Category Archives: Sport


Some years we have skated during March break and worn our winter clothes on Easter Sunday, but not this year.  Apparently Ottawa has broken a record by having no snow in March.  Even our yard which retains its snow piles longer than most is now showing a little green grass and some daffodils.

During the Easter weekend we had warm temperatures and plenty of sun.  On Good Friday Andrew, B9 and I went on a bike ride following the Rideau River from all the way to where it meets the Ottawa River.  We were able to stay on a bike path nearly all the way.  We then rode into the Byward Market which was packed with people enjoying the sunny weather.  We had to wheel our bikes through the crowded streets and footpaths until we found  a place to have a drink before taking the bike path which runs along the canal all the way home.  Andrew called it a “warm up ride”.  Maybe for him, but for me 20km was a pretty decent ride.  Apparently it didn’t tire B9 out because within half an hour of getting home he was out playing street hockey and roller blading!

The weather continued to be beautiful on Saturday and Sunday so we pulled out B9’s slackline and put it up.  He received it for his birthday in October so really only enjoyed a month or so with it before it was put away for the winter.  When he got back on yesterday he was a little shaky but I don’t think it will be too long before he can make it from one side to the other, probably about 7 metres.


As well as skating on the rink in the local park (above) we took Luke to a nearby outdoor speed skating rink (below) with a couple of outdoor hockey rinks next door.

I mentioned in another post that he and the girls skated on the canal as soon as it opened, the following day Ben joined them when they skated again after a visit to the Art Gallery.  Unfortunately the weather had warmed up considerably so the conditions were not great.

And, just so his skating experience would be complete, we took him to an indoor rink also (below).   Ottawa is full of indoor rinks, well Canada is full of rinks, indoor, outdoor, they’re everywhere.  It’s like swimming pools in Australia.

… is this cold?

My nephew, Luke is visiting from Australia at present, one of the brave visitors, happy to come in winter.  We have been explaining to him that anything above -10° C is not really cold.   It is actually perfect winter weather, not too cold to go out but cold enough that the ice on the rink isn’t melting and the snow isn’t turning to slush. Yesterday, however, when he was standing in the wind at the top of our local toboganning hill he asked whether the temperature there was actually cold?  We assured him that yes, with the wind chill  making it -19°C it was cold!

Since he arrived he has skated on our rink in the park a few times,  and is waiting for the canal to open so he can experience a canal skate complete with “beavertail” at the end.  Yesterday we met a few friends at the hill and spent an hour or so tobogganing.  Once they found the icy patches on the fast side they did away with toboggans and mats and just slid.  Luke managed to take the record for distance on a toboggan.


Finish!  He is that little dot between the trees, which is actually quite close to the now frozen water’s edge.

One under the Son


Yesterday Andrew and the two girls played in the One Under the Son volleyball tournament hosted by CHRI, the local Christian radio station.  The rest of the team was made up of friends from church and friends of friends.  The tournament was a fund-raiser for Camp Cherith.  Neither of the girls have had much volleyball experience but had a lot of fun.  Andrew turned out to be quite an asset to the team as he has played a little lately and he is, well, rather tall!

B8 and I along with my parents joined them around lunch time to watch and encourage.  It was hot!   We found some shade and occasionally a breeze caught us, but the players on the courts did not have those benefits.    The team did not make it to the finals but did have a win!


Soccer, tennis and geography

Spring soccer has started for A12 and B8.  They play twice a week and are on the same team this year.  It is the last year for A12 in this particular league, which is probably not a bad thing.  She is a head and shoulders taller than most players and is almost as tall as the coach.  Even B8 who is playing in the age level above his own is not the shortest.  Both children are enjoying the games and the team is improving every week.  Last night A12 scored two goals.

The whole family have been playing tennis as often as we can.  There are courts beside the soccer fields so we play during soccer and take turns to go and support the team.  We have also been playing with Group of Four on Fridays after our Canadian geography lessons.  We spent four weeks on Geography, starting with the big picture, which included provinces, territories, capitals, geographic regions, major rivers and lakes.  We then narrowed in on Ontario, looking at waterways, cities and towns and climatic regions.  To review and finish we played a game of Geography Jeopardy where the mum’s created answers and questions  in all the catergories we had covered.

The Bleak Midwinter

Canadians do like to talk about the weather and I can see why.   It is currently bleak.   We have several days this week where the temperature will not rise above -20°C and will drop to around -30°C each night.  Today we were warned that with the windchill the temperature was -39°C!   I tried to head out for a swim this morning but the it took  such a long time for the car to warm up (so the windows would defrost) I gave up.  I did head out at lunch time after running the car for 15 minutes first.   As soon as I stepped outside after my swim my damp hair froze stiff.  I still find this amusing even after eight winters.

Most of our Christmas decorations are now packed away, as the tree will be put out for collection tonight.  The wreaths on the front door and over the fire place will stay as long as they can survive.  And the candles will continue to light our table and rooms until the daylight lasts much longer.   The Christmas cards are not yet put away. The children and I reach for one each in the mornings when we have our devotions time.  Each day we pray for one of the families or friends who sent us cards, a practice I started a few years back after reading the idea somewhere.  I like to look at them a little longer and call to mind the dear friends who sent them.

