As the Curtis clan loaded into the van this morning, B wished me well. "This could either be a fun adventure or a very, very bad idea," I retorted.
I took all 5 kids to Gretna (about 40 miles away) to pick strawberries. It felt like the right time to go, since rain is forecasted for much of the next week and it is already the end of the strawberry season in VA. I wanted to wait for B's accompaniment, but all the May weekends were full. I thought of asking a friend along, but there isn't any room in our van AND my friends have their own children (and therefore wouldn't really have free hands to help me with my own).
So... we did it!
We picked about 16 pounds of strawberries (most of them delicious and red, but some of them... not so much).
We arrived around 9 a.m. and left around 10:30. It took longer than I anticipated, maybe because all of the children visited the port-a-potty. T went at least four times. The last time, as we walked up the hill (again!) he said, "I love a porscha-potty."
The 8 year old was immensely helpful. He probably picked the most berries. He apportioned the berries to proper container, carried them and generally did the heavier, manly work of the morning.
The 6 year old was not helpful. It would have been a great morning for some training on diligence, if things were a little different. He wore a bucket on his head. He slipped in some mud. He was off galavanting in unauthorized rows. I never saw more than 5 strawberries in his container. He was quick to unload whatever he picked into other people's containers (or directly into his mouth!). The ONE great thing I praised him for was taking T to the potty (though T didn't go and as soon as they got back from their long excursion I had to take T AGAIN).
The 5 year old was sweet and generally helpful, much better than last year. She started one row and picked all the way down it (at least the red, easy to spot berries). She even held M in the van for a few minutes while I tried to quickly top off our buckets with two hands.
The 2 year old... well, I already said where he was most of the time. He did, however, also have really sweet moments of picking beside me. I would point out berries and he would pick them, carefully removing all of the hull before placing them in his bucket. I liked that he wasn't just picking any old berry and he also wasn't eating every single berry he picked (unlike another child; guess who?). And, of course, he kept up a constant monologue: "Mommy. We're strawberry picking. We're in the strawberry field. I love you, Mommy. I'm glad to be with you. I'm a good picker, right?"
No pictures this year (too much to ask!). . . but good memories, none-the-less!