You might be sensing a theme here: boats, swimming, eating, and fireworks. Saturday was more of the same.
We'll start with this group picture, showing everyone who showed up (except Aerdna who insisted on taking the picture; all names are using my super secret code). Starting from the left, you see Cash the Wonder Dog, with Tnarg (sitting next to Cash), son of Ecurb (in white in the back row), who is the squeeze of cousin Netsirk (in black). They all live in St Louis.
The next group are all from Ohio: In the back in blue is cousin Leinad with daughter Nevar and wife Rehtaeh in front of him. The three boys sitting in front are Etat (wearing the attractive hat), Nedyah (not actually related - I think they picked him up hitchhiking along the freeway or something like that), and Ralyks (mostly sane brother of Etat).
Next, from Maryland, we have Ylime (white top, next to Rehtaeh), daughter of Duuuuuuaaannnn, who is standing in front of her squeeze Nnelg.
Next you have us from California: Mrs Notthat, The Blog, and The Boy.
Next to me are the owners of the lake house and the dozen or so boats used this weekend: Ddot and cousin Annod, parents of Yaj (sitting in front next to the boys) and Netsirk.
Did you follow all that?
The boys (and yes, I'm including Yaj with them) had a lot of fun jumping from one tube to the other while being pulled (fairly gently) behind the pontoon boat. I did find that a well timed jerk of a tube's rope could add to the difficulty of standing on one of these. As did shooting water balloons at them. (Right Duuuaaannn?)
While we were fooling around on the lake, Leinad was out shopping. Today was closing day for the local fireworks store, and Leinad was able to pick up this batch of pyroboomies at a bargain. These were some very serious fireworks - it was amazing that normal people (and even borderline people like Leinad) were allowed to buy things like this without a cooling off period.
Speaking of the lack of a cooling off period, here is Nnelg calmly cooking bacon. As entertaining as any Benihana I've ever been to. (For those that are rightly concerned, the stash of fireworks were on the other end of the porch. Not that the thought didn't race across the boy's minds to wonder what might happen if...)
One of the activities was to dig a hole in the backyard, shape a "form" (made from empty beer boxes), fill it with concrete, and write something clever on it. The fact that Nnelg's head looks like it is on fire is a complete coincidence.
Nevar did manage to run the jet ski out of gas and had to be towed in. The goal was to put it on its trailer, using the newly fixed (probably) dolly, and take it out of the lake. It turns out that the dolly does not have a parking brake - it was positioned on the ramp and then abandoned while we walked the jet ski around to it. When we got to the ramp, the tailer and dolly were gone - they had rolled into the lake. Ddot was able to easily find them though (he's holding the dolly handle here) and managed to pull the trailer and the jet ski back to land.
By the way, the dolly passed this test (other than the whole rolling into the lake thing).
Cash loved fetching this floating thing from the water. Here, Etat raced him out (and lost handily).
Yaj and Aerdna (Yaj's squeeze) doing their best impersonations of the Skipper and Mary Ann from the best show to come out of the sixties - The Monkees.
For the second night in a row, ice cream was manually made on the porch, although this time many more people were volunteered to help. (Tip: Get in on the cranking early. It gets much more difficult later, as the cream freezes.)
After dinner, we all loaded onto the pontoon boat and headed out to the middle of the lake to watch a very impressive fireworks show put on by one of the local backyards. It was great hearing the booming echoing across the lake. Once that was done, we went back and started firing off the above mentioned stash.
It was also very impressive. (There was one scary moment after the grand finale when you could hear an animated discussion about whether something would work or not. What I learned from this is that if there is any doubt, it won't work. It didn't and Aerdna has a small burn mark to prove it.)
And that's about it. The next morning was spent scouring an area the size of about two football fields to pick up all the debris from the fireworks. (I wish I had taken a picture of this process or of the many bags that were filled.)
Then the Ohio people headed back to Indiana (really) and shortly after that we headed to the airport.
This was an amazingly fun trip. I can't thank Ddot and Annod enough for their patience, generosity, and ability to not panic while a group of crazed ten-year-olds wandered around the front yard with scary fireworks. It was great to see everyone again and to get to know the new people. (And to secretly wonder what was wrong with them to want to get involved with this wacky family!)
That's it - move along...
PS: You can view a LOT more pictures from this weekend here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2051689&id=1172907671&l=a4d54968ef. Let me know if you would like original files from any of these pictures.