Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Camping with a toddler

We went camping this past weekend.  It was fun.  It was tiring.  There were rough patches.  There were cranky patches.  There were happy patches.

We just bought our little trailer a couple of weeks ago, so we weren't sure how well it would work for us as a family.  Mike and I had been more than a little nervous about camping with Ethan.  We had planned on tent camping (it's all the equipment we had when I booked the campsite), but the trailer sort of fell into our laps and it turned out to be really worth it.

We have to use Mike's car to pull it, which isn't too much of a problem except that it doesn't have air conditioning.  It is a Pontiac Vibe (so not much bigger than the trailer).  Here is what we looked like on our way to the campsite:
We set up as soon as we got there.  It probably would have taken about 20 minutes, but as all the parents of toddlers out there know, in reality it took about 1.5 hours.  Ethan was busy cranking the trailer down, running in and out of the kitchen tent, and trying desperately to figure out where he was and why he was there.

He was into EVERYTHING that first day.  With camping being a new experience for him, he was checking everything out and getting into lots of trouble :)  We were a little rusty at the whole camping thing too, so the first night was pretty much a Gong Show.  Ethan didn't get to sleep until 10:30.  He was not sure about sleeping in the trailer at all, and we forgot to bring Tad (his lullaby music playing frog).  He eventually fell asleep, and Mike and I enjoyed the fire until about 12:30 or 1, then we went to bed.  It started raining at about 2 am, and we had stupidly forgotten to close the roof vent on the trailer, so it dripped rain onto the bed.  Mike wasn't too concerned, because it was on my side :)

Ethan fell out of bed 2 or 3 times.  The bed isn't too far off the ground, so I wasn't too worried (but of course I still worried).  The first time he fell he was still sleeping, so I just put him back in bed and tucked him as far away from the edge as I could.  The last time he fell out of bed (at 5:33 am) he was up for the day.

The second day went WAY better.  It rained in the morning, but we went for a drive, then took a family nap. After we woke up we went to the beach:

The beach was another "new" thing for him.  We went last year, but he doesn't remember.  He was a little nervous about walking on the sand, and then a little nervous about being in the water, but he obviously got over it.

In the evening after we ate, we had Smores.

So all in all we had a great camping trip!  I'll post more pics and stories in a different entry.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Canada Day!

We had a great Canada Day.  It was long, but very enjoyable.  It started at 6:15 am (yes, Ethan let us "sleep in"), and we left our house at about 8:30 am to go pick up my dad and my step-mom, as we were all heading out to the Prairie Dog Central Railway to ride on the steam train.

We got to the train station at about 10:20, and it started off a little rocky.  The train was coming in, and Ethan was very excited about it...until it blew the whistle to let of steam and rang the bell.  He started screaming and crying and wanted to go home.  Mike took him inside and they looked out the window while the train did a roll by and I took a video.  The SD card in my camera is running out of room, so I only got a partial video of the roll by:

We got on the train, and Ethan didn't seem to mind that part (he didn't connect the rail cars to the steam engine).  We almost had to fight for our seats, a large family claimed they were in the right seats, but wouldn't let anyone else look at the tickets, and a porter had to come and settle the dispute (they were in the wrong seats...).  Once that drama was over, we sat in our seats and waited for the train to to start rolling.

  (These pictures were actually taken on the way back, after the stopover, but really, they're pictures of all us and that's all that matters)

About 10 minutes into the train ride, Ethan asked where the train went.  I told him we were on the train, but he only looked more puzzled.  He had a good time looking out the window and waving to the cars that were on the roads.  He heard the train whistle a few times and I told him were being pulled the train.  I am still not sure if he really understood, he kept giving me puzzled looks.

We got off at Grosse Isle for a 1.5 hour stopover.  We had lunch (we brought ours) , and then we checked out the little flea market.  Apparently the vendors come and set up specifically for the train, then pack up when the train leaves.  There was a little pen with ducks, chickens, geese and turkeys - Ethan climbed up on the step stool and looked over the fence at them.  There were bunnies as well.  There was also a little tractor pulling barrel cars.  it was free (donations accepted).  Ethan looked like he might want to go on it, so Mike went with him.  He really had fun.
 In fact, he had so much fun we put him in the barrel alone ( we were a little nervous about that, worried he would freak out)
 He had a blast.  He was proud of himself for riding alone too.  We went and checked out the train after they switched the engine from the front to the back so we could go back (making the back the front, and the front the back...)

Ethan wasn't scared of the train anymore, and on the way back, he was so tuckered out from the day so far he had a nap.  The train ride back was only about 30 minutes, so that's how long Ethan napped for.  Back at the station we had a Canada Day cupcake. I shared mine with him (he only had one or two bites), we are still trying to keep him away from store bought cakes because of his getting sick after having any cake from a store.

We went back to Dad and step-mom's for supper.  By the time we got there it was 3 pm.  We had supper at about 6, and Ethan was pretty loopy by then.  He ate massive amounts of blueberries and strawberries.  I was getting a little worried about whether he would get sick from that many berries so I took the platter inside so he couldn't get them.  We left for home at about 7 and got home around 8.  Ethan passed out in the car at around 7:20.

He did end up getting sick the morning  - probably from the berries, and maybe a little from the heat - we were outside all day and the high temp was 29 (84 for any non Celsius people).  He was fine after an hour or so though.

When we got home I tried to stay up to watch the fireworks, but gave up about 5 minutes before they started.  I heard them and wanted to get up and look at them from my window, but I was too tired.  There's always next year for the fireworks.  All in all we had a good Canada Day.