I fully intended to run a few miles through town this morning. But me and the kids slept in until after 9am, and then Tara came back from the exercise room, and we all rolled out of bed and headed out for breakfast. Next thing I knew I was half-way through my syrup-soaked waffle and remembered I wanted to go for a long, leisurely jog. Oh well. Next time.
With plans for a cookout with Jamie Mandigo and his family at 1pm, me and the kids went swimming in the indoor pool while Tara and the Aunts went souvenir shopping. I wouldn't say that playing in the pool with the kids is relaxing, but it is always fun. They are using their goggles and masks alot, and they are swimming more without their life jackets. We had a good time waving to each other underwater. Levi and Emma let me launch them way up high into the air off of my shoulders. Eli showed us how to hang on to the railing leading down the stairs into the pool. And Isaac just wanted to make sure that whatever we did, his face didn't get splashed. He didn't have very good luck. :)
When they had finally wore me out, I headed over to the hot tub, which is right by the pool. They all four pleaded and begged me to let them in with me. They argued incessantly with me even after I let them dangle their feet and ankles in the tub. Eventually they all wandered away, except Levi. He was determined to get more of his body warmed up. After accidentally slipping in a few times, I made him leave. But then my time was up, so I got out. They then all swarmed the hot tub and accidentally dropped their watermasks in, even after I commanded them not to do it. The boys got in trouble and had to have a time out, so I let Emma get in and retrieve the masks. Eli was feeling ornery, so he jumped up from his timeout, plopped himself in the pool and started swimming quickly away from me. I'm sure my laughing undermined my stern instructions to him to return. I had to jump in the pool and drag him out. He wasn't too happy. And neither was I. But we got it all sorted out in the end. But by then I was ready for a nap!
Once we got all cleaned up, we headed over to Jamie and Karen's cottage for a Canada Day cookout with barbecue chicken, sausages, dogs and burgers, as well as special Dominion Day ice cream for dessert (and pie, and cookies!). There were baseballs flying around, a soccer ball bouncing back and forth, footballs getting flung, a frisbee flying this way and that, maybe even some Ninja Turtles getting chucked about. All this while some of the adults of grand-parent age sat around the edge of the property chatting and shielding their head. It was a good time to catch up some more with Jamie and Karen, as well as Shirley. Debbie Vanderklyen joined us again, hanging out and this time giving us some cool bouncy balls to add to the barrage of objects getting tossed about.
After a couple of hours of hobnobbing and feasting, we headed over to the beach. This time there was much less wind and a tad more warmth in the sunlight. Jerm and his girls got started right away on the poop castles by the shoreline. Tara and I headed back to the hotel real quick to get some different clothes for the sand and surf. Once at the beach, we had Jamie take a family photo of us - it was a bit breezy and we had to get a little squinty. We got changed, I stayed to chat with Ken and Linda Kelley while Tara took the kids to join Jerm on his poo castle project. Ken is a great story teller! He had fun telling us about his life as a van driver, which is a job of having fun telling stories while getting people to all sorts of destinations in the region. Come to find out he stops in Fort Wayne on his way home from Branson, which means he might be showing up in Anchor some Sunday. That would be fun!
By the time I made it down to the beach, Jerm's poo castle had reached grand proportions. Eli was engrossed by it all, he apprenticed himself to his uncle and learned the gentle touch of poo castling. Jerm was impressed with this careful side of his nephew, as were we! What is poo castles? The beautiful sand of Lake Huron, when wet, drips easily out of your finger tips and when it plops on the ground it forms a little blob, which when piled on top of each other, repeated hundreds of times, makes for a castle that looks like it's made from mounds of poo-pieces. Jerm is a master. We all had fun creating our own little castles, though they were all dwarfed by Jerm's great work of poo art. He had several of the kids working on his great castle - quite the scene of concentration and endurance.
Soon though, with all that hard work of poo castling, we had worked up an appetite for more Garbage Can ice cream. Levi had some, but everyone else finked out and got other inferior flavors. Still, it was fun to sit along the harbor in the evening sun, watching the sailboats and yachts bob in the still, deep waters. Amidst the enjoyableness of ice cream with friends is the paranoia of some kid licking their portion off the cone onto the ground. I'm not sure which is worse, the cries of the child or the melting treat on the sidewalk. Fortunately this time around there were no accidents. I should probably not care so much about it, eh?
We parted ways with Jamie and Karen, with plans to meet up at Gerry's in Southampton for the fireworks - today is Canada Day! On this sixth day of vacation, we had yet to partake of the region's most famous site for fries. Much to our delight, the delicacy lived up to the expectations - soaked with white vinegar, sprinkled with a little salt, and drizzled with ketchup! The kids froliced on the playground while we waited for our food to be prepped, and then after we ate we headed over to the beach to settle in for the fireworks show. I was a bit concerned with how I would fare as the night progressed, since Tara forgot to bring my sweatshirt. As we were leaving the room, she had it in her arms. And then when we get to the beach, no sweatshirt! Just me and my new black Canada shirt. Fortunately we had lots of beachtowels and a blanket, and four kids to keep warm with! We scoped out our spot, settled in, and then Jerm and I got the frisbee out for a bit. But the sun kept on sinking and the locals kept streaming in, so the frisbee got bagged. Soon Jamie and Karen and their kids showed up, which meant more chatting and laughing!
What a beautiful part of the world! Sunset along a long curved cove, a lighthouse on a southern island, a jutting peninsula to the distant north, kilometers of sandy white beaches and grass-strewn dunes. The orange-drenched horizon lingered and lingered, backdrop to a deep blue sky melting into the black eastern night and distant stars. Thousands of people came out to sit and talk and laugh and relax together, waving their little leafy flags and eating Gerry's fries! It got chilly waiting and watching, thankfully there was no snow. Everyone cleared out quickly after the brief but wonderful fireworks display. We hung out a bit, waiting for the crowds to clear and saying our goodbyes to the Mandigos. Once in the van we cranked up the heat! And then it was a long, long, long wait to get on the highway, a slow, slow drive out of Southampton, and very groggy kids we had to wash up, change and slip into their beds. Tomorrow we drive home, but tonight we'll sleep well.