Monday, May 31, 2010

10 Months, at the Lake

A wonderful long weekend (that was just too short, as always) at Bennett Lake. Grammy and Granddude were the most gracious hosts, and Uncle Jeff and Aunt Lauren couldn't get enough of the Chicken.

Turtles (painted and snapping), frogs, deer, a beaver, a den of snakes, loons, ducks (with ducklings), dragonflies, cows, dogs (of course, there are always, always dogs), lots and lots of fish, skitters (can't avoid the buggers, unfortunately), and even ... wait for it ... a black bear! More nature than we've seen in a long time at the lake.

All-in-all a beautiful, wonderful trip with family. Silly moments, fun moments, lots of "firsts," more silly (read: inebriated) moments (really, super-duper fireworks at midnight probably weren't the best idea), and lots and lots of sweet, meaningful time spent enjoying each other's company.

Lots of time spent outside: playing on the lawn,

playing with new friends (Camden lives up the hill and is 13 months old; the boys shared toys and babble Friday afternoon)...

... exploring new surroundings,

swimmin' in the big, wide lake (and getting just a couple of cuts on our toes from the darned zebra mussels) ...














... experiencing nature (and our first shiner: apparently Mama's excited "I got him!" -- the turtle, left -- from the canoe with Uncle Jeff drew the attention of Grammy, Granddude and Daddy for the same split-second when Chicken decided to lean forward in his camping chair to reach for a Cheerio that had fallen to the deck; and in that split-second Cayden tipped forward, landing squarely on his eye socket and forehead. He was more scared than hurt, but he still has a little shiner to show for the afternoon) ...

... early morning walks to the rented shore, where we saw not one, but TWO snapping turtle mamas laying eggs ...

... enjoying lunch (salsa and chips) at Mexicali Rosa's on the Tay ...


... walking around Stewart Park, and dipping our toes in the stream ...

... discovering that we can open cabinets, and giving Daddy the perfect "Gotcha" photo, pilfering through the liquor cabinet ...

... first boat ride (even though Chicken fell asleep about five minutes into it),

first ice cream cone licks (thank goodness the kid is not allergic to either maple or walnut, apparently) ...



... and more experiences with nature.

One of which we were not fortunate enough to have a camera nearby to capture: Lauren and Jeff worked tirelessly to collect half-a-dozen minnows for Shorty to look at (really, it's a hard, hard task when you don't have a minnow net), and we then placed four of those big minnows in a little yellow bucket so Cayden could see them. He was fascinated, squealing and giggling as he first looked at them, then stuck his hand in the bucket to feel them swim around. And all of a sudden, we look at the kid, and he has caught a minnow, squeezing it in his right hand and bringing it right to where all new things go for a 10-month old -- his mouth. Bennet Lake sushi. We all screamed immediately and batted the live fishie out of Cayden's hand, scaring the shit out of him and inspiring a crying jag that lasted for a good five minutes, until multiple repetitions of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" finally calmed the boy.

Just the kind of escape we needed for a few days, to somewhere familiar and sentimental -- with lifetimes of memories -- for all of us who went, except for Cayden. I'm so glad he's gotten to visit this place twice in his first year, and I can't wait to see how his own experiences at the lake will mirror and differ from all of ours.

(I should note one additional not-so-nice element of the trip, besides baby's first shiner: Daddy -- victim of a wiley bass who just wouldn't out his hook -- ended up hooking himself pretty severly with a treble hook, in the meat of his hand, just below his thumb. It was a pretty scary experience for that Daddy of ours, in that he hooked himself before he could unhook the fish, resulting in a $512 trip to the Perth emergency room that I'm sure my insurance will fight refunding, since the bill doesn't reference "Emergency Room" at all. Rather $446 of the charge is for "out-of-country resident." Uggh.

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