamas (Reiko, Takashi, Momoha, and Haruto). Everyone arrived around five, dinner was on the table by quarter to six, and much of it was eaten happily by everyone. The kids played together well, as usual, and the Anayamas gave the boys two lovely gifts: a Crayola Glow Dome for Liam, and an electronic snap circuit kit for Jamie, who loves it ridiculously. He's already built a circuit to turn on a light, and a fan. It's really very cool, and everyone had a great night. The boys went to bed soon after everyone left, so that we can get enough energy for the long trip to Ottawa tomorrow.

2010-12-26 23:54 (Kristen) Today was the day of packing and travel. John and I spent the morning getting ready for our trip to Ottawa, as we'd been so busy before Christmas that we hadn't had time to pack. The boys played with their new Wii games (Liam is particularly fond of Kirby's Epic Yarn, surprise surprise) before we put them in the car a little after noon. We packed the Wii as well, and I have to say that the packing job to get presents, kids, and "essentials" into the car was a work of art. We made it to Kingston, spent time with Ian and Amy, Ted and Alice, then left for Ottawa after borrowing the two Wii remotes from them that I'd forgotten in Toronto (note to self: when packing Wii, pack Wiimotes). We arrived in Ottawa around eight, and had a happy time with cousins, aunts, and grammies before the boys finally went to bed, well after 10. Late nights seems to be the rule around Christmas time.

2010-12-27 23:54 (Kristen) The boys were delighted that their cousin Owen had decided to stay overnight with us. They waited patiently until given the go-ahead to pounce fiercely upon their cousin, which they enjoyed immensely. The day ended up being rather ridiculously busy. The morning was spent at Grandpa and Liz's house for brunch, where Jamie received a marvelous microscope set and Liam a Lego Atlantis game, and where the boys all played with the snap circuit set that i knew that their grandpa would enjoy too. Then we went to see our friend Kate Doe and her three children, after having some noodle soup for lunch. The evening was spent at the house of Becky's boyfriend Ian and his family, where the boys spent most of their time playing Wii in the basement. As long as there is a Wii, and a copy of Kirby's Epic Yarn, all seems to be well. We made it home late, and put the boys to bed as quickly as possible.

2010-12-28 23:54 (Kristen) Today was Mall Day. Every time we go to visit, we have to spend one day at the mall, letting the boys run madly around the playpark there, and today was it. We went down after lunch, and the boys had a great time. They then put up with some shopping with me in stores they had no interest in (clothes) and had a great time in their store (the games store). They bought new Wii games with their Christmas money, and are now richer by Pokemon Pokepark and a few other games, as well as new Nerf (Nerf! what a great idea!) cases for the new DS games systems. Once home, of course, the games had to be played, and made an interesting counterpoint to Kirby's Epic Yarn. It was Tuesday, which meant that it was Big Dinner Night at Grammie's. Uncle Badger showed up, along with our friend Adam, Auntie Jennifer, and Poppy, and a great time was had by all. Even Anna was there, with her friend Aleigh. The boys really enjoy seeing their cousins and playing with them, and it's always lovely to have them just romp together.

2010-12-29 23:54 (Kristen) The boys puttered around in the morning, doing this and that and mainly playing games and doing homework. After homework was done, Grammie, Owen, and I took the boys to the little toboggan hill near Grammie's and let the boys go up and down hills for a while. They enjoyed the new little sled that they received from Ted, Alice, Ian, and Amy, and even Liam was going down hills by himself. I enjoyed the new winter coat I'd bought the day before, and wished that I['d bought warmer boots while I was at it. It was lovely to see the kids having so much fun, of course, and we brought them in after an hour for a late lunch. We tried to keep the evening peaceful, since we're going home tomorrow, and the kids played with Owen while I got the packing finished up in preparation for dashing off tomorrow. John took a night to play Scrabble with the Ottawa Scrabble Club, and came home in time to say goodnight to the boys, who went to bed a little later than they should have.

2010-12-30 23:54 (Kristen) The boys were both happy and sad to go back home. We left Ottawa after our usual pre-departure brunch, which was less Anna for complicated family reasons. The boys asked after her and missed her, but had fun with their other cousins. We were on the road by noon, and headed home via a stop at Chez Ted and Alice in Kingston to have something to eat and return the Wiimotes we borrowed. We were home by 8, tired and happy to be home again. The boys helped us to unload the car, had a bath, and went to bed.

2010-12-31 23:54 (Kristen) The bulk of the day was spent shopping up at J-Town for ingredients for osechi* ryori*, which is traditional Japanese New Year's food. Alice and I are making it by ourselves this year, as John's aunts (who are osechi masters) are in Japan this year. They did make us the black bean dish that we all love, though, which was very kind of them, before they left. The boys ate lunch at J-Town, which they enjoyed. Jamie particularly liked his omelet with tomato sauce and rice, which he pronounced almost as good as an enchilada. Then it was off to Pacific Mall to pick up a few things, and then back home so that I could cook and they could play with their excess of electronic games. Dinner was with John's aunts at Dynast, a lovely Chinese restaurant. They fly out tomorrow morning, so it was nice to see them before they leave. The boys enjoyed the meal and the company. Our next destination was Reid and Luisa's for their annual New Year's bash, which was small and intimate this year with even more yummy food. Ross and Daniel were there, and the kids had a great time running all over, playing hide and go seek, until Liam got his finger pinched in a door. Yes, of all children, it was Liam. He took a little while to calm down, at which point John and I realized that it was time to put their pajamas on and to have a quiet time watching Wall-e in the basement until midnight. We went up, shared the moment with all assembled, had our respective toasts (ginger ale for the boys), and then took the boys home. It was the first time they'd ever stayed up that late, and we'll pay for it later, but they appreciated it (or at least Jamie did). They, of course, fell asleep almost instantly in the car. Jamie's getting so tall that it's a real effort now to bring him inside!

2011-01-01 23:54 (Kristen) Jamie was the first up this morning, at about 8:45. Liam and I were up later; I'm not entirely sure, but it may have been almost 11:00. John was up around the same time. Groan. The day was spent playing games and getting ready for the osechi* feast. Ted, Alice, Amy and Ian had driven into town last night and met us at Reid and Luisa's, then spent the night at John's parents' house before coming over. The cousins kept each other occupied all day while parents did this and that. The feast was consumed, people were happy, and all was well. The kids went to bed very late again, and I think that getting them up on Monday for school is going to take a lot of effort.

2011-01-02 23:54 (KRisten) We were up again late, but not as late as yesterday at least. We made a family pilgrimage to the Second Cup and other sundry Danforth locations, which was accomplished with a fair amount of grumpiness but did the trick of getting us out and stretching our legs somewhat. The boys were desperate for Ian and Amy to come over again, which they did for dinner, bringing sushi and other treats (and their parents, of course). The kids watched the SpongeBob Movie, and then went to bed. They both took forever to fall asleep and I suspect will be a little tired when they go to school tomorrow.

2011-01-03 23:54 (Kristen) Jamie manaaged to get up by himself this morning (both boys were in bed with us by morning; groan) but Liam needed to be roused from a sound sleep by John. I was still in a sound sleep myself. John reports that Liam was half asleep and very cranky during breakfast, and that John needed to feed him while Liam sat in his lap (a tricky maneuver with cereal). As he did so, Liam sudddenly declared that he didn't believe in anything. "Not even in God?" John asked, ever the provocateur. Liam thought, then said "I believe in Mummy." "Do you believe in Papa?" John asked. Long pause. "Yes." Long pause. "But I don't believe in trees." I was killing myself as John related this story to me. Later in the day, upon more questioning, Liam admitted that he did, in fact, believe in trees. Meanwhile, Jamie was riffing on the old "when you're a pony" line of Liam's in regard to when Jamie could grow a pony tail. Then he misspoke, and said that he could have a pony tail when he was in a pony tale, having meant to say 'fairy tale' instead. He was quite taken with being a pony in a pony tale. Other coolnesses of the day included watching a red-tailed hawk bein harried by three outraged crows in our neighbourhood, causing the hawk to fly low over the houses and let Liam and me to get a very good look at him. Lovely. Liam and I went on errands on the subway together, and he was very helpful. It likely helped that he got some favourite snacks and a book on the way.

2011-01-04 23:54 (Kristen) It was another hard morning waking up, but no declarations of disbelief in the state of the universe. Since Liam is coming home for lunch this week, as Hakobune has not resumed it regularly scheduled sessions, we offered to let Jamie come home too. He thought, and decided that he'd like to stay and eat with his friends. A few months ago, he would have come home; now he's getting bigger, and wants to be with his friends. I'm pleased, but kind of sad at the same time, of course. It's another small move away from us and out into the larger world. In other news, Jamie managed to be the first one to finish their math booklet at school, followed hotly by two or three other small boys in his class. I think it's a case of who gets to be second for them. Liam didn't have Hakobune, and won't at all this week, as the couple who run the daycare are away in Japan, visiting family. We spent this afternoon doing more errands, which Liam was less than pleased about as he kept insisting that he "wanted a day off." This means sitting in the living room and playing Donkey Kong Country Returns, as far as I can tell.

2011-01-05 23:54 (Kristen) LIam has been complaining to me that he wants a break; that he wants a free day. I've established that yes, he's tired, but I think that he really just wants an unbroken stretch of time to play Donkey Kong Country Returns without Jamie coming home to turn on YTV. He got a reasonable stretch of it today, before having to go out with me to get Jamie. He doesn't like that very much, but John is working on his thesis and this is the new regime until it's done. Jamie wanted a playdate today, and I reminded him that his friends are all coming over on Friday for a mass posse lunch. There was grumpiness, but we still managed to get home and do work with John before judo. We took the bus up, and got there in plenty of time. The surprise and happiness for the night was when we found out that Jamie is getting his yellow belt. Yay, Jamie! He's absolutely delighted, and very much looking forward to the ceremony in a week or two.

2011-01-06 23:54 (Kristen) When I picked Liam up from kindergarten today, his teacher told me that he had made her laugh today. We had been talking about how Liam is rather funny, in a deadpan, out-of-nowhere sort of way. She then said that she'd told Liam that he was funny, and he told her "I make jokes daily." John and I think that hanging around Jamie, who is contantly in quest of something goofy to do or say, has helped to hone LIam's understanding of what funny is, and how to do it where he might not have put quite so much effort into it if Jamie wasn't around. Liam had an opthomologist appointment this afternoon, which went very well, and he went with me to go and pick up Jamie. It helped that it had been snowing, and so there was enough snow on the ground for me to be willing to pull both boys on the sled. They both goofed around and had a great time in the snow before we got home. John and I had a work function (for me) to attend tonight in Guelph, so Tom and Michelle babysat the boys. They were good, and Jamie only tricked Tom into doing a little bit of his homework before Tom caught on. Tom reports that, when the Wii wasn't playing after a new game had been put in, he had joked that the disc, which was in backwards, was actually inside out. Liam thought about this for a little while, and then said to Tom, "You put the Wii inside the disc?" Clever muffin. We weren't home before bedtime, so Tom put them to bed. The boys fell asleep in the same bed, as per Liam's wishes, and Jamie graciously allowed Liam to do so. He really can be very understanding with his little brother.

2011-01-07 23:54 (Kristen) Today was the big posse lunch at our house, where we hosted Jamie's friends for a big get together in order to see as many of them as we could. Liam and Jamie's friend Aidan had a titanic snowball fight on the way back, and were covered in snow upon arrival (which was much later than the others). Lunch went very well, and all was wonderful until it was time to go. John had gone out for a meeting, and so it was just me to get all the kids back to school. The clutch of boys were just fine; it was Liam who was the problem. He's been quite resistant to going out in the afternoons and doing anything other than Donkey Kong Country Returns, but he was quite flat in his refusal to go with us back to the school. Eventually, caught between a rock and a hard place, I told him that if he didn't start putting his coat and snowpants on and being helpful that he would not have Donkey Kong Country Returns (hereafter DKCR) to pplay in the afternoon until after Jamie got home. He wasn't helpful; I put the foot down, and there was no DKCR. Cue wailing and tears and collapse. I dressed him, and he wailed the entire way to school (Jamie's friend Aidan was very kind--"But Liam, you're lucky. I only get to play Wii two days a week!). He wailed all the way home, and did not calm down until we had a long cuddle and a talk. The rest of the afternoon went quite well, but he did not play DKCR until Jamie came home. Sigh. He was pretty cranky in the evening too, and really we couldn't put him to bed early enough. Jamie was fine, and in a very good mood himself. The kids were playing on a very slippery patch of ice in the schoolyard that had been marked by a pylon; the kids all knew the pylon was there to make sure they could find the patch of ice in order to play on it. That was the point, right?

2011-01-08 23:54 (Kristen) The snow dumped down on us today, making the world a fluffy winter wonderland that was treacherous to drive in. John got the kids to Nisshu, and one mother was overheard to brag that she was first, even though she was two minutes late for class! John and the boys came to get me at Bakka, as I provided fries from a nearby restaurant that are very good. I have been, somewhat forcefully, told that I had better buy a larger size next time. Jamie and Liam saw the big toboggan hills at Riverdale Park, and were inspired. The hills were pretty busy, however, and so any actual tobogganing for the day was deferred. Jamie read a good deal of one of his Tiny Titans graphic novels, which was lovely too.

2011-01-09 23:54 (Kristen) By the end of the day, Jamie clocked in at more than two and a half hours of reading this weekend, all of it Tiny Titans. W00t!! He has me time him, so that he gets credit, but he's genuinely enjoying the reading. "Mom," he'll say, "I'm going to do some reading now. Can you time me?" I'm very happy. The rest of the day was spent largely in pajamas until after noon, and then the kids went outside. Jamie and John spent a good deal of time building a toboggan run in the front yard, which consisted of a good deal of the snow in the front yard. First, however, Jamie crowed that he'd made some of the deepest snow angels that John had ever seen. There were also snow zombies (grr...argh...). Momoha and her brother came over, along with Reiko, for homework in the afternoon, and the kids did pretty well getting theirs done. The evening was pretty quiet, and the boys were in bed not too late.

2011-01-10 23:54 (Kristen) It was back to school again, and the boys are still dragging a bit. Fatigue is the rule of the day; we're all fighting something or other, it seems. We went to Browning for dinner after school, and that was nice. Other than that, the boys are doing their homework, playing well together, and seem to otherwise be well.

2011-01-11 23:54 (Kristen) It was back to Hakobune for Liam today. I took him there by subway, and he was all right with going back, although there was the usual "but...I could be home, playing video games!" response. He was unhappy that I had forgotten his DSiXL at home, but he also forgave me quickly, so all was well. He was happy to be back, and to see everyone. When I picked him up, he was a little upset because someone had stepped on his finger...*that* finger, for those of you who remember what that means (for those who don't that would be the finger that got all the stitches a year ago). Interestingly, I had a conversation with another Hakobune mom while I was waiting for Liam (and, unbeknownst to me, while he was calming down, but with no tears, after his finger was stepped on) whose daughter had just had her finger broken in a door. I was able to reassure her that all would eventually be well, I hope, as I think that Liam's wound was more bloody than this poor girl's was. Jamie, in the meantime, had the pleasure of his father joining the class for a "Scientist in the School" event and taking him home after school. The evening was homework and the rest of it, and both boys were exhausted by bedtime.

2011-01-12 23:54 (Kristen) The boys were delighted to wake up and see that there was, once again, much snow as this meant that John would be pulling them to school on the sled. After he got back, John and I shovelled the driveway, and managed to use the snow from the driveway to further build up Jamie's little toboggan hill in the front yard. It was cold, though, once the snow passed, and I dragged Jamie home from school quickly. Liam had gone to Hakobune with John, and convinced him to stop by the video store to get more episodes of "Goseija" (?), a Japanese "Power Rangers"-style television show that the boys are suddenly into. There wasn't much Goseija watching, however, as we had to bus up to judo in the evening. Liam was so tired he was almost unable to function; John reported that he had lain down on the carpet at kindergarten around 11:00, and declared himself too tired to do anything else. He wasn't crabby; he'd just run out of energy. At judo, he sat on my lap and insisted on doing things together, rather than playing by himself as he usually does. I was a little tired by the end of judo. The boys were to go to bed separately; Jamie to the bath and Liam straight to bed; but Liam cried and wailed at the separation until Jamie finally joined us, post bath.

2011-01-13 23:54 (Kristen) Oh, boy. Jamie woke up in the middle of the night, trying to throw up. Given the sounds from his stomach, I'm genuinely shocked that he didn't. We decided, sleep befuddled in the middle of the night, to keep both kids home in the morning because they both needed the rest. Liam went to Hakobune in the afternoon, while Jamie stayed home with me. We think that he needed to vomit because he had swallowed too much post-nasal frip from the cold he has, and that has been dragging him down for a few days now. However, he wasn't himself today, and had a slight fever over the course of the day so we felt good at keeping him home. Liam enjoyed Hakobune and got his dad to bring home more Goseija videos. Life works for him.

2011-01-14 13:49 (Kristen) Liam has his friend Nico over for a playdate. A good chunk of the playdate has been spent playing video games, and teaching Liam to be *nice* when his friends don't know how to play the game as well as he does. They seem to be working it out, but...sheesh.

2011-01-14 23:49 (Kristen) Well, it's later, and we've all been to see Dr. Kennedy. John wanted to see her, and we brought Jamie along as he still isn't looking good and, in fact, is starting to look worse. Dr. Kennedy agreed that he looked like crap (big shadows under his eyes and a pale face), and took a good look. Swollen lymph nodes and a wheeze in his chest later, he has a puffer and a big bottle of antibiotics. That was a fortuitious visit. We took him to Browning for dinner anyway, and he seemed to have a good time, but he was pretty tired by the end, as was Liam. Jamie's going to stay home from school tomorrow, which seems like just a good idea at this point.

2011-01-15 23:49 (Kristen) The weather was terrible today; lots of snow and more snow on top of that. It took John forever to get Liam to Nisshu, and then back down. I called Daniel to watch Jamie while I went off to work, to bridge the time between when I left and John got back from the market. Liam seems to have had a good day, while Jamie wasn't too badly off either. It was, by necessity, a quiet day with little to report.

2011-01-16 23:49 (Kristen) The highlight of today was when Momoha and her mom and brother came over for a study date. The day had been spent in pajamas until noon, and then clothes were deemed essential. The boys played a little outside on the massive snow pile, and Liam objected fiercely to going out (as did Jamie) before they did go out and have a good time. Sigh. After Momoha and her mom and brother left, the boys, Joh, and I went to the Silk Road for dinner. It was a little tricky, as the boys were very hungry and tired, and not really up to their best restaurant behaviours, but we all were fed in the end and that was what mattered. Once again the boys were in bed a little later than we'd hoped, but we're hoping that tomorrow will be better.

2011-01-17 23:49 (Kristen) Jamie still wasn't feeling well today, so John took Liam off to school and came back to catch a ride to the airport for his latest adventure. While I am sure that the boys truly do miss their dad, the chorus of "I want Papa! Where's Papa?" was loudest when I was doing things differently from him, or they didn't much like my answer to one of their requests or whims. New regime, kids! Jamie spent a quiet morning, but was definitely, by mid-afternoon, at the stage of being not quite well enough to go to school but well enough to be bored. Tomorrow, for sure. Liam was home in the afternoon to spend time with him, and both were very happy to see Gary on his return from a three-week trip to Japan. He was happy to see them too, and brought a little Gamera and a little King Gidera toy for the boys. Liam loved his Gamera and called it his baby; in fact, he illustrated it by giving the fierce-looking battle turtle a koochie koochie koo under the chin. That's my Liam. Jamie and Liam did homework, then went with me over to Browning for dinner. We came home early, and I had the boys asleep by 9:20. Yay! I hope that they sleep well.

2011-01-18 23:49 (Kristen) Both boys were off to school this morning, and it was a little rough as Jamie was a little out of practice. We were late, but not by much, and our progress was quickened by the fact that it was quite warm today and snow pants were therefore not required. I dropped Jamie off long enough to see that he had a crabby substitute teacher (Jamie agreed after school that this particular substitute is always crabby). Then I dropped Liam off, and he seemed to be in a good mood and his teacher asked me a few questions about Mexico after I saw Liam's show and tell photo (of Mexico) in his backpack and asked if Liam had shown it the day before. He wasn't in much of a mood to go to Hakobune, as he and Nico had arranged a playdate together independently of either of their mom's, and both boys were put out that it wasn't going to happen. Poor boys. Hakobune was fun, however, and he was glad in the end to go. We made record time back to pick up Jamie, and then home as it was raining moderately. Jamie insisted on staying out, however, to test out the toboggan hill (too slushy at the bottom). Homework was done, Gary visited, and Papa talked with over the computer. Gary ate dinner with us, and is a very jetlagged Gary. Liam was very cranky, and melted down a few times. We're working on the whole tantrum thing, as I have no pateience for it At All.

