A meandering drive North, stopping at various fresh markets, (the Mennonite one on the side of the road and a cool ethnic market in Allentown stand out,) and we pulled into the oasis of Blooming Grove.
A quick unpacking and catching up with a.Judy, and we all headed down to the lake.
Annaliese remembered where the life jackets were in the boat house, and moments later she was rowing away from the dock.
u.Ted drove in that evening, (rumor has it he pushed up his arrival to take Caspian fishing,) and the boys headed out the next morning. Caspian may have been waiting for this moment for almost a year.
They headed out into the picture-perfect Poconos morning, and I settled in on the dock with a good book and looked forward to a relaxing time of reading and looking out across the lake and feeling the joy radiating back from my happy little boy.
That didn't work out. Ten minute later the boys were back, and Caspian had just reeled this rainbow trout in, with u.Ted manning the net to get it in the boat. Caspian's fishing expectations are forever warped.
Annaliese took me for a row.
Then Caspian did.
We had a little quiet before more of the extended family arrived, and the kids had a good chunk of time to reconnect with a.Judy and u.Ted.
u.Ted took Annaliese fishing the next morning, and they came back with a bag of respectable brook trout. Annaliese likes to fish, as long as there's nothing else going on.
Eliza and Charlie arrived in the middle of the night, and Charlie and I headed out in a boat to see if we could land one of those monsters that seem to beg to be caught in these parts. Several hours later we hadn't had a single bite, but we looked up and saw these ladies cruising towards us. Conversation topics shifted, and we enjoyed a leisurely float around the lake.
The Nicaults arrived, and the kids suddenly had 5 new playmates. Which they took full advantage of.
A portion of the crew.
A family picnic was held out by a stream. With 20+ folks mingling around a buffet and cooking fire, (the food was amazing, home cured meats, bbq ribs, and smoked trout courtesy of u.Ted and the kids,) I looked up to see Caspian down by the stream with a borrowed fishing rod, practicing his fly fishing. I confirmed with Ted that he had not taught Caspian how to cast a fly rod, and I had not done it, but this young boy whipping that line back and forth, at twice the speed you might expect, and landing his fly exactly where he wanted it. Repeatedly. Apparently he had watched u.Ted, and figured it out on his own.
When the sun went down the sparklers came out.
I'm not sure where the kids were, but I got to take a walk around the lake with my girl and my favorite sister in law. Some of the conversation was shocking.
The kids had an afternoon of games.
These two pictures are here as proof that Celeste was robbed in the sack race. As you can see in this first leg of the race, before the turn-around, Celeste had a commanding lead.
The little girls who was trailing made a premature turn and headed back for the final leg, stealing the blue ribbon. I just thought this should be acknowledged somewhere.
Phoebe wearing a first-generation BTC shirt. Alexe pointed it out every time she saw it.
Ribbons were received.
Caspian was in the same age group as his sister, and beat her in the rankings only once. He started to pout about this, until it was pointed out that he had earned a ribbon in every event, and many kids had not, so he should suck it up. He took it in stride and ran off to the next thing.
These two are adorable together.
There was a big dinner, a dance party, Caspian and his cousin Aurelia were adorable inseparable and took fishing trips with u.Ted, and then took Caspian's rod out and independently caught three sunnies. I think the records of these events were captured on Alexe's phone, so we'll have to hound her to update her blog.
We had a little more lake time with everyone, Caspian found a perfectly sized kayak and zipped around, and then we packed up the Volt and headed North again.
Last year when we left BG our flight was cancelled, we raced to Philadelphia, and ended up having to spend a night in a hotel there while u.c.Nick was stranded in Memphis waiting for us.
This year we got out on the interstate, and 10 miles later hit stand-still traffic. Half an hour later I wiggled enough room to make a u-turn though the median, and we drove all the way back to our starting point before we could start an alternate route. Which put our schedule a little behind, but we stopped for a surprisingly delicious dinner at a roadside diner, (this is a representation of all the glazed faces when we stopped to eat,) and made it to my parent's house in Vermont very late that night.