Yesterday was so eventful I didn't even tell you it was Matthew's first time going strawberry picking!
We heard a reliable rumour that the berries were particularly plentiful this year, so Elizabeth, Matthew and I met Grandma H at the farm and proceeded to collect 20 litres in about an hour. Elizabeth decided very early on that the leaves were "scratchy" and picked only the berries you see in her basket.
I was underwhelmed by her efforts, but glad to have mom along - one adult to play with the kids in the shade, the other to pick under the broiling sun. It was HOT, so we traded back and forth. Elizabeth made little nests out of grass.
It was clearly the end of the season, but I have never seen such a crop! They tasted lovely too.
We celebrated Grandma and Grandpa H's birthday today. Grandpa was especially surprised since his birthday isn't for a few weeks but since they are headed back to Angola soon it seemed like the thing to do.
We had sausages and many salads for supper. Potato, strawberry and chèvre, broccoli... I made Shrimp-a-doodle-doo. Two birthdays meant two cakes. Grandma's was almond torte with cherry jam filling and whipped cream. Grandpa's was almost Black Forest cake (but with crushed strawberries so that those allergic to cherries could have some). The cherries came from cousin Heather's tree, the strawberries from our berry picking expedition.
The H cousins made shirts as gifts. On Grandma's shirt, Elizabeth and Matthew jointly made the blue butterfly. Xander and Isabelle made the green and yellow one. Grandpa's lion shirt shows Elizabeth in yellow, Xander in orange, Matthew in red and Isabelle in brown. Originally we were going to handprint Isabelle but Matthew's lack of cooperation made us reconsider that! He did NOT want to open his hand (silly grasp reflex). Finally we decided to paint his knuckles instead. As soon as we did, THEN he opened his hand, but not really long enough to get good prints. It reminded me why we used to do these projects with Elizabeth naked except for her "painting diaper". Imagine how fun it was to clean the paint off afterwards with his hand tightly closed around the paint.
I was happy enough with the end results though :)
Xander came to play with Elizabeth and Matthew so that his parents could get some sleep the day Isabelle was born. We gardened, we played in the sandbox, we teapartied, we made brownies, and we practised not waking younger siblings during their naps. I have been really impressed by how well Elizabeth and Xander have been playing together. Then Mommy took all three kids to the store to buy supper for everyone before heading to meet Isabelle for the first time. It took me so long in the store that I ended up feeding the bigger kids their supper in the car, so we were able to put them to bed somewhat on time. Elizabeth had a little nest in the basement and wanted to stay there overnight...
I've decided that the secret to shopping with three kids four and under is proper restraints. I could totally manage a fourth on my back, but after that things would get complicated!
My beautiful niece Isabelle Ruth was born at home at 4 am July 4th, weighing 8 pounds 3 ounces. That evening we picked cherries from the tree in the backyard while Xander and Elizabeth played. There was a lovely rainbow in the sky - the photo doesn't do it justice!
She sounds almost exactly like Matthew when she cries (Auntie Karen and I are having trouble telling them apart by sound!)
Xander likes to give gentle kisses to baby sister. Momma Karen and Papa Dave are very proud.