There's a new Boba in town...
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Inspired (and encouraged) by our friends (Kelly, Truman, Isabel and Amelia) who were inspired by their friends (Sharon, Lydia, Emma and Raina), we threw our camping gear and a bunch of food into the car and drove an hour and a half northwest to Rock Cut State Park. It was sort of an impromptu trip, proposed on Sunday, giving us very little time to debate, but when I mentioned it to the boys, they were both totally keen to do it. We packed up and left Monday morning, and spent only one night there, returning late Tuesday evening.
Our camera is on the fritz, so I had to rely on the phone's mediocre shots to document the trip. But at least I've got some evidence of it all. And Sharon posted all of her photos on Facebook, so I snagged a couple of them for moments I missed. Thanks, Sharon!
En route: every trip to the country must include a stop at Farm and Fleet.
Kelly and Sharon had both arrived the night before and had set up camp already, so we set up as quickly as we could so that we could join in on all the fun. They had already had a big day by the time we arrived, having been to the lake for kayaking and paddle-boating, so they were content to hang around the campsite for a while.
Tent up. Otto says "How."
The kids enjoyed a rare sighting of the marshmallus maximus (thanks, Dad, for identifying this rare specimen!).
There was also this extremely large caterpillar, which I think we've identified as a Luna Moth caterpillar.
(Photo by Sharon.)
The five girls all headed to the beach with Sharon, but the boys elected to stay around the campsite and explore.
We decorated our parking spot.
The boys really liked pumping water.
And they spent a long time just hanging out in their "clubhouse," which turns out to be either of the two tents, which were right next to each other, only about ten feet from door to door. Kelly and I sat and snacked and listened to the boys hushed tones while we talked in hushed tones of our own.
The girls returned, wet and sandy and triumphant from a lovely afternoon at the lake. We started the fire and made a delicious dinner of hot dogs, brats, potatoes and onions in foil, macaroni and cheese and finished with a dessert of s'mores (we actually started with an appetizer of s'mores too, come to think of it). It was too dark to capture the food, and I didn't even try to get the fire, but perhaps you can sense the atmosphere. (Thanks to Kelly, we had a lovely centerpiece of candles.)
We all went to bed somewhere between 10 and 11, the boys and I read some more of our book, something else I relish about camping trips: reading by lantern light while snuggled up in the sleeping bags. It was actually a bit hot to snuggle, but the boys wanted to do it anyway. We heard the girls getting ready for bed in the neighboring tent, and they came over to try to scare us with weird noises. They were indeed scary and even made me jump once with some surprising scratching. It's really interesting to see how they all tease each other, how they both want nothing to do with each other and cannot leave each other alone. But Max and Otto were definitely done with the teasing for the night and wanted nothing to do with it. I suppose it was our lack of reaction which made the experience less interesting for the girls, and they eventually left us to our reading.
Waking up in the tent is my favorite part of camping. I woke up really early, around 5:15 or so, and I tried to go back to sleep, cuddling up with my two cuties, but the light streaming into the tent and the smell of the morning air and the really loud chirping of birdies would not let me. So I behaved like the modern camper I was and got out my phone to check in with the rest of the world. I was checking email and posting some pictures when I heard a familiar clicking sound coming from the neighboring tent. I texted the following to Kelly: "Do I hear you texting?" And shortly after heard a giggle from her tent and received a text back: "Ha ha! Yes!"
Followed a bit later by, "When do we get started on pancakes? I am starving!" This gave me the incentive I needed to get out there and get back to the camping part of the camping trip! The boys slept, even as I crept off the air mattress and all the way through the assembling of the campstove, the mixing of the pancakes, the heating of the milk.
They finally emerged and joined me for hot chocolate and some freshly made pancakes.
We had to make them one at a time, as my previous attempts to make them in threes resulted in one big clover like pancake that did not flip very well (I had only brought a small and ineffective spatula—next time I need to bring my regular flipper!).
It also took me a while to get the temperature just right, and several times the flame went out altogether, without my knowledge, which was very frustrating and slowed us down quite a bit. Eventually, we had a nice plate of pancakes to take to our friends.
There was a bit of drama, as the boys were hanging out in one of their clubhouses and decided a fun activity would be to rip up one of Amelia's magazines (in their defense, they said they just hate Justin Biber). Amelia was distraught, and she and Truman were really upset with each other. It became clear to everyone that Truman needed a change of pace (he had been eager to leave the campsite the night before and only agreed to stay because sleep overwhelmed him).
