Thursday, July 30, 2009

Algonquin Park Summary 3: Water Water everywhere

Yes, we did have rain, pockets of rain, pockets of sunshine, pockets of rain again. Still we spent lots of time at the beach, swimming and splashing in the cold "refreshing" water. William loved the splashing, so did Jadzia. Hunter was content to stay on the sand perfecting his sandcastle-building skills.

During a pocket of sunshine we optimistically rented a canoe. It began raining immediately. We joked that every time we said the word "canoe" the sky would open up again. We ended up paying for an extra day, so we could actually get some paddling time in. And we did, taking turns enjoying the quiet serenity of the water, spotting some herons, some ducks, and some Canada Geese (who I suspect were also tourists from Burlington).

Algonquin trip summary 2: a family of four in a tent.

When I say that I went camping, people inevidably ask: "Did the kids sleep okay in the tent?" Yes, is the short answer, as in "yes, they did sleep." Our sleeping arrangements were as follows: Jadzia in her playpen, me theoretically on the thermarests but nearly pushed under the playpen by William, William sleeping between me and Adam usually sideways with his arms around my neck and his feet kicking my husband's face.

Jadzia, who seemed determined to keep her regular schedule despite all the camping going on around her, went to bed first. Our ease in getting William to sleep might have something to do with keeping him up hours past his bedtime, roasting marshmallows on the fire. In William's case, "roasting" meant cuddling on someone's lap, with a dazed look in his eyes, holding a marshmallow stick so far away from the flames as to keep them eternally raw. When I offered to roast them for him he exclaimed "No, I will do it!" and when I asked if he wanted to eat the marshmallows he replied "No, marshmallows not done" or "No, marshmallows too hot."

My nephew Hunter seemed to enjoy roasting more than actually eating the marshmallows. He'd roast two at a time, usually offering one of them to my Mom or Dad, or announcing before he started "I'm roasting marshmallows, does anybody want one?" He was always on the quest for the perfect marshmallow.

After the mallows we'd take a long walk to the comfort station to use the washroom and brush our teeth. William was afraid of the loud flushing of the toilet, and would cover his face when I took him into the stall. Once my Mom, Hunter, and William got lost on the way back from the washroom and it was pouring rain and we didn't have a flashlight. Finally we found the camp office, where they gave us a map and directions.

At around ten, ten-thirty, we'd say goodnight, go into the tent, turn on our lantern, change into our pjs, and read a Robert Munsch story from the library anthology we brought with us.
Jadzia didn't wake up during any of this.

She did, however, wake up at six am to the sound of cawing grackles. Jadzia would then wake up me, then William, and then Adam. The adults were more than willing to go back to sleep, but William insisted we leave the tent to "See Hunter" and "Eat breakfast". Of course, once my daughter had woken up the rest of us, she went back to sleep until 9.

Algonquin trip summary 1: Hiking with the gang

My husband is demanding a blog entry summarizing our camping trip. Instead I think I'll write three. The camping-type excursion we engaged in the most was hiking. Each day we went on a different trail, carefully selecting the shortest loops.
All of the trails visited cliffs showing off the majesty of the park. Not being a heights person to begin with, and having a toddler along, I found myself constantly repeating "careful, careful" until my son began chanting "I will be careful. I will not be careful" as he stepped over tree-roots and around mud puddles. I stood between him and the drop-off whenever I could, but I wasn't as freaked out as I thought I would be.
I'd been on most of these hikes when we came here two summers ago, when William was the age Jadzia is now. The quiet serenity of nature was somewhat diminished this time. My family tends to fill any space it inhabits, even the great Algonquin forest. This is a good thing, lots of fun, lots of laughter, lots of love, resulting in a completely different hiking experience.
And a tip: if it has been raining, don't go on the Whiskey Rapids trail. The second half of the loop is a giant mudpie with no way around. You'd think this would be true of all the trails, but the rest were fine despite the rain.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Four Days of Grateful Things

I plan a longer entry after I've downloaded photos and such. I've been away from civilization and internet for four days camping in Algonquin. Of course I must list five things I am grateful for each day, so here's twenty:

blue herons
the deer in the blueberry field
Adam taking my nephew Hunter fishing twice, and William fishing once
Having a big gang to hike with
Having some moments just my husband and I
My Mom and her electric frying pan
My Dad and his iPod
Herman's Hermits and other oldies
Warm nights
Everyone sleeping okay in the tent
Hunter being so grown up, but still being a kid
Ice cream
The beach
A shower
Being home again

Thursday, July 23, 2009

William's computer ability

William has been watching me play on the computer since before he could crawl, and more recently he's been playing games by himself. His favourite are the ones on the Sesame Street website, what he calls "The Monster Game". He used to limit himself to games requiring only a keyboard, of which there are very few. Any time a mouse was required he would say "Mommy do it" or, if I was out of the room, scream "MOMMY HELP!"

A couple of days ago, he was busily working through a playlist of games and videos while I was feeding Jadzia in the other room. I listened attentively for the call I was sure I would hear once he reached the mouse game. Instead, I heard Big Bird's cheerful voice praising him for getting the right answer.

I now suspect he's known how to use a mouse for ages, and was pretending just so I would spend time with him. Now that his cover is blown, I can point to anything on the screen and he will click on it.

