Victoria Day weekend visitors

I commented on Facebook that having visitors to our house usually starts with the same excitement as a visit from Santa. We go to bed with just 3 of us in the house and we wake to “presents” in the form of guests. I guess that should be “presence” as presents.

I cuddled Reid into sleeping an extra half hour Saturday morning but at 6:20, she absolutely, positively had to get out of bed. She went quickly to see who was sleeping in the guest room and kiss them awake. Aunt Pam was lying in bed waiting for just such a visit. We went to the main floor and found Grandma Joyce already up. Reid was determined to go down to the basement to wake Chantelle and Sulienne. I tried to convince Reid to wait an hour but she was adamant. I guess she knew they wanted to be awake. Aunt Pam went downstairs with Reid – my offer having been rejected – and Reid immediately went into “kiss and wake up mode”. They spent nearly 45 minutes chatting and snuggling before the three girls (when you’re old like me, you can call 25 year olds “girls”) came upstairs. From the look of them, Sulienne and Chantelle weren’t as convinced that 6:30 was a good wake-up time as Reid thought. Still, we managed to eat French toast with cream cheese and fruit and still get out of the house by 8:45.

Reid had her own cheering section at soccer. Chantelle and Sulienne had been a bit concerned about their appearances before we left home but once they got out in the wind and the chill, they sacrificed such concerns and layered on coats that live in Grandma Joyce’s trunk. Before Reid finishes soccer in July, I’m sure I’ll be complaining about how hot I was but that was definitely not the case this Saturday!

Aunt Pam, Chantelle and Sulienne took Reid for her swimming lesson and found themselves in the steam bath that is the swimming pool enclosure. The only ones wetter – but definitely not hotter – were Grandma Joyce and me in rainy Nepean at the wheelchair rental place. We all met up at Ikea for lunch and some time in the ball room for Reid.

I made cider pork medallions and German potato salad for supper. These two dishes are my company-worthy fallbacks. Ken and Reid usually like them and they’re not so complicated that I’m afraid to mess them up. If ever you’re over, don’t be surprised to see them on your plate. Of course, this time Reid wouldn’t eat since we’d woke her from a nap that started at 6:00 and ended at 6:20.

At bedtime, Reid asked Sulienne to put her to sleep but after a while asked if Sulienne would get me to come up instead. As a consolation prize, Reid promised that she would wake Sulienne first. Sulienne resisted the urge to refuse the honour. And so it was that at 6:15 on Sunday morning, Reid went to the basement where Chantelle and Sulienne were sleeping. The big girls came on a solution, though, as Aunt Pam discovered a while later. Sulienne and Chantelle were sleeping with Reid snuggled between them, watching a video.

We went to Eddy’s for breakfast and then to Major’s Hill Park for Tulip Festival fun. There were a series of sculptures made of cans and other non-perishable foods. Reid was much less impressed with the sculptures than the rest of us. We spent lots of time in the Circo-Circuit – a circuit of circus activities with instructors right there. Reid tried her hand at juggling, hula-hooping, swinging beanbags with streamers on them, stilts, tightrope walking, and rope and trapeze tricks. We were surprised to learn that Sulienne can juggle three balls at a time. Reid was disappointed to be told that she was too short to ride the unicycle but since her feet couldn’t reach the pedals, she didn’t protest. The stilts were not of the sort I remember from my childhood, where you stood on blocks attached to poles that extended over your head. These ones were only 3 or 4 feet long and strapped onto the foot and lower leg. The kids were able to use parallel metal bars, like those you see in physiotherapy rooms where adults are relearning to walk, to support themselves as they tried the stilts.

