I think it would take another week for me to describe the adventures of the last week. Then I'd be two weeks behind. Are you following me?! So I present, without further ado, the week in pictures.
We swam at night the first evening that our friends arrived from California. There is something about night swimming that is special. I think it is the creepy glow of the water, and the way the waves reflect fractured ripples of light. It's almost like a light show.
The weather wasn't super-warm. We weren't in the pool all that much, but we were around the pool. The younger kids were riding big wheels around the edge of the pool and blasting each other with water guns. Funny how it's not warm enough to swim, and yet they're soaking wet.
And we swam in our clothes. Night swimming I get. Swimming fully clothed - not so
much. And yet it makes the kids really happy. I'm not sure who is having more fun in this picture -- Natalie, who is flying through the air en route to the pool fully clothed, or Pat, who had the privilege of flinging her.
We also did some walking around Falls Lake, as well as the nature trails that run behind our house. The nature trails certainly lived up to their name. You can't really see it well in this picture, but Pat is holding a deer skull on the end of a stick. The kids also found a completely empty turtle shell. They thought it had crawled out of it's shell to find a larger one. I think it was the appetizer for whomever ate the deer.
Another fun activity was fishing. I am not all that into fishing, but there is a stocked lake in our neighborhood. It takes roughly 12 seconds to land a fish. It is more difficult to get the little fishies off the hook than it is to get them to bite. Get a load of that whopper.
We were short a few poles, but the kids were fairly patient. Overall, it was a success. No one was shoved into the lake in an effort to grab a pole. No one accidentally caught a person rather than a fish. And only one shirt (mine of course) got stained by fish guts.
I think my favorite activity was our day-trip to the Wilmington beach. The water is still around 79 degrees, but it isn't exactly optimal. Can you tell we needed to "get used to it?" Get used to it is code. It means the water is freaking cold. You can either get in and run around like a crazy fool hoping to acclimate, or opt for warmth by staying out. We chose the crazy fool approach.
Rachel and I body surfed for awhile. We both got tossed in the waves a couple of times. I am thankful to Wes, our photographer, for deleting the pictures he took of me after I got rolled in the surf. In my imagination I swim like a dolphin and cavort in the waves. If I have to see pictures of myself with my hair standing on end, crusted in sand, with my bathing suit pushed into unflattering places I will probably never body surf again. Thanks, Wes, for letting the fantasy live on.
While I played in the waves the rest of the group was working on a massive sand sculpture. They dug all afternoon, and did a great job collaborating and working as a team. Until that big wave came.
The cutest part of the day, though, was Abby and Ryan trying to surf. We had brought these surfboards that are supposed to be used in deep water. In a swimming pool. They ignored the part about deep water and swimming pools and tried to make them work on shore. They had the right idea. Sort of. But it doesn't matter as long as you look good trying.
We rounded out the week with a visit to Old Salem. We toured the town and enjoyed costumed docents who gave us a glimpse into a long ago life. If we are lucky the kids might have accidentally learned something.
I, myself, didn't learn too much. Being a natural born know-it-all it is rare that I learn anything new. I was, however, reminded of several things for which I am thankful. First, and foremost is indoor plumbing. There were chamber pots displayed throughout these old homes and to say that the kids were intrigued by the thought of peeing in the "coffee cups" would be an understatement.
However, mostly I am thankful for 21st century medical care. This is a display of some of the various knives that the doctor used for amputations. They amputated everything back then.
Feet, arms legs, hands, breasts -- everything was fair game. In a quote from one of the doctor's training texts they mentioned that the doctor had to be skilled, decisive, and QUICK. Apparently, anesthetic was not commonly available. Can you imagine?!
And that was our week! Now I just have two more weeks to fill before the kids head back to school. Any suggestions?!