2009 started with a lot of snow. Delphine (then 5) was in Senior Kindergarten in the afternoons, so our days were punctuated by daily trips to and from school in the big orange stroller. Cordelia (then 3) caught a nap in between the drop-off trip and the pick-up trip, but I had to wake her up almost every day.
Blake had been laid off from his job in December, but rehired immediately as a contractor, working from home. It took a while to sort out a routine, but he eventually settled his "home office" into the big white chair in the living room. Needless to say this isn't ideal, but it's nice that he has a job, and it's nice for me to have a little extra company during the day. (Company, not help: he's not all that much more useful than Thomas the cat.) Working from home was leavened by occasional days spent at the University of Toronto working with a professor friend and his students.
Cordelia's mornings were spent, three days a week, in Nursery School, where she was much beloved by staff and classmates alike.
While the girls were off at their schools I occupied myself with the usual Mum stuff: looking after the other girl, baking, housework, and snatching time to read plenty of books and magazines. Monday evenings was devoted to choir practice: our February 2009 concert was Rossini's Petite Messe Solenelle and in May we performed Brahms' Ein Deutsche Requiem (my favourite oratorio ever).
Gradually the weather warmed up, Blake had his birthday, and March break rolled around. We didn't go anywhere special (travelling at March Break is madness) and we avoided all the museums (going to museums at March Break is madness) but instead spent the week around the neighbourhood, seeing friends.
In April I enlisted the help of my father-in-law and a handy friend of his to help me buy and install an amazing play structure in the backyard. We have a giant backyard (for Toronto) but there wasn't a whole lot to do back there. Now there is!
Also in April, Blake finally got around to converting the $200 Bianchi he got at a garage sale for $30 to a fixie. Translations: a Bianchi is an Italian make of bicycle; a fixie is a bike with no gears—the pedals are attached directly to the rear wheel by the chain, so if you pedal faster the wheels go faster, if you stop pedalling the wheels stop (eventually) and if you pedal backwards the wheels go backwards. This style of bike is much beloved of bike couriers and other people who like a lot of control over their bike.
June was notable for the end of school, as always, and for the first real warm days of summer. I poked at the garden a little bit, put up a new composter and moved the vegetable garden (again). I think the garden ended up worse—messier, less organized—at the end of summer than at the beginning, but I have a better idea of what I want to do with it.
The beginning of July saw us at a lovely wedding. For the first few weeks of July the girls and I amused ourselves around and about the city: we visited the Ontario Science Centre and the lake, and went to the library a lot. Unfortunately the Toronto municipal employees were on strike, so the park bathrooms were closed and all the city classes and day camps were cancelled. It was disappointing—Delphine was really looking forward to going to camp at Riverdale Farm.
At the end of July the girls and I left Blake alone in the now-smelly city of Toronto (the garbage men were on strike too) and flew to Saskatchewan to visit my mother. We went fishing, visited a cattle farm, went swimming, walked through the woods, and celebrated my birthday. My mum and the children had a great time together.
As soon as we returned to Toronto, the girls' other grandfather picked them up at the airport and took them to their cottage for a few more days at the beach while Blake and I enjoyed some extremely rare alone time.
As August drew to a close we squeezed in a little more summer fun. we went to the amusement park on Centre Island where Delphine rode a pony and Cordelia and I went on a roller coaster. (I've decided I'm not a roller coaster person.) And I took the girls to their first IMAX movie, Under The Sea. Summer's last hurrah was a fancy afternoon tea at the King Edward Hotel.
September brought big changes for the children: Delphine started full-time school, entering Grade One, and Cordelia started Junior Kindergarten. Big changes for me too: only one school to drop off and pick up at, and mornings to myself—bliss! Both girls are doing famously at school and adore their teachers.
Since September we have all been well-occupied: the girls with school, me with the Parent-Teacher Association and Blake with work. (He has just been offered a permanent full-time job with Mozilla.)
It's not yet December as I write this, and I suppose something terrifically exciting could happen in the next month, but I'm just anticipating a choir concert (Ralph Vaughan Williams' Hodie), some decorations, plenty of food, friends over to sing carols, far too many presents and a nice winter break from school. Who knows... we might even have snow!