2011-01-19 23:49 (Kristen) The boys didn't eat a great deal for breakfast this morning, which may be why Liam was in such a pissy mood when I picked him up at lunch today. When I arrived to pick him up, he was sitting on the floor, wearing his snow pants but no other winter gear. It took TEN MINUTES, with supervision, to get him dressed. He was distracted from his bad mood somewhat (including the start of a tantrum, which I was not putting up with) by Miss Vear asking him to sing the shape song. He did, almost perfectly, in three verses (circle, square, and triangle). Apparently it's a popular song with the class. As I said, he may just have been hungry, as he didn't eat a lot for breakfast and skipped snack because it was cantaloupe and he can't abide cantaloups. The ice was bad today, and so I'd had the boys shuffle to school to that they wouldn't fall. Liam is *really* looking forward to going to Mexico. He was ecstatic at the thaw yesterday, declaring "It's spring! It's spring!" I told him it was still winter, and that it was going to freeze tomorrow. "It's spring! It's spring! It's raining, so it's spring!" Etc. I think that he was really looking forward to the end of winter gear. Jamie didn't go to judo tonight because it was a little soon after his illness, and we weren't up to a late night coming home on the bus.

2011-01-20 23:49 (Kristen) It was a smoother day overall for us, which was nice. Liam was better at school at pickup, and I had a snack ready to head off any complaints. Clever mom! He had a good day, and Reiko, Momoha's mom, picked up Jamie so I didn't have to rush back with Liam. We went to Reiko's to pick up Jamie, and with the hope of eating dinner together, but poor Momoha had emergency dental surgery earlier in the day and so we came home. Reiko sent dinner with us, which was yummy and much appreciated. Jamie and Liam had fun with Haruto, and Liam has declared Haruto to be his second best friend, after Niko.

2011-01-21 23:49 (Kristen) Unusually, we had lunch at Browning today, which the boys enjoyed immensely, not least because they got to eat ham. This may sound like a small thing, but they've been enjoying ham because Ponyo (in the movie of the same name) gets to eat ham, and gulps it down out of the little boy's sandwich. So both boys cry out "Hamu!" (Japanese for 'ham') and gulp it down like they were little fish boys. Very cute. Jamie went back to school, Liam and I hung out with books from the library, and all was well. We went back in the evening, had a good time playing and being at Browning, and then back home.

2011-01-22 23:49 (Kristen) Today Tom took Liam to school while I took Jamie off to his yellow belt ceremony for judo. He was very very excited, and very proud to be a full yellow belt in judo. As it marks a whole year of hard work, I should say he should be proud. However, by the time the ceremony was over, he was too tired to take part in the club tournament afterwards. GIven that he's still on antibiotics, I wasn't going to push it and since he said that he was willing to go home to bed without television or video games, I figured he wasn't kidding. I took him with me to the library near Nisshu Gakkuin and dropped book after book onto his lap to see what he was interested in reading. We found a few things, all graphic novels. That's fine. We had a snack at Starbucks, picked up Liam, and came home. Then it was an afternoon vegetating until it was time to go to Browning for dinner, as they very kindly offered to feed us. We've been very lucky with friends who have been willing to feed us.

2011-01-23 23:49 (Kristen) I don't remember much of today, as I was feeling pretty ill. I had a scratchy thraot, a cough, and felt like a truck was parked on me. I tried to sleep on the couch in the afternoon, and soon realized the error of my ways as both boys either wanted to snuggle in with me under the blanket on the couch (very hard to do as there is a lack of room) or used me as a jungle gym. As it was about -20 C outside, during the afternoon, there was no way we were going outside, even if I had been feeling better, so perhaps I should feel like I was let off lightly. I should add that pajamas may not have been removed today. Perhaps. Jamie was tickled by it. Gary came and saved me by playing with the boys and letting me sleep, and Momoha's mother, Reiko, made dinner for us and had her husband bring it over as we had been supposed to get together for a homwework/dinner party. Clearly, it was not a good idea for me to go. It was a quiet day, and a quiet night, and early to bed for all.

2011-01-24 23:49 (Kristen) Monday. Oh, ugh, Monday. I continued to feel sick as the proverbial dog, with chills and whatnot. I took the boys to school, but didn't see either one for most of the rest of the day as Tami, Ken, Gary, and the rest of Browning stepped in and took over childcare for me, without even being asked. Wow. This is how you know you've got friends. I managed to sleep, rest, and otherwise relax as my (presumed) flu took its course. I drank chicken soup, and stayed warm. The boys, I am told, had a great day. I'm very glad, and very glad for friends.

2011-01-25 23:49 (Kristen) It was another day when I didn't see much of the kids. I took them to school in the morning, which was a bit of a misery because I was still feeling pretty rotten. This meant, of course, that Liam had to fight with me. I told Jamie that he could go on ahead of us, if he wanted to, rather than wait for me and Liam to conclude our disagreement. To my surprise, Jamie did walk himself to school. I was very proud of him, and told him so when I checked in on him in his classroom later on. Liam had a full-on meltdown in his classroom after I left, because I wouldn't let him go in through the school hallway (which, for the record, is against the rules) and instead made him go in through the usual door. I left him initially while he cried over it, and checked in on him later to see he still was. He stopped right away when he saw me, had a very short cuddle, then joined the rest of his class like nothing had happened. Sigh. Ken, Tami, and Gary took over for the rest of the day, looking after Liam in the afternoon after school (I was in no condition to take him to Hakobune), and feeding the boys dinner again in the eveining. Wow. This is not even the textbook definition of good friends; this is almost on the same level true friends help you move a body. I am -- we all are -- very lucky. I was very happy to see the boys at the end of the day; it was strange not to have them about, and helped me to appreciate them more as well.

2011-01-26 23:49 (Kristen) Today was the first day I was starting to feel better. I took Liam to Hakobune, and got some work done. Jamie was picked up by Gary, which always makes him happy. The big news, however, was that Jamie is about three days behind on his Japanese homework, thanks to my being sick, and we had a lot of work to catch up on before Friday. We had a skype session with John for most of it, which was great (modern technology rocks), as Jamie had to do about three hours worth of homework. It was long, it was hard, but we did it, and I was very impressed with Jamie's willingness to work through something that he clearly wasn't interested in doing. Well done, Jamie!

2011-01-27 23:49 (Kristen) More of the slow return to normalcy. Jamie went to school, and I took Liam to Hakobune after class. He didn't want to play his DS on the subway today; instead, he wanted me to quiz him on reading flashcards. Yay, Liam! He's starting to get better; he suprised me a couple of times with what he could sound out. After school, Jamie went to Momoha's to do homework, but only got about two and a half of the six pages he needed to do done. We had another skype session with John to get the rest done, which wasn't the grind that it was last night. Jamie, in the end, got a week's worth of Japanese homework done in two days. What a star!

2011-01-28 23:49 (Kristen) The boys were very excited to know that John was coming home today. First, however, Jamie mugged me, practically, just before we went to school to sign him up for chess club. So, I did, and I'm glad that I did. He got in (there was a lottery; more kids wanted to play chess than there were spaces, and they had even added a session--crazy!), and is utterly ecstatic. I felt a maternal geek pride as well, I must admit. Liam hung out with me after school and lunch at Brwoning. I started to get a sense of how the boys were when I was sick, and it sounded like everything was really rather wonderful. They weren't trouble, and Liam and Tami get along excellently in that she likes to do the things that Liam wants done for himself. They read books and did this and that. Apparently,Liam had asked Tami to make him the same sandwich he had on Tuesday for lunch on Wednesday because it was "delicious." Tami told him that she would make it for him on Friday, and she did; and he ate it. All is good. nd I have really good kids.

John came home just before dinner, and the kids were overjoyed to see him. He brought lots and lots of cool gifts for them from Japan, but I think that they missed him, and would have been happy even if there had been no gifts. The big winner was the large Doraemon board game, but they were happy with everything. Then it was over to Browning for dinner and play, and then home to bed too late.

2011-01-29 23:49 (Kristen) John took the kids to school, and reports that they played for a good long time after school. Liam and he sat in Starbucks while they waited for Jamie, which always pleases Liam. They came to pick me up at work, and then we bought donuts. Since we close to Gary's work, we dropped off a donut for him and Gary in turn introduced Jamie to all his co-workers. We ran some more errands for our trip tomorrow, and the boys got (slowly but surely) more and more excited about the trip. I made fried rice for dinner, and the boys played with Gary while John and I finished packing. It's going to be a long day tomorrow.

2011-01-30 23:49 (Kristen) We got up after a late night packing. The boys had been up for a while, playing video games and otherwise keeping out of trouble but getting more and more hungry. We fed them a late breakfast before they went in search of Gary (or Gary went in search of them; I'm unsure which). We were packed and ready to go by 1:00, and headed out the door with many goodbyes. The trip to the airport was uneventful, and we hung out in the lounge, eating tortellini, until it was time to go to the gate. The boys were full of nervous anticipatory energy, which I let them burn off before we go onto the plane. The plane was only about half full, which surprised me, but it meant that we got both sides of the row to ourselves. Liam sat with John for the first little while, and then bounced back and forth between me and John. He was tired, and spent most of his time watching television. Jamie watched Megamind again and then played Lego Battles. He really wanted Liam to play with him, and was a little put out that Liam didn't. They were otherwise very good on the flight. I should note that John has been Liam's favourite parent lately, and that Liam has favoured him with "Fall asleep with ME!" status for the last two nights. We landed after dark, so we didn't see much of the jungle, but the boys sang "We're in ME-XI-CO!" for most of the ride to town. We found our condo, unpacked, explored, and agreed that it was a most fine living space. Then it was time for bed, after the usual safety prcedures being read out. The boys were not asleep until 10:30 Mexico time, which is 11:30 our time. Excitement can do that to a boy.

2011-01-31 23:49 (Kristen) It's our first day in Mexico, and the boys are utterly delighted to be here. We spent the day at the beach, with its accompanying lunch at the restaurant at the Ojo de Agua. Jamie ate an entire fish fillet by himself, and rhapsodized about the deliciousness of the food, and that he could eat this forever. Liam was not as fulsome in his praise, but his food was all gone, so he must have been happy. The afternoon was spent on the beach, swimming and playing as much as possible. Dinner was with John's parents, and the usual de rigeur trip to the zocalo was made after dinner. Jamie had a lime and coconut ice cream cone, which was very yummy. The boys coveted a blowup toy to go with their dolphin for playing in the ocean with. I suspect that they'll get one. On the "yay, Mom!" side, I blew up an inflatable dolphin all by myself. It just took a while.

2011-02-01 23:49 (Kristen) We did get the turtle after all, and the boys are beyond delighted with it. Ith as a broad back that makes playing on it together much easier than with the dolphin. They spent a good deal of time playing in the ocean together with it, and otherwise splashing about. They have been having a great time playing together in general, and it makes our hearts glad to see them have such a good time together. We have also established that Jamie is not afraid of fish but fears deep water; Liam is afraid of fish, but is not afraid of deep water. Together they are a snorkeler. Liam got John to piggy-back him around in the deep water, as he yelled out "Ooo, ooo, ooo, I'm the king of the castle." Umm...yeah. That's Liam for you. Dinner was eaten with John's parents; ice cream was eaten in the zocalo after some play in the playground. Life, overall, was good.

2011-02-02 23:49 (Kristen) Today there was a strong wind coming in from the east, so while it wasn't cold, it was a little too rough to go into the ocean. The boys compensated by playing a good deal in the sand. Earlier in the day, I went to the Wednesday Market at the zocalo to pick up yummy fruit and vegetables. Yum! It was a quiet day without too much going on, and that was just fine with all of us.

2011-02-03 23:49 (Kristen) We made a trip into Cancun today to do some larger shopping at the Costco and Mega stores for us and for John's parents. We took a cab in with Rogelio, who has been helping John's parents out in this way for a few years, and got our shopping done almost without incident. Jamie, promised a toy, picked out a Matchbox car set with a mummy that "catches" cars, and which I completely disliked, not least because these things always fall apart, he has no real interest in cars, and it was quite expensive. John said that he could have it because he'd been very good through the expedition and had been promised his choice. I do have to admit that the boys are enjoying it, but I'm anticipating it being just one more abandoned, junky toy in the house in about a week and a half. We had a lovely lunch at Irori, a Japanese restaurant in Cancun, then headed home for some beach time before dinner. However, Jamie's ear, which had been more and more swollen over the course of the day, started to worry me and John enough that John took Jamie to see the local doctor. Fifty dollars for the doctor and fifty dollars for the medicine later, we had a strong allergic reaction to a mosquito bite on his ear. In this part of the world, however, you don't mess about with stuff if you thik that a baterial infection might be involved. Liam and I ate by ourselves at the Ojo de Agua while John and Jamie were at the doctor, and Liam charmed the living daylights out of everyone with his desire for spaghetti bolognesa and a virgin pina colada. The pina colada arrived with no marascino cherry, so I went back to ask for one for him. He got more than one, less than five, and was a Very Happy Boy. Then it was time to go home (no ice cream tonight) and go to bed.

2011-02-04 23:49 (Kristen) One of the Japanese magazines that John brought back from Asia for the boys had a Pokemon version of karuta, which is thrilling the boys to no end. We played a number of games today, much to their delight. Jamie is pwning us, but Liam's not as bad at it as one might think. I forgot to mention yesterday that Liam, on the ride to Cancun, and John were discussing how the landscape looked a lot like Florida. Liam then asked if Mexico had rockets. A few blinks later, we realized that he was referencing our visit to Cape Canaveral last year. No, unfortunately, no rockets. Liam was tired for much of the day, and wasn't all that interested in doing anything other than playing Sonic or Bust-a-Move on the DS. We did get him out to the beach to build sand sculptures: John and the boys (with a little help from me) built a sand sphinx and a dragon/dinosaur. They were very good, and the boys were very pleased. In the evening, we hosted dinner with John;s parents, with a nice Mexican dinner of (store-bought) cochinita* pibil*, tortillas, refried beans, chayote and nopales, plus rice that John's mom brought. It was very yummy. Afterwards, however, we decided to keep Liam home from the ice cream outing because of his general fatigue, but he was pretty unhappy about that. In the end, I think that he was just dehydrated, and we'll need to make sure that he drinks more water when out on the beach.

2011-02-05 23:49 (Kristen) It was a beautiful day today; the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the sea was a million different shade of blue, white, and green. It was hot, and it looked like a perfect day for the beach. We headed out to the Ojo restaurant, and everyone had something different to eat (except for John, who had his usual fish). Jamie loved his fish tacos, and Liam was approving of his quesadillas. My empanadas cameron* were delicious. Then it was down to the beach, where we built a UFO out of sand (using avocado pits we salvaged from the shoreline as windows). Then, while John had a rest under the umbrella, the boys and I played in the water, splashing, playing, and swimming. The boys did very well, and Liam in particular was very game about trying to swim. Then we got out, and Liam started to complain that something itched in his swimsuit. Then he started to complain in earnest, and we got the trunks off him to see that he was in fact stung by a thimble jellyfish larva that had taken residence in his trunks and was objecting to being out of the water. Liam had a string of welts on his bum that were starting to redden and puff up, and so we pulled out our pharmacy and treated it right away with Benadryl and other things. We left the beach and took Liam home, where he hung out sans pants for the rest of the day. Poor lamb. The good news is that he is responding well to the treatment, and he ate moderately well at dinner. Another ice cream expedition was undertaken without Liam, who was running a mild fever by this time, and the little boy fell asleep almost immediately at bedtime. Poor lamb.

2011-02-06 23:49 (Kristen) Liam was feeling better today, which was good, and doesn't seem to be suffering any further ill effects from his misadventure yesterday. He wasn't all that interested in going to the beach, prefering to spend the day inside playing DS games, but we made him go to the beach anyway. The weather was beautiful, and we weren't coming to Mexico to sit inside playing video games. Boy, do I sound old. Anyway, we got him out and that was good. We ate at the Ojo restaurant, and that was good too. We are getting to know a young waiter named Manuel who is very friendly and sweet, and who gets along very well with kids. In the evening, we went to Hola Asia for dinner with John's parents, and let the kids run around the zocalo for a bit afterwards, which they needed. Ice cream was likely consumed, then bed sought and found.

2011-02-07 23:49 (Kristen) It was one of those days where it was hard to get ourselves together and organized. John and I did some work while the boys played, ate the usual breakfast of cereal with a large amount of tropical fruit on top, and then got out late for lunch and our usual morning/early afternoon visit to see John's parents. We didn't get as much time at the beach as we would have liked, as we'd set out later than usual, but an hour and a half on the beach is far better than no time on the beach. We made fried rice for dinner, and are starting to think about cleaning the fridge out before we head back to frozen Canada. Only two more days; the boys are starting to object to the idea of ever leaving.

2011-02-08 23:49 (Kristen) It was a big big day today. First, I got up early and went to yoga for the first time this visit, and John and the boys came to pick me up. We visited with John's aunt Jean and Uncle Jack for a bit, and made dinner plans together before heading out for breakfast at Mama's Bakery. The boys had eaten before they left the house, but still managed to eat muffins. Then we walked around Puerto Morelos, bought some gifts, did some window shopping, and headed home. Liam, in particular, was a little tired by the time we were done and it was agreed that it was lunch time. We tried different foods and Jamie's quite taken with fish tacos. Liam has moved beyond spaghetti bolognesa, and is now loving shrimp (which, of course, Jamie doesn't like). The big news of the day was that Jamie, after years of hating water on his face and refusing to put his face into the water, finally did. He saw another boy around his age swimming in the ocean, and thought that maybe this was something that he'd like to do too. It took about half an hour of him trying to get over his fear of his face in the water (he was wearing goggles) to finally do it. I didn't do anything; I just watched and encouraged as he giggled, breathless, and tried again to put his face in before breaking away at the last minute. When he ultimately did put his face down into the water, he was amazed and utterly captured by the world underwater, and was fizzing all over with the manic joy of having conquered a major fear all on his own. Yay, Jamie! It was a big day for our boy. We had to go in to make it back home in time to clean up before having dinner with Jack and Jean, which we did as a family for the first time. Usually, someone watches the boys while we go out for dinner, but the boys were big enough to do it this year. They behaved very well, and we were proud of them. Liam almost fell asleep in his chair, though, and had to be walked around so that he didn't fall asleep before 6 pm. After dinner, we went home and packed a bit before bedtime, and promising that Jamie could snorkel tomorrow. We fly back tomorrow night, and I have no idea how we're going to get the boys onto a plane, as they're both telling me that we're not going home.

2011-02-09 23:49 (Kristen) Well, it was our last day in Mexico, so we made the most of it. We packed up and left our condo around 10:30, after dealing with the contents of the fridge. We went over to John's parents' house and spent time there before going down to the beach for the day. Jamie spent the entire time in the water, which was all the colours of green as the horizon was full of storm clouds that never quite ended up our way. He and John snorkeled, he and Sai snorkeled, and he was a happy, happy boy. He really does love it, and is fascinated by how different the world is under the water. He also used a waist belt and not water wings to swim with, and is doing much much better. Liam will likely be progressing to Jamie's water wings soon. Liam was back in the water as well, and had fun swimming around and being carried as much as he could convince an adult to do so. WE also played catch, and the boys ran around playing their made-up games. We had one last lunch at the Ojo, ate one last dinner with John's parents, then headed to the airport for a late flight back to Toronto. Both boys fell asleep on the plane, but Jamie woke up when we landed and Liam didn't. We had a stroller just in case for Liam, and managed to keep him asleep through the terminal, Customs, the train to the parking lot, and into the car. Jamie was awake, but very helpful despite being tired. We were home by 2:30 am, and are not planning to go anywhere or do anything tomorrow.

2011-02-10 23:49 (Kristen) So, we did nothing today. We slept in, mostly: Jamie is still on Mexico time, and so he slept in until 8:30 our time. I'll take that. I don't remember exactly when pajamas were finally taken of and day clothes put on, but it was pretty far into the day. We finally went out into the freezing cold around 3:40 or so, and ran into Momoha and her mom and brother at the school. The kids stayed and played together, mindless of the freezing temperatures, while I went and did my grocery shopping. It was cold when we got home, but I chalked it up to a breeze somewhere in the house and the unusually cold temperatures. It turned out that our furnace wasn't working, as we investigated the unusual chilliness in the house a little before bedtime. We'll get the repair guy in tomorrow; tonight we put on the extra blankets and jammies. Jamie and Liam are sleeping in the same bed, toasty warm with each other, and that should keep us all right until the furnace guy gets here.

2011-02-11 23:49 (Kristen) We got the furnace guy in this morning, and we have heat again. Hooray! The boys got up and out to school without too much fuss and bother. They're still pretty tired, but very happy to see their friends again. John reports that there was a chorus of "Liam!" from his classmates when they arrived, which was lovely to hear. The day was quiet, and Jamie had chess club at lunch instead of coming over to Browning for lunch, as he has in the past. Liam was happy to be there, and ate much food and was happy. Dinner was at Browning, homework was finished off, and all was well with the world on our first day back into our routines.

2011-02-12 23:49 (Kristen) The boys went off to Nisshu with John, and I went off to work at the bookstore. John reports that it was time for Liam's parent-teacher interview, and it was very interesting. We were worried when school started, as Liam doesn't speak much Japanese, and the school almost didn't let him in. However, I'm delighted to say that he's proven to be one of the best students in his class, and apparently has one of the bigger Japanese vocabularies. When the other kids don't know a word, they turn to Liam for it. He's very focused, and his teacher was impressed with it. In fact she has to get into his face to get him to stop what he's doing (colouring is a favourite activity). It was a surprising and very good interview, and has given us much food for thought. John and the boys came to get me from work, we ran a few errands, and then headed home for a quiet evening.

