Once in awhile, Jason and I like to pretend that we're good parents, and we do something fun with the kids. This particular Saturday afternoon, Jason had the great idea to take the kids to Little Sioux Park in Correctionville, Iowa for some fishing, canoeing, and roasting hot dogs. (The funny part of all of this was that when Jason mentioned his plan, all he said was fishing, so I was going to try to get out of going so I could finish reading a book I had started. Then I walked out into the garage, saw the canoe in the back of the pickup, muttered an expletive to myself, and went back inside to change into some grubby clothes. I'm so totally Mother of the Year huh!)
Now, I don't know how all of your family outings work, but ours usually end up to be a little bit of fun mixed in with a lot of whining and complaining. Ah, the memories.
It takes a little over a half hour to get to the park and the kids kept asking the ever-popular, "Are we there yet?" and "When are we gonna get there?" types of questions. I just LOVE those, don't you? Then we get there, get the canoe unloaded and they decide they want to fish first. So we fish. Then they don't want to fish, they want to canoe. So we get ready to canoe. But they whine about Jason taking along his fishing pole because they "just wanna canoe!" Too bad, Jason takes it anyway. Then Lauren is screaming every time the fishing pole comes close to her. And I mean screaming! (I never should have told her the story about the time that my sister Meghan hooked me in the cheek with her fishing pole when we were little. She was casting and the hook caught my cheek. The bad part was she kept tugging at it not knowing it was attached to me....or maybe she did know....hmmmm.) So Lauren is screaming, I'm yelling at her to knock it off, Jason's trying to explain to her that in all his years of fishing he has never hooked anyone, and Braden is trying to look into the lake, thereby rocking the canoe, and making Lauren (and I) scream more. <sigh> Finally Jason says he's just going to keep fishing until she gets used to it. What a great family outing. So, we fish and canoe, fish and canoe, fish and canoe. And we finally start to have a little fun even though we have barely even seen a fish, much less caught one. Then Braden decides he needs to pee.
We tried to get him to just pee off the canoe (yuck, I know, but we were in the middle of the lake!), but he wouldn't because he didn't want anyone to see his "buttocks." (Now that he knows that word he likes to say it because he thinks he's getting away with saying 'butt' which is a word we don't allow the kids to say. It's reserved for us when we need to drive home the point that punishment is near if they don't shape up!) So, we rowed over to the shore and the kids and I jumped out and ran to the "bathroom." Jason then proceeded to row back out to the other side of the lake to fish while we were using the facilities. I remember looking back at him and thinking that he looked so peaceful out there by himself. Meanwhile I'm stuck in a campground "bathroom" with two kids who are more interested in conversing with each other than getting their business done.
We continued to canoe some more, and even rowed over to the little swimming beach and walked around for awhile. The kids had fun wading into the lake with Jason while I watched and took pictures from the shore. Lauren waded right in, but Braden was not a fan of the "goo" that he had to wade through to get to the clear water. (The "goo" being mostly mossy stuff, but I couldn't blame him considering I was staying ashore too.) The highlight of the beach area was the little frog we found and played with. . .until it went belly up. Literally, belly up. I thought the kids had killed it for sure, so we told Lauren to just put it on the beach and for them to leave it alone. The stupid little thing should have just continued to play dead, but it started hopping away with my kids hot on its heels. We finally convinced them to leave the poor thing alone so we could canoe back to our pickup and roast some hot dogs.
While we were waiting for the coals to warm up we fished some more. Poor Jason, every time we go fishing he feels so bad for the kids because we very rarely catch anything. Such was the case on this day as well. So it was a good thing we brought hot dogs along, as we would have definitely starved if we had intended to eat the fish we'd caught.
Our friends Danny and Linn stopped by to chat while we ate our hot dogs, and then we fished some more. Or rather, we put bait on the fishing poles, cast them out, and let them sit there while we munched and watched the kids chuck rocks into the lake. Braden is a very impatient fisherman, and always reels in his line only minutes after it's been cast out. He did a great job of catching plants though!
We finally decided to pack it in, and asked Braden to reel in the fishing lines. He reeled his in first and got so excited because the line felt heavy, but he'd just caught another plant. Then he reeled in his sister's and got excited again because the line felt heavy. We knew that it was just another plant, but why ruin his fun right? Then we saw the end of his line. What the heck is that thing??!! It looked like a bloated fish, or a rock, or something. Then Jason yells out: "Holy cow Braden! You caught a TURTLE!" Sure enough, attached at the end of his line was a good sized painted turtle. Poor little thing had swallowed the hook, so Jason cut the line, and after admiring him for a bit we let him go. The kids really enjoyed watching him swim away from us as fast as his little legs could carry him.
That turtle was lucky we'd already eaten. :)