Monday, June 11, 2012

A Bat and Fish Kind of Weekend

So I have to say, being children of teachers makes for a very charmed summer. Even though Kyle and I are both doing a little summer school teaching, we're definitely in the vacation mindset around here. We're staying up later, swimming several times a week, reading Harry Potter before bed, and eating more hot dogs than I maybe should admit in an online forum.

This past weekend we were invited to an afternoon wedding near Hannibal, MO (boyhood home of Mark Twain), and so we took the opportunity to tour the Cameron Cave (part of the cave system of Tom Sawyer's Injun Joe fame) there in the morning. Daniel's class did a unit on caves this spring, so he was very excited at the prospect of "going spelunking" and seeing some bears and bats. Our assurances that there are no bears in this area, or that a guided tour could hardly be called "spelunking" did nothing to dampen his enthusiasm. Our tour was decidedly bear-less, but we did see a number of bats, and a good time was had by all.

One of the (thankfully) small, mostly sleeping bats we encountered. Even the flying ones stayed a good distance away from us.

We attended the wedding of one of my sorority advisees in the afternoon, which hopefully cleared up some of the kids' misconceptions about what "getting married" means. There seems to be some confusion in our house about whether wearing fancy clothes and dancing together makes people married. A few weeks ago Daniel asked if getting married involves showing up to a banquet hall in formalwear and selecting a spouse from all the other partygoers (I can only assume there would be some sort of mass ceremony after all the couples have paired up). Either way, Kassie's wedding involved a full Catholic ceremony and a dinner/dance reception, and only one couple was wed during the process, so we're hoping that several-hour process really drove the concept home for them. I still have my suspicions that the most memorable part of the whole event for them was the cake, though...

On Sunday we took advantage of the free fishing weekend. Daniel had never been, and recently asked us when we were planning on teaching him to fish. "Good question," we muttered amongst ourselves, since Kyle had never caught a fish at all and I haven't been fishing since I was 10 or so. Let's just say that neither of us felt too keen about touching either worms or fish, much less bumbling around trying to figure out what we're doing with the pole and hook. Thankfully, our friends John and Madeline Nash were willing to join our expedition. We bought a simple little pole and used hot dogs as bait, and John took care of the location-scouting and fish-touching for us. Kyle caught his first little sunfish, and we all laughed in surprise when Daniel hooked a good-size catfish. Of course, he was too scared of it to properly pose for the picture.

Here is Daniel attempting to hide behind Madeline, as she attempts to move the fish closer to him.

Of course, Daniel had no problem telling everyone at the dock about his catch last night, as well as everyone at school this morning. When we asked him how big the fish was, his first estimate was this:

Then it was this:

Once again, a good time was had by all, except maybe John, who got bitten by the catfish and spent most of his time dealing with the four of us and our fishing pole.

Don't we wish we were all as rugged as John Nash?

And then there's the food... Between our church's day camp, the summer school program, and the summer reading program at our library, the kids have managed to walk away with coupons for 3 free McDonald's ice cream cones, 3 free Wendy's frosties, a free doughnut, 2 free kid's meals at the local steak house, 2 free pizzas at Pizza Hut, and one kid's meal at Ruby Tuesday. They're saving some of their birthday money to buy popcorn at the movie theater later this month, when we plan to go see Brave. Add in all the leftover birthday cake and the post-t-ball snacks and juice pouches, and I think we might be able to get away with not buying any groceries at all in June. Of course, their insides might just rot away from all the junk, but theirs will be a blissful wasting.

In short, our kids are making out like bandits so far this summer. Next weekend is a visit to St. Louis, where Eva will have a pool party with Grandma Jan and Daniel will go to Six Flags with Uncle Ian. Soon after that they'll have their first airplane ride on our vacation to Montana with Kyle's side of the family. Of course, doing all this stuff for the kids means that the grownups get to do it, too. Not too bad of a deal, if you ask me...