Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, we did it, we braved one of the busiest weekends on the highway heading up to cottage country in order to share in Thanksgiving weekend with my dad and Carol at their cottage on Drag Lake, near Haliburton. The truck was loaded to full capacity, despite the fact that we were only going to be there until Sunday evening (as Raider rides vip in the trunk, though this trek he had to share it with the folded playpen). I hadn't actually yet been up to the Muskokas past summer, even though the cottage is winterized, so I was anxious to see what the landscape would look like. I knew the water level would be down, as my dad had kept me informed of the constant drop as summer progressed, and I knew I should possibly expect some cool weather (and indeed the nights were chilly). And though the drive is always a long one, we were hoping to have a nice relaxing weekend up north. Which we did.

It was worth it; the weather was gorgeous, the turn of the leaves beautiful. (Even though blowing leaves off the property kept my dad and Greg occupied for much of Saturday morning.) Raider got to play with Skye and Angel, running free in the yard to explore the dried up creek bed and wrestle with Skye when they had a burst of energy. The difference in the onset of fall up there compared to south-western Ontario is astounding, and though I hate to see summer go I, like Carol, feel there is something about fall - that smell in the air and brilliant colours ablaze perhaps - that makes me not seem to mind the change as much. So we spent much of the weekend outdoors, as we were blessed with wonderful weather, even for the north.

And of course Isaiah was happy to be outdoors, discovering the fallen leaves and moving dirt with the Tonka trucks the neighbours Ted and Tina had salvaged for him earlier in the summer. He loved chasing the dogs and exploring the woods, climbing up hills and on rocks. His growing sense of independence was manifest in his explorations, though he never really strayed too far from me. He is definitely growing into a little boy, though, favouring digging and throwing, breaking and upturning. (See Greg, that one afternoon dressed as a mermaid by Mikayla had no effect on him whatsoever, he is all boy, don't worry.) I did at one point remember the very real possibility of running into a black bear, and had a small sense of panic in wondering how I would save my boys from its wrath, but seeing as the possibility was rather slim, it slipped from my mind as quickly as it came. And so we remained outdoors for much of the weekend.

Braylon enjoyed the fresh air too, especially when we took him on the boat for an afternoon cruise around the lake. His unknowing imitation of the front of the boat Titanic move was brilliant, his face aglow, grin wide, and hair waving wild in the wind. He is such an observant little boy, taking in all of his surroundings in amazement and wonder. He was able to sit on the seats with us (and at one point seated snugly on the floor on a blanket between Raider and Skye, his two protectors), as his strength to sit himself up is incredible. At one point he was leaning upright against the side of the boat, standing on the seat, when we tied up with the neighbours to drift along the lake and have some snacks.

Everyone enjoyed the boat ride, actually, even the dogs. Skye found a spot to bask in the sun, and Isaiah was quick to assume captain, pretending to drive the boat (though someone had the bright idea to show him how to honk the horn). Angel bravely got herself right on the edge as, for a small dog, she is quite agile when she wants to be. Their new boat has plenty of room for dogs, kids and adults (and snacks and drinks galore - I think I gained another 10 pounds this weekend, pounds I'd earlier sworn to lose for our trip to Mexico at Christmas). And Raider curled himself up to snooze on the floor (it's really what he does best).
Our second afternoon on the lake, we came out earlier and he had not yet had his afternoon nap. Although his eyes fell heavy en route to the boat ramp to load the pontoon into the lake, he was wide awake once aboard as his memory of his ride the previous day was crystal clear. In fact, trying to get him to nap took a great deal of effort, but eventually he gave in to the rocking of the waves once we'd been on the lake for an hour or two. My eyes grew heavy at one point as well, though I faught off sleep as best I could. There's just something about the air up north that helps induce a sleeping state, I think!
Isaiah loved that boat, that's for sure. You should've seen his face light up when Grandpa picked up speed. He was half bent over the side of the boat, reaching to touch the splash from the water with his fingertips and jumping up and down on my lap in sheer excitement as we bounced over the waves. And had he known the water was as cool as post-winter's thaw, I don't think even that would've stopped him from jumping in for a swim, were it up to him. (And we did in fact see some people do so, on purpose... and not just when loading the boat out of the water, either!) Greg had thought he'd go for a dip before I reminded him just how cool the lake would be at this point in the year; I thought it too cruel to throw him in off the boat so he'd remember for himself in the future.

And we of course enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner too! Carol made all the traditional dishes, save for the way we made the turkey. Greg and the boys helped my dad and Ted (well, mostly Ted) deep fry the turkey once we'd returned from our afternoon on the lake. That was the fastest I've ever seen Thanksgiving dinner come together in my life, and it worked well for a cottage dinner since their kitchen is limited compared to at home. Yes, it was a weekend spent enjoying food as well, as Carol brought up homemade apple and pumpkin pies (and my dad, notorious for having stashes of candy and chocolate around the house, applies that rule to the cottage as well).
We did manage to get out for exercise too, though. Isaiah picked leaves for the horn to decorate the table on our morning walk, though the ones he brought home were not the first to be picked up. He discarded many as we walked up and down the road, but finally helpd pick out an assortment of full shaped leaves. Our walk on the following morning was nice as well, and Isaiah got to walk both Skye and Angel at one point, which he thought was pretty neat to do. He's always wanting to be grown up - Carol caught him imitating her with his hands behind his back, strolling down the road - he's desperate to do the things we do.
So that was our weekend. Who knows what next year holds - a newly made tradition or, as last year, another football game? I'm hoping we at least continue to gather for a Thanksgiving meal, because I always enjoy time spent with family... even if it's a Sunday spent watching football, Greg, which is another Thanksgiving (or in our house weekly) tradition it seems!

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