2011-02-13 23:49 (Kristen) Today we got valentines made for the boys' respective classes, and went to visit with Nobuko and Tomoko a bit before eating dinner with them at Kenzo Ramen. The boys were good, and had fun playing at home and out of the house. Otherwise, it was a quiet Sunday, and there wasn't much to report.

2011-02-14 23:49 (Kristen) The boys' Valentine's Day seems to have gone well. They both came home with valentines and chocolate, and they seemed quite content. Jamie's class had a party, and that was (apparently) fun too. In the afternoon, when John went to pick up Jamie, he took Liam with him, which was unusual but a good idea. I later found out that they had all gone out together to buy me some Leonidas chocolates for Valentine's Day, and that the boys insisted on buying the chocolates that came in a red velveteen box shaped like a heart. I was genuinely surprised and touched, and John later told me that they had been angling for a much larger box but parental wisdom prevailed. I shared a few chocolates, of course. They were, in a word, Good. I felt very appreciated as a mom, and that was really lovely.

It was also Report Card Day, which snuck up on me and John. Liam brought home his first ever report card, which was excellent. Jamie's report card too was excellent. Apparently, however, his desk is pretty disorganized, which he comes by honestly. I remember my desk was a black hole until I was in middle school. We'll be working on helping him with organizational techniques, however, so that he can switch subjects more quickly by finding the proper stuff in his desk faster. He's pretty much hitting it out of the ballpark otherwise, and he's having a good time at school. What else could two parents ask for? We're pretty proud of both of them.

2011-02-15 23:49 (Kristen) The boys are pretty tired still, and we need to try to get them to bed earlier again. The day was a good Tuesday, as far as Tuesdays go. I took Liam to Hakobune, and Jamie went home with Jake for a short playdate after school, as John and I couldn't make it back in time for school's end. Homework was done, games were played, and Gary visited. It was a good day. I spoke with Liam's teacher for a little bit about how he is doing, as we didn't have a formal interview planned. She said that he's doing very well, and is doing what he should be doing at this point. We talked about Liam's failure to hear her instructions ot the class, and I pointed out that his concentration is deep enough that he just doesn't hear. I suggested that she touch his shoulder or get close to his face to get his attention, and she seemed open to the idea. Liam's happy, and has his friends Ben and Nico, and that's all he wants. And that's fine with me. Besides, the boy can read and count past 100. What else does he need?

2011-02-16 23:49 (Kristen) The boys are still tired, but we went to judo anyway. Before, however, was a typical Wednesday. It was pizza day at school, so Jamie was happy, and I took Liam to Hakobune. We visited Bakka on our way home to pick up a birthday present for Jamie's friend Sam, and then got home to find that Jamie and John weren't there. They came home a little after us, full of fun from playing in the schoolyard. I made dinner quickly, then took the boys to judo on the bus. Liam was pretty tired, but he was good. Jamie was too, and managed even to get his homework done. It's a short week, so tomorrow's homework due day (unusually).

2011-02-17 23:49 (Kristen) Liam was so tired at school today that he just lay down on the carpet at one point and wasn't able to do much more. Jamie's feeling rather crummy too, so we're taking it kind of easy. John took Liam off to Hakobune, and I picked up Jamie for a change. We spent a little time playing at the schoolyard before finally heading home. There was a fair amount of homework to be done for Japanese school, so Jamie and John spent a good part of the evening working on that. Jamie was pretty tired, so it went pretty slowly. When John and Liam came home, Liam had (as usual) talked John into going to the Japanese video store on the way home. They came in with a new series called Kamenrider DK, which is a long-running show on Japanese television like a slightly less cartoon-y Power Rangers. The clerk at the store told John that the fights were better but the plots more stupid than the other Kamenrider series (there are four all together). They also got some Pretty Cure, which made Liam in particular happy. We managed to get the boys to bed early, which was made easy by Jamie asking to go to bed early. Tomorrow we go to the Science Centre with Ben, Nico, and their families. It should be full of wild rumpus.

2011-02-18 23:49 (Kristen) Today was the day we had a playdate for Liam and his friends Ben and Niko. Also along for the fun were their older sisters Katie and Mia, who are yearmates (and former classmates) of Jamie's. We managed to get to the Science Centre by 10:30, and met up with the others at KidSpark. Niko and Liam slew their respective mothers by holding hands at times as we went from place to place. After exhausting KidSpark, we went down for lunch and then to the Whales and the Natural Disasters special exhibits. Liam was temporarily misplaced when he went for a walk through the life-sized replica of a blue whale's heart, and both John and I missed him. He was found fairly quickly by Niko's mom. All the children were fascinated by the video of a tornado passing over a small, specially designed video camera, and both of our boys enjoyed the 'build your own volcano' interactive computer exhibit. We finally exhausted ourselves, and headed home around 3:30. Jamie and John went off to see Dr. Kennedy about a few problems Jamie has been having, and she pronounced him tired and possessing swollen glands. He'd put his head down on the table at lunch at the Science Centre, which is not typical for him, and he'd been looking pretty tired again. We had a quiet night first at Browning and then at home, where the boys were in bed as early as we could get them in anticipation of school the next day, and a sleepover for Jamie.

2011-02-19 23:49 (Kristen) We slept in this morning, so it was a mad dash out of the house to get to school on time. When John picked up the kids, he brought them straight to pick me up at work, and then we went to drop off videos before coming home. School sounds like it went well enough, but Liam claimed that he was so tired that he couldn't walk over to Starbucks after class. That's tired. He ended up playing DS with some yearmates, and it was all done in Japanese. One little boy said that they didn't have to speak in Japanese now, you know, it not being class time, but they were in the staff room and the scary music teacher right behind them leaned over to say, 'Yes, you do." that was the end of that. After school, Jamie was very excited about the sleepover birthday party for his friend Sam that he was going ot attend. We packed up his inflatable bed, his blanket, pjs, and the rest, and John took him over. Liam was deeply unimpressed that Jamie was going without him, and there were tears. Jamie has not felt himself to be ready for a sleepover before now, as he hasn't wanted to sleep without us, but after his adventures in Mexico, he felt it was time to be ready. Yay, Jamie! Liam has been full of non-sequiturs today that have had John in stitches. Examples are (out of nowhere): "Why do cats have brains?" and "What if all the snow was a guy firing lazers yelling 'Blargh!'?"

2011-02-20 23:49 (John) Picked up Jamie this morning from his first sleepover at Sam's birthday party. Jamie was looking much as I expected he would, tired but very happy. Sarah and Laurie put an amazing amount of work into the party. After the first event that I stayed for (bobbing for mini marshmallows, which Jamie gamely participated in, despite the fact that he loathes marshmallows), they had a Beyblade tournament (each guest--the others were Antonio, Aiden, Charlie, and Jake) was given a BeyBlade to compete with and take home) (Antonio won), a Spiderman 3 screening on a projector Laurie borrowed from work, a marshmallow fortress guilding contest (Jamie joined the other boys in throwing the contest so that Sam's little sister Georgia would win a prize obviously intended for her), and a small sleep (Charlie snores) and a big breakfast. The boys were both tired all day long, and we're all fighting the same virus. Momoha, Haruto, and Reiko came over late in the afternoon and Jamie managed to get all his homework done, but then he fell asleep on Mom's shoulder on the couch after donner.

2011-02-21 23:49 (Kristen) Jamie woke up last night with a raging fever, and Liam was feeling pretty warm to me in the middle of the night. Both boys are clearly sick with some sort of virus, which is making them sniffly and cough. It was a quiet day, as a result, with far too much television, YouTube, and video games. We did watch Despicable Me together, and Jamie leaned over to me and said, during the scene where Gru rockets off to shrink the moon, "Mummy, it takes three days to fly to the moon, not a minute." I was proud. Oh: speaking of proud, Jamie's big, upper front tooth finally came out, and he's got a fabulous gap-toothed grin going. It's rather awesome, and Jamie is very tickled by it. Today's Liamism: "Is there a real future? How do you get to it?"

2011-02-22 23:49 (Kristen) Both boys are home from school, and Liam's fever has been quite high at times. The day has been very quiet, with television, video games, and a whole lot of Kirby's Epic yarn, which Liam has rediscovered. Dinner was warm, Jamie is sniffling, and Liam's starting to have a cough.

2011-02-23 23:49 (Kristen) I'd been hoping that Jamie would be well enough to go to school today, but he wasn't. Liam slept in, and is exhibiting more separation anxiety than usual. It's a bit of a problem, as he's talking up the monsters in the house more and more as a reason why he can't be left alone. At least he'll be alone with any of us, and not just me. The refusal to use the bathroom without someone in there with him is starting to grate. I've told him that Mom is tougher than monsters, but he doesn't believe me. "But Mummy, this one is BIGGER." Ah, well, we run with it and hope that it's over SOON.

2011-02-24 23:49 (Kristen) Day 4 of the Great Sickness, and I think that Jamie is almost better. Liam is hacking and coughing at night, making it difficult for me to work as he half wakes up and needs much soothing to go back to sleep. Groan. John and I have been sleeping in bed with each boy (me with Liam, John with Jamie) in an attempt to get at least some sleep. I went out to get Jamie's schoolwork yesterday to make sure he didn't fall too behind, and his teacher told me that almost a third of the class was out on Tuesday with illnesses of various types. Whatever is going around is pretty vicious. In other news, John came to me almost convulsing with laughter to ask me if we should be nervous that our younger son was uttering 'mind control, mind control' to himself as he was colouring at the table. Umm. Maybe?

2011-02-25 23:49 (Kristen) John took Jamie to school this morning, but he was back home again a few hours later. He was complaining that his stomach hurt (gas pains; more yoghurt) and was generally too tired to last the day. Rats. Liam stayed home from the start, as he was still waking himself up at night coughing. It was a repeat of the previous days, with a little depression on Jamie's part as he misses his friends and is deathly bored at home. Being sick sucks. John is now starting to feel sick, which isn't good. I've been cleaning house, and yesterday got rid of four big garbage bags of clothes. I have a functional closet. I also cleaned out a good deal of the boys' closet, and have two big bags of toys to find new homes. I need to sit down with them to talk about the boys, so that there are no unpleasant surprises. I went over to Browning to pick up dinner tonight, and bring it back. It was the longest, and second, time I'd been out of the house since last Saturday. I'm going stir crazy, and so are the boys. Oh; and Jamie's lost a bottom tooth but swallowed it. He's supposed to write a note to the tooth fairy explaining why he still deserves a coin, but I think that he's going to forget.

2011-02-26 23:49 (Kristen) John feels like crap, so I did the grocery shopping at the market with help from Tom, and went to work at the store. I felt a good deal better when I got back. The boys were fine, but a little punky and getting on each other's nerves a little. Quiet day again. It's a little repetitious. On the bright side, I told the boys that they could pull out three toys a piece from the big pile of toys Leaving, and explained to them that the toys would go to kids who didn't have any toys. They both really liked that idea, and Jamie kept saying "I feel really generous. It feels good." That made us all happy.

2011-02-27 23:49 (Kristen) The boys were about 85 percent better, and we're thinking of sending them to school again tomorrow. Liam's still waking up in the middle of the night, repeatedly, coughing. We have a doctor's appointment for Tuesday, which is the earliest that we can get in. The days have been running together, and Jamie is feeling quite down about it all. He's using the term 'emo' to describe his mood, and while I understand that this is not how the emo kids use the term, exactly, it's a fairly clear indicator of how he's feeling. I'm glad that he can tell me that he feels sad, or depressed, and we're working on ways to make him feel better. One way was to take the boys out for a playdate with Graham, the son of an editing friend of mine. It was snowing, with that sort of heavy, wet snow that makes snowball fights so wonderful and that has been mostly lacking this year. THe boys threw snowballs all the way to the playground, ran around with Graham, and then went for a snack that contained ice cream afterwards all together. The exercise was fantastic, not least because tired, mostly well boys get crabby and fight with their mothers over nothing at all otherwise. They'll sleep well tonight, and hopefully start to feel less like picking fights soon.

2011-02-28 23:49 (John) Liam revealed today that he is secretly the evil super archvillain Dr. Crabby, whose secret attacks include pinching and launching hundreds of crab minions at you. Actually, he first told me that he was Dr. Crabby and I asked him if I could be his archvillain nemesis, and he looked at me like I was slow. "Papa, *I*'m the archvillain. You have to be the superhero." So we played for a while at my being Slowman, whose superpower was to move very slowly, and shoot slow-moving beams of slowness that are easily dodged.

(Kristen) Jamie was back to school, and very happy about it. He got through the whole day, and was in a mood that can be described as "improving." Liam, however, was still not well enough to go back to school. We decided to keep him home when we couldn't wake him up at 8:15. It was a quiet day at home for the two of us, and that was fine. He's well enough to go back tomorrow, which will be a relief for all of us. John and I have deadlines that have suffered, and it will be nice to get back to routine. The fun thing to happen today was when I was playing music on my laptio, and Jamie asked "Mom, what's that song?" Next thing you know, the boys are rocking out to "Blitzkreig Bop" by the Ramones. My kids are kinda cool.

2011-03-01 23:49 (Kristen) With some trepidation, we sent Liam back to school but were rewarded with a great day. He apparently didn't stop talking to John, like he did when school first started, about everything that happened at school today. Liam also went to Hakobune, with John, which was great as he would have collapsed on the walk from the school to the subway if he had been with me. Jamie was so happy to be back at school that he ran utterly wild after school, not coming when he was called. That was more of a problem, but we're working it out. Then it was time for us to see Dr. Kennedy, who checked the boys over. Jamie's got an ear infection and Liam's got a touch of bronchitis. Antibiotics for them! John and I were both declared not sick enough for antibiotics. Liam hates hates hates the taste of his medicine, and is only taking it with an enormous fight. Sigh. It makes the idea of ten days of this somewhat daunting.

2011-03-02 23:49 (Kristen) It was Wednesday, but we decided to keep Jamie home from judo. Liam is still not entirely well, and Jamie's still tiring easily. Both made it through the day, however, and were in fairly good moods. Jamie and I are still striking sparks off each other, and Liam is still extremely adverse to being by himself in a room, but we're starting to get over all of it. Liam had a slightly rough day at school, but it's likely due to a transition back from being sick and not feeling quite perfectly well. Tomorrow will be better.

2011-03-03 23:49 (Kristen) Both boys were at school today, and seem to have had good days. John took Liam to Hakobune, which was its usual success. Jamie and I brought his friend Jake home for a bit, and the boys had fun playing together until around 5. Jake was not happy to go because they hadn't done enough yet. The evening was full of homework and games, and the boys were in bed early as they were tired.

2011-03-04 23:49 (John) Liam went to the White house for an afternoon playdate, and was soon joined by Kristen and Jamie, who stayed until dinner. After dinner at Browning, Tom said that Liam has been making him play pretend video games, but that if anything his imaginary gaming skills are worse than his real life ones. Liam, at one point, gently explained to Tom "This is an easy game for you. Push this button, and you win." Tom pretended to push the imaginary button. Liam, incredulous: "You missed?! How could you miss! You lose!"

2011-03-05 20:45 (John) Took the boys to Nisshu Gakuin as usual. Liam is learning ga gi gu ge go; Jamie is on to the umpteenth hundredth kanji. Had lunch with them in the staffroom, then supervised DSiXL play with Liam and a few other younger siblings waiting for the older siblings to finish school. Rushed the boys to Liam S's birthday party at KickSMART, an after hour school that emphasizes Star Wars themed play martial arts. Kids had a lot of fun dressing up as padawans and beating up on adults with padded light sabers. Pizza and ice cream cake, then back home for a quiet evening in.

2011-03-06 20:45 (Kristen) It is the weekend of parties. John took Liam off to his classmate Daniella's party at an indoor playground, while Jamie got Ross to come over and try to set up Doom on his computer. Jamie's been obsessed with Doom, and I'm not all that craxy about it, but the rule is that he can't play it when Liam's around. This is our compromise. In the meantime, Momoha and her family came over to do homework with the boys later in the afternoon, and Liam and Haruto were very lively as they played together. In fact, they were quite funny, and it was good to see Liam engaged in play so deeply with another kid. Then it was dinnertime, playtime, and bedtime, in that order.

2011-03-07 20:45 (Kristen) It's Monday again, and we're back in the swing of things. The boys both went to school, and Liam hung out with me in the afternoon. The day was a little fraught, as Jamie's friend Sam had to go to the hospital for a suspected broken nose after school after he ran into a low hanging pole while playing tag with Jamie. Fortunately, his nose isn't broken but it was a close thing and he had a truly frightening lump in the middle of his forehead. Jamie too hit his head on the same playstructure when he ran over to check on Sam, and hit his own head, although not as badly but bad enough to make him cry. He's got a bit of a lump there too. Other troubles and near disasters for friends also plagued the day, and we ended up the day eating dinner at Browning with no one else there. It was surreal, but funny in its own way as the other usual attendees were ill, or otherwise called away by previously forgotten family engagements. Some days you're just glad to survive.

2011-03-08 20:45 (Kristen) It was a quiet day today, which was just fine by us. Not much to report beyond the quiet, and that both boys were good and fine.

2011-03-09 20:45 (Kristen) The good news was that Jamie was well enough to resume his judo classes. It sucked massively, however, that the weather was unforgivably miserable. Liam, with me on the way home from Hakobune, was incapable of taking a step that didn't result in a huge spreay of slush. It wasn't his fault; the weather was just that impossible. I had to change him when we got home. Jamie's friend Charlie was over at our house when Liam and I got home, to see Jamie play DOOM, which was just...well. Clearly Jamie's been talking about it at school, and Charlie just had to see. John drove us up to the judo club, and we all ate our dinner on the way. THe boys loved the fried rice I amde, but just as much loved the hijiki salad and beans that our friend Reiko gave to us. Yum! I made John laugh by saying that I only put the salad and beans in my own bento; that made it worth trying and liking. If I had put it into their own bentos, then they would have turned their noses up at it. Tru! I swear!

2011-03-10 20:45 (Kristen) John left early this morning, before the boys and I were awake, to go on his latest Scrabble trip. This left me to get the boys to school on time (did), which was made easier by his having made breakfast for us all before he left. The day was normal, with me taking Liam to Hakobune, but with Ayami picking Jamie up after school. We did homework and other things after school, and focused on spending time together. It was a quiet evening, with a simple dinner, and the boys went to sleep well.

2011-03-11 20:45 (Kristen) Today was both Beach Day in Liam's class and the day of his big playdate with his best friend Niko. He was very excited. Jamie was a little put out that he didn't have a playdate, but I promised him one tomorrow. Liam had a great time, of course, and Jamie had a good day as well. They have been practicing persuasive writing at school, and he wrote a letter to me asking for a tiger salamander. He is obsessed with reptiles right now, and wants one in the worst way. Given that they cost a good deal of money before food and terrarium, I'm unmoved by his imploring letter. John says that when Jamie can take care of the fish, tank cleaning and all, then he'll think about getting a tiger salamander for Jamie. Me, I'm thinking maybe we could add a snail to Ponyo's tank. I had bought two books for the boys in the afternoon: Bad Kitty for Jamie, and The Big Fat Cow That Went Kapow! for Liam. Both boys loved the books, and pronounced them funny and worth reading more. Win! Dinner was at Browning, and was uproarious fun. We went to bed a little late, but the boys slept well, in the same bed, and Liam wasn't victim to the night terrors that wake him between 12:30 and 1:00 in the morning. Win again!

2011-03-12 20:45 (Kristen) With John out of town, I needed a babysitter so that I could go to work. As our regular babysitter was in Cuba, I called up the mother of one of Jamie's friends and asked if she knew anyone. Before I knew it, she had stepped into the breach, and Jamie and Liam were off to play with Charlie, Jack, and their siblings for the day. They seem to have had a great time: Jamie went to watch Charlie's hockey game (although he played with his DS most of the time), and many Godzilla toys were hauled out. I am sure that monsters destroyed the city many times. After I picked them up (they did not want to go), I let them pick a restaurant to go to for dinner. They picked the Silk Road, of course, and so we went there after picking up a few groceries and a magazine or two for reading. The boys were good, if hungry, and ate very well. We went home, and watched "The Princess Bride" together for the first time, with popcorn and pretzels by our sides. We all agreed that the sword fights were the best, and that Inigo was granted full exception from the rule that you shouldn't say "son of a bitch."

