We've had a very busy long weekend over here. We spent Saturday and Sunday camping at 'The Pit', we went to barbecues on Sunday and Monday evenings and we ended with a night away with Uncle Marc and Jen on Tuesday. It's going to take me awhile to get everything up on the blog, but don't go too far...there's lots to read about!
I have so many pictures from our camping trip that I'm going to break it up into two posts. This was our first time camping with two kids...not as relaxed and carefree as it may sound to some. My parents camp with a bunch of friends every August long weekend. They always camp at 'The Pit' - which is indescribable, so if you're unfamiliar with the location, don't ask questions just look at the pictures.
We left after Harry's morning nap on Saturday - around 10:30 am. It's only a 10 minute drive, so we weren't in a huge hurry to get out the door. Harrison is getting so smart these days. If we tell him it's time to get his shoes and hat on, he goes straight for his little stool and gets his sandals off the shoe rack. He also points to his hat (which is hanging up on a hook) and grunts for us to get it down.
He was the first one ready to go... unfortunately, he was still in his PJ's, so we had to drag him away from his stool to change him first.
It turns out packing for a one-night camping trip is no small feat. When you're bringing little kids, you pretty much need to be prepared for all possible scenarios. You need to have meal options and snack options and books and toys and diapers (cloth diapers and camping are not a great mix) and booster seats (try putting a booster seat on a picnic table bench) and soothers and playpens and teddy bears and bottles and extra underwear/clothes (in case your toilet training toddler wets herself 20 times) and all types of footwear. Holy cow - it's crazy.
This is about half the stuff we brought for one night. Thank goodness we have a van!
I tried to get a pic of the kids just before we were ready to go, but this (see below) is what I ended up with...they must have been excited on the inside.
Here's Ella crossing her legs and checking out her nails while she waits patiently for us to get there.
There's no sand or swimming water at The Pit, so we have to make sure there are plenty of things for the kids to do while we're there. Ella's OK because she likes to go exploring (as we've all seen), but Harry takes a little more thought and planning. We chose a few toys he likes to play with at home plus his favourite books.
He stole this carrot from me and played with it instead. We tried to put a blanket down for him to play on, but he preferred crawling and walking around on the dirt.
Within 5 minutes of our arrival, he was filthy and had eaten a few mouthfuls of dirt. So basically, no different than being at home.
Yes, that is dirt on his face. Ella found this little slide and it kept her busy for awhile. She still gets a little nervous going down the big slides by herself, so this gave her some confidence. I'd never tell her this, but she's actually quite a bit too big for it.
Aunt Michelle and Bentley the dog were there. Bentley is just a pup, so he likes to jump and bark. Ella is usually scared of him. She seemed to get pretty comfortable with him after our stay, though, and she became BFF's with Aunt Michelle.
Here we are sitting in front of Aunt Michelle's trailer while Ella has her afternoon snack. This was one of the few times I sat down that afternoon (or so it felt like).
The crappy side of this camping trip was the preparation for the potluck dinner. I spent most of my time getting my dish ready and trying to get Harrison to nap, so Ella spent most of her time playing with Aunt Michelle or Nan. It's an age-old parenting dilemma...get housework/dinner ready, or enjoy the children? In this case, it was prepare dinner. If it hadn't been a potluck dinner, I would have said forget it and made something easy for dinner, so I could enjoy my time there with the kids.
So - Saturday happened to be about 40 degrees with no breeze...not the most ideal conditions for getting two toddlers to nap in a tent. Ella fell asleep for about 45 minutes (because she will fall asleep just about anywhere), but Harrison was having nothing of the sort. I think he was also a bit terrified of being in a tent as he had never been in one, let alone been left alone in one. Adam was finally able to get him to nap in the hammock (thank you Pit owners for installing a hammock!!).
From the time we arrived, Ella was dying to go in the boat. We took her in last year, but she doesn't remember it (I don't think), so this was kind of like her first boat ride...ya, we don't get out much.
Adam was napping with Harrison, so Nan and I took her out. It turns out, driving a paddle boat isn't as easy as it looks. I swear there was no rhyme or reason to the steering on this thing. I landed us in the fountain a couple of times and I'm pretty sure we smashed into the sandbar at least once. Ella seemed to like it, though. She REALLY wanted to paddle and was pretty disappointed when we told her she couldn't paddle this boat. Of course, Dora paddles all the time when she goes in a boat so Ella was convinced she needed to paddle too.
By the time dinner was ready, the kids were sweating and covered in dirt. They were also pretty tired, so that meant they were cranky and not wanting to eat any dinner.
Thankfully we made it through dinner with a bit of food into both bellies (as well as mine and Adam's) and were able to bathe them in the kiddie pool Nan brought along. Ella refused to go swimming in it all day, but when we stripped her down for her bath it was almost impossible to get her out of there!
As we were setting up the tent for bedtime, we kept the kids under control by putting them in their 'cage' - Ella's words, not mine.
The tent was a little tight with a double-sized mattress and a playpen, but we made it work. Yes. If you're wondering, Adam, Ella and I all slept on the air-mattress. So cosy.
Harrison was pretty happy when bottle-time came around because his hammock nap wasn't very long and he was ready for bed. It was way easier than I thought it would be to get him to sleep. The band started playing right at his bedtime and it was pretty loud - especially because he was in a tent and not a trailer. I think the noise of the music drowned out all the talking and helped him get to sleep.
After Harry went into bed, I took Ella over to the fire to roast a marshmallow. She has been talking about camping and roasting marshmallows all summer. Of course, we've had a fire ban and her first planned camp-fire and marshmallow roast was cancelled due to illness. This was going to be the night! Except that it wasn't.
The fireplace was right beside the band which was too loud for Ella. She didn't want to be sitting there and she didn't want to help me hold the roasting stick AND she didn't want to eat the marshmallow after I roasted it. I got to eat it, though, so at least something worked out there.
That brings us to the end of part one. You'll have to come on back tomorrow to read about the rest of the adventure, including what happened in the middle of the night! Ooh - you're intrigued now, aren't you?!
Thanks for reading :D