Aug 20, 2009

The lake, in photographs

I KNOW. Finally, right?

The next time we take a jaunt to the lake, I'm going to make a concerted effort to keep the number of frames lower than 815. RIDICULOUS. There must have been over 400 of the kids riding the tube -- but don't worry. I'll only post 367 of them.

We drove up to Chattanooga last Friday night and got settled in at the lake around 11:00. Honor, Doug and their kids weren't arriving until Saturday morning, because the girls had soccer tryouts on Saturday morning up on Signal Mountain. (TRYOUTS for the Tykes League? We don't have that here. We just sign 'em up and let 'em go at it. We just take our chances on teammates and coaches ... and I have to say, we've been lucky for five seasons.)

Anyway, we got up and were out on the lake by 10:30 Saturday morning, and the Hightshues joined us around noon.

The boys absolutely LOVE to do the simplest of things ... just jumping off the dock 400 times in a row is great fun.

They did just that for the 90 minutes before Doug and Honor got there, and then Doug -- who is really just an overgrown kid, himself -- jumped in and played like he was The Big Bad Shark coming to get all the kids. In the picture below, he's gnawing on Nathaniel's foot for a shark snack.

Clearly the kids just can't get enough of Doug!

Doug and Honor's youngest, Jackson, spent some quality time in the inflatable boat.

Nathaniel put on his goggles because -- although he could "see Guh-rate! But everything is sort of greenish-brown." -- his eyes started feeling the effects of the water after a few hours.

Nick couldn't WAIT to take the boat out for a ride on the Big Yellow Tube.

Haley couldn't keep the grin off of her face while she was jumping in and swimming around like a fish ...

... and Hannah couldn't, either.

JAKE, on the other hand, wasn't as enamoured of the lake. There was lots of THIS initially:

But once he realized that this stuff was SPLASHABLE, he sort of got into it a little more.

You can only hold off excitable 4- and 6-year-olds for so long. Eventually, you have to give in and go out for a tube ride.

Nathaniel and Hannah, easily the most excited about the tube, caught some air soon after leaving the dock.

Haley and Nick rode at a more sedate pace, neither of them loving the bumpy ride.

Nathaniel convinced Nick to ride it again, though ...

... and Doug kicked it up a notch for a pretty wild ride. (I think this trip was the one after which Nick swore off tubing for the rest of the weekend.)

Nathaniel and Hannah, though, were eager to keep riding and took another 15-minute trip.

And then Nathaniel STILL wasn't done! I thought his arms were going to fall off, but he just didn't want to quit.

We finally took a break around 2:00 to go back and eat lunch and give Jakey a chance to get a nap, and when he woke up at 6:00, we got back in the pontoon boat for a ride at dusk.

All the kids stood at the front of the boat (is it still called "the bow" on a square boat?) and enjoyed the evening breeze.

For Jake, it was his first boat ride and one that he really enjoyed.

Some members of the family were very visibly excited.

Others were just relishing their '80s hair band coifs, courtesy of the boat ride.

Jack played "I can head butt YOU the hardest!" with Doug.

And he gave Honor lots of sweet smiles.

He also practiced for his future frat boy days.

Jakey was the picture of contentment for most of the trip.

Then Jack took an interest in him.

Jack: "Hey man, let's snuggle. I'm gettin' a chill out here."

Jack: "I feel like I haven't seen you in MONTHS, dude."

Jack: "Let me give you a little sugar!"

Jake: "Uhhhhhhh ..."


We've been visiting this lake with Doug and Honor since 1992, and I can honestly say that this sunset boat ride is one of my favorite things we've ever done there. The water was so peaceful, the sky radiating the sun's colorful rays ... and everything was so QUIET. (Well, relatively speaking, anyway.)

As we headed back to the house, lights were coming on in houses along the shore, and the water was gliding almost noiselessly under the boat.

I don't know how many more years we'll have to visit this beautiful place that has become sacred to me, since Honor's Mimi and Papa are thinking about selling it. But I feel privileged that I've gotten to spend so much time there over the last 17 years, and glad that we've been able to share it with our children.

There's just really no place else like it, in my book.

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