2011-03-13 20:45 (Kristen) The boys are getting lots of exercise, now that it's not quite so miserably cold. Today, I bought a day pass and thought we'd spend the day out. We met our friends Peter, Leslie, and their son Simon for lunch, and the boys all had fun playing Japnese monster with figurines in the restaurant. The boys were a little tired, but after Leslie and Peter invited us to their place for dinner, the boys and I decided to go up to IKEA and investigate their play area, which also meant a trip on the new(is) Sheppard subway line. It was our first time on that line, so we enjoyed going to the end of the line (all four stops) and back to the IKEA stop. IKEA has the oddest little truck that shuttles people back and forth from the store to the subway, and that took us over. The lineup for the playpark was long, and Jamie was very disappointed that he is now too tall for the ball room. However, he found a MarioKart game, and that kept him happy for the 40 minutes that i looked through the store and had a coffee. We headed back out, picked up gelato at La Paloma, and had dinner with Peter, Leslie, and Simon. The boys had a great time playing together, and we were all very happy by the end. We went home via streetcar and subway, and got in in time to talk with John on Skype and had a quick story chapter before bed.

2011-03-14 20:45 (Kristen) It was Monday, and back to school for the! wait! It wasn't! March Break has hit, and we all celebrated by staying in bed and hanging in our jammies. Jamie ins particular has commented on how much he's enjoying all the extra sleep. Both boys certainly could use it. We had a quiet day today, the high point of which was John coming home. Unfortunately, John was running a fever of 101, so the boys didn't get as much dad time as they normally would have. It also means that we won't be going to Ottawa for March Break, as we'd planned. This means that we'll have a quiet week together, which is not a bad thing at all.

2011-03-15 20:45 (Kristen) So, we decided not to go to Ottawa for Grammie's birthday today, which made the boys sad. Jamie and Liam asked if we could go by another method: Liam was all for the plane. We compromised with the promise that Grammie would come to visit at the end of the month. Maybe she'll bring a niece or nephew or two... It was another day in jammies, and the boys were more than fine with that. We puttered around with the intent of making it to the library, but the boys were surprisingly resistant to the notion of going outside. This was overcome by Gary and Ayami offering to take us with them to the Science Centre. We went, and ran about like twin mad things, for about two hours. Liam was particularly interested in the special exhibit with the volcanoes, and made me watch the tornado footage twice. In the end, we went home but briefly and then left again to have dinner with those at Browning. They'd offered us hot dogs and hamburgers, and it was a great time had by all. Then it was home, and to bed.

2011-03-16 20:45 (Kristen) John's feeling better, which is a large relief to us all. We started to arrange playdates for the boys, but discovered quickly that all of their friends were sharing the same mysterious fever and cough. Well, so much for that. We did get something arranged for Thursday for Liam, and something for Jamie for Friday. That is good. Jamie was a little put out that Liam had a special playdate and he didn't for tomorrow, but we're selling it as a "you have Mom and Dad's full attention" day, which he's starting to go for. In the meantime, it was another fairly inert day, and jammies were worn for far too long. We made up for it by having John (who is feeling better) take the boys out for judo in the evening. I think that it's a little more active when John takes them, as he told me that Liam hardly used his DSiXL all night, which is not the usual when Itake him to judo with me! It sounds like some good quality time with their dad was had, and the boys were happy and tired out at bedtime.

2011-03-17 20:45 (Kristen) Most of Jamie's friends are sick, but Liam's friends are all just fine. Liam went off early this morning to a playdate with Zachary and Haruto, which sounds like it was a blast. Lots of fun was had by all three, and I hope that we can do it again some time. In the meantime, Jamie spent the day hanging at home with me and John. He wasn't happy about not having a playdate himself, but we did our best to give him some special time in compensation. He seemed mollified.

2011-03-18 20:45 (Kristen) Today was Jamie's turn to have a big playdate. Charlie and Jake came over, and Haruto came over again to play with Liam. They all had a great time. In fact, the chaos and noise was so great that i sent all five boys outside to play in the back garden. They discovered the mud, of course, once they stopped playing tag and thought that wrestling on the grass was a great idea. Jamie clearly got the worst of it, and was sent upstairs to change. Everyone was gone by 4:00 or so, and we had a little quiet time before it was time to go over to Browning for dinner. It was a quiet night, because we were all pretty tired after a long day of work and playdates.

2011-03-19 20:45 (Kristen) It was a school day for Jamie and Liam, and John took them up to school in the morning. He went back at lunch, ate pizza with Liam, who then spent the time left before picking up Jamie playing with his friends. They ran, laughed, spun, played DSes, and had a generally great time. They play in Japanese, because the adults insist. One of them tried to say that it didn't matter, but they were corrected. Then John and the boys picked me up, and I took the boys home while John went off on an appointment of his own. It was a good day with the boys, and it was made even better by the boys having dinner at Browning. John and I went off to a neighbourhood party in the evening, and Tom babysat the boys, who were great (as usual).

2011-03-20 20:45 (Kristen) Heaven knows what we did today. I can't remember.

2011-03-21 20:45 (Kristen) It was a busy busy day today, with lots of things going on. The first was that Jamie is in some rather deep trouble because he hasn't done about half of his reading for school. He has a certain number of hours that he's supposed to do approximately each month, and he hasn't been doing them. Consquently, we had a discussion about how to space his time out and that he's going to be doing a lot of reading this week. He's optimistic. I'm less sanguine. In the meantime, Liam is completely obsessed with Pokemon, and watches it at Browning every chance he gets. What kills us is that he dances and sings every time the theme music comes on. It's fabulous. Jamie, in the meantime, was shocked by Gary saying a word that he shouldn't have and called him on it. Yessss.

The next is that it was my birthday party today. My actual birthday isn't for a few days, but Monday is the day that we have everyone together for dinner. The boys drew on a birthday card for me. Jamie drew books, because I love books. Liam drew a picture of him with open arms. Then he told John, "I'm waiting to give Mummy a hug. She's too busy right now." Aaaaack! Liam also helped John to make a souffle for dinner, and was very involved and very helpful with the process. The party went well, the boys ate cake, and I feel very celebrated by my family.

2011-03-22 20:45 (Kristen) It was back to Hakobune today for Liam, and a usual sort of day overall. Jamie didn't get much done on his reading, which upset me somewhat, and there is lots of Japanese homework to be done. We're talking about ways to get English homework done more efficiently, and there was dire talk about No Television or Computer before Homework. Jamie looked as us askance. Later in the evening, we had some local Japanese-Canadian families over to fold origami cranes for a fundraiser for Japan that we're involved in. Jamie was interested in folding cranes too, and tried it out.

2011-03-23 20:45 (Kristen) It was my birthday today, and the boys woke me up this morning with a little bunny full of chocolates that they'd had ready for today. Yay! We took Liam to Hakobune, went out for a lovely lunch, and I picked up Liam, and then brought him home. I had some lovely Mom time with Jamie, and then, after dinner, John took Liam to a birthday party (his best friend Niko's) and I had some lovely Mom time with Jamie. By the end of the day, I realized that my present was having a day with no power struggles or fights with either boy. Best present ever!

2011-03-24 20:45 (Kristen) John had another trip to go on, and is off to Oregon this time for the weekened. Saturday looks like it's going to be very busy, but we're in good shape so far. He leaves tomorrow morning, first thing, so much of today was helping to make sure tha john was ready to go. Jamie, in the meantime, has been really working hard at his reading to make his quota for school. I've been so proud of him, and tonight he made it: he read for three hours over last night and tonight! He's read about five books in the last week, and has been an utter star. He got all his paper homework done too. Amazing! Liam has been good too, getting his work done, and I've been, in general, very proud of both of them. Tonight's treat was a quick visit from Grammie, Poppy, and Auntie Millie, who came down to see the boys. They were unspeakably excited to see them, and were expressive in their appreciation. They weren't all that thrilled that Grammie wasn't staying the night, but were happy for the visit that they got.

2011-03-25 20:45 (Kristen) Today's funny thing happened after school. When Jamie got home, I told him that we should do some reading tonight, so that we don't get behind like we did last time. He agreed, and started reading a new graphic novel, Zita the Space Girl. I always sit with Jamie while he reads, in case he has a vocabulary question, and he asked me how much time had passed (I time him) afger 16 minutes or so. I suggested that he go to 20, to make it a round number, and he shrugged and agreed. Liam then needed company in the bathroom, and I got distracted, and didn't remember Jamie quietly reading in the dining room until he came racing upstairs, almost an hour later, to declare that he'd finished reading his book. We were all pretty happy about this, and laughed and laughed at the wonder of how Jamie had been *so into his book* that he'd forgotten all about time and had finished it instead. Also, he's finally made the jump into silent reading, instead of reading out loud to me. Reading is becoming a more private and personal act, rather than a purely social interaction for him, and it's fascinating to me to watch this happen. This is such a boost to his self-confidence when it comes to reading. Yay, Jamie!

John left for Oregon early this morning. The boys miss him, but were distracted today with school and playdates. Liam was over at his friend Ben's this afternoon, which he enjoyed very much. Then it was Browning in the evening, and to bed for a very busy day tomorrow.

2011-03-26 20:45 (Kristen) It was such a busy day today that the boys are exhausted, I am too, and my legs hurt from all the standing and running about. Tom helped us in the morning by driving the boys and me to Nisshu, and then drove me back down so that I could do some errands in our neighbourhood before going back up to Nisshu to pick up Liam. We had lunch with Jamie, who left to go back to class, and then wLiam spent his afternoon playing with his friend Kai and another boy whose name I forgot on DSes. The boys were quiet, having a great time negotiating who got to play what when, and left me to work, knit, or otherwise chat with the other moms. After we were done, we went to Liam's friend Ben's birthday party at a bowling alley, which was enjoyed by all. Liam's best friend Niko was there, and there was some interesting jockeying with another boy, Tristan, about who got to sit next to Niko, as they are both his friends. There were a few tears, but all was well in the end once the food got into their systems. We went home on the bus and had a quiet evening in, which was just what we needed.

2011-03-27 20:45 (Kristen) I've been working really hard on a project, and haven't been getting much sleep as a result. The boys have been a little short on sleep too, so we called it a quiet day. We did go out for brunch with Auntie, Poppy, and Grammie however, as Poppy and Grammie were heading back to Ottawa. The boys had a good time, and enjoyed their milkshake very much. I told Jamie that he was having the milkshake as a reward for some very good behaviour over the last three or four days, and some very hard work, and he seemed very pleased to be recognized. The rest of the day was largely quiet, until the evening, when fatigue finally overtook Liam and melted his brain down around 8. We went straight to the bath and into bed, and both boys were fast asleep by 8:45. How often does that happen?!

2011-03-28 20:45 (Kristen) Monday arrived, and wasn't so bad as Mondays go. The boys were out to school, and Liam had his friend Nate over for a playdate in the afternoon. The two boys were so quiet and well behaved together that I had to check in on them more than once to make sure that I wasn't imagining it and that they were actually taking the DVD player apart or something equally shocking. No: they were just playing video games, largely, and negotiating politely and well over what to play next. Amazing. I dropped Nate off at school with his nanny when I picked up Jamie, and all was well. John came back from his trip in the evening, and the boys were delighted to see him. Liam, effusive with those he loves as always, told John "Papa, I really missed you" before attacking him with a Liam-grade attack hug. The boys were in bed a little later than they should have been, but we'll try to fix that tomorrow night.

2011-03-29 20:45 (Kristen) I'm not sure why Tuesdays rarely stick out in my mind. They're the most normal night of the week, most likely, when we are least likely to be out or to be doing anything unusual. Today was no exception. Boys went to school and daycare; homework was done. Actually, I should note that Jamie did a good portion of his homework with his usual speed. I'm rather sleep deprived at the moment, as I'm working hard one deadlines, and I'm not sure that I'm picking up on all that's going on. I did get Liam to play on my new iPad2 (he likes Fruit Ninja) while I worked on my deadline; it is a system. Jamie's a little too obsessed with Doom 2 (thank you, Ross...) and I'm needing to distract him from that on occasion.

2011-03-30 20:45 (Kristen) Today was a great day with both children. The first part was the usual, with school and daycare. John brought Liam to daycare and took him to his opthamologist appointment (all is well! yay!), while I went home and picked up Jamie from achool after I finished work. In the evening, Liam went with John to the Scrabble club, which was having its 36th aniversary party. Liam was very excited about going with John, especially since he heard there was to be cake, pizza, and balloons. John reports that Liam was charming and well-behaved, and that he was very social and chattered a great deal. Liam has been chattering to everyone a great deal, lately, spinning long, complicated, and utterly improbable stories and concluding them with a "isn't that strange?" John reports that Liam spent 45 minutes in the car regaling him with the stories of very strange dreams he'd had or possibly of LSD trips in a previous life. He's not sure. John says that Liam also played a game of Scrabble with him and original Club #3 member Ron Manson, and had a great time. In the meantime, I took Jamie by bus to and from judo. We had a lovely time, and Jamie was making me laugh and laugh on the bus ride home. I was watching him and realizing once again how big he is getting, and how he is becoming genuinely funny. When we got off the bus, Jamie said to me "I really had fun with you tonight," and that is about the best thing one of my kids could say to me. I got Jamie to sleep around 9:45, and John arrived with Liam around 10:30. It was a little late, and Liam was too tired to sleep in the car, but we got him to sleep pretty quickly after that.

ETA: John took Liam to his ophtamologist appointment at Sick Kids, and discovered that Liam's ability to read is, once again, a little further along than we thought John was trying to get Liam to go in an obviously wrong direction, as a joke, and Liam pointed out that the eye clinic was that way. "See, Papa: eye clinic," he said, pointing to the sign. When did he learn that?!

2011-03-31 20:45 (Kristen) It was Thursday, which was a fine thing in and of itself. The boys were at daycare and school, and there was a playdate, I think. Things are such a blur lately, with so much going on, that I'm missing a great deal and I'm starting to be somewhat annoyed with it.

2011-04-01 20:45 (Kristen) The boys have been very excited by the idea of April Fool's Day, and they've been playing little jokes throughout the day. They've been very mild, and usually employ some sort of deliberate misunderstanding or mishearing, and come out of nowhere. Well, not really, because they get little evil grins on their faces. We had Jamie's friend Liam S. over after school, which went very well. Dinner was at Browning, and the usual hilarity ensued. I resolve to make better notes as things happen, because once again life is so full, and so busy, that I'm not rememberiing the good parts to write down here.

2011-04-02 20:45 (Kriten) It was not as busy as usual on a Saturday, as John and I were both in town at the same time and both went to spend time with the boys at Japanese school. John and I had lunch with the boys, and then spent time with Liam and his little posse of friends as they played DSes in the library while we waited for Jamie to finish. He's got a nice little group who play with him, and it's lovely to see him paying attention to other kids and enjoying their company. In the evening, we went to the Anayamas for a birthday dinner for Momoha. The food was wonderful, the conversation fun, and we didn't see much of the kids at all as they roared all over the place and played Japanese costumed super hero dramas out all over the house. Momoha is the best at hide and seek, and Liam and Haruto speak in Japanese to each other as they run about. It was a joyful night.

2011-04-03 20:45 (Kristen) So much is going on right now, it's hard to keep up. The boys are so full of fun, and hilarious sayings, and activity that I know that I end up missing far too much of it. I really should write more down at the time, but it's hard. The boys continue to love playing on my iPad, particularly a game called Monsters Ate My Homework. Liam is reading, except when he doesn't want to. Jamie's reading confidence continues to increase, and he's finally made the switchover to silent reading to himself. I'm so very proud of him.

2011-04-04 20:45 (Kristen) It was off to schol today, and all went well. In the evening, it was time to go over to Browning, and the boys had a good time playing with their friends. It was a good day, with nothing particularly big to report.

2011-04-05 20:45 (Kristen) Both boys went to school this morning, and are glad that the spring weather is here so that they can ride their bikes to school again. John brought Liam to Hakobune, and there was playing outside at Jackman before we finally made it home. Home work was done, and bed was achieved after some Japanese bedtime stories.

2011-04-06 20:45 (Kristen) A day of daycare, school, and judo. The boys and I took the bus up to judo and had a lovely time together. Liam was pretty tired, though, as was Jamie. It was as early to bed as we could make it and still stop off at Tim Horton's for timbits on the way home.

2011-04-07 20:45 (Kristen) John left on his trip to Boston this afternoon, and John's parents came back from Mexico. Again, we had a switch of family members between countries! In the morning, the boys had school. In the afternoon, I was at Bakka-Phoenix and so was able to drop Liam off at Hakobune and pick him up after day care it was fun, and I like spending time with Liam on the bus. It went more easily because Liam took his bike on the subway, which made it easier to take him to the subway. In he evening, it was time with Gary and Ayami, which was lovely, after a simple dinner of spaghetti, tomato sauce, and meatballs.

2011-04-08 20:45 (Kristen) By some miracle, we managed to make it to school today on time. Jamie was allowed to go on ahead, as Liam was draggin his heels and Jamie's class starts a little earlier than Liam's. He's now pushing to come home from school by himself, and while I believe that he is responsible and careful enough to do so, I won't let him do it until he has a watch. When we finally do start letting him come home by himself, he'll have a watch so that he'll know when he has to be home in order to prevent his mother from hyperventilating and calling Missing Persons. In the meantime, he'll have to put up with me picking him up. Both boys ate lunch at home, Jamie for the first time in a while as chess club is over. Liam's friend Niko was over for a playdate in the afternoon, which consisted of playing in the playground after dropping Jamie off at school, having a snack at Timothy's, then playing an hour of video games before having to go back to the school to get Jamie. It was Friday and the freaking ice cream truck is back, which meant that I had to buy the boys ice cream. We went home, finished up homework for the week, and then played a little before eating pizza. We were going to go to the Rogers Centre with Ayami to see the Harlem Globetrotters, which was an event we were able to attend thanks to some free tickets that John was given as a thank you gift from an event he recently worked at. As John couldn't make it, Ayami took his place. The boys were exhausted before we left and exceedingly wound up. They were distracted through much of the show by needs for exceedingly expensive popcorn and other treats, but Jamie in particular liked the comedy and the trick shots. He was a little disturbed for the Generals, the hapless team that the Globetrotters always defeat, and was rooting for them at one point. Always for the underdog, my son. We managed to get both boys home and unharmed by 10:15, and into bed very soon after. It's going to be a long day tomorrow.

2011-04-09 20:45 (Kristen) The boys and I were about five minutes late out the door, which translated to being around ten minutes late to Nisshu. Fortunately, we ran into other students on the subway, and arrived together. It always looks better that way. I arrived back at school for lunch, bearing pizza. The boys devoured it, and Liam opined that Pizza Hut pizza was better than Pizza Nova, after being asked. The weather was lovely, so Liam and Jamie played outside for a bit, and Liam spend time with a classmate named Toshio(?), lying on rocks and basically running around and hanging out. Then we went inside, played on electronic items for a bit, then went back out for an hour to play in the sun with friends before I dragged them home. In the evening, we went and had dinner with John's parents, who have recently returned from Mexico, and with John's brother Ted, who is alwso in town after bringing his parents back from Mexico. Ted ended up teaching Jamie how to play "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on the piano, and Jamie was delighted. Jack then taught him to play "Mary Had A Little Lamb," and Jamie practiced the whole night. Liam played on my iPad as much as I'd let him and a good time was had by all. The boys went home, and I had them in bed around 9 or so.

2011-04-10 20:45 (Kristen) It was looking like one of those days we were going to stay at home and just snipe at each other, but we were saved by an offer to go to lunch by our friends Peter, Leslie, and Simon. They came over, we walked to the Danforth and ate Greek food, and then walked back, allowing us to get sunshine and exercise, as well as food. Hooray! The kids played together and had a good time before it was time for them to go home. Friends are good.

2011-04-11 20:45 (Kristen) John came back from Boston today, and brought some old Roman coins (1700 years old) as a present for the boys. Liam was unimpressed, but Jamie was very impressed and interested in them. Now to begin his education in all things Latin. I meanaged to get the boys to school this morning without incident, and Liam had a playdate with his friend Jack in the afternoon. He is so social now, and it's wonderful to see him finally having fun playing with his peers. Gary and Ayami came by the school, and played with the boys and their friends until close to 5 pm; the boys really got their exercise today! Dinner was at Browning, and the boys were very tired.

2011-04-12 20:45 (Kristen) Liam and his classmates went on a field trip to the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) today, where they all made little clay figurines and made a verysimple stop motional animated movie (about ten seconds long, with very simple movements like waving). Liam had a good time and charmed everyone when the woman leading the tour asaid that the children should be quiet as mice as they go up to the room where they'd be working. Liam then asked "Quiet like cheese?" which became a little catch phrase for the morning. He loved the animated short "Animando", which is available on loan (for free) from the NFB website. Yay! In the afternoon, Jamie had a playdate with Parker after school, while Liam played on my iPad in the car with John while I stopped by at a shiva. in the evening, Jamie did some homework and hung out with Gary and Ayami for a little while while John and I packed for our trip to Florida tomorrow.

2011-04-13 20:45 (Kristen) Lots of prep today for our trip to Florida. First, however, there was our usual day to go through. The boys went to school, I went to work, and John was supposed to bring Liam to daycare. However, he picked up Jamie too as the boy was not feeling well with a cold. Jamie hung out with John, reading a new Bone graphic novel, until it was time to go home and finish preparations for deaprture. The boys were excited but well behaved at the airport, which included a very long lineup at customs and a very hurried and late dinner as a result. The boys watched movies on the plane and fell asleep, and managed to stay asleep through the airport, being put into the car, and being taken through the hotel. Liam woke up when I put him into bed, and Jamie (who was with John) woke up in the lobby. They fell asleep not too much longer later, after they oriented themselves and figured out the lay of the hotel room.