Sulienne accompanied Reid on the 1930s carousel, where they raced to the gold horse that Reid selected and then yelled, “Yee haw!” on each revolution. Reid was right at the maximum height line but squeezed herself into the 1938 fire truck ride. It looked just like the one she rode at the Stirling Fair last year. I was eager to go to the ferris wheel but Reid didn’t want to wait in the line. She noticed that the line for the Scrambler (I didn’t notice when it was made) was much shorter. Sulienne and I declined to ride on it (okay, we wimped out) but Chantelle was more than happy to climb into the compartment with Reid. I think Chantelle might have worried a bit about Reid’s reaction but she said nothing to Reid, other than making sure Reid saw what the ride did. I was dizzy watching them whirl around. Reid is short enough that I could mostly see only the top of her head and so didn’t know what she thought until she joined me back at the ferris wheel. Reid had a great big grin on her face as she announced, “I got so dizzy!” I might have said the same thing if it had been me but Reid meant that she’d had a great time and I wouldn’t have meant that at all. Sulienne went on the ferris wheel with Reid as the last ride. She took my camera and got some good pics of Reid, the circus activities and some unusual angles of Parliament Hill, the National Gallery and the cathedral whose name I forget. Once Reid and Sulienne got on the ferris wheel, we were out of tickets and we’d done everything once. I generally get stuck with extra tickets (which I give to a family that looks like they’d appreciate them) or we have to choose which ride to repeat. The $20 I spent was a bargain, we had a full morning of fun. How often do you think you’ve got a bargain at a circus/carnival?

We had lunch at the food court at the Rideau Centre. Reid chose A&W because Uncle Roger introduced her to Mozza Burgers and she loves them still. After lunch, we went to Parliament Hill. We’d hoped for a tour but they said they’d run out of tickets by 10:00. Instead, we walked around, stopping to see the cats who live on the hill and admire the Library of Parliament, in particular. We spent some time posing with the Famous Five statues, by far the most popular on the hill. I doubt that many people know about why the statues of those women are there but they do make for good photo ops.

Once home, Pam, Chantelle and Sulienne got be all dolled up for my date with Ken to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Reid voluntarily laid herself on the couch for a nap, to give you an idea of how tired she was after our adventures. Ken and I left as Reid was planning her girls’ evening in, complete with a tea party and make up. Ken and I had a nice evening and Reid sure seemed to as well.

While we were away, Grandma Joyce explained that when she was a girl, children never called adults by their first name. Grandma said, that she would have called a friend of her mother’s Aunt Whoever or Grandma Whoever or Mrs Whoever. Then, Grandma said, if Aunt Pam’s name was Pam Cake, then she would have been Aunt Pam or Mrs Cake. Reid’s eyes sparkled and she laughed. She asked Chantelle and Sulienne if they’d heard Grandma say that Aunt Pam’s last name could have been “Cake!” Chantelle broke the news to Reid that her whole name was “Chantelle Cake”. Reid didn’t find this as hilarious as Pam Cake, apparently.

At bedtime, Aunt Pam read a couple stories to Reid and then laid with her, reading while Reid settled to sleep. After a bit, Reid told Aunt Pam and she could go. Aunt Pam asked if she should turn the light out. Reid said, “Turn the light out. Take the cat. Shut the door.” With such clear direction, Aunt Pam did as she was asked and Reid went to sleep.

Returning home after a night out to find Reid asleep is like realizing we have premium ice cream in the freezer when I’ve baked a cake: a real treat. Sunday night’s return was even better since Sulienne and Chantelle had cleaned the house as an anniversary present. They couldn’t have chosen anything better! While it was happening, I’m told that Reid commented that it was just like when the cleaners came. I told her on Monday how much I appreciated the work she, Chantelle and Sulienne had done. Reid was quick to set me straight, “Suli and Chantelle cleaned. I made sure they did it right!” Is she my kid or what?!

Reid was up early again on Monday morning and once again spent some quality time with the girls and Dora the Explorer. We had a leisurely breakfast and then the car was packed and Grandma Joyce, Aunt Pam, Chantelle and Sulienne hit the open road. Reid was sad but didn’t cry as she had earlier when I told her that our visitors were leaving after breakfast. It seems that Reid had planned to take them to the Farm on Monday. She hadn’t mentioned anything to me, though, or I might have been able to work it in on Sunday.

We were sad to see everyone get in the car but we’d had such a good weekend that we really couldn’t complain. Saying good bye is always tough. We love Ottawa but wouldn’t say “no” to a super-rapid train or Star Trek transporter to help us see our relatives more often.

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