So we cleaned up as fast as we could, and we all loaded up in the cars and drove to the lake. The boys sat in the back of our car, with the trunk door open as we drove. I hadn't realized it would be so far, and driving at the necessary 10 miles an hour to ensure no one fell out and cracked open their heads meant that it took us about 20 minutes to get there. Kelly followed in the van with all the girls, and there was a serious girl/boy smack down, where they waved their hands at each other and shouted inflammatory remarks. It's weird how this aspect of my boys only seems to emerge when we are with Truman and his sisters—there is such a built in rivalry between them already, and my kids key into it and run with it. It's funny and disappointing in the same breath.
We made it to the lake, but the boys were more keen to hang out in the cafe, where there was wi-fi access. Truman checked in on his Club Penguin account, and Max and Otto played on their DSis, or looked on to see what Truman was finding out online. We all joked about how funny it was that we drove all the way out to the country in order to find a somewhat crummy cafe with wi-fi access so that the boys could do exactly what they might be doing at home.
(Photo by Sharon.)
But we did finally make it out to the dock and onto our own paddle boat. Here we watched the girls coming in from their ride.
And then we were off!
Or sort of. Truman had seen us pull away from the dock and then decided he wanted to join us, so we went back to the dock to pick him up, but then when we got out on the water, he decided he was ready to return to the cafe. Max was extremely frustrated by this, as he felt like we had gone back and forth from the dock our whole ride (we had also returned once more for Kelly, who joined us too). It was good that Kelly was there, though, as I am not sure how I would have handled Truman without her. She explained to him that we had been ferrying back and forth for our whole ride and that we needed to have some fun out on the water before we returned. It was a bit difficult, though, since Truman was really an unhappy passenger.
And so we eventually turned back and went back to the dock. Luckily, we spotted another rare specimen upon our return, which delighted both boys and distracted them from a less than satisfactory boat ride. We will call it the orangus crushicus. It shows definite signs of living in an unfit habitat.
But it still oozed orange when we opened it up.
We went back to the campsite and packed up, then we stopped by the lake for a final outing before we would all drive back to Chicago. Max practiced his headstands, his favorite beach activity.
(Photo by Sharon.)
And the boys hung out in the water together.
(Another lovely moment captured by Sharon.)
It is interesting to me to see how mostly my boys stick together, and even Sharon commented to me about their lovely relationship. When I am around other families, I am reminded of how easily our lives flow because they do in general get along so well together, they have the same interests, they play the same games. We never divide up so that one boy can do one thing and the other do something else, which of course makes my life easier, since they both need to have me around at almost all times. There are some issues, of course, and Max will often become frustrated by how much Otto wants to watch movies (forgetting that at Otto's age, Max required more screen time himself), and of course there are occasional punches. But all in all, they stick together. And I hope they will for a long time.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
I've just posted a big lot of his pajamas on CraigsList. We are finally ready to start parting with some baby/kid stuff, since it seems like we will just be a wonderfully happy family of four. I always give the kids the CraigsList money, which makes them even more agreeable to part with things, but it's still pretty difficult for them, especially Otto.
These PJs are all from a recent cleaning out of Otto's closet, since he has grown a bit and doesn't fit into any of these any more--why did I buy so many in this size? Why didn't I anticipate a sudden growth spurt? There are even a few more pairs that were too shabby to sell—I was astonished at the multitude!
We made a little envelope for Otto and he has decorated it with pictures of a new DSi, which he plans to buy with all the money we will make selling his old clothes, several different slings, and some other carriers (we had so many of these!) as well as board books and some toys they are finally ready to part with. (Not many, of course, but a few.) The idea of a new DSi certainly helps Otto reach this decision.
In other news...our refrigerator died. It's funny how sad it makes Otto to part with anything at all from our life. He doesn't like change, and even when we finish the attic (will we ever finish the attic?, you may wonder), he thinks we should still keep the bedroom down here just as it is and just add another bedroom upstairs—"we can have two beds!" Along these lines, he thinks he would like to keep the non-working refrigerator in the basement. We are a family of hoarders! But my goal for this year is to declutter, and by gosh, we're doing it!