2011-04-14 20:45

2011-04-15 20:45 (Kristen) The boys were up around 8, and ate breakfast with me in the room before we headed down to the tournament room. We had treats for some of our friends, and the boys took great delight in delivering them. The boys hung out with me and John while we worked, and while they got to watch the My Little Pony reboot and play games on my iPad, it was pretty boring by the end for them. Around 12:30, we passed the boys off to their babysitter, Stephanie, who reports that they played tag, hide-and-seek, and ran around before watching tv for the last hour of the day. The boys were happy and exhausted: so much, in fact, that Liam nearly fell asleep while eating dinner. We ate at the Islands room, where there is a kid room with television and toys for kids to use while their exhausted parents have a quiet meal. We were joined by our firends Chris and Carla, and their daughter Faith. The kids were very good, and then went with us to an ice cream social, where they ate ice cream and played games like Perfection (they played as a team and won in a few tries) and Twister. I should mention that Jamie (armed with an anagramming program) and John played a quick (two move) game of Scrabble that led to Jamie winning by one point. LIam played solo Twister and lost, but seems to have had a great time. Tired, and happy, the boys went to bed around 9:15 and didn't take too long to fall asleep.

2011-04-16 20:45 (Kristen) The boys spent the morning and much of the afternoon with Stephanie again, which suited them just fine. In fact, they were quite bored with me during breakfast, and were delighted to see her and go off to spend the morning in the pool. Stephanie reports that they were there for two hours, and that Liam was complaining by the end that his tummy hurt. He denied the possibility that he was hungry until the hamburger arrived, at which point he declared himself starving. At lunch, a few other NSA staff and I were discussing knitting, when Liam piped up "When I want a hug, my mummy puts down her knitting needles." Instant swoon. In fact, Liam was very charming all day, and charmed the daylights out of "Miss Patty," one of the NSA staff by giving her a hug and a kiss when we parted company after a post-tournament sushi and mohito (for adults only; Liam and Jamie had shirley temples). Jamie was more cool, but he too enjoyed their company. We went out for Thai food with more Scrabble friends (the food was lovely), and had a great time. Both boys were very well behaved, despite their clear fatigue, and they fell asleep quite quickly at the end. John and I are looking forward to a family day at Universal Studios tomorrow with the boys.

2011-04-17 20:45 (Kristen) Today was our big visit to Universal Studios, where we had a marvellous time. We went for part of the day with our friends Chris and Carla Cree and their daughter Faith, who loves John and thinks that John is just the best friend ever. John is pretty fond of her too. Faith is still pretty young, so we went first to Seusss Landing, but the rides were still a little too scary for her. Liam and Jamie, however, rode the merry-go-round and the little train. Jamie was a little bummed that he was too young for the big roller coasters, which he was all fired up to go on, so I took hi for two rides on Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls. He loved that, and were just soaked. We met up with John and Liam outside the Falls, and we went for lunch with the Crees in Jurassic Park. There we went to Camp Jurassic, which is a fun play area for kids. The big scare there was when we lost Liam for about ten minutes, when he was brought back to us by a person he has told "I'm lost." We saw a woman and man do exactly the same thing with their four-year-old about twenty minutes later, so it must be something about the attraction. It was fun, though, and the boys and I, and John too, had fun running through the rope mazes and other thing. Then we split up again, and I took Jamie to the Jurassic Park Riverboat ride, which was also a water ride. The first time, we were near the back and didn't get too wet. The second time we were right at the front, and we were soaked through to the skin. John had finally reached Seuss Landing again with Liam, where they rode the Cat in the Hat ride, ultimpately, a total of seven times. John says that the staff were getting to know them by name. Jamie and I went to find them, but got sidetracked for a little in the Harry Potter world, riding the Flight of the Hippogriff ride (a roller coaster for smaller people) and buying one or two things in Hogsmeade. We found John and Liam, rode the Cat in the Hat twice, One Fish To Fish Red Fish Blue Fish once, and then went back home. We ate dinner with the Crees and our friend Katya Lezin, and went for a quick swim under the stars before heading in to bed. The boys were amazing, and had a great time today. We had some great parent/child time, and I'm very happy for it.

2011-04-18 20:45 (Kristen) We had been planning to going back to Cape Canaveral today before our flight to Toronto, but we were so tired from yesterday that we decided that it would be a better idea to hang out by the pool, do a little outlet shopping, and then go home. We checked out, went to the pool, and stayed there for about three hours. We ordered some food, and fed the boys as they swam to the edge, like they were seals. There may have been some seal and dolphin noises from the kids as we did. No food hit the water. Both boys were able to show off the results of their time in the water. Liam can now paddle to wherever he wants to go while wearing a floatation device, and Jamie finally abandoned his water wings to sit on the bottom of the pool and practice swimming without any external help. He can make it about two metres without touching the bottom, largely because he hasn't figured out the whole breathing while swimming thing. HOwever, when you realize that this boy wouldn't put his face in the water three months ago, it's all the more remarkable what he can do today, and with utter joy and abandon. Liam got a little bit of a sunburn, and I have a long strip of sunburn down my right arm where I apparently failed to put on enough sunscreen. Jeez. We packed up around three, said good bye to the Crees, who were also there, and headed to the outlet malls to buy new clothes for a rapidly growing Jamie before heading for the airport and home. All went without incident, and both boys, once again, fell asleep on the plane. Liam woke up when John carried him off the plane, and got rides on John's shoulders until we got to the baggage claim, when he fell asleep again in my arms. Both boys slept deeply enough to not stir again until we had them in bed. And Jamie is getting freaking heavy. He walks next time. Good grief.

2011-04-19 20:45 (Kristen) We woke up the boys to send them to school this morning, and boy were they tired. Jamie was all right, and up at his usual time, but Liam was almost impossible to wake up. I had to feed him breakfast because he was too asleep and cranky to do so on his own. John made breakfast, and we got the kids to school. Liam was in a great mood when I picked him up at school, but disappointed that John wasn't driving him to Hakobune. He told his teacher all about the Cat in the Hat ride, and the fake beach at the pool, and asked if she'd missed him. He ran into Hakobune, despite protestations that he wanted to be with me all day just a moment before, and that was all good. John brought Jamie home after school, and we all went up to North York so that I could have a class with my English student. John and the boys went to a restaurant for dinner (we have no food in the house) and brought me takeout. I should note that I drove, while the boys played video games in the back seat. The boys were out of control tired at the end of the day, and it was a little bit of a relief when they were in bed and asleep.

2011-04-20 20:45 (Kristen) After a typical Wednesday, we all drove up to the judo club. It was made remarkable by the fact that I drove. The boys were...encouraging, I suppose, in that there were a minimum of jokes about Mom driving and them surviving. Jamie had a good judo class, and Liam was good during it. Jamie and his friend Mioko had fun reading books together, and swapping Bad Kitty and a Danny Dragonbreath book back and forth. Liam and I did some reading too, just to keep everything even.

2011-04-21 20:45 (Kristen) I kept forgetting that tomorrow is a holiday, and that today was a de facto Friday. Jamie still didn't have his spelling words for his test today, but he aced it anyway, as it was a review test. Whew. He didn't have his other homwork done, but we'll work on that. Liam had a good day, and was in a good mood. Because tomorrow is Good Friday, we had dinner at Browning tonight, and had a good time. I'm wondering what we'll do tomorrow, and have no ideas.

2011-04-22 20:45 (Kristen) Jamie had a playdate with Jake in the afternoon, which went mostly well. Liam wanted a playdate too, but his friends were either involved with Easter celebrations or out of town, so he stayed home with me and John. We tried something new with Jamie, by allowing him to walk home from Jake's (a straight run down two blocks). He made it safely, once Jake's dad called to tell me he was coming and I stood on the sidewalk watching him the whole way. It was a nice bit of supervised independence for him. Otherwise, it was a quiet day and remarkable otherwise just for a bit sun and nicer weather than we've had this spring so far. It's been cold.

2011-04-23 20:45 (Kristen) Today we went to the St. Lawrence Market, where John and I bought food for Monday night dinner and for our big Easter celebration tomorrow. The boys had fun helping and running about looking at the Market; they haven't been there in a long time, it seems, since they're usually in school. After we finished, we headed up to a local pet store to buy a snail for Ponyo's tank. The boys and I got a non-hermaphroditic snail (we hope) and, naturally, named him Gary (after the snail on Spongebob Squarepants; we have a small Spongebob in our tank).This was, of course, an occasion for much amusement. The day was beautiful, and it was good to get home. John took the boys to the park for a bit, and all was right with the world.

2011-04-24 20:45 (Kristen) It was a cool morning, but the rain held off long enough for the Easter Bunny to deliver eggs outside our house. Jamie had been pushing hard for John and me to confirm the non-existence of the Easter Bunny, which was finally provided. I was a little sad about it, though, and explained to Jamie that the Easter Bunny was a big of childhood magic that we like to keep for him and for his brother as long as we could. I asked him if it was more fun to pretend that there was a bunny, and he thoughtfully told me 'yes.' He did get a lot of joy out of hiding eggs for the littler kids, in this case Haruto and Liam. Haruto, his sister Momoha, and his mother had come over to share the egg hunt with us, as did Daniel and Ross, and a good time was had by all. The rest of the day was full of trips to the playground and a lot of cooking as we were hosting a large dinner for twelve. Momoha and her family arrived for dinner, along with John's aunts and father, and Gary and Ayami, and a lovely time was had by all. After dinner, our friend Junko and her daughters showed up, and much romping continued while the adults talked. By the time everyone left, Liam was so crazy tired that I had to hold him on my hip to keep him out of the fray before someone got hurt. The kids had some trouble falling asleep, they were so happy and exhausted, but had a great time. Liam, as well, may have been more full of candy than he ever had been, if the pile of empty plastic Easter eggs he's been quietly emptying was any evidence.

2011-04-25 20:45 (Kristen) After yesterday, we were looking for a nice, relaxing day and we took it. In the evening, we had the usual salmon dinner at Browning, which was great. Life is good all around.

2011-04-26 20:45 (Kristen) School was back, with a vengeance. There is a lot of homework to get caught up on, and Jamie's life for the next few days is going to be all about homework. Even Liam's got a bunch to go through. That sucked up a good part of the day, but Jamie and Liam were both troupers. Good job, boys!

2011-04-27 20:45 (Kristen) John went in this morning to help out Liam's class, as they were having a visiting artist come in and do batik with them. Eighteen junior kindergarten kids and hot wax? What could possibly go wrong? Actually, almost nothing did go wrong, which was a double miracle since cloth paint was involved. It looks like Liam had a good time. In the meantime, I went to work and then came back to pick up Jamie. I thought that I was going to be late, but the kids still were not out when I got there. Apparently some people weren't listening in music, and they ended up staying about fifteen minutes later. Whoops. We went home, had dinner, then went up to judo. Liam was exhausted, but read a little for me from a book about brains and then played DS all night. Jamie suprised me by staying for the whole class, which was great because it meant that he was having fun and had enough energy. John came and met us, as usual, and we went home via Tim Horton's, as Jamie is growing again and eating for one and a half Jamies, I swear. The child is putting away food at a scary rate.

2011-04-28 20:45 (Kristen) More homework, but Jamie's still doggedly, if not altogether happily, doing it. He's got both English and Japanese homework to catch up on, but he's amost done. Liam's finished, and watching Japanese television obsessively. I tell myself that it's language acquisition, and therefore not entirely mind rotting.

2011-04-29 20:45 (Kristen)'s the end of another short week. Liam went to Hakobune today for a makeup day, which he quite enjoyed. Both boys have been eating all their lunches this week, and Jamie asked if he could stay at school today to eat lunch with his friends. John and I agreed that he could, and off he went. I picked him up and let him play for an hour, which was great, and then headed home for the last of the homework and dinner at Browning. Liam played a good deal with Tom, whom he hasn't seen in a little bit, which pleased him, and Jamie played with Ross and Daniel.

2011-04-30 20:45 (Kristen) It was a Nisshu day, so we headed up in the morning en famille to drop off the kids. Jamie was unhappy about going, so we had a long talk about what the importance of Japanese school is, and how we have all given up something so that he and his brother could have that opportunity. As I explained to Jamie, when you're four all you want is to play and eat candy. When you have children, you give up things that you like so that your children can get the best start they can, and that's part of what having children means. It's all about the choices we make in life. He seemed to think about it well enough, but I'm sure that it'll come up again when he's tired and grumpy about another day of school. It is a tremendous amount of work, but it's something that we all work for so that they can have something better in life. In any event, both Jamie and Liam got to run around and play for an hour in the rare sunlight after school with their friends and we picked up more Japanese television shows for them as a treat. Dinner worked out well, and Liam liked the marsala cream sauce for the chicken while Jamie didn't care for it. This is why, boys and girls, the sauce is always served on the side in our house. It was a relaxed evening for the kids, with a trip to the Dairy Queen for us while John finished the taxes, which concluded with a rousing game of tag with Dainel, Ross, and Ayami.

2011-05-01 20:45 (Kristen) After the traditional Morning in Pajamas, we headed out up to the northeast part of the city to eat some rather scrumptious Szechuan food with our friends Peter and Leselie, and their son Simon. Liam had spent the morning watching Dragonball Z (in Japanese) and wasn't feeling very social at first, but got to playing with Simon near the end when Liam's monster truck was brought out and got int oa "I'm really a rocket in disguise" contest with Simon's monster truck.We stopped off at Fairview Mall to pick up some stuff for Jamie's computer, and headed home. Tomorrow I'm off to Ottawa, and the boys have promised that they will be very very good until I return in about 35 hours or so. John will have the com.

2011-05-02 23:10 (John) Kristen left this morning for Ottawa and Rod Matheson's birthday party, leaving the boys and me to fend for ourselves without benefit of feminine supervision; we hoisted the toilet seat in jubilant celebration. Or would have, but for the risk of a sleepy Liam falling in.

I got the boys to school on time, on foot because it was drizzling, singing the "Ame Ame Fure Fure" song, then went to reprovision the breakfast larder at the Big Carrot and check on how my mom is doing (meh). I got home, took a brief nap, paid some bills, did some laundry, then went to get the boys for lunch. As instructed, Jamie came to Liam's class to save me going to look for him. Both boys were a little stir crazy and insisted on playing a very long, wet game of tag with the Anayamas. Jamie only wiped out once on the mulch; we'll be picking splinters out of his track pants for a few laundry cycles.

Tami made us hot dogs for lunch. The boys ate fairly well, then Gary took Jamie back to school, and I took Liam down to the Danforth to deposit some cheques. Liam helped push buttons on the ATM, and was rewarded with a cup of Baskin-Robbins candy floss flavoured ice cream (shudder). We then spent the rest of the afternoon in my study, where he let me alternately work and help him with the trickier levels of Nintendo DS "Taiko no Tatsujin". We were going to go pick up Jamie, but Gary offered, so we continued with what we were doing, then hung up laundry, then tidied up a bit, then ran out of time and things to do (still no sign of Jamie and Gary), and went to Browning to make dinner. There was no sign of them by the time dinner was almost ready, so I sent Ross out searching for them. He of course found them still playing in the schoolyard, at around 6:00.

Liam had done his Japanese homework while I was cooking; Jamie did his after dinner with help from Ayami and me. Both boys ate well, but saved room for post-dinner ice cream. The boys watched Pokemon while I spent an hour translating a Japanese medical paper abstract for Shin, then came home without complaint, bathed, were read to out of The Doraemons, with lights out at 21:50. Jamie fell asleep right away; Liam took about half an hour, so he'll be tired tomorrow, but I was afraid he wouldn't fall asleep at all without K, so I'm relieved, and off to bed myself now.

2011-05-03 23:10 (Kristen) John reports that the Liam slept badly last night (and therefore John did as well), waking up every two hours to scream "I miss Mummy!" Once everyone was up in the morning, though, the Marvelous Brain of Liam asked for scrambled eggs for breakfast, which he's never asked for before. Then he asked for it for lunch, so John scrambled some eggs and sent scrambled eggs, rice, and fresh fruit and vegetables in the boys' bentos for lunch. John also says that he wished that he had a camera to take a photo of Liam and Haruto playing in Japanese, in the rain, after school today. They had a large black umbrella and were shuffling along underneath it, like a little train, pretending to be a large black turtle, or maybe a bug. It was pretty cute. On the down side today, Jamie has been difficult for the last few days, and we've had to lose our tempers with him more than once. He feels guilty, then starts again. We're wondering if this is developmental, as he's also growing like a weed. We'll have to wait and see.

I came home from my trip around dinner time, and the boys were delighted to see me once they noticed that I was there. To be fair, Momoha and Haruto were over, and they were playing a round of One Piece after finishing off a good deal of homework. We went out of dinner with John's parents, as it was a little late to make dinner, and had a lovely time. Liam surprised everyone during a discussion of Hindi after one person put their hands together and said Namaste, by doing the exact same thing back, speaking clearly and loudly. Awesome! The boys came home, got their hair cut, had a bath, and headed to bed. They were pretty tired.

2011-05-04 23:10 (Kristen) John took the children to school this morning, took Liam to Hakobune, and managed to watch Jamie's afternoon spring concert (Jamie was in the junior choir), before he left for Malta in the afternoon. Jamie and Liam, don't ever think that your dad wasn't involved in your lives, even though he travelled a good deal. I picked up Liam and Gary and Ayami picked up Jamie, which meant that when Liam and I joined them in the schoolyard, it took a while to extract Jamie from the free-for-all game of tag that somehow had Gary being chased all the time. Because it was Spring Concert night, and Jamie was performing again with the junior choir, Liam and I went to see him, along with Gary and Ayami, after dinner. WHen Jamie's part was over (right at the start), we went outside and the kids played more "attack Gary!" It's a favourite pasttime. Then it was home for a little more homework, some reading, and bed.

2011-05-05 23:10 (Kristen) As I usually do at the start of one of John's trips, I got the kids to school a little early. By the end of the trip, I'll be racing to get them both to school at 9, but for now we're good. Jamie had been insisting that he had a playdate with Charlie, but we don't usually do Thursday playdates so I was pretty sure a misunderstanding had occured. However, John had indeed arranged a playdate for Jamie and Charlie for today and so they had one. I took Liam to Hakobune, picked him up, and found Jamie and Charlie at the schoolyard being supervised by Charlie's mom. Then we headed home, played, ate a good deal of gyoza supplied by John's parents, and then hung out. Charlie went home around 6:45, Jamie finished his reading quota for school, and Liam did some reading too. I think that I'll be imposing the 30-minute reading period before bath more often; it was very pleasant, although I was peppered from both sides with "what does this say?" and "What does this word mean?" quite a bit. I'll live with it. Both boys were very tired, but were happy to chatter to John briefly on the computer before reading a bit of Ottoline and the Yellow Cat before going to sleep.

2011-05-06 23:10 (Kristen) Liam had a *fantastic* time today at his big playdate with Ben and Niko over at Niko's house. Niko's mother, Helen, confessed that she had great difficulty getting Liam to agree to leave, he was having such a good time. Well, that was good, I suppose, that he was having such a good time? Eeep. Because Liam had a big playdate and wasn't available for lunch, I took Jamie with me to the Second Cup (his choice) for a Mom-Son lunch. Momoha and Jamie wanted Momoha to come too, so we compromised with a plan to go to Dairy Queen together tomorrow after school. Jamie entertained me with some clever little puns and riddles he made up about the CN Tower (answers included CN Tower, CN Power, CN flower, etc.), and we had a marvelous time together. I dropped him back at school, picked up the boys after school, and went home. We went to Browning in the evening, went home a little late, and headed to bed as quickly as possible after the de rigeur reading of Ottoline.

2011-05-07 23:10 (Kristen) The boys had their happyoukai today at Nisshu Gakkuin, and did a great job, both of them. Liam's class went before Jamie's (there were two flights, as it were, separated by lunch), and the children sang three songs. The little boy Liam was friends with and standing beside was so loud that Liam sang with his fingers in his ears. Very cute. After lunch, Jamie's class sang some songs and recited a story, and did very well. No fingers were in ears. We rushed home afterwards to meet Momoha, who arrived when we did, and we took her with us (and Ayami, who joined us too) to the Dairy Queen. The kids had hot dogs and sundaes, and a lot of onion rings. After, we headed home and went soon afterwards to Browning, where Tom kindly made chicken katsu for us. Momoha came with us, and the kids were very happy to have had a chance to play so much together. After hanging at Browning for a bit, we headed home to bed, as we were all exhausted.

2011-05-08 23:10 (Kristen) Today is Mother's Day, but we're deferring the more formal celebrations unil John gets home. In the meantime, both boys gave me handmade gift that made me very happy. Jamie gave me a spider plant in a pot that he painted, and Liam gave me a nasturtium that he grew in kindergarten. He also had a lovely little card with his hand print on it. I was delighted. The boys hung around for most of the morning, but then we went out for a bike ride to run errands in the afternoon. The weather was lovely, and the boys got lots of good exercise. In the evening, John's parents came over for a Mother's Day dinner, and the boys enjoyed having them over. It was a late night, unfortunately, as Liam had trouble falling asleep and didn't do so until 10:30. He's got a playdate with Jack the next day, so this might be interesting.

