Saturday, April 24, 2010

So Wholesome It'll Make You Hurl

It was a beautiful day today. And we had no plans. This, naturally, sent me into a complete panic. Our general pattern for week-ends all year has been Matt and Angus out at hockey Saturday and Sunday, then showing up tired and napping or watching a James Bond movie, while I do course work or read or clean and Eve colours or plays with the girl from next door.

For some reason, my impulse with a day like this is always to try to get together with someone else. The kids like to have other kids to play with, and whenever there's more than two adults I have this hope that margaritas will magically appear. But who the hell is going to be around at short notice on a beautiful Saturday? I made two or three calls (nobody home at the first place, nobody I liked at the second house (kidding, it was the husband), sick at the third house). I faced the fact that we were going to have to do something as a family -- alone.

I informed the kids that we were going for a walk at the Chapman Conservation Area. They weren't overly impressed. I said if they did this for me, nicely, then we'd go to the park afterwards and Angus could play baseball and Eve could swing. And we could ride there in our new van. And I would refrain from calling them ungrateful wretched ingrates for the rest of the day.

Angus loves being outside as soon as the weather turns nice -- preferably with some kind of ball involved. Eve can go either way. In truth, she loves fruit, vegetables, and playing outside. But she's a little shit-disturber, so for my Mom she delights in saying "I love salt!" and for my Dad she trots out "I HATE the smell of fresh air". We sweetened the deal today by giving her Angus's old sunglasses, which she declared made her look crazy cool.

Eve being crazy cool:


As soon as we got there, it was nothing but good omens:


We were walking on a boardwalk set directly on the grass and Eve wanted to know why there was a 'bridge but no water'. Matt said it was because it probably got swampy, and they wanted to protect the vegetation. Eve said (happily), 'oh, so this is a nature place?'. I said yes. Then she grabbed my arm and said:

'BUT I'M AFRAID OF NATURE PLACES!'


She did, however, like the bulrushes.


Eve with her cotton candy bulrush (it was broken already):


Angus: 'Eve, come look at the swan'. Matt: 'It's not a swan, it's a duck. The ones with the green heads are called mallards'. Ten minutes later -- Angus: 'Look, there's another swan'. Matt: 'It's NOT a SWAN'. Angus: 'I know. I'm just saying that to annoy you'.



Then the walk came to a rather abrupt end, unless we were planning on going for a swim (Eve: "I am!")


On the way back we saw a bird. If we were good parents determined to give our kids a thorough natural education, we would have looked at our bird book when we got home and figured out what kind of bird it was. But we're us, so we forgot and now if I go looking for the bird book I'm just going to wake everyone up. Here's a picture of a bird in a tree:




Oops:


Oops again:


You don't even want to know how many tries this took:


On the way back to the van we saw a guy swinging a kayak up onto his head. Eve said "Is that a kayak?". I said "That's Mr. Canoehead". Eve said "that's a canoe?". I said "no, it's a kayak, but there's no Mr. Kayakhead". Matt said, with a considerable degree of scorn and impatience, that it was called portaging. Eve said "is that French for carrying on head?"

I was almost at the van, and I yelled back at the kids "thanks for coming on the walk you typically ungrateful wretched little ingrates". Angus laughed, and Eve said "What about ME?". I said "I was talking to both of you wretched little ingrates", and she said "oh, good. I didn't hear that."

We went to the park and swung and played baseball (I got nailed in the boob by a wild pitch. Ouch.)  Then we went home and did yard work, then we barbecued chicken and watched Fantastic Mr. Fox (brilliance, sheer brilliance). Then we played an uproarious game of Yahtzee (no Yahtzees tonight, but a freakish number of full houses). It was fun. My family doesn't suck. About tomorrow, though -- anyone wanna do something?

15 comments:

Amber said...

Aw, look at you all, so sweet!

(And as for the number of tries it took, this is why I am forever grateful for digital photography. Remember when you just had to hope for the best?)

Kelly said...

Sounds familiar! We considered doing a 5K as a family. The ol' hubs looked me and said, "but we can't make it around the block without someone falling out." Oh, right.

Your conservation area is lovely, though!

Magpie said...

"I'm just saying that to annoy you" sounds like something I'd hear in my house.

Mary Lynn said...

"is that French for carrying on head?

Eve's awesome!

Love the photos of the four of you. Even the Oops ones. Looks like it was a great day.

Pam said...

Fantastic photos. Thanks for posting them! Love the walk commentary too. "Mr. Canoehead" :-) Brings back memories.....

Mimi said...

You really have a beautiful family!

I'm a Welcomista & am stopping by to welcome you to SITS.

Have a great night!

Amber said...

Oh my gosh, our family photos are the same. Starts with me several times followed by him saying, "Let me try, my arm is longer" and then he does it several more times. LOL

Julie said...

i am the very same way when i have a weekend with no plans. having an only child i feel compelled to try and have some other kids for him to play with

i'll have to check this conservation area out. looks like it would be a fun walk with the jellybean.

and love love love the family photos. that is what happens with us, though it's the hubby that gets cut off because he is so freakishly tall!

Rachel Cotterill said...

At least they all look happy! :)

The Mayor! said...

Ah yes, I too found myself with hockey done, cheer winding down, & the first free Saturday since Sept....however, sadly this meant facing the overwhelming back log of household projects that currently have my house looking like a disaster zone frik! Found myself PRAYING for a hockey game or cheer competition....& try as I might, I couldn't dig up any friends to get me out of it either LOL! :-D

Shan said...

Sounds and looks like it was a great day! So funny!

suzicate said...

Love the pics. Sounds like a glorious day and a lovely family day trip.

alison said...

What were those scary headless girls stencilled on the boardwalk? Loved your kids' comments. Really, we should get our broods together some weekend, we don't live that far apart.

theycallmejane said...

Ahhh, the stuff that great memories are made of! Looks like you ALL had a fabulous time!

LambAround said...

What wonderful family photos! It looks like you guys have been making the most of the snazzy weather :)

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