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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Once Upon A Time There Was a Road Trip to Lake Pend Oreille

Alternate Title: So Long, With So Many Photos, Only The Grandmas Will Read the Whole Thing

My dad's wife Helen has a little house on the shore of Lake Pend Oreille in the Idaho panhandle, and last July when I found out my sister Susanna was heading up there with her kids and my brother Andy and his wife Christina, I finagled an invitation for myself and the kids to tag along. We'd been once before three years earlier and knew the two days of driving would be worth the three days of Lakeside Magic.

When you give your phone to your kids to entertain themselves on the drive, you're rewarded with a bounty of blurry photos and shaky video footage upon its return. Here's a snippet of the song that Adam and Ellen sang variations of over and over (and OVER) again once we crossed the Idaho border. I'm glad I have this bit of documentation of the soundtrack to our trip. I'm glad I deleted the 20 other videos featuring the view out the window and more variations of the song. 

Transcript: "I love Idaho. Rollin' on the Ran-co!"

I don't know how they came up with the word "Ran-co," but man, we were rollin' on that Ran-co for hours.

And here's Adam's video introduction of our ship's intrepid crew:
(Don't miss Zuzu's fuzzy hat's cameo. She went through a phase when she wore this hat that her Grandma Kathe crocheted for her whenever possible. We call her "Thing One" when she wears it.)

Transcript: "Meet our Second Captain, Ellen. She loves this Ran-co ship, and she wouldn't DARE for it to crash. Meet the Captain, me. If you can't see that well: Here. The Captain. And the other person: my mom. She will be conducting . . . I meant, not conducting, doing the controls on the ship, kind of. That, in that chair that you can't see, actually, that girl with that fuzzy head, she, um, she will, . . .  Zuzu, what do you want your job to be on the ship?" (Zuzu: "What?") "She doesn't know what she's doing yet, 'cause this is kind of our first mission. She just likes to take over if, she wants to take over … She over there, Jane, she wants to take over if my mom doesn't, well, gets in a crash or something with the controls. And, Zuzu, in case Ellen gets in a crash, when she's taking over 'cause I got in a crash, then she takes over Ellen, Captain."

After a day's drive, we arrived at the lake house. Here's the view from the front porch. Sigh.

Most of our time at the lake is spent jumping into the water from the dock across the road. And taking pictures of each other jumping into the water:

Jane, Zuzu, Adam, Mary, Ellen
There was a trip to the City Beach, where it's sandy:

Jane, Adam, Zuzu
Cousin Molly and Jane
There were fun cousins, aunts, and an uncle:

Cousins Ben and Molly, Aunt Susanna
The smooching newlyweds, Uncle Andy and Aunt Christina
There was a lot of hanging out in the water and on the dock:

Jane and Cousin Molly
Self portrait with Ellen
Cousin Ben and Zuzu
There was some catching up with the beautiful Cindy and Natalia, my step-sister and her daughter, who live nearby with their family (and manage the house for Helen):

There was plenty of brain melting time:

Cousin Ian, Adam, Cousin Ben
There was plenty of paddling:

Lovely Christina

There was piracy on the open seas:

Transcript: "Freedom! Heh heh ha! Crash! Crash. Crash. Heh heh! I'm taking over your ship. Heh, heh."

There were kids so sick of having their picture taken by an annoying mom that they resorted to hiding under towels:

There was also some chilly weather and some drizzle, but that could not stop my kids from getting in the water.

On our last before-bed swim session the night before we were to head home, somehow jumping off the dock turned into cart-wheeling off the dock:


I got it in my head that if only I could come home with a video of me cartwheeling into the water, I could surely impress this guy named Peter that I'm crazy about. I'm not going to tell you how many times I practiced on the grass or almost went off but chickened out at the last minute before I did it.

Suzy cartwheeled off too, but she's not an old lady yet, so it's not quite as impressive.

Thanks, Helen and Cindy, for letting us use the house, and thanks Suzy, Ian, Molly, Ben, Andy, and Christina for letting us crowd into it with you.