2011-05-09 23:10 (Kristen) Liam had a big playdate with Jack, while Jamie came over to Browning for lunch and went back to school with Gary. I was later told that Liam left the little kid playground quickly, ahead of Jack, who had stayed in the playground with his mom. Tristan's mom, Gill, said that she saw Liam in the big kid playground, face in hands looking worried, and asked him what was going on. Liam then burst into tears, her son Tristan burst into tears in sympathy, and they quickly found Jack and his mom. Liam then ran off, tears forgotten. It goes to demonstrate that you can run off on Mom, because she'll always find you, but anyone else can't be guaranteed to find you in the same way. Liam had a great time subsequently, playing in the park all afternoon. When I came by to pick up Jamie nad Liam, we were scheduled to go and have another playdate over at Aidan and Evan's house. We went, and the kids played outside until six, climbing and playing hockey, and doing all sorts of summery kid things. The weather was gorgeous, and we all felt pretty good as we went over to Browning. There we had a lovely dinner and cake for Michelle's birthday, and went home and to bed.

2011-05-10 23:10 (Kristen) We were pretty tired this morning, as Liam kept waking up with nightmares or something last night. Ugh. However, the day otherwise went off without a hitch. Ayami picked up Jamie after school, and Liam and I met up with them. The weather has been so good it's hard to say no to an afternoon of playing outside.

2011-05-11 23:10 (Kristen) We were all a little under the weather a bit today--Liam's still waking up in the middle of the night multiple times, and I'm feeling pretty exhausted myself. Jamie was the only one feeling relatively rested, but I couldn't arrange for someone else to get him to judo in time, so he graciously allowed for us to not go tonight. I know that he loves judo, so I felt badly asking. Otherwise, it was a regular sort of day. The boys did homework wih Ayami, who has been an amazing help, and Gary picked Jamie up after school again. He's the hit of the schoolyard, with all the little kids learning his name and wanting to chase him all over. He gets lots of exercise, he says, so it's good for him. I think that it's good for everyone.

2011-05-12 23:10 (Kristen) Today the boys were very excited about Grammie's arrival. They went to school and daycare, and were greeted by Grammie outside the school when I went to pick up Jamie with Liam. Liam ran down the sidewalk to greet her, and was utterly delighted, giving her a great big hug. Jamie was equally happy to see her, and we all headed back home for dinner with Gary and Ayami. Otherwise, it was a very normal day, with the added joy of a Grammie present.

2011-05-13 23:10 (Kristen) Today was a lovely day with Grammie, who helped me pick up Liam at lunch and Jamie after school. The weather was less lovely, and the rain had us all rushing for cover. Liam hung out with Grammie in the afternoon, and we went to Browning in the evening. It's always a pleasure to watch the boys with their Grammie. I should note that Grammie went out in the evening with Auntie Millie, but that the boys gave her permission. :)

2011-05-14 23:10 (Kristen) Grammie wasn't with us today, as she had a golf date with some old high school friends. It must have been pretty soggy, as the rain didn't let up much all day. Tom drove us up to the school, so we managed to be on time. After school, Liam and I hung out with Liam's friends, playing DS, until it was time for Jamie to get out. Then we made our ways home on the subway, and collapsed in our own ways at home until Grammie came home in the evening. Tomorrow will be an official Pajama Day.

2011-05-15 23:10 (Kristen) The forecast again is for rain, rain, and more rain. Around 2 pm, we decided that we had to get out and drove the boys up to McDonalds so that they could play in at their indoor playground. This turned out to be a good idea, as the kids were going to melt down soon if we didn't. We took a side trip to the Flying Dragon Bookshop, which was good, before heading home to make dinner and hang out watching movies. A quiet evening, but a good way to spend a rainy day.

2011-05-16 23:10 (Kristen) Boy, are we getting sick of rain. It was raining again today, and we're beginning to forget what sun looks like. Liam had his friend Jack over for a playdate in the afternoon, but was a little put out when I said no electronics (Jack isn't much interested in video games or television). They finally found the perfect solution to what to do inside on a rainy day with one of our play tents, a bunch of blankets and pillows, some stuffed animals, and a flashlight. Excellent. Childhood for the win. We picked up Jamie, and went over to Browning for dinner. That went well, and the kids were happy to play with Ross, Tom, and Daniel until it was time for home, and for bed.

2011-05-17 23:10 (Kristen) Today I went off to work at the bookstore, and it was Grammie's mission to get lunches to boys and Liam to Hakobune. With the intrepid help of Auntie Millie, who came down for the express purpose of helping Grammie navigate through Toronto traffic, they succeeded. I picked Liam up after daycare was over, and came home to meet upwith Grammie and Auntie (which was good, since they had my house keys). Gary had gone to get Jamie, and eventually showed up with him. I had to go out again to tutor English, and I hear that pizza was ordered, homework was accomplished, and all was well before bedtime.

2011-05-18 23:10 (Kristen) I'm feeling less and less perky, as I now have a case of conjunctivitis to go with the sore throat that has been bedevilling me since Monday. I went to the doctor after dropping the boys off at work, and then went home with Auntie Millie and Grammie, who stopped in to pick me up after dropping Liam off at Hakobune. Gary picked up Jamie, which they both enjoyed. Dinner was a trip to the Olde York Fish and Chip Shoppe on the way to judo, after which our cousin Scott stayed to watch Jamie do judo and to argue politics with me and Grammie. Jamie had a good class, but we were all glad to go home and go to bed. I asked the boys to go to sleep wtih Grammie if they woke up in the middle of the night, and both boys remembered. I was so pleased and proud of them.

2011-05-19 23:10 (Kristen) I was at the bookstore again today, and the amazing team of Grammie and Auntie Millie once again transported Liam safely across the city to daycare. I picked him up afterwards, and we went home on the subway together. I enjoy our times, and this time Liam was insisting on reading the book that I had in my bag. He was pretending to read, more than not, but I was pleased that he'd rather pretend to read than do nothing. It was pretty sweet. The sun miraculously came out by the time school was out, and we found Grammie watching Jamie play at the playground with his friends. Slushies and milkshakes were consumed, and the sun soaked up, and all was pretty good with the world. We headed back home to wait for John's return, and he did come back with lovely presents for everyone. The boys were even happier to see him than they were to see the presents, which was saying a good deal. When bedtime came, Liam fell asleep in the same bed as his dad, happy as a little clam to see him again.

2011-05-20 23:10 (Kristen) Today was the last day of my stretch of working at the bookstore for a while, and John celebrated by coming to pick me up with Grammie from the store to go out to Humber Nurseries for our annual Mother's Day present of lots of bedding plants. We picked up some flowers and vegetables for the boys, so that they can garden too and get involved with it. They have peas, and tomatoes, and all sorts of fun plants to eat, along with marigolds and violas. We were a little late for dinner at Browning, but still managed to have a good time and to have fun before it was time to go home and go to bed.

2011-05-21 23:10 (Kristen) Grammie left today, which was sad but inevitable. The boys had a great time with her, and enjoyed their time with her very much. As for me, it was great to have her for backup, and for all her help. I finally gave in to the combination of germs that have been attacking me today, and spent the day feeling pretty miserable. Jamie and Liam, on the other hand, had a water fight with Ayami in the bright warm sun, and went to a part in the evening over at our friend Alison's. I was asleep when they got home, but I hear that they had a good time.

2011-05-22 23:10 (John) Kristen is on the sick roster today. When she hadn't stirred as of breakfast time, I sent the boys upstairs with a plate of food for her, which disappeared in short order. I'm a little tired, still jet-lagged from my trip, and tired from sleeping with Liam in the crook of my shoulders kicking me in the groin all night. Liam at least seems to find this comforting. The boys helped me a little in the garden this morning (they kept me company testing out old water guns, while I did general yard work and prepared more of the vegetable bed). At lunchtime, we headed first to the Loblaws to do some basic grocery shopping, then up to J-Town for lunch and a few Japanese staples (I let the boys choose one treat each, they both chose ice cream mochi desserts), then to Starbucks and finally to Toys R Us to buy new water guns before returning home to try them out. Kristen was up and looking a little better on our return, and up to eating most of a J-Town bento. For dinner, I took the boys over to visit my parents. Jamie demonstrated a surprising ability to pick out tunes on the piano.

2011-05-23 23:10 (John) Kristen was doing a little better again today. We spent the morning tidying the downstairs, enough that Jamie commented later in the day how nice it still looked. Jamie did his English homework in the morning, and the boys did their Japanese homework in the afternoon. We had lunch at Browning, with all the usual suspects present on this Victoria Day holiday. Daniel and Ross came over for a long water fight, including boss battles, mini-games and special challenges. Both boys got very soggy shoes. Liam got tired of getting wet at one point, and asked to do "Yoda battles" with me instead, consisting of doing a forward somersault up onto my shoulder, beating me about the head, then sliding down my back. The garden, already saturated from the month's heavy rain, got even wetter. Sadly, the thunderstorms continued into the night, and rained out the traditional firework celebrations. The kids didn't seem to mind though, as our four-day holiday weekend ended with a big party for their god-cousin Ross' birthday.

While we were all lying in bed trying to fall asleep, Jamie started asking for numbers between two other numbers. I think this is because at one point in one of the water fights, Ross counted down "5, 4, pi, 3, e, 2, phi, sqrt(2), 1, gamma, 0!" I told him that there is a number between any two numbers, and without missing a beat, he said "What about between 0 and 0?" I think there may be a bit of mathematician in him after all: I asked him what prompted him to ask that, and he said (paraphrased) that he was on the lookout for counterexamples to disprove what he heard. I can't wait until he's old enough to read the Counterexamples In... books.

2011-05-24 23:10 (Kristen) I'm getting better now, but Jamie's got a cough that has been worrying me and John. We took the boys with us to the doctor's office, as I had an appointment anyway, and she decided that she did not like the sound of Jamie's chest. Antibiotics. The cool thing is that Jamie has decided that he's old enough now to take pills, which thrills me to no end as I'm not fond of the sticky liquids and their messy syringes. Yay! Liam is fine, but the fun kick at the end of the visit was to establish my suspicion of earlier in the day was correct, and yes, we have head lice again. Off to the pharmacy to buy Nix, and we were all Nixed. This, however, means that the boys won't be going to school tomorrow or at all until we cease to see little bugs or their eggs in our hair. More laundry!

2011-05-25 23:10 (Kristen) We all kind of slept in today, because we weren't going anywhere. The day was pretty lazy, punctuated only by attempts on the parts of the parents to get homework done so that it didn't descend into a completely wasted day. The boys played video games, did homework, and helped garden in the back. We have put together a garden for the boys in one of our old blue recycling bins, with spinach, okra, lettuce, peas, and a few flowers. Jamie in particular is very excited about their garden, and I hope that they enjoy growing a bit of their own food (and eating it, of course). The evening was spent washing hair, putting an ungodly amount of conditioner into hair, and then combing out the conditioner and the stunned bugs and nits (they hate silicon-based conditioner. Bring on a vat of the stuff, I say). The boys are not fond of the process, but neither are they fond of the bugs, and are even less fond of the fact that we can not sleep in each other's beds until the bugs are gone. They're doing well enough, but still waking up at night and needing to be soothed back to sleep.

2011-05-26 23:10 (Kristen) We spent the day much as we did yesterday, with some work on getting the boys to play with toys and not watch so much television. Jamie did spend some time with his electronics set, but I may have had more fun making the setup with the alien alarms than he did. Both boys did homework, and they spent some time playing on the front lawn later in the afternoon with a soccer ball. It was good for them to get out and play toegehter. Eventually we went in for dinner, and hung out some more in the evening before it was time for more nit picking (we are a nit-picky bunch of people) and bedtime. Liam seems to be clean, but I found one last bug on Jamie, and so no school again tomorrow. It's sad, as this was supposed to be Jamie's Student of the Week week, and he's missed it. I hope that his teacher can come up with some sort of do-over.

2011-05-27 23:10 (Kristen) It is Day 3 of being stuck at home together, and we're getting tired of it. We went to Browning for lunch, thank goodness, and that helped. The boys were very unhappy to return home, as one might imagine. Jamie and Liam got a goodly amount of homework done for Nisshu tomorrow, which was great on their parts. We did an early lice check to make sure that we were louse-free before we went to Browning for dinner, and the kids were utterly delighted to be declared (provisionally) louse-free. Yay! We got home a little later than usual, having bathed the kids before we went over, and put the kids to bed in anticipation of a return to school tomorrow.

2011-05-28 23:10 (Kristen) Jamie and Liam were both back to school today, which was a mercy for all of us. It was good to be back into a schedule, but it wasn't for long as it was Jackman Fair Day. John brought the boys to the fair after lunch, where I met up with them as I'd been helping in the morning with the raffle desk. The boys lost their little minds for the entire afternoon: all rides had to be ridden, all treats had to be tasted. Jamie had a messy accident with a sno-cone, which had cherry syrup end up on his neck in a messy vampire attack pattern. The cotton candy, in comparison, was neater. The high point of the day was when we won the grand prize in the school raffle, which was a new iPod. The boys are completely excited, as are we, as it now means that each boy has his own iPod (John had an old iPod touch that is Liam's as of today), and John and I no longer have to fight children off our iPad and iPhone, respectively. We are quite the geeky family. The rest of the day was spent figuring out the new electronics arrangements and vegging out after a long day in the hot sun. I am sporting a nice sunburn, which given it was foggy and vaguely drizzling when I left the house, seems hideously unfair.

2011-05-29 23:10 (Kristen) Today, in celebration of feeling moderately better, we decided to take the kids to see Kung Fu Panda 2. It was also a way to get the kids out of the house on a Sunday, which can be quite an effort. We all enjoyed the movie very much, which is a sequel to one of our favourite family movies. We stopped off on the way home to buy a new skin for Jamie's new iPod, which he can't stop talking about or playing with. We did some homework with Momoha after we got home, and the kids all had a great time with each other (as usual). We ate dinner at Browning, then headed home for an early night as the kids are still worn out from the long and exciting weekend.

2011-05-30 23:10 (Kristen) The kids were back at school, which was an enormous relief. Liam's starting to cough, however, which is worrying. We're hoping that his doesn't turn into a lung thing like Jamie's. In the meantime, the kids had a pretty normal day. School was attended, dinner eaten at Browning, and homework done.

2011-05-31 23:10 (Kristen) Well, Liam is home today after spending a disturbed night coughing and so it's a bit of a step back on the path to getting everyone well again. However, it gave John a chance to video Liam as he asked Liam about numbers. Liam's grasp of positive and negative numbers is unusually strong in a child his age, and when John asked him questions like "What is three plus negative two?" he answered correctly ("one") right off the bat, with almost no hesitation. Liam quickly got bored, however, and started to riff on what he believes to be the nature of numbers. For example, I now know that negative numbers live in a graveyard, zero is a vampire, and seven is a human but turns into a wereworlf on occasion. There is about ten minutes of video full of this stuff, and it amazes both me and John while we wonder at the intelligence of our boy while dying of the cute. You never know what is going to come out of his mouth. In the meantime, Jamie is still not entirely well, but the wheezing is gone from his chest, and that is what is the good news.

2011-06-01 23:10 (Kristen) We decided to let Jamie stay home from judo today, since his chest isn't quite right yet, and he's still pretty tired given the antibiotics. We're getting a little twitchy about how much judo he's missed over the last few months, so we're going to make a real effort to make it next week and get back into the proper swing of things. This meant that it was a quiet day at home after school was over, and that wasn't a bad thing.

2011-06-02 23:10 (Kristen) John's birthday party is tomorrow, and we've been a little focused on that. Consequently, we forgot that today is John's actual birthday until a little later in the morning than usual. John gently reminded Jamie that today was special, and Jamie (bless his heart) knew immediately that it was John's birthday. John got hugs and kisses from both boys, and there was much happiness. In honour of John's birthday, we went out for dinner at the Silk Road, and the kids were well behaved for it. They ate lots of broccoli and chicken, played with their DSes, and chatted with their relatives (John's aunts and parents were there as well). It was a lovely end to a good day, and the boys were well and properly tired. Liam was so tired, in fact, that he kept riding his bike into objects on purpose, and we had to remind him repeatedly that doing so was a Bad Idea.

2011-06-03 23:10 (Kristen) Today was John and Daniel's borthday party at Browning (Daniel's birthday is the day after John's), and Liam in particular was looking forward to cake and candles. Really, it isn't a birthday without cake and candles, and Liam knows it. In fact, he was put out yesterday that there wasn't cake and candles yesterday at the restaurant for John's birthday meal. Jamie was excited to go to Daniel and Ross's because he's recently (thanks to Daniel and Ross talking about it all the time) become addicted to Starcraft (a complicated video game). He only plays versus the computer because the online chat boards are full of peope who are physically older than Jamie but much younger mentally. Ross has started expressing amazement at Jamie's increase in Starcraft ability, which is in part due to Jamie's amazing seven-year-old reflexes (Ender's Game, anyone?) and in part due to Jamie's developing ability to strategize and deep desire to play. We only let him play at Browning, because he'd otherwise do nothing else, ever, but play Starcraft.

2011-06-04 23:10 (Kristen) Today was the annual bazaar at Nisshu Gakkuin, so the boys were very excited when they went to school this morning. The bazaar started around noon, about the time the heavens opened up and poured down rain for the next three hours. The children didn't mind, as the organizers moved the bazaar inside rather than reschedule. Both boys ran about frantically playing all the games they could, eating curry, and snarfing every little bit of sugar they could while John and I helped out at our respective volunteer tables. I picked up a couple of books for the boys, and all was well. After the bazaar was over, we went to ToysRUs to pick up a birthday present for Jake, whose party Jamie was about to attend. It's a sleepover party, and Jamie was very excited. We dropped him off, and Liam was none too pleased that he was not going to be attending as well. We made up for it by allowing him to have the attention of both of his parents for the evening without having to share us with a brother, no matter how well loved he is. It was enough.

2011-06-05 23:10 (Kristen) Jamie had a great time at Jake's party last night. There was dancing, glow sticks, much giggling, and general craziness, along with an expressed desire to have a sleepover party of his own. Since we don't have a basement, I'm nixing this idea,. Also, since his birthday is in November, camping in the backyard isn't an option either. He expressed the notion that he could have a sleepover in Mexico, and we told him that he could have three people come: me, John, and Liam. O_o. He was about as exhausted as you might imagine, and about as crabby as you might imagine he would be as a result. John decided to pull us out of the house and go to see the movie Rio. We drove out to the movie in a rather hot car, and Jamie fell asleep before we got there by about ten minutes. He hasn't fallen asleep in the car in years, so this was cause for much amusement and sympathy from me and John. I carried him in, he woke up but demanded to be carried anyway, and then enjoyed the movie. Liam enjoyed it too. Then it was home and to bed fairly early.

2011-06-06 23:10 (Kristen) We're back to a more normal schedule this week, which is a Good Thing. Nothing really to report from here other than we're mostly healthy (I'll take it) and we're holding it together. Jamie continues to amaze Ross at Starcraft, and is utterly obsessed with it. Liam continues to be amusing and to produce amazing and utterly odd observations of the world.

2011-06-07 23:10 (Kristen) Liam went to Hakobune, and Jamie went to school, and it was all good. Gary picked Jamie up after school and led the entire schoolyard, as far as I can tell, in a rousing game of "Gary the Monster." He says it gives him his daily exercise, and I can believe it. I've been worried that Jamie isn't getting coungh exercise, and Liam too, and certainly they both run flat out for the entire time they're in the schoolyard. They say that kids should have an hour of physical exercise a day, and I let them stay out for an hour after school now so that they can get it. I think that it's been good for them, and I'm wondering what I can do to replicate this "run with your friends until you drop" thing that we've got going when the summer starts.

2011-06-08 23:10 (Kristen) It feels like it's been forever since we've to judo, so we made extra sure that we made it up tonight. Jamie's missed it a lot, but we've been a little careful, since he was so sick with that cough. We arrived early, having caught a ride with John, and Jamie played with his friend Mioko and did his homework before it was time to change and go into the dojo. Liam has a little posse of small boys who play DSes, and he was hanging out with them. The first indicator that I had that he was way way too tired was when he suddenly dropped his pants as a joke. Then it was talking about boy body parts really loudly later in the evening. When Liam gets really really tired, he kind of...loses it, in that he doesn't listen and shows a significant disregard for personal safety or social convention. He got extra Attention from me until it was time to go, when we took the bus home. We stopped to look at the family of Canada geese that have chosen to live in the area, with the six or seven half-grown goslings. The boys really liked that. They were excited about the arrival of our friend Sherrie, who is going to be helping out at the CNSC this weekend, but were resigned to the fact that she was going to arrive after they were asleep (and did).