Today, I left him alone for a minute playing Sesame Street games and, when I came back, he was surfing videos on youtube! (Luckily he only found ones that were family friendly)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Kamping with a K

Kamping at KOA (Kampgrounds of America) is as much like real camping as krabmeat is like real crab. I love krabmeat, it's a lot of fun, but somehow not as authentic as the real thing. Instead of wilderness, our kampground was bordered by suburban houses, cheap motels, and a train track (a freight train drove by periodically).

Though it wasn't exactly Algonquin Park, we had a blast. My parents stayed with my nephew in one tent, with my little family of four in another. Jadzia slept like a dream in the playpen, while William cozied in between Adam and I. Our ease in getting William to sleep may have had something to do with us keeping him up past ten, roasting marshmallows by the fire. I doubt we could have gotten him to bed earlier, though, not with his favourite person in the world along. No, not me, I was talking about his cousin Hunter.

In lieu of hiking and stargazing, we swam in an indoor pool, played in a playground, took a wagon ride and sang karaoke. (Of course I sang the most, but Hunter sang too and now I've got him hooked). Hunter also road a rented big wheel bike and jumped on a giant bouncy pillow. William collected rocks. I think we could take him any place that had a gravel road and he would be happy.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Roughing it

When I first saw "computer" on Mom's packing list, right alongside "marshmallows" and "sleeping bags", I laughed. That is so not camping. Now, here I am, sitting outside in our fold-out camping chair, trying to tune out conversations about firewood, enjoying the fresh air, and blogging.

Adam says that using a computer while camping is "lame" and "defeats the purpose of going camping." He also objects to my Mom's electric frying pan. His humungous expensive camera, along with multiple lenses and tripod, is okay because it is vacation technology.

To come: A full entry on the trip, along with a 30-40 second video of my Dad and husband talking about their toys.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Two videos

Here are two videos that show evidence that my daughter is growing up, despite most of my attention being paid to her brother. The first is of Jadzia crawling, lured by a strategically placed library book. The second video, which shows off her babbling skills, is William's directorial debut.

For those of you viewing this as a note in facebook, it seems facebook imports text and photos but not videos. My facebook friends don't seem to notice what they're missing, like on the previous entry when everyone commented on the photo, without realizing that there was a toddler meltdown video to accompany it. If you're reading this on facebook, go to my blog instead. If you're reading this on my blog, don't worry, you're already here.

Monday, July 06, 2009


Jen forgot to post pictures from the event so I felt obligated to help out!
check'm out!

Adam's 2nd Annual Birthday Barbecue Pool Party

As my husband was leaving for work today he said "Don't forget to write a blog entry about the pool party yesterday and how great I am."

So what can I say? It's wonderful to have friends. Old friends, new friends, Mommy friends, toddler friends, family who are also friends, friends who have become family, friends who I haven't seen in a while, friends who I see every week, were all hanging out in my yard, in my pool, eating food that my fabulous husband barbecued.

Yes it was Adam's birthday, but we put him to work anyway, cooking burgers and Polish sausages, and shish kabobs. Grilling pineapples, and passing out handfuls of strawberries and cherries. The invite said noon until ten, so guests came in waves, the second wave arriving as the first wave left. I made a birthday cake (well, two birthday cakes) and when I asked it anyone wanted seconds almost everyone raised their hands.

Unfortunately midway through the party William started to feel sick and I had to switch out of party mode and into Mommy mode. All he wanted to do was whine and cuddle with me and nearly fall asleep in my arms. Sadly it was at this time that all his little toddler friends were there to play. At one point Leyla, a beautiful curly-haired girl who is remarkably articulate for a two-and-a-half year old, came up to us and said "William, will you come play with me?" So precious, but we had to decline.

Shortly afterward, William puked all over me and we took a quick bath together (I was already in my bathing suit). When I say quick, I mean very quick, as there was still a party going on and we only have one bathroom. I put him to bed and rejoined the party.

Back in party mode but many of the guests had left, or were about to leave. My parents and in-laws stayed the whole time though and we started a splashingfest across our above-ground pool, largely instigated by my mother-in-law who didn't bring a bathing suit but got soaking wet anyway. William started to feel better after his nap and joined in the splashing. He even felt well enough to eat an entire pint of strawberries for dinner.

The party didn't quite make it until ten, which was good, because we were all tired. Not too tired, of course, to try out the Wii Fit that I bought Adam for his birthday. The balance board weighed us and tested us. We both were given Wii ages in our forties but we were happy because, though overweight, we were both lighter than we thought we were.

On the whole a great day with great friends, great family (including poor sick William because it's kind of nice when he's all cuddly), and a great husband.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Baby John's Welcome Shin-dig

I just went to a playdate/baby shower at my friend Columbia's house. 2 babies, 3 women, 3 toddlers, and a twelve-year-old. Officially, we were welcoming our friend Jessica's new baby John to the world (he's a month old and makes Jadzia look like a giant), but for some reason he didn't seem to notice there was a party going on at all.

You might imagine that many toddlers would be less relaxing than only one toddler, but I find the opposite to be true. It's nice to have friends who occupy the same circle of hell as you do. Not that having children is hell, there is much joy. I'm just glad it was someone else's child who got nail polish on the couch (because it could just have easily been mine).

We did trash Columbia's place a bit. I tried to help tidy up, but I have dyspurgatia (like dyslexia, only with cleaning and yes, I made that word up). Everyone's coming to my house for a bbq on the weekend, though, so I'll get my pay back.

Thanks Columbia, you're amazing.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Happy Canada Day

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear Canada
Happy birthday to you!
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