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I would have liked to camp longer, but we had some very special visitors home from Chad! My cousin Phil, Merilee and their three girls, who have all grown up a ton since the last time we saw each other.

 

We went to church with Dave and Karen. There wasn't a summer Sunday school for Elizabeth's age (and Matthew flatly refused to go) so they stayed in church and took notes in between wiggling like wild things.

 

After church Dave and Karen headed home to nap their children and the rest of us drove downtown for Buskerfest! Unfortunately I made the unwise decision to allow my kids to stand in a VERY long and VERY hot line for balloon animals, which turned out to be quite expensive and meant I didn't get to see as many acts as I would have liked. The guy riding a pretend horse was voted not that good by our crew anyway. The gymnasts jumping through flaming hoops was much more our speed. My older two kids had fun milking a pretend cow ("That's why farmers invented milking machines" exclaimed Elizabeth), but Amelia was deeply suspicious and would have nothing to do with it.

 

Elizabeth and Matthew did love their pokemon balloons. Kaitlyn was underwhelmed by her pokeball though - I wish I had a photo - it was definitely not the balloon artist's best work.

 

Then we had everyone over for a lasagna and corn supper. What a special and lovely time. Too soon it was time to say goodbye.



   



We had fully intended to go camping a few weeks ago at Dianne's father's cottage but torrential downpour and inch and a half hail put a serious crimp in our plan. Truth be told, even after Dave and Karen bailed, Dianne and I might have gone anyway except for the firm veto of our husbands. I just couldn't believe that given the ongoing and serious drought that the ONE weekend I planned to go camping we got several inches. Anyway, we were glad we didn't go since we would have gotten extremely wet - our backyard flooded (standing water! That NEVER happens).

 

Dianne and David and family, our family, Dave and Karen's family and our tenant Hayley did all manage to find time to go camping overnight at Rideau River again though. Elizabeth brought her friend Karis and we had TWO kids tents - one for the boys (Aidan, Xander, Matthew), and one for the girls (Elizabeth, Karis, Caitlyn). At first it was a bit tricky because they all wanted to pile into one tent, and failing that everyone wanted to be with Elizabeth. But eventually we figured it out. Isabelle and Theo tried out Uncle Dave and Auntie Karen's brand new fourteen person tent!

 

It was Aidan, Caitlyn and Xander's first time in a kid only tent... Little Elizabeth's first s'more... Elizabeth's first time whispering and giggling with a friend up to all hours (usually she gets all grumpy and tells people to let her sleep). Amelia went wild over the tent and air mattress again. I eventually gave up on putting her to bed and let her play in Evelyn's chair until nearly 10pm.

 

Auntie Janice and neighbour Lauren (with "little" Elizabeth and Charlotte) came for supper (chili) and s'mores, but couldn't stay overnight. Auntie Heather and new beau Andre dropped by as well.

 

Auntie Heather, Grandma J and Andre canoed to the campsite the following morning and we spent the rest of the day playing on the beach.



   



I've been a fan of Toronto's Choir!Choir!Choir! for some time, so when I heard that Ottawa had something similar (but smaller), I definitely wanted to check it out.

 

The concept is that you come out to sing parts in a choir of modern music / hits. There is no practice and no commitment, which is perfect for me since getting away from the littles for an evening is kind of hard on the ears of the adult(s) left behind and isn't always feasible.

 

My friend Janice and I duly headed out to 613 Casual Choir's ice cream sing. I enjoyed myself very much.



   



The raspberries were ripe, so we heartlessly went while Elizabeth and Matthew were at camp. Elizabeth especially was unimpressed. Amelia, however, enjoyed herself very much. She was surprisingly good at picking berries and putting them in the basket, though eventually she tired of picking and settled down to the serious business of eating!



   



This week Elizabeth was off to her fourth year of farm camp, where she looked after Phoebe the cow and generally had a wonderful time. One of the best parts was after camp when we were "helping" the cows walk out to pasture and the farmer let her have a ride on his cart! (Matthew was too shy)

 

One of the latest things at the farm is the robot that is used to push the cow's food back within reach during the night. They were working on the roofs all over the farm so there was a lot of hammering and plastic draped all over. On the plus side, we got to watch scissor lifts in action.

 

Matthew is quite taken with a cow named Dinosaur, so Elizabeth has been giving him daily updates. Though I was sad to discover that MY favourite cow is now hamburger. I can't seem to find any previous entry about it but back when we were visiting the museum every day in 2011(?) there were twin Jersey cows born. The staff made a big deal because twins in that breed aren't common, and the ultrasound tech missed noticing the second twin. I was actually lucky enough to get to see the ultrasound tech in action that year - it was pretty cool! Anyway, Sephora and Safari got a lot of attention and were kept at the farm much longer than usual (usually the boys get sold right away and the girls go offsite from about six months to two when they are ready to start milking). They were SUPER friendly. Elizabeth talked about the time we found that "naughty cow" snacking on the horse feed after escaping from her pen for years afterwards. Anyway, Elizabeth enjoyed her week a great deal and Matthew is looking forward to being four so he can go too.

 

Matthew had his first week of summer camps at GNAG, a kindercamp with a dragons and knights theme ("Tykes of the round table" - with a name like that, we kind of felt we had to sign up...) There were crafts and games and even a day at the splash pad! He totally adored it and only agreed to come home in the afternoons so that we could go to the farm to see Elizabeth.



   

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