2011-06-09 23:10 (Kristen) It was a normal day, with Hakobune and school, but with the added excitement of Sherrie being around. Liam, in particular, was excited and wanted to pounce on Sherrie in the morning, as we do with many of our guests. John pointed out that he should not, as Sherrie had driven a long way the day before, and might be very tired. He was grumpy but resigned to this. John and I were a little late making it back to pick up Jamie, so I asked Charlie's mom to watch him until I got there. Jamie barely noticed my absence after he knew that I was late, and ran off to play fiercely in the playground. We headed home, then went out for dinner at Silk Road, which was fun. Jamie's got a number of reading hours to do to make his goal for the next reading period (for school), and he's not really engaging with the need. We're going to have to read a good deal next week to catch up and make the goal. He's very much ready for school to be over now, thank you, but I'm happy to note that he's not as stressed out as he was last year at this time. Liam was too excited to sleep, but asked for Sherrie to lie down with him instead of John at bedtime. She did, and he fell asleep, the little monkey.

2011-06-10 23:10 (Kristen) John is off running the CNSC (Canadian National Scrabble Championships) this weekend, along with Sherrie. Liam also had a makeup day at Hakobune, so I took him to that, while Jamie ate his lunch at school (an unusual Friday arrangement). After I picked up Liam and Jamie, we went over to Browning for dinner, and some Starcraft (of course). Liam was very tired again, and needed to go to bed as quickly as possible so we did that. The boys went to bed relatively well, although Liam and I had a bit of an argument about sharing me with his brother. Liam isn't really online with the idea of my lying down with Jamie when it's Jamie's turn, but we're working on it.

2011-06-11 23:10 (Kristen) I was touban (parent helper) at the boys' Japanese school today, which is usually John's job. However, he was off running a major Scrabble tournament, so it was time for me to suck it up and volunteer. The day went well, and I think that the boys enjoyed seeing me there in little bits throughout the day. We were all pretty tired at the end of the day, but went to Starbucks to have a snack and fortify ourselves for the way home. John and Sherrie were home later, and the boys were happy to see John before they went to sleep.

2011-06-12 23:10 (Kristn) We decided that this was the best day for the boys to come down and see John running the tournament. We went down by streetcar, which is always fun for the three of us, and went to the hotel where the tournament was being held. We saw lots of old friends, and Liam in particular was very impressed with the proceedings. He thought that our friend Adam should be the winner, as Adam was in first and was the defending champion. Adam thought this was nice, and hoped that Liam was right. The boys hung out for a bit, eating lunch and snacks, before I made them go for a walk to the Eaton Centre. We bought a game for Liam that he'd been wanting badly, and Jamie was put out because it was put forward as being a game for them both and he was Unimpressed. We made it to Indigo to give me a rest, and Jamie promptly found two books that he couldn't live without. Huzzah! We bought one, Bad Kitty Meets the Baby, the latest Bad Kitty book, and Jamie's nose was promptly invisible as it was buried into the book. I had to guide him back to the hotel, hands on his shoulders and telling him when to step over the curb, as he refused to look up out of his book on the way back. He did stop for a bit when he started to make himself a little motion sick, then stuck his nose back in when we reached our destination. He emerged, an hour and a half later, having finished the book in one long bite. I was very proud. Afterwards, the boys played tag with Gary and Ayami, and we hung about after the tournament was over for the day and ate Thai food with everyone. I took the boys home, and put them to bed while John and Sherrie did wrapup tasks for the tournament.

2011-06-13 23:10 (Kristen) Today Liam had a playdate with Jack, which was a good thing for him. We went out and did some errands (including buying a box of Lucky Charms, which Jack was extremely excited about), and generally hung out. Jack doesn't really play video games, so Liam has to use his prodigious imagination when dealing with him. It usually works out, and is very good for Liam. Otherwise, all was fairly normal for a Monday. We had dinner at Browning, and the kids had their usual romp without Mom and Dad with the Browning clan. John and I just relaxed, which was pretty awesome after the busyness of the weekend.

2011-06-14 23:10 (Kristen) I don't know why in the world Jamie is obsessed with salamanders, but he is. He has been asking me constantly if he can have one, and why can't he have one, he'll feed it and take care of it, and it'll all be wonderful. We're dealing with the problem by making Jamie be the one to go out and research what exactly is involved in taking care of a salamander. John has added the provision that he has to take care of Ponyo, the fish, for a month by himself before we'llconsider the addition of amphibians to the household collection of flora and fauna. So far he's full of questions about what will happen when he accomplishes his goal, but not so full of questions about what he needs in order to own such a creature. I think that the reality of what's involved in working for a salamander will likely kill any real desire to own one, and I confess that I'm all right with that. I don't dislike salamanders but we travel a lot, and these things live for a long time. I don't want to have something in the house that will stay with me longer than the kids. Both boys were fine today, and all is otherwise well. I wonder idly if Liam will become a morning person like Jamie has, or if he will always remain a very grumpy morning person.

2011-06-15 23:10 (Kristen) Wednesday=running around a lot for daycare, work, picking up boys, judo, and some other stuff. Gary played with Jamie after school, as he has been doing lately, and that'sbeen great. Jamie did his reading at judo, as he has a deadline to meet for Friday. He's doing very well in catching up, but it would be nice if he could get his reading hours done a little less stressfully by racing the deadline at the end. The boys and I went up to judo with John, but had to take the bus back down as John is staying late at the Scrabble club for its annual club tournament.

2011-06-16 23:10 (Kristen) It was Thursday, and Jamie finally made all his reading hours for his English school. Yay, Jamie! He's excited. Liam had daycare, and I took him as John is extremely busy trying to get everything ready for his trip to Bangkok on Sunday. The boys are a little tired of John going away, but they're good and know that loot will be coming their way when he returns. The day was about average, but tomorrow is Jamie's field trip to the zoo, which will make tomorrow a very exciting one.

2011-06-17 23:10 (Kristen) Today was Jamie's class's trip to the Toronto Zoo. Yay! I was one of the parent volunteers, and that was a fun and good thing. I had Jamie, Momoha, and their classmate Anna in my group, and the kids were wildly excited the entire way t the zoo. Once there, we immediately went to see the stingray exhibit, which all three children loved. Stingrays, for the record, feel like velvety smooth pieces of very thick rubber and are all muscle. The little sharks are also shockingly smooth, as I'd always theought that all sharks had rough skin. I guess not! We also saw komodo dragons, some very hot polar bears, lizards and snakes of all descriptions, beavers, otters, and penguins. The kids found a caterpillar, and played with it for almost fifteen minutes before leaving it on a leaf somewhere. When it was time to go home, it really was time, as the kids were getting tired and were starting to bicker: very unusual for all of them. Dinner was at Browning, and it was a nice bit of normal before it was time to go home to bed. John reports that Liam's bon mot of the day came at lunch, when they were playing on John's iPhone and Liam remarked that iPhones were baby televisions, in what John describes as "

2011-06-18 23:10 (Kristen) Today was the last day of Japanese school for the summer, and I have to say that both boys seemed pretty ready for it. I think that they are just looking forward to being able to sleep in on Saturdays and I don't blame them. We celebrated by spending some time at McDonalds and their little play area, then read report cards. Both boys did really well this year, and I'm utterly proud of them both. Liam's teacher, in particular, had some wonderful things to say about Liam, and I appreciate her words very much. She seems to really "get" him, which pleases me no end (of course). When I think that they were thinking of not letting Liam in this year because they thought he didn't have enough Japanese, I'm delighted to see my little boy knock it out of the park. Afterwards, Jamie went out to play with Gary and ran into Junko's daughter Rayna and her dog, Rusty. Jamie's always been a little nervous around dogs, but he's been thawing lately and Rusty completely broke down any last barriers he had. He's completely in love with Rusty, and wants to play with him again as soon as possible. Now all thoughts of salamanders are gone, and his head is full of thoughts of his own dog. At least it's easier to explain why we can't have one (Dad will sneeze and not stop) than why a salamander is a bad idea.

2011-06-19 23:10 (Kristen) Today is Father's Day, and the boys had presents all ready for John to open. Liam had made a pen holder at daycare, and insisted that John should pack it with him on his trip to Asia. John left for Asia late in the morning, and the boys were very sad to see him go. They miss him when he's away, and are feeling his absence a little more keenly this time than usual. After he left, we spent a very quiet and calm day, and tried to keep the excitement down after the events of the day. We mainly succeeded, and the boys are doing their best to be good and helpful to me while their dad is away.

2011-06-20 23:10 (Kristen) Today is the first full day of John's being away, and the boys were very good in helping me adjust to their morning routine (in that they are very forgiving). Liam hung out with me after lunch, and was my little shadow all day. He's been kind of tired today, and it shows. Gary picked up Jamie, but brought him home early because there had been a misunderstanding about Jamie's road crossing priviledges. Liam has been Danger Boy lately, ignoring safety rules of the road, and Gary hadn't realized (and, to an extent, neither had I) that Jamie has been crossing roads by himself for a few months now. I ask him to do it in my line of sight, but he's very responsible and usually very cautious. Gary thought that Jamie was being reckless, and brought him home, but I'm glad to say that it is all cleared up and that Jamie hadn't done anything that he couldn't do with me. An unexpected complication of having so many adults in his life, I suppose. Afterward, the boys and I did some Japanese homework before it was time to go to Browning for dinner. It was a good day, an average day: this makes it a good day, given John's absence.

2011-06-21 23:10 (Kristen) Today was much like yesterday, except that I took Liam to daycare and brought him home again. Gary picked up Jamie and they played for a while again. Gary, I think, gets as much fun out of after-school games of tag as Jamie, and maybe even more. John's mom made dinner for us, which was appreciated, and the boys had a quiet evening indoors.

2011-06-22 23:10 (Kristen) I'm proud to say that we made it to judo tonight, even without John to drive us there and back. Jamie told Gary that he was supposed to be home after only an hour playing, and he was absolutely right, as he needed to eat dinner before we left. I was very proud of him for that. The boys were good on the bus, and good at judo itself. Liam played with his little posse of little brothers, and it went as well as it could go with three small boys and three DSes, one of which was pink. The boys were good on the way home too, and we all marvelled at the mist and fog that was settling over the humid city as we went home on the bus.

2011-06-23 23:10 (Kristen) I pick up both boys on Thursdays when John's away, and usually call a friend to pick up Jamie and keep an eye on him for the ten minutes or so until I get there. Today I decided that Jamie, who just runs off and plays in the playground anyway, could stay and play in the playground without a formal arrangement and tap any one of the other moms if there was trouble in the ten minutes until I got there.I picked up Liam in record time, got to the appropriate subway station at 3:28, and was about to run for the school when the heavens opened, and I mean Opened. The subway station aws full of people taking refuge from the deluge, and I had not brought an umbrella. Liam was nervous about getting wet, but I was getting more and more anxious about picking up Jamie. Then I got a phone call from Jake's mom, saying that she had Jamie and they were all waiting out the rain inside the school. After fifteen minutes, I decided to make a run for it, with Liam in tow, and we only got halfway down the street when we needed to take refuge at Charlie's house. Charlie's mom offered to drive us to pick up Jamie and get home, and we gratefully accepted. By the time we got into the car, the rain was stopping and Jamie was on his way over to Jake's to have a playdate. Liam and I got a ride home anyway, and all was right in the end. I'm getting very suspicious of the rain that always seems to come at pickup time, however, and have some choice words for the people who schedule the rain around here.

2011-06-24 23:10 (Kristen) Jamie has a sleepover birthday party at Parker's tonight, and he's very excited. He's also a little out of sorts, but I can't quite sort out why. He was upset after school that his friends were doing Ant Club, and he didn't want to do Ant Club but wanted to do something else. It could be lack of sleep; it could just be a general malaise caused by the end of school approaching and John's absence. He finally seemed to crack out of it when I sent him off with his gear and his friends to the party right after school. I know that he'll have a good time. I had had a devil of a time finding the right present for Parker, as I'd left it to the last minute and also because Parker's mom owns a toy store: what do you get a kid whose mom owns a toy store? Books, evidently, but I need to eat something next time *before* I try to choose some...Liam missed Jamie, but was pretty happy with the intensive Mummy and Liam time he got as a result.

2011-06-25 23:10 (Kristen) WHen I picked up Jamie, he was playing on the front lawn with a small dustmop of a dog, and was being completely charmed by the little animal. It was a twelve-week-old puppy, and Jamie could have, I swear, stayed there all day paying with it and talking about it to its owners, friends of the parents of the boy Jamie's sleepover was with last night. Liam was up shockingly early for him, possibly because Jamie was away, and made sure that I was up too. I did not appreciate this At All. I was a zombie mom for much of the day, and Liam was Zombie Boy. The problem with a zombie boy is that he is also a danger boy. I decided the get the boys out for some exercise by taking them to the library, and we stopped off to say hi to John's mom and dad (and some of their friends) at a restaurant on the Danforth first. The boys read their books and magazines while adults were social, and also sipped some apple juice. We went on, and Liam was increasingly careless with his bike, to the point where he fell while walking it through a parking lot and gave himself a fairly impressive mark around his eye from the rim of his glasses. He is a good bike rider, but likes to do the crazy a little too much. Eventually we went to the library and to the toy store, and bcack home for dinner. We ate at Browning too, which was lovely, so that Jamie culd get his Starcraft fix. We can't forget the Starcraft fix...

2011-06-26 23:10 (Kristen) Jamie having recently gotten over his fear of dogs, to great success, I thought that Jamie and Liam would have a good time meeting our friends' new kitten, Darwin. Jamie was very dubious, as he's not liked cats much since he met a very grumpy cat in Mexico that scratched him. However, we went out by subway and streetcar, and into the backyard of our friends' house. Jamie and Liam both were utterly charmed by Darwin, but Jamie spent most of the our time there following Darwin around and being very careful not to scare Darwin. He and Peter discussed the proper ways to carry a cat, along with other bits of natural history, and we then went out to an Argentinian restaurant and ate truly heroic quantities of meat. Liam and Jamie too, I think, ate sweetbreads (hello, posterity: Jamie and Liam, if you ever wonder, yes you did). We got home a little late, but it was a fun day and very much worth it.

2011-06-27 23:10 (Kristen) I'm not quite sure what is up with Liam; this was the second time in three days that Liam was the *first* person up in the morning, and not the last, as is his usual pattern. He was awake at 7:20, and I was a little shredded as he insisted that I be awake too in his usual Liam "resistance is futile" way. The boys were good and helpful this morning in getting to school on tie, and Liam ran into class without saying goodbye. Ms. Vear says that he zipped in the instant the door was open, went to the books on the carpet, and was deeply into a book on comets before you could say "good morning." He was in a good mood when I picked him up, having enjoyed an ice cream party with his class (which they had earned by selling the most raffle tickets for the Spring Fair auction of any other class). Lunch was interesting, as it consisted mainly of a conversation between Jamie and myself about Internet safety and why I wasn't going to let him play Starcraft online with random strangers. He seemed to understand that Iwas being strict, rather than protective, but I tried to portray the Internet like a public space that he doesn't travel in by himself either. He clearly understands the "you will not talk to strangers on the Internet or there will be Dire Consequences" part, though...and I'll take that for now. Jamie played with Rusty the Dog after school, and was thrilled to be allowed to take Rusty for a walk with Gary. The boys did some homework with Ayami afterwards, and went with us to Browning for dinner. They were both pretty tired, though, and we came home to skype with John and read two chapters of Ottoline at Sea before lights out.

2011-06-28 23:10 (Kristen) It's pretty clear that school is rapidly drawing to a close: school work is coming home by the metric ton, and the days are filled with class parties and a very relaxed atmosphere. The kids can't wait, however, for school to be over, but I think that they're going to miss their friends pretty badly. I really should be arranging playdates already to stave some of that off. They're waiting eagerly for the arrival of their cousins later in the week, and Liam has finally stopped asking me if summer is here. Everything is poised on the edge of summer vacation, in all its glory.

2011-06-29 23:10 (Kristen) Gary told me that when the bell went off at 3:30 today that he could hear the entire school, it seemed, yell "Hooray!" I'm not entirely sure that Jamie was one of them, though, as he was very reluctant to leave the schoolyard and leave his friends behind and have the year come to an actual close. It was a very good year for him--and for Liam, too--and both boys really matured (and grew: holy cow, the growth spurt that's going on!). Their report cards were excellent, and Liam's teacher commented on the personality that Liam has: that she really loved it. He's an original, is that one. Jamie's teacher loved having Jamie too, and commented how enjoyable it was to have such a polite and logically minded boy in her class! Jamie's teacher for next year sounds like he will be good, while Liam has the adored Mr. Recke for his teacher next year. Mr. Recke has a rabbit in the class: all will be well. We didn't go to judo tonight, as Jamie seemed a little worn out from the excitement of the day, and an early night to bed seemed like a good idea as we're going to Centre Island tomorrow with a large group of Jamie's friends and their families.

2011-06-29 23:11 (Kristen) Gary says that when the bell went at 3:30, a roar went up from the school as 700 voices carolled "YAAYYYY!" I'm not sure how much Jamie was one of those voices, as he was very reluctant to leave the schoolyard and have school actually be over. He's in a class next year with Jake and Momoha, but his other friends have been scattered across four classrooms next year, and only a few are in his class next year. I'm not worried, as Jamie's social enough that he'll be on his feet quickly, but change after this year will be hard. He had such a good year; he grew enormously, both emotionally and physically, and he learned a great deal. I made sure that I thanked his teacher for what a wonderful job she did this year; I never worried about him in her class, and I always knew that he'd be taken care of. It helped that she really liked Jamie as well, and wrote in his (excellent) report card that she'd enjoyed having such a polite and logically minded boy in her class. That's our Jamie. Liam, too, had an excellent year and an excellent report card. His teacher commented on his wonderful personality, and he sure does have one of those. She said that he always made her laugh. So: another year over, and the summer just begun.

2011-06-30 23:10 (Kristen) Today was the big Centre Island trip, where a bunch of families get together and go to Centre Island for the day. We have been going together ever since our kids were in junior kindergarten together, and it's a tradition that we're going to enjoy for a few years more; at least until the older ones are too old for Centre Island and force us to go to Canada's Wonderland or something similar. We had a bit of a false start, when I got the kids out of the house and down to the subway when I realized that i had neither phone nor bank card. Back to the house! Cue (justified) bitter complaining! We didn't go to McDonalds after all for breakfast, but grabbed a hot dog each from an amused hot dog vendor near the ferry docks. We got onto the ferry, which arrived just as we bought our tickets, and met up with some other stragglers from our large group on the ferry. We caught up with the rest at the amusement park, and rode a few rides until lunchtime. We had a huge potluck picnic, complete with lots of yummy food, and then headed back into the park. Jamie vanished with the older sisters of some of the other boys to ride the Scrambler for some large value of times (he knows that I won't ride the Scrambler because I'll throw up), which left me and Liam to wander the park and ride this and that together. He enjoyed the quality mummy time, and Jamie enjoyed the independence to run around with his friends under supervision but without me. We eventually ran out of steam and headed home around 6:30. Jamie and his friends, however, were nowhere near done. They were nagging every adult within auditory range for a playdate post-Island, and many were after sleepovers too. I left Jamie with his friends at one friend's house, and took Liam home for a bit before going to get Jamie at 9:00 or so. Liam came with me, of course, and the party was still full on when we arrived. Liam went to pay with the bigger boys, and I talked with the other parents over some very nice dinner. I checked the time and eventually brought them home, sleepy and very happy, around 11:00. As I sat under the stars, I thought of my parents' parties and when I was taken with them to visit with their friends and when I was one of the tired kids on the couch with my friends and how much fun it was (and how exhausting). It's strange, unnerving, and kind of wonderful to have experience from both sides now.

2011-07-01 23:10 (Kristn) Today was Canada Day, and I'm sorry to say that we didn't do much that was patriotic today. Both boys were exhausted after their late night last night, and their early wakeup this morning. I understand not why they get up so early after they've gone to bed so late....Be that as it may, we were very happy to see Ian, Amy, Ted, and Alice arrive from Kingston late in the afternoon. Jamie in particular had been driving me crazy with his "when will they be here? Can't you call to see where they are? Why are they late?!" et cetera. We ordered pizza to celebrate, but passed on the chance to watch fireworks. John and his uncle arrive tomorrow, and we want the boys to be well rested to enjoy their arrival.

2011-07-02 23:10 (Kristen) Hooray! Papa is home! Liam, when he saw John come in the door, ran to his father, jumped up into his arms, wrapped his little arms around his father's neck and buried his face in his father's shoulder for about a minute before getting down. It was a gratifying greeting. John also brought his uncle Mikio from Japan to meet us. Mikio is John's mother's long-lost brother, who we didn't know existed (and vice versa) until three or so years ago. He's come over (his first overseas flight!) to visit us and get to know us, and we're delighted to have him. The house is going to be pretty crazy and crowded for the next week, but it will be a good happy busy. In the meantime, Jamie, Amy, and Ian, and Liam too, are utterly consumed by playing the Pokemon card game. They're trading Pokemon cards back and forth, making up their own ways to play, and in general having a great time.

