Another lovely weekend at the cabin. We are excited to see signs of all the flowers that will come up in the spring, and we have had so much fun experiencing each season on the property, delighted by the landscape as it reveals itself.
We went on a Saturday morning walk, spotting woodpeckers, blue jays, a variety of other birds we could not identify. We also saw a hawk, but didn't capture it on film. Too busy watching it swoop down from the trees.
The family who lives in the house behind us has been really friendly and extraordinarily hospitable since we first moved in. It started one of our first weekends there, when they stopped by to bring us chocolate dipped macaroons and bacon/cheddar cornbread. They then invited us to their house for coffee and various baked goods. They have since brought us all sorts of food, including a full Korean dinner (the mother is Korean, and the whole family spent the last three years living in Seoul, while building their current house in Michiana Shores).
They have four kids. In addition to being foodies, they are also homeschoolers. They are truly so sweet. The three oldest girls are the most thoughtful hosts, always making sure we have something to eat or drink or do (they are always looking out for the boys, to be sure they are entertained, suggesting card games or other activities for everyone to play). The youngest child, Ethan, is 9 and so excited that two boys have moved in behind him. Shortly after we pull in for the weekend, Ethan pops over with some Korean snacks or fresh baked cookies or a ball in hand, trying to lure the boys out to play.
This weekend, Ethan taught both kids to throw and catch a football. Or I should say, he demonstrated how to throw and catch a football. It was the first time either of my kids have played with a football, and they don't play with other types of balls very often, so it was all pretty new to them. Ethan was a very patient and encouraging teacher.They listened carefully to Ethan as he showed them how to hike the football, catch it and make a dash for a touchdown. It was a bit advanced Max and Otto, I think. Perhaps a basic game of catch would have been a better starting place. But all were so sweet playing together, it was really something to watch. Unfortunately, Otto took a football right to the face (reminiscent of the "Oh, my nose!" scene from the Brady Bunch), which hurt an awful lot more than he expected it to. Unlike Marcia Brady, Otto's nose looks as dainty as ever, so I think he escaped any real damage. It did put him off the game for a while, though.
On Saturday afternoon, we went into Michigan City for the St. Patrick's Day Parade. It was the first parade the boys have ever seen, and although our neighbors declined to join us, saying that "A Michigan City Parade is just depressing," the boys thought it was pretty fun. What is depressing about sitting in the sun while paraders come by and hand you candy? [Side note: Parades have changed since my youth, when candy was just thrown into the streets, and kids ran to collect as much as they could carry. I assume this is all in the vein of keeping the children safe from float traffic and keeping the candy pristine. Probably also to be sure the candy is distributed in a fair manner. I am guessing this is also something more common in a small town parade. I can't imagine this happening in Chicago, but I've never seen a Chicago parade, so what do I know?]
Another highlight was the girl scout troop that advertised the post parade selling of girl scout cookies. As soon as the last bagpiper passed us by, we hightailed it the parking lot and bought eight boxes of cookies.
After the parade, there was a magic show in the library. The magician seemed a bit tired of his own act—he didn't put a lot of concentration into his banter. But his tricks were pretty good. The boys' favorite tricks involved live animals: producing a white dove from a flaming bowl, then putting it in a box and taking apart said box, revealing no bird at all. We could not figure out how he did this. And producing a cute little black and white rabbit from another box, which had previously contained a balloon. I'm sure there were hidden compartments in that one, but it was still a surprise. Plus, the kids got to pet the rabbit afterwards. Otto was sad, though, as the rabbit reminded him of Grigia.
We stopped for pizza at Stop 50, which has just opened again for the season. In our excitement, we over-ordered and had enough left over to take an entire pizza home. But who can resist wild mushrooms, sausage and walnut pizza? Or trying the seasonal pizza of smoked salmon, red onions and roasted peppers?
Sunday was even warmer, with the same abundant sunshine. We took a morning walk to the beach.
Martin built a stone/stick sculpture, Lilli dug a giant hole, and the boys experimented with making music from driftwood.
Ethan and two of his sisters joined us at the beach, and after we got back, they invited us to their house for homemade pizza. Although we still had an entire pizza waiting in the refrigerator at home, we could not resist this opportunity. They had all the dough ready and shaped into individual pizza size balls, and they had an array of toppings in little bowls, ready for pizzamaking.
After we had all made and eaten our pizzas, Atira, one of older girls, offered us coffee. Though we knew we should go home and pack, we took her up on her offer (she makes an excellent cup of coffee). Martin ran home to get a couple of boxes of those girl scout cookies. They were extremely excited about the Thin Mints. Parade doesn't look so depressing after all, does it? We drank coffee, ate cookies and played Apples to Apples, until we had to drag ourselves away. We still needed to pack up and get back to Chicago.