Friday night, we headed to the festival to get some dinner and check out whichever acts were on the big stages. Sunfest has changed a lot since we first started going fourteen years ago. I never went with the regularity my sisters , mom, and step-dad did, but I did go one of the first years and have gone the last several. The place is much more crowded than it ever was before. There are more vendors, though a little less junk than a couple of years ago. The number of people attending is astounding though. There's also been more of a focus on jazz music which makes things a little boring. No more crazed antics of bands like Horace X or the swirling dervishes or flame jugglers. That may return again, but for now it was decidedly lacking.
Nonetheless, we drank beer and watched Grupo Fantasma, who were high energy and a lot of fun, while Grandma took the boys back to the hotel to eat popcorn and watch The Golden Compass. After the show ended, we headed back to the hotel, stopping in the bar before going to reclaim our sons. Jim found us again and we ended up staying for hours, sloshingly discussing the Zombie Wars in great detail, trying to determine the appropriate way to address it when the dead start walking the earth. It occurred to me that it's no wonder my children are into Star Wars and monsters and other scary stuff - their entire extended family including aunts, grandparents, pseudo-god-parents, and Jon and I as well are all fascinated with the occult and the weird to some degree or another. It was excellent fun.
While carrying Aleks to bed in the dark, I tripped over Lilly's duffel bag on the floor, landing hard on my knee, causing a major rug burn. I didn't drop Aleks and he didn't wake up, luckily. The next day and the days after, the sore that did not at first bleed began to crack and seep and scab as I walked and bent. I remember having big scabby knees as a kid, but I never remember them being so painful. Every time someone or something brushes near it, I squeal and flinch dramatically. I limp a little and try always to keep it straight, unsuccessfully. Since returning home, I attended a forty hour birth as a doula where I'd put a bandage over the knee to protect it, but the gauze ended up rubbing off all the scab I had and a good deal of the skin. Now I'm in worse shape with it than ever.
The next day, we swam in the hotel pool, Bastian getting to swim on his own for the first time because I finally remembered to pack the vest and floaties. He could only swim by himself with both on, unfortunately, and Aleks could only swim alone with the floaties, so we had to share. They both hung on me.
Aleks gets very very cold in the water and has to be convinced of getting out occasionally to take breaks. Despite shivering in the water, he doesn't want to leave!
During his break, Lilly caught a picture of him picking his nose. He says the boogers and snot taste like sugar. Yum!
Lilly has a tendency to take photos of herself with my camera.
The kids started to develop runny noses on Saturday and Bastian was especially grumpy. I hoped it was the beginning of chicken pox, but there have not been promising signs since, aside from crabby appled children. After swimming, we went back to the park for some food, where Bastian was very unhappy. He nursed for awhile and a woman walking by gave me the thumbs up and said "good job." I've given those compliments to nursing mothers before, but never received one. It was nice. I'm not sure if he looks like he's 3 or not. He fell asleep in my arms, so I put him in the wagon for a nap in the shade.
We got Lilly to agree to watch the little ones while Jon and I walked around by ourselves for a bit. Aleks seemed tired too, so he mostly stuck around with her, drinking icee and talking about robots.
Aleks ran away to go to the tank in the park where children all climb, Jon followed behind him, but ended up losing him in the crowd. For a few tense minutes, I was terrified I'd totally lost my child. I sent Jon and Lilly off to find him while I stayed at the tree helping Bastian eat Vietnamese noodles. I called my mom back at the hotel to tell her that Aleks was missing. She and Jim were going to come out, but thankfully, we found him before that was necessary. He had made it to the tank by himself despite the huge crowds and intertwined sidewalks. He told Jon that there were lots of people, but that he seemed to know where he was going.
Lilly decided she couldn't be around Bastian while he climbed on the tank because it made her too nervous. He did quite well though.
Lilly, Grandpa Jim, Grandma Cat, and I went out to eat that night while Jon and the boys ordered room service and watched TV. When we came back, Aleks was passed out in the chair.
We ate in this little diner on King St. every day for breakfast. Unlike the hotel restaurant where we used to always eat breakfast, this place serves made-to-order breakfast all day for super duper cheap. What could be better? We don't have to be up before ten, we can take time to shower and watch hotel cable, and the boys can play elaborate war games with the jams and cream containers.
After breakfast, we walked to the river. Jon had never been, thought the boys and I went last year with the grandparents.
A couple of years ago, London put up all these tree sculptures throughout the "Forest City." Bastian liked to swing around them. We had to convince him that there were others up ahead so he'd keep walking.
There's a really awesome playground by the river. There's a big splash park there too, though we didn't bring their suits. The equipment is all untraditional shapes, making for totally uninhibited play. There is nothing about it that suggests a limited purpose.
Jon sat watching ducks and geese for awhile. Aleks eventually came down as well. An older gentleman was tossing bread and we got to watch the birds all race for the crumbs, with huge fish just below them waiting for the leftovers.
The park also had these cool swings that are huge. They work sort of like pendulums too in that the momentum carries and you have to actually slow yourself down to get off.
It was very hot.
Every year, we go to the Unlearn tent and buy new t-shirts. Abbi recognizes us every year, since we've been to his tent almost annually for a decade. This year I got the polar bear shirt because it has been striking to me for quite some time now that in less than a quarter century, all of the polar bears in the wild may be dead.
We had to stop so the boys could climb through these tunnels. They were at a booth about a national education trust where you can save for your children's college educations and the government matches the funds. When the man approached us about the program, we had to explain that we were from the states, where we don't have such a national program. Then he went on a big tangent about the unfortunate differences between the two countries and he and Jon talked politics, while I dragged the children off before they destroyed the tunnels any more (they broke them all apart).
Getting ready to leave on Monday morning, Grandma and Bastian checked the interwebs.
Jon looked very handsome by the window in his earthtones, but I realized he was scowling.
Telling him to look happy wasn't much better.
Finally, we got a lovely senior-picture-esque photo.
My parents convinced us that going through Port Huron instead of Detroit would be shorter due to traffic. This was not accurate. The bridge time was not bad, but the route itself was longer. Lilly went with my parents this time so they could drop her at a bus back to Chicago.
The lake was a bit foggy, but the day was nice so there were a number of sailboats and old ladies in purple and red enjoying the coastal breeze.
I spent the whole day reading (and ultimately finishing) World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, which was wonderful. It was originally Lilly's copy, though she has not read it. Jim borrowed it and I borrowed it from him. Jon read it all in one sitting a couple of days after we returned to Ohio, then our friend Heather borrowed and finished it as well. Much debate regarding whether humans are more or less able to defeat zombies compared with the descriptions in the book has ensued, primarily between those who have read the book and those who have not. I believe that we are incredibly fallible and our numbers will be diminished to an incredible degree when the zombie apocalypse hits. Of course.