2011-07-03 23:10 (Kristen) It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a Japanese visitor to Canada must be in want of a trip to Niagara Falls. And so, dear reader, this is what we did today. First, however, John went through his suitcases and produced the fruits of his marvelous shopping trip in Tokyo. The boys are richer by many books, school supplies, and some rather amazing new toys. They have a shape shifting toy robot from the show Goseiger, which has both of them hopping up and down and planning battles with the slightly smaller and older version that John brought back from Tokyo last year. Yay! We piled into two cars to go to Niagara Falls: Jamie went with his cousins, and John, LIam, and I took Uncle Mikio. We stopped for lunch at an Indian restaurant in Niagara Falls, where Jamie was unfortunately ill as a result of his being carsick from too much video game playing in the back seat on the way to the Falls. It was before lunch, however, and he was able to happily eat afterward, which was good. We went and saw the Falls, took many photos, got wet in the spray, got overheated, passed on the Maid of the Mist ride, and headed back home. Everyone was exhausted, and bed wasn't too long after our return.

2011-07-04 23:10 (Kristen) Alice and Ian went back today, since they have both work and school to deal with back at home, leaving Ted and Amy here. Amy is staying with us, while he dad is staying with his parents, and the boys are delighted to have more time with her here. Today was Jamie's first day of Science Centre camp, and he's having his usual blast. He is part of Nickel group (all groups are named after elements), which includes his friends Jake and Connor, both of whom are in his class next year. The camp has different themes each day, and today was Reptiles. Jamie loves reptiles, so this was a good day for him. He also found his friend Jordan in a different group (they are different ages) and it was made abundantly clear that they need to spend some more time together. Liam had a quiet day at home. In the evening, we all went over to Browning for dinner, and a good time was had by all.

2011-07-05 23:10 (Kristen) Today is all about chemistry, and better living through the same. Jamie brought home a baggie of Silly Putty-like stuff ("crazy putty") that he made, but I confess that I'm intimidated and haven't opened the bag. Liam went to Hakobune with me, Ted, and Amy, and that worked out well for him as he got to spent time with Amy and play games. Ted took Amy and Uncle Mikio to the CN Tower, while John and I picked up the kids from their scattered locations. I made dinner, and we had a quiet evening afterwards.

2011-07-06 23:10 (Kristen) I'm not entirely sure what people did while I was out, as I was at work for much of today. I took Liam to Hakobune, while John took Jamie to Science Camp (today's theme: electricity!). In the evening, we all trouped off to judo, and hung out doing a bit of this and that while Jamie was in class. I made Thai spring rolls for dinner, which everyone but Liam enjoyed. I'm not sure what Liam disliked about them, other than he's been hard to plase with food lately. I am trying not to think that he didn't like the spring rolls because Jamie like them a lot and ate a number of them...

2011-07-07 23:10 (Kristen) Amy and Ted went back to Kingston today, much to Jamie's dismay when he got home and found they'd gone while he'd been at camp. That made me a bit sad too. The kids had a great time together, and it was lovely for them to be all together for even a bit. Jamie says that today was Space Day at camp and had an utter blast, which doesn't surprise me at all. Liam was at Hakobune again, and had his usual good time. It seemed quiet after Amy left, but Liam was soon finding a way to get Uncle Mikio to play Pokemon cards with him. We're all relaxing now and getting more comfortable with each other, which has been very nice for everyone involved.

2011-07-08 23:10 (Kristen) Today, I caught Liam asking Uncle Mikio to play Pokemon cards with him, and Uncle Mikio gamely agreed. I think that's rather representative of how things are going now that we've come close to the end of his visit. Jamie, in the meantime, had his last day of Science Camp, wherein the theme was weather. He came home all excited, to show me the tornado in a bottle he'd made. He named it something too, not George, but something equally startling, and was happy to discuss tornadoes and other weather phenomena with me. Yay! In the evening, we went out for a last dinner with Mikio to Ematei (a Japanese restaurant; he'd decided he wanted to try what passes for japanese food here in Toronto). Liam fell asleep in the car on the way down--the time between 5 and 6 is a bad time for him to be in a car. He was so deeply asleep that we had to lay him down across two chairs. We finally woke him up when the food arrived, and I took him outside until he was himself enough to come in and eat. I ended up taking both boys out, singly, more than once over the course of the meal as they were both tired and needing some extra down time. However, they enjoyed the meal and all was well in the end. Liam did go to sleep relatively easily, not extra late as I'd feared.

2011-07-09 23:10 (Kristen) It was hotter than blazes today, which was a little difficult on us all. We took Uncle Mikio to the airport today, and stayed with him until he went through security. It was a good visit, and the boys are missing him already. On the way home, we stopped off to get a drink at a Starbucks and got backed into by another car. The damage was minimal, fortunately, but it was good for a large bang and two distracted parents for a bit as John and I called body shops and got appointments made for estimates. When we got home, we decided that a day inside would be just fine indeed.

2011-07-10 23:10 (Kristen) We were delighted that my nephew Owen was able to come and visit us for the rest of this month. The boys were feeling a little punky after Uncle Mikio's departure, and were very happy to know that Owen was going to be arriving today. John went out to pick him up at the bus station while we waited at home, and the boys gave him a proper greeting when they arrived ("Hi, Owen! Play with me!"). Owen kindly indulged his happy little cousins, and it's been a good day. Gary and Ayami came up to eat pizza with all of us, and it was a relaxed, peaceful evening.

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2012-10-21 23:04 (Kristen) I haven't been keeping the blog up to date for a long time. I've got a lot of material here and there in different files and notebooks, and I'll be putting it into this page, now that we've put a password onto this webpage. The boys are getting older; our web presence is getting bigger, and the web is not full of people who always intend the best. Thank you for your patience.

It being Sunday, we lazed in the morning (Jamie was up at some unholy hour; I am not entirely sure what it was). They played a lot of Minecraft, but I'm not entirely happy about it. Liam is really obsessd with it--even more than Jamie, I think--and it's the one thing that the two will really fight about. I'm still thinking about a decent solution. Liam doesn't like playing on Jamie's old computer because it lags too much, and Jamie's still playing on John's old computer, which should be mine very soon. He's not going to like the lag on my current computer either, but how many children have their own laptop at all? After the morning of lazing, the kids did housework and homework in alternation for the rest of the afternoon. John and I did a good deal of housework (I cleaned the bathtub and washed down walls; John did laundry and yard work). John's mom showed up at 1:30 or so, confused and needing lunch. She hung out for a little while, and eventually I took her home while John did homework with the kids. She was insistent on eating with us today, so we went to Silk Road for dinner. The boys were a little more boisterous than usual, but it was a quiet night. Liam charmed Margaret by looking for her and helping to serve the ice cream. Oh, and by thanking her in his clear little voice "for the meal." It was pretty cute. Jamie is still a little sick, so he fell asleep in his room, while LIam fell asleep with John. I read to Jamie from The Wizard of Oz, and we're having some discussion of how different the book is from the movie. I'd forgotten some details, but still remember others that he'll encounter later.

2012-10-22 23:04 (Kristen) Jamie's got a bit of cough, and John and I are going to monitor it and make sure that it doesn't get worse. Jamie's not had a cough in a while, so we'd like to keep it that way. He had a fever and complained of not feeling well, so we kept him home to see what happens. He played Minecraft a lot and did some Japanese homework. He stayed home with me in the evening for a bit while John made dinner at Browning before John and I switched off and I looked after Liam at Browning while John stayed home with Jamie (truthfully, Tom looked after Liam). We tried to get both boys to bed as soon as we could.

2012-10-23 23:04 (Kristen) Today was a little more complicated. I went to work at the bookstore today as I'll be pulling some extra shifts for the next week or so as the store prepares for a big convention coming into town. However, Jamie had a bad night sleeping, as he was starting to cough with that deep, phleghmy cough that we have learned to be wary of. So, I made the doctor's appointment and John took the boy there while I was at work. The verdict was ten days of antibiotics and for him to take the rest of the week off. Hmm. This will put a different spin on the week than we were expecting...Liam is healthy, fortunately, and is happy. All is well with him, thank goodness.

2012-10-24 23:04 (Kristen) Jamie stayed home again today, and seemed to need it. John picked up homework from Jamie's teacher ("noooo!" says Jamie when John notifies him that he made sure to get Jamie's math. Apparently parentally mandated math is not as fun as math for the heck of it) and is making sure that Jamie gets it done. So far it's half an hour on and half an hour of television/Minecraft/whatever. He's getting a lot of work done, which is good, and we're pretty impressed with him and his compliance, even when he's not feeling 100%. Truthfully, he's doing a little better today, and has more energy than I thought he would. Which is good, of course. No judo tonight, of course, and Liam wasn't able to go to Scrabble, which disappointed him as well. They were well behaved, and we watched some more Muppet Show before bed.

2012-10-25 23:04 (Kristen) Jamie is starting to feel even better, and is getting a case of cabin fever to go with his cough. John took him grocery shopping and to lunch today as he had to take his mother out for groceries anyway. It seems like it was a good outing. Liam had a playdate with Sasha and Niko, which delighted him to no end. We got to watch a huge hot air balloon on the way home, and we had the sense (or, really, I did) that this might be the last good day of the fall. We made a point to enoy it, and the bonus! hot air balloon. John was reminding me that they were talking about math at the breakfast table again this morning, and now Liam is bragging that he can keep doubling in his head up to 2^18. Jamie can do it a little farther. This is how we pass the time at the table in this household.

2012-10-26 23:04 (Kristen) Thank goodness Jamie is going back to school tomorrow, because I'm going to kill him soon. He's well enough to be punky, and to take it out on those around him. School for you, young man! He does miss the social aspect of school desperately. Liam had a good day, as he usually seems to. He doesn't need the social aspect as badly as Jamie does, but he does enjoy being with his friends.

2012-10-27 23:04 (Kristen) And...Jamie is back at school, and it is a good thing. I think that he was happy to see his friends and to do something that wasn't television or Minecraft. A boy can get tired of that. Even Jamie. I stayed at home to cook chili, as we had plans to go to a friend's house tonight to play Power Grid. The chili ended up being really really spicy, but I had, fortunately, made two other batches of different types of chili to choose from. After school, we took the boys home, and got them ready to go over and play Power Grid. We took some games for kids too--the boys really like Catan Jr.--and our copy of Munchkin. The Munchkin game went over really well, and all the kids (including the two older daughters of our host) ended up playing. Liam won, to his great delight, with only the tiniest bit of help. I think that more Munchkin games are in the offing. We ended up staying until 10:30, and the kids were well behaved but utterly exhausted from lots of tag and other games with the children of the household. It was a good night. I think that Liam's proudest moment was tricking Tom into riding in the car home with us (a block and a half) and having him squished in between him and Jamie the whole way.

2012-10-28 23:04 (Kristen) the day was grey and wet, and the boys were a little overtired from their late night last night. Momoha and Haruto's visit, then, was a welcome diversion for the day. John got the kids to do their Japanese homework, to their parents' surprise and delight,and they spent the rest of their time playing well together and having a good time. It's a pleasure to see the kids do so well together, as always.

2012-10-29 23:04 (Kristen) We sent the kids off to school in the wet, with dire warnings to Jamie that he not get his shoes wet. He's outgrown his rubber boots (which saw almost no use this year) and now is not a good time of year to find new ones. Sigh. With Hurricane Sandy due to be here tomorrow and Wednesday, I'm worried that Halloween will be rained out. Liam is quite sure that our house will not be scary enough, and is making sure that all the preparations are in place. Jamie is worrying that his costume won't work. We all have our priorities. The boys had lunch with us at Browning, and I passed my G1 driver's test in the afternoon. The boys were a little worried in the evening about the storm, but we assured them that all would be well. And it was.

2012-10-30 23:04 (Kristen) Hurricane Sandy blew down a lot of trees and dumped a lot of rain, but we all got off well. But oh my goodness, there's been a lot of rain around here lately. The boys are full of anticipation about Halloween; I'm exhausted just thinking about it. We spent time after school watching Jamie at math club with some other kids in his class: it's supposed to be remedial, but Jamie's doesn't care (math games! yes!) and the other kids don't mind, so it's all good. I had a nice time chatting with his teacher about the next book Jamie could read. He was insistent that there was a sequel to Stewart Little but now understandins that there is not, but really likes E.B. White. I'm thinking The Trumpet of the Swan next, but his teacher thinks that The Black Stallion might be a good choice. As long as there are animals, I suspect she's right.

2012-10-31 23:04 (Kristen) The boys were almostly hilariously ready for Hallowe'en. Jamie was so very sure that he could wear at least part of his costume in the morning (after three people had told him no). I'm not sure what came of that. The school's Hallowe'en parade managed to go off outside, and the boys were very happy. We were worried that it would be rained out by the remnants of Hurricane Sandy. After schoo, the boys came home, and Toshi's mom made cajun chicken for dinner. Toshi and his mom had come over to trick or treat with us, and this turned out to be a very fun thing. First, Toshi and Jamie had almost identical costumes (both patterned on the Scream theme), while Liam was in his Red Ninja costume. Jamie and Toshi took a large reusable grocery bag and ran from house to house holding it together, reasoning that they could carry more candy that way. Liam stayed as close as he could, but was prone to going off by himself. The rain held off until about 6:30, when it started to come down harder and harder. Toshi's mom and I had umbrellas, but it was harder and harder to stay dry. The kids didn't care at all--Hallowee'n costumes have some sort of mysterious Rain Repellant, for all they noticed the rain. Eventually, I passed off my guardian role to John, who met up with the kids and stayed with them at Browning for a bit. Then they came home, had their photos taken with all their loot, and Jamie and Toshi happily divided up their candy. It was a good haul, and everyone was pleased with their loot. Eventually it was time to go home, and time for bed. A good day.

2012-11-01 23:04 (Kristen) The sugar hangovers weren't too bad today, which amazes me. There are a lot of wrappers scattered all over the house, and I'm not responsible for most of them. Both kids went to school, and John picked them up in the still miserable weather. I was at the store, so didn't see them until they were at home. Dinner was at Browning, yay, and then it was time to go to bed and sleep.

2012-11-02 23:04 (Kristen) When I got home from work today, John came in with Jamie, Jamie's best friend Jake, and Liam in tow. It turns out it was an inaugural Movie Night at the school, and the boys were all fired up to do. It was a showing of the new Muppet Movie, which sounded good to us. I did have to do some yelling to get kids out the door, as Jamie's version of Minecraft had fallen off the internet, taking a character and all its stuff with it, and not letting Jamie resurrect it with stuff intact. Jamie was a little wound up until I could get him out of the house. Once I did, the kids had a great time at the movie, eating tonnnes of popcorn and generally having a merry time. Once the movie was over, we all had fun cleaning up (helpful that the movie has a cleaning montage in it for inspiration). The kids got a kick out of running around the gym, and Liam's old classmate Daniella was there with her dad and Daniella's older sister. The kids ran around and burned off some energy before we took Jamie home and went home to get ready for bed and school tomorrow.

2012-11-03 23:04 (Kristen) We had dinner at Browning tonight (pizza!) as Tom and Michelle were away for the weekend, and Ken and Tami were watching Ross and Daniel. After a long, long day of grocery shopping and other errands, I had no idea of what to cook for dinner and was more than grateful to have someone else take care of it. The boys were delighted with the extra Browning time as well.

2012-11-04 23:04 (Kristen) Another bonus! dinner night at Browning! Which I appreciated greatly, as again I had no idea what to make for dinner. I had taken Liam out for a playdate with Simon as Jamie wasn't feeling all that well, and John wasn't either. While the two older boys stayed home and kept each other company, Liam and I met Simon and his parents at High Park. After an emergency pit stop for lunch, we walked through the High Park Zoo, which I enjoyed very much and Liam did too. WHe needed a little coaxing, but was soon enjoying seeing bison and other large ungulates. A man was feeding the bison, and Liam got to give the bison a carrot. Very exciting. We made jokes about demon llamas, and had a great time. The boys went to play at the Jamie Bell park for a bit, which is an amazing, elaborate castle-like structure for mass play and mayhem. The boys enjoyed the heck out of it until it was time to leave, when it was decided that a quick playdate at Simon's house was called for. The boys played together really well, and we left with a pile of Geronimo Stilton books, which delighted Liam. I then had to tell him that it was not possible to tie up your shoes while holding a book (I explained that I'd tried and failed), and had him reading in the back seat as long as the light lasted on the car ride home. Wonderful. Then, of course, I was tired and not inspired to make dinner, and was saved by Tami. Tom and Michelle were home again, and Liam got to spend time with his Tom. It was lovely, and Jamie was able to go over and have a good time as well. Perfect.

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2012-11-10 23:04 (Kristen) -onigiri day

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2012-11-14 23:04 (Kristen) Jamie's responding well to the antibiotics, thank goodness, but he's still pretty tired. Liam's still feisty, but while he's more willing to shriek again when outraged, it's not been too bad today. I got the kids to school on time, but had to have a conversation with Jamie first, before I even got out of bed, about what sexual assault was. There has been a string of them in the city recently, and one was quite close to our house. Jamie heard about it on the radio news, which led to our conversation. I then quizzed him on what he would do if someone touched him in a way he didn't like and then told him to keep it a secret. My beautiful son just smiled, with his eyes large and shining, and said "Of course I'd tell you, Mummy," in that fond way boys have when their mummies worry that they won't do the obvious. I do love that boy. We made it to school on time, and I even picked them up on time. They played csoccer for a while, and I had a long talk with another mom in the playground. Apparently, Jamie and Liam have a reputation for not fighting (at least not physcially) and she'd been telling her son that Jamie and Liam didn't fight. He said, bless his heart, that he wanted to be a good big brother like Jamie. Again, my heart swelled. They're being good kids when I'm not looking. This evening, though, I had to watch while they did their homework, although John did Facetime with us from Dallas (as much as he could with Faith in his lap playing Cupcake Maker on his iPhone). Then the boys and I had an early dinner, which consisted of a chicken stew from a Jamie Oliver cookbook I'd wanted to try. Jamie, to my deep surprise, loved it, and raved about how much he liked it all through dinner. He has hated much of my cooking lately, so this must be recorded for the ages. After dinner, we played the first third of a game of Settlers of Catan before going up to bed for some reading and a chapter of The Wizard of Oz.

2012-11-15 23:04 (Kristen) It was parent-teacher night tonight, and while I never really worry about how the boys are doing, I was very interested in how Liam was doing in his first year of full-time school, and how Jamie was doing in a 4/5 split. I left the boys with Tom and Michelle, and went to the meetings, and couldn't have been more delighted with what both teachers had to say. I am not exaggerating at all in saying that I had two teachers talk for almost 50 minutes in total about how amazing our kids are. I'm also really impressed with both teachers, as I feel they both really "get" the kids, and are doing really useful and good things for them.

First, Ms. Csamer. She laughs and says that Liam is really quite the kid. He's the sort of boy that she thinks she should follow because he's going to do something really big some day, and she wants to say "I taught him how to spell 'the'!" He is best friends with Niko, Haruto, and Abi, and plays a lot with a boy named Robert, who just transfered in. He plays with everyone, though, and flits from group to group easily (who is this social butterfly?!). Liam is a star with math and science, and he has a real flair for reading out loud (as we learned at Thanksgiving). We talked about his ability to do mental math, and about how well he writes letters to people. It's a very conversational way of writing, and she has to read his journal when she's by herself, because she laughs out loud and doesn't want him to think that she's laughing at him. He uses punctuation creatively and well. The child learned about ellipses and USES THEM. Correctly. I looked at his journal, and it's hilarious.

As we've heard in the past, Liam has some issues with focus. There is very little in the class to learn that he doesn't know already or can't grasp with ease, and he tunes out. Ms. Csamer has some good techniques for keeping Liam on the same track as his classmates, but it was interesting to learn how well he can compensate if he doesn't hear instructions: he uses routine or uses cues from around the class to figure out what is going on without having to ask the teacher. Unfortunately, it means that he sometimes misses out on more unusual instructions when they arise, so we'll keep an eye on his engagement levels. Not so much for now, but for building good habits for later on, when he'll need them more.

His handwriting is execrable. He was making an effort to be neater at the start of the year, but now his brain and the ideas falling from it are moving much faster than he can write, and the messiness is growing to the point where recently he couldn't read his own handwriting. She'd like him to slow down while writing, and has talked with him (as have I) about how his writing is conversational, and he really deserves a response to the questions he's asking, but that if no one can read his writing, then they can't do that. She thinks the incident is making him think, which would explain why he didn't fight me when I was nagging him about his Japanese handwriting tonight. She suggests a thicker pencil (and lent me two), on the theory that a thicker pencil gives better grip feedback than a thinner pencil, and can help with the tension in his hand. My theory is that he doesn't use a pencil enough and doesn't have the muscle power to keep writing comfortably. We'll work on both.

She really enjoys teaching him, and I am so relieved, and so delighted to hear about how our Liam is blossoming forth. She can always tell when Liam is reading, because he's the only one who reads with emotion and animation!

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2012-11-23 23:04 -marvelous brain of LIam = scrambled eggs for breakfast and bento -wish had camera to see Liam and Haruto play in Japanese under a big black umbrella; turtle? beetle? in pouring rain [jjc: I'll copy this off my iPhone when I have time] -had to hell at Jamie for few days; feels guilty then starts again. Developmental? -boys deligthed to see me once they noticed -->

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