Early Birds and Surly Swans

 So we left Eve and her friends to their own devices on Saturday for some family time. Matt's youngest brother and his wife are doctors who live close to where Eve goes to school (Laura actually works right at the university on some days). Matt's middle brother and his wife and their kids are professors who live in Alberta, a couple of provinces away, but are on sabbatical and living roughly halfway between us and the other brother, so we wanted to capitalize on this to have a rare three-brothers meeting. 

On my side of the family it's just my sister and me, and our kids are like four stair steps - 23, 22, 20, 18. They were great friends and it was wonderful having them grow up together, but it did mean that once they were all grown there were no more littles. So I am fairly self-congratulatory about the fact that I had the good sense to marry a man with younger brothers who would have kids at nicely staggered intervals. Eric (middle brother) and Sarah have Timothy (17) and Fen (13 I think). Jeremy (youngest brother) and Laura have Lydia (6) and Mitchell (3 - sorry, three and three-quarters, he is firm about that).

Lydia and Mitchell

Mitchell was quite taken with Uncle Eric's hat, and was either wearing it or putting it on someone else for much of our time together.

He also shot a web at me, the little pipsqueak

Jeremy was on his own with the kids for the weekend. There's nothing quite like seeing a superstar cardiologist brought to his knees by a couple of children. When we were leaving for the nature walk, he couldn't find Mitchie's hat. We were all out on the driveway when Lydia banged out of the house holding the hat, saying "did you look under the COUCH, Daddy?" 

Lydia had decreed that we would do the Cherry Valley walk, which is a trail along the Grindstone Marshes in southern Ontario, maintained by the Royal Botanical Gardens. 

It was amazing. It felt like walking through a Disney movie, like a bird was going to swoop up and braid your hair or dust your kitchen or something.  At one point Lydia had her little pink binoculars up while she was watching a Cardinal and she had to drop them because the bird was too close.

Lydia was wearing a dress and jacket that belonged to Eve roughly 18 years ago, so that was cool and a little trippy.

There were some ducks

They were unaware that these extremely fast-swimming swans were about to seriously fuck up their day.

There were some other geese, with babies

We were aware that they would probably not love us being near their babies, so we sent Matt in to draw their ire while we snuck by with the kids. There was a lot of hissing. I feel like this really captures how this particular goose felt about us.

This was me very nearly getting an awesome shot of a bird catching a peanut that this dude threw in the air. When dude saw my jaw drop, he assured me that the first time he threw a seed and a bird caught it he fell to the ground in awe. 

Then Jeremy yelped "Mitchie, where's your hat?" and Mitchie replied serenely, "It's in the backpack, Daddy."

Seriously. Disney movie (probably because people feed the animals, which you're not supposed to, and we didn't, but we reaped the guilty benefits).

When we were done, someone suggested ice cream. Well, Uncle Eric is very funny, so actually he said he knew Lydia and Mitchell didn't like ice cream, so he suggested we should look for a broccoli stand or a kale parlour. 

Apparently Dairy Queen is not Canadian, although I haven't seen any in my (admittedly not very wide-ranging) American travels - no shade, but Sweet Frog doesn't scream "ice cream" to me in the same way, but whatever. Anyway, most of the Dairy Queen places these days are little restaurant-type places, as opposed to the old-school hole-in-the-shack DQ we had when I was little. But we found this retro outfit nearby.

Doing the hungry dance

Teaching Mitchie the hungry dance

Then Jeremy took the kids home and the rest of us went to grab stuff to make hamburgers and salad for dinner, and after dinner went back to our hotel hoping that we had tired the kids out sufficiently to help Jeremy and Laura, who was working for the weekend. It was a fairly magical day. 


StephLove said…
What fun.

My kids only have one cousin and she's seven years younger than North, so we got to experience having a little one again during their (too infrequent) trips East. She's ten now, which is out of little territory, I guess, but still not adolescent.
Nicole said…
Awww, so sweet.
I think you know the cousin situation in my house, so I'll just...leave it at that.
Sarah said…
Adorable!! What cute kiddos and I love how happy everyone is in these pics.
Kara said…
The Dairy Queen in the town I grew up in was a lot like that. Just a walk up building. And in our case, it was only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The joys of living in a coastal Massachusetts town!
Ernie said…
This looks like such a fun time. There are 22 grandkids on my side ranging from 28-12, so we miss the little kid stage - but man, when they were all growing up getting together was pure chaos and enjoyment. Coach has even more nieces and nephews on his side and one of his brothers is 8 years younger than him, so his kids are still little. Well, half of them. That brother has 9 kids who live in SC, so we rarely visit them. He still has kids in diapers. We were all together last summer and the older cousins hanging with the little cousins was an absolute blast.

Surprised you didn't hit up a kale stand. Is there anything better than a funny uncle?
NGS said…
Dairy Queen is ubiquitous in the States, at least in the Midwest. As a matter of fact, my husband and I had the biggest fight of our marriage sitting in a Dairy Queen in Winona, Minnesota and I swear to you that I have not had a Blizzard since. When I was in college, I lived NEXT DOOR (across the railroad tracks) to a DQ and it was glorious. Oh, to be young and able to eat an ice cream cone every night.

It looks like a beautiful time and a beautiful crew and I'm glad you had a great time!
Busy Bee Suz said…
You had the brilliant foresight to marry a man with younger siblings. How fun to have those young nieces and nephews; they're so cute and SO much fun!
That does look like a Disney Production trail walk, although I don't know that Disney ever portrayed Geese and Swans in their natural disposition: Assholes. 😜😳

We have several DQ's in our town!!

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