Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Maiden Voyage

So, maybe it wasn't a true maiden voyage; since both Will and I went camping as kids, and one of our first trips together was a biking/camping weekend, but this was our first time camping in a million years (or close to it) and with our new tent (and a multitude of other new gear), and - most importantly - with the girls.

We decided to go somewhere close, and to go just for one night, to try things out.  Vivian had been asking every day since we told her if today was the day we were going to go CAMPING!

We packed up our gear Saturday morning, headed out, and stopped pretty much immediately for lunch, and then drove up to Racoon Creek National Park.  The drive took just under an hour, which is just what we wanted in case we had to break camp and head home for some reason.

Just before we left, we realized why Annelee had been extremely whiney and clingy all morning ... she was running a slight fever and probably not feeling too great.  We decided to go ahead anyways, it's not like she would've gone to bed and rested if we had stayed home.

We arrived around 3pm, found our camp spot and set up tent.  All sites had in the camping ground had a paved "driveway" for the car (or RV, if one had that kind of thing), and a fire pit.  The quality of the different spots varied widely, ours was ok, but I think we'd pick a different one next time.  We set up the folding chairs so the girls could watch us and then put up the tent, which overall went very smoothly.

Then, we set out to buy firewood and throw rocks into the nearby lake (Vivian had thrown rocks into a creek on a hike a few weeks back and apparently that is the funnest! activity! ever!).

After that, we headed back to camp and made dinner.  Annelee didn't seem to be feeling so well, so after dinner (hot dogs, corn, baked beans) I took her temperature again and it was 104.2F.  Yikes!  We contemplated going home.  And staying.  And going home.  Finally, we figured out how we would get to a hospital should we feel the need (even though we didn't in all seriousness think we would, it was nice to have that peace of mind of knowing where to go) and stayed.  Vivian was eager to roast marshmallows (this activity may even beat throwing stones in a lake), so we did that.  Then, I put both girls to bed around 8.30pm, and after some chattering and wiggling the amazing thing happened ... they actually went to sleep.

Will and I stayed up, watched the fire, chatted, and just enjoyed sitting there, relaxing.  Finally, the fire burnt down and we went to bed around 11.30pm.

At 1am, Annelee woke up screaming and hot and with no binky in sight.  We scrambled and searched and finally found the binky, gave her some Tylenol, cuddled, and everyone went back to sleep.  Rinse and repeat that same scenario at 4.30am.  I'm sure our tent neighbors were cursing us.  Annelee did fall asleep in (on) my arms again, but I couldn't get comfortable and stayed awake.  Then, at 5.30am, everyone was up.  It was getting light, the birds were chirping, Annelee's fever appeared to have broken and she was happy again, Vivian (who never wakes up at night to go to the bathroom) woke up to go potty.  And much giggling ensued.  Especially every time a big crow made noise near the tent and Annelee would pop up and point and babble (I'm pretty sure she was trying to say noisy bird).  Very soon after Will stated the obvious that no one was going to go back to sleep, a miracle happened, and the girls quietened down and we ALL went back to sleep until 8am. 

Both Will and I agreed that this was not the most restful night ever, but probably the most comfortable one that we had ever spent in a tent.  And no doubt the most fun either one of us had ever had at 5.30am in the morning.  Not that we are looking for a repeat performance.  Once is enough!

We got up, Will cooked breakfast (sausage, French toast, coffee), and then we proceeded to break camp and headed down to the beach before driving home.  Contrary to what we expected, people were already swimming in the lake, so the girls and I changed into our "babysoups" and went into the water. 

Finally, after that, it was time to head home.  Annelee fell asleep in no time, and the rest of us had lunch when we got home, we unpacked, and still had the afternoon to relax.

What a great first camping trip.

We can't wait until this weekend's trip with the Tiemans and Siegerts!

To quote the Vee:  CAMPING!!!!!

Setting up the tent

At the lake

The obligatory racoon photo

Vivian lights the fire

Annelee hangs out with Daddy

Annelee LOVES those chairs

Dinner time!

A suddenly chilly Annelee

I asked Will to take some photos of me and he did ... I didn't realize he was taking close-ups!

Pretty darn cute for a sick baby

Chilling in the car while we pack up camp

At the lake

Ready - Set - Go!

Always in motion in the water

Yay - water!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Boxed in ... again

As is becoming a little tradition, Will got framed pictures of the kids in boxes for his birthday.  Annelee was initially not pleased about being stuck in a box, and this is almost the photo that got framed:

Why do you hate me?  Get me out of here!!!
Luckily, when we tried again, Vivian wanted to go first and then of course, Annelee wanted to go, too! 

Seriously outgrowing that little box
This is fun - exactly what I always wanted to do!
Happy Birthday, Daddy-o!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Round Hill Park & Farm

As we were driving to Anne's house in Virginia to drop her off, the kids could not get enough of the cows and horses we saw in the fields to the left and right of the road.  So, we spontaneously decided to use our free Monday and take the girls to a working farm about 40 mins from Pittsburgh, and then out to lunch.  We didn't get to see horses up close, but we saw a frog, a cat, goats, cows (including two calves), a pig, chickens, sheep, geese and ducks, and it was quite nice.  We'll have to come back on a nice, but not too warm day so we get to walk around more.

My photographer's heart was happy even before we entered the farm when we spotted this frog :)

We started with some more familiar critters ...

... then moved onto the baby cows.

We passed the sheep several times

I'm sure if this pig knew how gleefully Vivian shouts "Piggy!!!" when we serve her bacon, she wouldn't have been so relaxed during our visit!


Peeking in

I could've spent all day here.  And I wanted to take one home.

The scenery is also very enjoyable

Checking where the animals are

Pre-lunch artwork

Love the concentration!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Lunch in Linden

As always, the weekend was over too soon.  But, on the way home, we managed to swing by Aunt Betsy, Uncle Mike and Cousin Nick's house for lunch.  We had a lovely time (and yummy food) and then left just as nap time rolled around and managed to be back home for dinner.

Until the next time!

A brief binky-theft for purposes of the photo

Coloring with Aunt Betsy and Uncle Mike

You know it's nap time when she needs a binky AND her belly button to soothe herself  :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Saturday in Virginia

As is becoming tradition, much of the family congregated at Susan & Dan's house to hang out and have some yummy food. Anne, Casey and Ernie were all there on Saturday. 

For the first time, Annelee was so relaxed around these "strangers" that Will, Anne, Casey, Ernie and I left Susan and Dan with both our kids for lunch and a nap (Annelee).  They had a fun picnic up in the tree house and Annelee did very well.  Vivian always does well when Aunt Susan is around  :)  We went for lunch at Coastal Flats (oh, how I miss the Great American Restaurants) and enjoyed only taking care of our own food.

Vivian loved the tree house, so we had to go up there several times, Susan and Casey did playdoh with her, we all had scrumptious food, and enjoyed the nice weather.

I also took some photos of "Senior Sam", but those will have to wait for another post.

Susan, Vivian, and the ever present pink and blue bunnies
With Aunt Casey

Preparing food. Of course!

Uncle Ernie

Taking care of her baby
Leaf tossing in the tree house.  You'd be amazed for how long that entertained her!


Anne relaxing

Very focused on the glitter coloring book

Someone needed to be restrained to prevent her from jumping off Mommy's lap!