Wrapping up her birthday

A12 turned twelve during our trip to China, but the party happened just a week ago.  Our children have birthday parties every second year if they wish.  Even while we were in China we were thinking about the party.  While shopping in Shanghai A12 picked up a few things to give to her guests.  Originally the party was to have a China theme but it became an Olympic party instead.

The guests were asked to pick a country and come with some representation like a mascot or flag or maybe dress in the country’s sporting colours.  Australia, Canada, Italy, USA, Great Britain, Botswana, Mexico, Israel and Argentina were represented.  The games were not all athletic, which was just as well, as it turned out to be a grey rainy day.  We had an obstacle course, balloon volleyball, an “eatathlon”, 1-100 sprint, ball toss, card relay, and a triathlon including horseriding, weight lifting and hurdles!

In most events gold, silver and bronze stickers where given out to be stuck on the medal tally chart.  I was very happy to see that every country placed in several events!  All competitors received a chocolate medal during the closing ceremony.  The athletes ate chicken, chips and salad together before consuming birthday cake made by L14 and decorated with the Olympic rings.

Newton and the Skate Park

Group of Four spent the last two sessions together working on their skateboarding skills.  When we first decided to schedule this unit I must admit I was apprehensive.  I wanted it for B7’s sake; he is very keen to improve, but I just didn’t know how it would pan out.  I wasn’t sure that the non-skaters would be happy and I had no idea who would do the instructing.  I needn’t have worried.  The mother of three boys was in charge and she did a fabulous job.  We met at a local skate park and spent the first hour of each session learning the physics.  She took us through Newton’s laws of motion, using the skateboards whenever possible.

During the second hour she had invited Kevin, a skateboarder with a passion for encouraging children and inspiring confidence.  He spent some time teaching everyone about the parts of the skateboards and took them through some basic maneuvers before encouraging them to try the ramps.  There were gentle slopes and steeper slopes and Kevin was there to guide, instruct, even hold their hands if they wanted.

I was amazed at the progress B7 made in the first week.  He took the low ramp with no problems and then with some initial help mastered the second ramp.  When we returned the second week he considered the steepest ramp.

Kevin encouraged and advised him.

I held my breath and he did it.   Again and again.  He wiped out and got back up again and did it again.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

The good news

The good news is that when I saw the gastroenterologist yesterday, he had the results of my most recent blood test.  My ferritin level, which was 4 when I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, is now 82!  This is no doubt due to my three iron infusions so it will be interesting to see if I can maintain this level or continue to increase this level without further infusions.  I definitely have more energy than I did six months ago;  I even ran four mornings this week, and by the fourth it didn’t hurt as much.

More good news – we won our first game in the end of season playoffs last night 25 to 2.  The tournament runs through this weekend and the beginning of next week, then softball will be over for another year.

Summer Daze

Today is the last day of the summer holidays, but it is definitely not the last day of summer. I keep telling people that summer could last another month or so yet. Wishful thinking, I know. I don’t know where all the summer days have gone. Even though we were only in China two weeks, it seemed to affect my whole summer. The weather also threw me out, it rained almost everyday through July and half of August. After the extreme heat of China the mild days here were pleasant but not the summer days we are used to.

On returning from China A12 and L14 threw themselves into studying for their music theory exams. For four weeks they spent large chunks of every day working, L14 did Grade 2 and A12 Grade 1. I think B7 found this a bit tough as he had already missed their company for two weeks only to find them always working on cadences, scales and Italian terms. They did take a break on the August long weekend, which included L14’s birthday, and we all visited our friends at their cottage in the Laurentians.

After the exams were finally over they both breathed sighs of relief and then realised there were only three weeks of holidays left. B7 and A12 went to a soccer camp run by SU at our church which they thoroughly enjoyed. Both came home each day hot, sunburnt and happy. L14 and I fitted in several games of tennis, some swimming and a little shopping. Throughout these weeks of theory and sport I steadily sorted and cleaned through many rooms of the house. I also spent hours planning for the coming school year.

As has been our custom since we came to Canada we went out for an “End of School Dinner”. We had not eaten out together since I was diagnosed with celiac disease so we decided to try one of the restaurants recommended by the Ottawa Celiace Association. It was Indian and the food was delicious. We all chose something to share and I was able to eat just about everything. I had prepared certificates for the children as I have in past years. The awards can be for excellent results, considerable improvement or consistent effort. I also had movie gift certificates for them each this year and they bought a cd for Andrew and I. As in past years it was a very enjoyable night.

We returned to our friends’ cottage for a week of swimming, kayaking, card games and more school planning (the mums of course, not the kids!) It was very relaxing, as it always is; the days were sunny and warm, the nights crisp and the company refreshing. Both families returned to celebrate H’s birthday, which was a fancy dress party. L14 made alterations to a “Queen Guinevere” dress I had made years ago and turned it into one of the Princess Bride’s costumes. A12 created an Arabian nights style costume to be Aravis from “The Horse and His Boy”. (I’ll try and post a photo tomorrow)

This past week has disappeared as I have tried to get the house to rights, attended several planning meetings and worked on details for the upcoming Stellae Boreales retreat. Tomorrow we begin a new year and according the levels here in Canada we have a highschooler, a junior highschooler and an elementary school student. I think everyone is looking forward to the year’s challenges, the first one being getting out of bed at a reasonable time tomorrow morning!