This memorial weekend was quite different to us. Justin was away from home at New Orleans for National Whiz Quiz Invitational. We went to Lake Ray Roberts with a large group of families - nine to be exact - deviated from our usual practice of our whole family going out with one or two families.
It was a hot (96F) but beautiful day at Lake Ray Roberts. More than half of Nick's soccer teammates were there, Ben, Derek, Eric, Jeffery, Kevin, Ray, plus their siblings and friends, total of 16 kids. Shortly after all families arrived and more or less settled around 10:15am, the kids rushed to the water with inflated floating devices and water guns after applying sun screens.
For that busy day at swimming area of the lake, water safety was a major focus for all parents. Making sure that there would be two parents by the water with the kids, Lily, Eric's mom and I went on for a walk on the paved scenic trail. We walked at a relatively slow pace due to the late morning heat - the ladies were talking about how to guide/supervise middle school students, I looked around enjoying the scenery - yellow flowers, white flowers and pink flowers, butterflies of different colors and birds' chirping from near and far. It took us about an hour to complete the looped trail - as we were close to our shelters by the lake, I noticed a couple of white head birds on top of a tree at the parking lot. The birds have white heads, light grey wings - as they flipped their wings, it seemed that their body or under wing feathers were pink - I could only manage to take one good picture of the bird - I still don't know what type of a bird it is at the time of writing this post.
It was 11:30am, time to start BBQ for this large group. The cooks at the fireplaces were all dads - Ben's, Andrew's at one place, Ray's and Derek's at another. Chicken wings , sausages, beef ribs, hot dogs, ... quickly the delicious smell permeated the air, however we had to wait as the meat was not ready for serving yet. There were plenty of fruit (watermelon, grapes, black berry, cherry) to eat, plenty of sodas to drink. Nick sat quietly at one table, drank the usually restricted sodas one cup after another, ate plenty of fruit. I stuck to my self-imposed rule - drinking water only and had a lot of fruit.
Even though the guys were cooking, the famed cook in this group was Jean - Derek's mom. She brought us home made porridge, garlic-spiced cucumber, iced noodle, and tea flavored boiled eggs - all of which complemented the BBQ meat really well.
After BBQ, and one more round of sun screen, the kids rushed to the water again. This time several parents - Lily, Claudia (the coordinator of this outing, Ben's mom), and later Yong (Jeffrey's dad), went into the water with the kids as well. The rest of the parents were chatting at a picnic table - from BP oil leak, to environmental protection, and eventually to the never ending discussions about kid's education.
As the kids and parents came ashore - grilled sweet cones, iced watermelons and the left over slow cooked chicken were garbled up in no time. No worry! Jean took out her home baked big cake. It was so delicious that Nick had two pieces of the cake.
After nearly 6 hours playing in the water and on the rocks, the kids were getting tired. It was time to go home.
It was a fun filled day.
Thanks to Claudia for organizing the trip.