Everyone wanted to hit North Beach early on Wednesday morning. We wanted to take a few minutes and drive to the refuge, first. We saw a ton of birds including swans, herons, ibises and pelicans. There were terns, geese, and grebes. Our best sighting, though, was a rare black-crowned night heron. We always enjoy the Bear Lake Wildlife Refuge, even though we didn’t get out of the car this year.
|Mom's a sucker for babies like these coots.|
|We think this is a Clark's Grebe.|
|The night heron is pretty sneaky.|
|We were hoping to see some swans, and we weren't disappointed.|
|Rudy ducks are so weird looking with that blue bill.|
|Mark's favorite bird is still the pelican.|
We hit the beach about 10 am, and it was perfect weather. The sky was slightly overcast, and the sun hid behind the clouds. The temperature was in the middle of the 80s, and there was no wind. We played in the water until late in the afternoon. Stephanie brought kayaks, and the boys took to them like fish to water. They were really very natural rowers, and they found them much easier to maneuver than our boat. Mark and Dax probably spent several hours each on those kayaks. Seth liked the sand better, and built several castles with Raymond and Eligah, all of which the later flooded with buckets of water. Jason played catch with the boys in the water, and they really enjoyed that, too. Dad, who is not too fond of beaches, enjoyed falling asleep while babysitting Katelynn. Mom worked at learning to row the boat for over an hour. By the end of the day, she could go in a squiggly line wherever she wanted! She can’t wait to show Jonny next year! We had lunch on the beach and didn’t leave until after 4pm.
|The water is so shallow on North Beach.|
|Our boys are natural kayakers.|
|Dad likes to be out of the water and sand.|
|Dax could paddle this small kayak easily.|
|Seth had sand everywhere by the end of the day.|
|We didn't even get a sunburn, despite being at the beach all day.|
|Seth and Abby had fun with the boogie board.|
|Dad was a great babysitter. He must have blinked when Mom snapped this picture.|
|Grandma enjoyed the beach with us.|
|All 13 cousins were together at Bear Lake this year.|
|Grandpa played in the water for a little while.|
|Seth has the beach thing figured out.|
We were all worn out after our day at the beach, but our family was in charge of dinner. Since it was Seth’s birthday, he requested his favorite 3 foods, and everyone else had to live with it. That meant pancakes, strawberries, and watermelon for dinner. Nobody seemed to mind, especially since Grandpa provided cake for dessert.
|Seth is four!|
After dinner, we continued our tradition of telling stories. This night belonged to the Webbs and the Pooles. We were done reasonably early, so we decided to try out Grandpa’s karaoke machine. It didn’t work too well, but the kids each found a song to sing. Mark recruited Dad to sing Bohemian Rhapsody with him, and Dax made Dad perform a duet with him on Kung Fu Fighting. Seth sang Let’s Get Down to Business from Mulan, and Mom owned the night with Living on a Prayer. It was late when we finished up and got to bed, but nobody was complaining.
|Dax Ockey and Karaoke.|
|Grandpa showed off on Sweet Caroline.|
|For a minute, Mom actually WAS Bon Jovi!|