The weather had turned back to beautiful as we started the day and surveyed the damage from the night before. This was going to be our boat day, and excitement was high.
Much of the group headed out to meet Gus & Abbey’s friends for fresh Thursday morning cinnamon rolls, while Jeff headed off to pick up our Bennington rental pontoon boat. Abbey returned to prepare lunch for all while we were out on our three-hour tour (it was longer than that).J’aime went out for a run and then somehow pulled off this “fake leg” trick while stretching.
Rachel, who had earlier warned the kids of walking between the houses in bare feet on the grass because of bees, somehow stepped on a bee while wearing flip flops and on the sidewalk. It stung her in the arch of her foot, and it took four of us to actually get the entire stinger out.
I’m On A Boat
The kids instantly descended upon the pontoon boat tied up at the end of the dock and took turns pretending they were captain. Ben was elected “Most Captain-like” following the tryouts.
Then we loaded down the boat with all our people and copious amounts of food and beverage.
One particular beverage was invented from the remains of the bar, which contained lemonade, cranberry, blueberry vodka, rum, blue curaçao, and some other liquors I can’t recall for some reason. This particular beverage was concocted in a lemonade bottle, so we felt it necessary to decorate the bottle sufficient to discourage the children from drinking it, which would play an interesting role later in the day. We lovingly named this drink “Booty”.
With Jeff in the captain house at the wheel, we cruised across the lake to borrow a tube from Abbey’s friends’ house. Ben and Maggie took first shift in the tube while we started cruising the lake.
Aly was unfortunately still not feeling well, so we saw a lot of this from her while we motored along:
The older Baker kids tired after a while, so David styled up for a tube ride with Annie, and they had a blast riding together, which left feeling quite clean and refreshed, if you know what I mean.
The Stratton children do one thing well on boats
Though to be fair, nearly all the children were doing something similar at that time.
But nobody does it with the style of Teddy:
As we hit the far north end of the lake, we cruised just above idle speed while lunch was consumed.
Because Jeff can only do three of four things at a time (Captain, hold Teddy, drink beer, eat lunch), Teddy found a new place to rest in the shade:
Despite preparing the lunch herself, Abbey was not impressed with the food:
So impressed, in fact, that he felt the need to try and impress J’aime with his version of the splits:
The wind had died down and the sun was getting warm, so Gus used a classic method to apply sunscreen to Annie:
Dave put sunscreen on his back and then applied to to J’aime thusly:
While Caroline finally arose from boat napping:
To The Bar, Jeffrey!
We then motored back to Randall Point and dropped anchor at the sand bar, with the boat moored in 1.6′ of water. There were plenty of other boats at the same location, which made for a very festive party atmosphere.
Abbey and Annie celebrated their award for Coolest Bar Chicks,
while David was just cool.
The group slowly piled out into the water and all sorts of fun was had.
That’s our Benni right there. I know you’re impressed.
Ben spent much of his time jumping off the pontoon boat onto the tube, which was tethered on fifteen feet of rope.
He had one unfortunate landing straddling the center section, but he did wise up and avoid that with future launches.
And then Gus was Gus
The boat anchored closest to us had four folks a bit older than us, with music playing loudly (the second song we heard from their boat was this travesty, which likely ranks as worst sand bar boat partying song choice of all time), and Gus instantly made a lifelong bond with Steve and Keith, traded some beers with them, and brought over the bottle of Booty, which was quite delicious.
The common sense of these folks prevailed, however, when they saw the skulls, crossbones, and “Danger: Toxic” written on the bottle. Gus returned a bit deflated and teary-eyed, saying “They don’t like our Booty!” though he quickly returned to engage in further conversation, despite the fact that 14 family members were 30 feet away, and his/Abbey’s friends had arrived on a Jet-Ski. After a while, it got kind of awkward for J’aime and Leisa, so they slowly led him back to our group.
Heroic Uncle Sparkles helped the jet skiers tether their ski to our anchored boat so all could hang.
Jeff was so impressed with Dave’s helpful ways and physique that he felt their was only one way he could show his brotherly pride:
J’aime wasn’t quite as impressed, but Leisa found the whole thing hilarious.
Emboldened by Jeff’s touching hug and a lot of Booty, Sparkles took up another outfit to peacock everyone:
As it was nearly pizza:30, we gathered up our flotsam crew and readied to head back to our cottages for an assessment of how much food was left and how much pizza we’d need for dinner, and Binge Hour. Gus and Ben rode back in the tube, allowing this awesome picture:
Dave heard a story while we cruised back that filled him with pride and self-confidence, easily separately identifiable in this picture:
We made a brief stop to Ben could lecture Gus, then landed at the cottages.
While J’abbey planned out the rest of our eating, the kids bundled up a bit and played a few games.
Captain Jeff offered to take the kids for a cruise before the boat had to be returned, and the kids jumped at the chance to cruise with Jeff and Gus.
That left several adults with only a sleeping Teddy to contend with, so we played some cornhole and had a few more refreshing adult beverages.
For some reason, Abbey thought we were having a posing competition instead of playing cornhole, but once we corrected her, she started flying bags into the hole.
After pizza, we took the kids outside to blow some things up, and Ben adopted this pose as a moving emotional tribute to his father:
Then the kids went to bed
As a tribute to the Walloon Years Past, we included a 12-pack of Miller Lite in our now-standard Power Hour.
It was during this time that I learned I was once the cause of a tremendous Stratton Showdown on Christmas night a few years back. Apparently, my lack of audible appreciation for J’aime’s sublime Fancy Goodbye Splits set off a chain of events that left blood on a hotel room wall and some sparks flying. I rock.
You may have noticed the striking difference in the windowsills of the porch room from the normal morning photo. We had earlier tasked Maggie and Aly with alphabetizing and organizing the cans and bottles, which they performed brilliantly. Parents of the Year.