Yes, we've reached that magical age. The boys sat still in rapt silence for FOUR HOURS. That's the good news. The bad news is that the book we were listening to was The BFG (it sounds profane, especially when Willem says it, but it stands for Big Friendly Giant) by Roald Dahl.
I am a huge Roald Dahl fan, but my love does not extend to that book. It revels in disgusting details while lacking an appealing hero or even any truly witty wordplay. The voice and the dialog of the BFG himself were so very unpleasant that I wanted to throw myself out the door every time he spoke. And the BFG had a lot to say. Next time we'll choose our book more carefully.
Next time I'll pack more carefully as well. On Thanksgiving morning Shaun and the boys had to wear rain boots on their walk in the snow. They are hardy fellows.
The snow was short-lived, which made me feel better about neglecting to bring the proper gear. Big rain and wind followed on the day after Thanksgiving. A walk down to the water presented a sight we don't see every day.
I've been trying to figure out what color Willem's eyes are for a few years now. I think "rock" should be an option.
As always, Juli and Dad went above and beyond in readying their house for a boy visit. Appropriate toys were purchased:
And Juli single-handedly turned out a delicious Thanksgiving feast (along with many other meals and desserts.) All I did was snap a few green beans.
I may have mentioned before that my dad and Juli have a lot of birds. They have a whole nook off their living room devoted to birds. An aviary nook.
When the birds get fed, they are set loose from their cages for a bit. This time the boys were braver around the birds than they had been two years ago. Though they still weren't entirely comfortable, there was significantly less cringing and flinching this year.
I finally got a chance to make myself useful. Before we were even tired of turkey, Juli made crab bisque. Crab bisque is a party in a pot.
And, again, something we don't see every day: a man walking his goats. Actually, he was only walking one of the goats. His dog was walking the other goat. The dog wore a harness and walked alongside his owner, pulling the goat along behind. ("That goat's stubborn," explained the man.) They attracted quite a crowd.
Willem picked up a pine cone on our walk to bring home to Juli. I thought he took it very well when she gently declined his suggestion that they glue googly eyes to it.
On Saturday afternoon my dad took us around to the museums in town. At Whatcom Museum's new Lightcatcher building we saw some beautiful historical photos of Bellingham bungalows (a few of them were on my dad's street!) and a very nice exhibition of WPA works. The children's area had a corresponding play shantytown, which struck me as funny, though it probably shouldn't.
At the Old City Hall building we saw some interesting historical artifacts, including a complete dentist's suite that was truly terrifying. We also got to see some giant prints of some great old photographs that my dad had worked on.
The Mindport interactive art gallery downtown was the big crowd-pleaser of the day. It is a very playful yet very serious (in a good way) place. Juli was busy in our absence; we came home to a dinner of turkey tetrazzini, which I declare a very fine use of leftover turkey. She made apple pie for dessert. It was the third pie of our four-day trip.
We headed home on Sunday morning. By that point, I'm sure their cat Freddy was starting to wonder if life was still worth living.
We made good time on the drive home, though it was less peaceful than it could have been. For all the tearful and persistent begging, Shaun and I just couldn't bring ourselves to listen to The BFG again. No way.