Friday, August 1, 2008

It really is a great lake

Both in California and now here in Buffalo, Clare has taken to asking us each evening, "What fun thing are we doing tomorrow?" Of course, I find it appalling that she has become so spoiled and bold to make such an inquiry, but it's not surprising, given that we have been on the go since we landed. Yesterday it was a trip to Bay Beach in Canada, right on the shores of Lake Erie. Very close friends of my in-laws have a beautiful home at this beach, and they generously invite us up each summer. It is the ideal beach setting for small kids, because the lake remains about a foot deep for several hundred feet out. So, Clare can feel like a cool kid by going far out, and I know that she's still only up to her calves. There are also no true waves to speak of, but the ripples from nearby sailboats, not to mention the wind, make enough movement to keep it interesting. The whole experience is very laid-back, providing you can get across the border in the first place...

Danny was a tad tentative about the water at first, but once he discovered that he could stand and not get knocked down by waves, he grew increasingly adventurous, especially because he wanted to hang with Clare and the kids she ultimately befriended. This age is so interesting, because one moment Clare's playing by herself, and the next she and total strangers have formed an intimate ring. She never did find out much about these kids, but since she didn't care, neither did I.

Better than the Chateau Marmont
The day before our beach trip we went to the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, about 90 minutes away. I think it takes a lot to live up to a name like the National Museum of Play, but this one delivered. To sum it up best, we spent five hours there and still didn't cover everything. Aside from a brief respite at lunch, we were on the go, visiting the grocery store where the kids can try their hand at everything from shopping to running the register (with real receipts) to stocking shelves; multiple areas of dress-up and art stations; sand boxes; helicopters and ships for climbing; a carousel and train ride, etc. etc.! Thanks to their two traveling exhibits (also awesome), the museum even offered celeb sightings: Clare and Danny got to "meet" both Clifford and Mama (Berenstain) Bear, and couldn't have been more thrilled about either one.