Monday, June 25, 2007

Postcards From A Spontaneous Outdoorsman...

Well, two days ago my uncle (via email) asked me what provincial park Kim and I used to go camping at. In my my obsessive need to help, I went a little further than simply stating the campground - I not only provided a link to the place, but also a link to the site we usually visit along with a very detailed description of why we love it so much and why we always choose the same site.

...I must have done a good job in my description of 'selling' the place because I haven't been able to get the idea of camping off my mind since.

It started with the reminiscing of great times we had there...

...The first time I had ever been truly 'roughing' it. Kim took me there our first summer together (11 years ago) along with her dad, step mom, brother, his g-friend (now wife) and 2 sisters. This was the first time that I experienced complete and utter relaxation. I woke up (either the first or second morning) to the most amazing feeling of having absolutely nothing to do that day other than sit around and read (which leads me to a whole other story of 'borrowing' Kim's sister's book while she was out fishing and not wanting to give it back - Thanks again for the book Lyndsay!)

...Since then we have been back every few summers - with family, with friends, and friends & family, and technically even Gord as the last time we were there Gordo was 5 months in gestation (and as it happens we were there with Celia too as her folks joined us for a few nights while she was swimming away in the belly).

There is just something about sticking with what works. The site I first stayed at is the site we always returned to (although, I seem to recall perhaps staying at a site across the path, but it obviously doesn't stick out in my mind). I figure once I like something, why chance the change.

So having been thinking about all the great times, I started second guessing our decision to wait until the boy (et al) are a little older and more outdoorly manageable. We knew last summer that a) campgrounds are peaceful places, and no one wants to hear the cries of a breastfed baby, and b) there was no way we could keep Gord amused long enough, or let alone safe from all the edible dirt goodies that lay under his creeping belly. This thought process continued into this year. (Not to mention we are taking a week holidays next week while we visit family up North, and a second week of holidays later in July when Kim and I escape the parenthood routine and make a retreat to Northern Michigan). What I started to realize however is that Gord is now a pretty good sleeper, sleeping at least 13.5 hours a day - waking rarely in the night (I say this moments after having to go into his room to reinsert the soother!), is no longer breastfed and eats anything we do, and most importantly, he LOVES being outside - he has a swing that oh so conveniently ties to any tree branch and a portable blow up pool that can also keep him entertained for hours (ok, technically he doesn't have this yet, but is something that I would SO have to pick up because he loves his little plastic pool).

We started talking about all the ways that it could actually work. If we were camping, we would simply enjoy the outdoors and let Gord experience the wonder that is nature. Take him to the beach, the park, the trails, and let him explore are campsite (and of course spend a lot of time in the swing!). I also did a little investigating into tent options tonight as our current tent would not be a practical sleeping arrangement. I figured we would get one of those multi room tents that would fit his playpen on one half, and us in the other. Then I came across this little beauty, and the thing sold itself. It's even got a 3rd little 'play' room.

Am I starting to sound a little obvious? Look out mother nature, we're going camping!

August 6th - August 9th - Booked!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Postcards From The Bestest June of 2007...

June eh...Wow the time is flying. (For instance, it has been 20 minutes since I finished that last/first line - I better pick up the pace.)

So, my house wife is still working out ok. I don't think I have been to the grocery store in the last few weeks so I'm liking that. The only complaint I suppose is the mama's boy that has suddenly taken over my son. The thought of me giving him his bottle after his bath sends him into full on tantrum. We'll need to remedy that soon.

What else... well it has been a pretty busy month. After our failed attempt back in April, we finally got around to visiting our friends in Ottawa. While we were dreading the drive, Gord surprised us and handled it quite well so it made for a good start. It was great to see our friends, but who's kidding who, we were all anxious to see the kiddies get together again.

Perhaps I should back it up a little and make note of our visit a few days prior from my Bro-in-law, his wife and their daughter (our adorable niece) Alex, (oh, and how could I forget Rudy). They made a very impromptu visit from Barrie on Dave's days off. Alex is 8 months old and it was great to be reminded of Gord when he was that young. We had a good visit and got to spend some quality time with the niece - especially considering she stayed up with us past 11pm.

