Sunday, July 12, 2009

Catch-up

It's been way too long since we posted anything, but we've been busy going all around the state for the last month! So let's go in chronological order:

Beach Trip-lets
A few weekends ago we went down to Emerald Isle with all five Melameds and some other friends and family. We had a house full of crazy with nine adults, three infants, two dogs, two kayaks, and one motorboat. It was a surprisingly relaxing and low-stress weekend, and Jay and Casey got the Melamed boat running (after a three-year layup). The highlight and downfall of the trip was the short boat trip we took through sound, which was the triplets' first time out on the water. The hardest part was getting the Trips' into their lifejackets (akin to stuffing a 15-lb sausage into a nylon casing) , but after that they went to sleep with the humming of the engine as we rode along the channel. Zev didn't have a great day in general, but you can't blame him too much - it was hot, sunny, and his bottle was too cold. We did anchor for a bit and let the babies "swim" with assisstance, which they loved. The warm water felt great, and as long as you watched out for oyster shells, it was nice to wade around in. Further trips are definitely warranted.

Ashley Birthday
Fourth of July weekend we went down to McAdenville to celebrate Ashley's birthday with her Dad, Mom and family.On her B-day we went out on Mountain Island Lake (right south of Lake Norman) with cousin Anna and her husband Billy, who ferried us out there on their boat for a relaxing afternoon. We mostly just cruised around - it was a fantastically pristine lake, not at all like Lake Norman or Lake Wylie - saw some wildlife, and stopped briefly on a sandbar to let their two dachshunds out to play.

That evening we had Ashley's birthday dinner at Joe's house, where the menu consisted of skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, rosemary-lemon grilled chicken, grilled squash and zucchini, and a field green salad with creamy lemon-chive vinagrette. We had a good wine from Rag Apple Lassie vineyards , and finished off the meal with a birthday cake and ice cream (Brenda's in Belmont is now highly recommended).

The next day we went back up to Winston for Evan's graduation party, which was highlighted by the attendance of one Mr. John Gruenfelders, a Swiss-born friend and guest of Leah's family. It was not just John's presence, but the interaction between he and Granny that made the occasion. To recall, it went something like this:

John: "Hello, I am John, very nice to meet you."
Granny: "Ooh! You've got an accent! Where are you from?"
John: "Well... it is near Germany..."
Granny: "Ooh, Italy? (No.) Austria? (No.) France? (No). Holland?
John: "No, Switzerland!"
Granny: "Ooh, can you speak some Swiss!? You know, I love The Sound of Music - have you seen it? Do you remember World War Two? You know, that family just escaped right over the border away from the Germans and...

The conversation went on and on, both of them seeming to enjoy it, as they were still seated at the same table when we left two hours later.

We drove back to McAdenville for Michael's birthday celebration, but didn't get to partake because he was Shanghai'd to Tennessee in an attempt to surprise him. That's all we'll say about that.

After that, we headed up the Lincolnton to check out "Ashley's Birthday Fireworks" with the Cook clan. In all seriousness, the city of Lincolnton has the most elaborate fireworks display that I've ever seen. It probably rivals those of D.C. or New York, although really much fancier on a per capita basis. We enjoyed our seventh serving of birthday cake for the day with Karen, Carson, and Jerry, and then called it a night.

Kayak Purchase
When we were down in McAdenville we noticed that several stores were having kayak sales over the Holiday weekend, and we had been in the market for a while - so we went ahead and took the plunge (horrible pun intended). After we got back home and a Raleigh store agreed to match prices we saw down near Charlotte, we got two single boats, one slightly larger for that extra Cooper-carrying capacity that sometimes you just gotta have. We also got the requisite safety equipment and paddles.

Initial Kayak Trip
We took the yak-yaks out this weekend on Lake Crabtree for a try-out. It's about a 225-acre lake, so not too bad for paddling around on Saturday, plus we could get a feel for everything before we go down some rapid rivers. First off, kayaking is a LOT OF FUN. We just tooled around for about two hours, and had a blast. It was extremely windy out there, so the water was choppy enough to be slightly challenging. The lake itself is too close to the airport and RTP to have too much wildlife (save for a few herons, ducks, and catfish, but it's still a great little refuge in the middle of an otherwise developed area. The park is primarily attended for one of the best off-road cycling trails around Raleigh, but there are plenty of small sailboats, kite fliers, and canoe and kayak paddlers out too.

We had enough fun Saturday that we went out Sunday too. Cooper will give his impressions as soon as we find his lifejacket and can take him out.

We plan to spend the next few weekends at home-- finally finishing up that bathroom project and home projects that we've been backshelving for the past year. This coming weekend, though, we plan to take a day paddle down the Neuse or Eno Rivers. Also, we're heading out to see Bruno with the Melameds, Cecelia and other friends. We've been neglecting them all for so long; we are having to relearn how to interact with others besides each other for a while :)

By the way, if you have good boat names for the kayaks, please leave them in the comments!

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