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.