So, needless to say, Gord being the senior by 10 months, was showing off all his 18 month old abilities. I was a proud pop seeing my boy strutt his stuff with a polished swagger... salute and bid farewell with precise phonetic and grammatical accuracy... and chew his meal like the denticulate he is (with one small exception being the jarred baby fruit we still feed him as my 'big' boy hasn't mastered swallowing fruit directly from the source - though he does eat apples, the term 'eat' is used quite loosely as he tends to simply spit out the actual bites that he has secured in his mouth... he just likes to hold the apple in his two hands and feel the power his new set of teeth bring with them.) But yes, a skilled toddler he was.

On another illustrious side note, Gord had been very impressive with his constantly evolving vocabulary. Having already mastered the meet and greet, he was flying through his first words book rhyming off the usual 'ball', 'kitty' and 'duck' while of course stopping and giving kisses on the page with the picture of the little girl (... ok, and the boy page too... 'not that there is anything wrong with that...'). However a more notable achievement being that he was simply able to get his message across (though often limiting the words to a single syllable or two). Nonetheless, we had two way communication in our house, and it was awesome!

So back to our arrival in Ottawa...I knew Celia was a girl wonder, but I was not prepared for the differences that were about to present themselves.

These are just a few samples from the weekend...

Celia - "Stop that - bad girl"

Gordon - "Gawghgh" (That means downstairs in all Gordospeak)

Celia - "Cauliflower"

Gordon - "Ee-oh" (That means video)

Celia - "Baby sleeping, wake up"

Gordon - "sshhhhh" with finger pressed to mouth. (that too means baby is sleeping)

I wonder if any of this is correlated to the fact that Celia's parents have several library stack walls of truly classic literary specimens that represent a fraction of the books that they have both read over their lifetime, while Kim and I's total book count can be displayed on two hands (and one entire hand represents 'Christopher Pike' novels)?? But hey, Gord can tell Celia all about "Lost"when they get older!

Ok, but in all fairness (to Gord), Celia is a month and a half older... and I'm grasping at straws here, but when you take into account that Celia was 'late' and Gord was 3 weeks early, hell, it's almost illegal for them to be in the same bathtub (which of course took place because what's cuter than two toddlers trying to figure out why one has an 'inny' and the other an 'outy'. . . I'm talking about belly buttons here of course... Gord has the 'inny'.).

But yes, Celia was a true sweetheart and we were all happy to get to see her again.

The grown up time was also very enjoyable. With the exception of a visit when I was 7, neither Kim or I had ever seen Ottawa, so it was great to see what all the fuss was about - it being our Capital and all. My word that we were there is all you get as the evidence of our big sight seeing day can only be found in our mental photo album as forgot the camera. Actually, that's not true... We do have some pictures from our day at the Museum of Civilization, where we spent our time in the Children's Museum component...

...and just so there is proof that we were in fact in Ottawa, (or here I guess technically near Ottawa as we are actually in Quebec here):

The ride back was good... we opted to drive at night so that we could make it back in 5 solid hours while Gord slept.

Holy crap. It's midnight and I still have Father's day to write about, Gord's new addiction (read tantrum inducer if we even hint that it's time to stop), not to mention the fun filled day that was TODAY to make note of... and perhaps an honourable mention about the parents that have been staying with us for the last 2 weeks... I will have to pull an 'update' to this post tomorrow morning - too much excitement for one night of blog posting mayhem... Hey I don't just pull titles out of my ass... When I say "Bestest June of 2007", I mean it! Till then.
(And that also means I ain't proof reading, so dele whith the spelin misstakes).

Ok, so where was I...

So we got back Sunday night (technically Monday morning), and my parents had already arrived. They are taking a course here in London so they are staying with us during the week for 2 weeks (finishing up tomorrow). It's been really nice having them around. It's a good preview of what is to come when they move to their new house across the street in September.

