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.
We invited the neighbour kids to go for a Pokémon walk down to Dow's lake. Turns out there was a triathlon today so we enjoyed watching the elite women cycle around the lake and then transition to running. Elizabeth immediately decided she might like to do a triathlon after all. We were all particularly impressed to see the athletes leap out of their attached bike shoes and run in their sock feet to their running shoes. The winner started a minute behind the leaders after the bike race but managed to catch up and pass everyone else by the 5km mark. Elizabeth and Simon were inspired to do a little running themselves.
When I asked the kids what they wanted to do this summer, one of their requests was to go for a ride on the train and a double-decker bus.
So when Elizabeth and Matthew decided they wanted to go shopping to spend some of their allowance, I suggested that we take public transit.
Mila and Simon were playing with our kids in the sandbox when it was time to leave, which is how I ended up bringing four kids on three buses and one o-train (Simon stayed home, with promises to bring him a souvenir).
We rode the train to South Keys, captured five Pokémon just hanging around at the entrance to the transitway, bought yogurt drinks, Cheesies, squeezable applesauce, four kinder eggs and three hot wheels cars and then headed to Billings in the hopes of locating a water gun. Unfortunately we arrived after closing. The kids all vowed that if they were in charge, stores would stay open later on Saturdays. I will remind them of this if they ever work retail! All was not lost, as we went to the pet store to ogle the animals and rode up and down the escalators. The mood couldn't stay glum though, as we got to eat Cheesies at the back of the top level of a double-decker bus.
Lots of rather jaded transit riders couldn't help but smile at the kids who were SO EXCITED to be on the bus.
We happened to get off near a Shoppers, so we went in. Elizabeth and Mila bought stuffies and Matthew found a water gun. We walked home tired but happy.
Uncle Mark is back from Taiwan, so we went over to Grandma J's for his birthday.
We went swimming before supper. Elizabeth spent much of her time swimming under the water and popping out close to Amelia to make her laugh. Matthew paddled himself around. Amelia climbed in and out and in and out and in and out of the pool.
Summer week four was a lot of chilling out, especially with neighbours. "Little Elizabeth" (and Lauren and baby sister Charlotte) came with us to the beach. There's been a lot of puddling in our wading pool. We played at a lot of parks. We went to the wading pool homeschooling get together hosted by my friend Evelyn. There was more Pokémon catching.
Our housegroup came for brunch. We went to the dinosaur museum. "And Costco. Don't forget Costco", said Elizabeth. "Yes", said Matthew. "It's my best shopping place."
But my favourite was stopping at Olive and Chili for more gluten free treats.
This weekend features two days of "fake" camping at lovely Lake Stickley.
Kids slept in their own tent, which was marvellous. First night was rough; Amelia took an unusually long time to settle down. She was bouncing and crawling all over the tent and literally turning somersaults on the air mattress until about quarter to ten. Matthew woke up at four a.m. needing help to get back into his sleeping bag. Amelia was nursing at the time and Matthew declined Elizabeth's "help" so Daddy had to get out of the tent to assist.
Apparently Evelyn didn't want to sleep either; she kept her big sister awake by stepping on her head repeatedly and played and played and played. Dianne gave up after three hours and went to sleep indoors. She was even gladder to be near home in the morning when Caitlyn told her she didn't feel good and started throwing up!
Saturday afternoon we went to a pond ecology workshop with some of our homeschooling group at the Baxter conservation area. The kids loved finding all the animals in the pond, but there were a disturbing number of very very big leeches. Some other participants waded into the pond and ended up providing a free demo of why one should avoid swimming in leech infested waters. We went back to the "campground" and went swimming in a much nicer pool. Aidan and Elizabeth in particular found it amusing to be dunked by the rocket ship. Matthew is now obsessed with water guns.
The second night was much better. Caitlyn was back to her regular self and no one else got sick.
We were thrilled to be able to have s'mores over a real fire (or s'more alternatives in Auntie Janice's case). After all the kids were asleep the adults indulged in more board games.
The kids learned how to play Exploding Kittens and Dutch Blitz. Exploding Kittens in particular was a huge hit, despite many tears at first as various people got eliminated from the game. It's really great for teaching good sportsmanship.
Then we downloaded Pokémon Go and went for a hike with the kids to try and figure it out. Dianne even went Pokémon hunting in the neighbour's backyard! Brendan went to great lengths to get it to work as it wasn't yet released in Canada. Of course it got released the following day. Oh well!