In a completely counterintuitive move as a thank you for Kim and I painting their rental property here in London (which we did so they could save the money and not pay a painter to do it), they went and purchased this little backyard babysitter...

It's a blessing and a curse. While it is great for entertaining Gord for hours on end... once he gets in, it's a hell of a time getting him out. I really need to work my sales magic on this kid and sell him on the idea of leaving the swing for something even more exciting. If he isn't completely convinced there is something better waiting for him either elsewhere in the yard, or in the house, he ain't going anywhere.

The first two nights almost caused us to return the damn thing. The first night, he didn't get a chance to try it out until shortly before bed. As a result of the lateness and the soothing swinging motion, he fell asleep...

Well, when we tried to take him out for his bath, he wouldn't stand for it. It was not an easy wash in the tub that night.

Day 2: We ended up going out for dinner because we knew that as soon as we got home from daycare, all he would want to do is swing, and we were not prepared for 3 hours of swinging or the struggle that would result if we needed to peel him off for dinner... so out for dinner we went.

When we got home, of course, right to the swing. It's so funny though, and with no exaggeration this kid immediately following a request for a push (which sounds more like 'book') and before my hand could leave the swing, his head was cocked, and he was out...

Even worse than the night before, the boy went in to hyperventilation as we tried to bath him. A new strategy was required - hence the attempts at bribing which followed in the subsequent trips to the swing.

Ultimately things have improved. He now realizes that a) he doesn't go to bed after every swingtime adventure, and b) he can swing on that thing as much as he wants (within reason of course) as it literally is the least we can do for him as he is happy as a clam and there is virtually no effort on our part to keep him entertained with the exception of a few hardy pushes every so often. It gives us a good excuse to sit outside (beer in hand of course), and enjoy the great weather.

... and speaking of great weather, this weekend was no exception. Saturday was a typical saturday, but Sunday... oh Sunday.

I'll begin by recalling my first Father's Day last year. Pay special attention to the paragraph that reads:
"So, I ended up lying in bed for about an hour (sleeping off and on), waiting for this first father's day coffee in bed."

So, this year was going to be my year. Especially considering two years now Kim has had Gord arrive in the morning coffee in hand to wake his sleeping creator... and this year, he even brought in a guitar to serenade her while she gently rubbed the sleeping dust from her eyes and sipping a steaming brew.

In the days leading up to the big day, Gord had been sleeping in until 7:30, so we were counting on that again Sunday (more so for Kim as surely I was going to be allowed a little extra sleep). However, Gord must have been to excited for his daddy's special day and woke shortly before 6am. Kim was gracious enough to accept the early rise and brought Gord downstairs while I soak in a little more zz's. 7:40ish, in a similar fashion as last year, I drift in and out of consciousness awaiting my tremendously anticipated coffee in bed and my beaming boy... and I am woken even further with, "GORD, NO... Gord, come back down..." THUD! (That was the sound of Gord crashing through our bedroom doors with his mother chasing him... empty handed. 1 out of 2 ain't bad and I was excited to see my boy run up to the bedside to great me with a hearty "Hi Daddy!". Alas... another year with no coffee.

We make our way back downstairs where I eventually sip on a well prepared coffee (as Kim was gracious enough to save the last of the flavoured cream for my coffee).

Gord gave me a super cute picture pillow (with a picture of him of course) so I can take it with me when I am out of town for my several annual conferences. I also got a few CD's and another picture of Gord framed from the daycare.

While the day was beginning to look like a leisurely day around the house, the idea that we lived 30 minutes from a beach town occurred to us. So, off to Port Stanley we went...

We returned mid afternoon and had a mini picnic in the back (refer to the note above stating the ease of care that it takes to keep Gord happy in the backyard).

The day progressed elegantly and Kim made a great dinner. Gord was exhausted from his big day and went down effortlessly (as usual).

Ok... now to get completely caught up.

Yesterday began as any other day. Gord was home and Kim was attempting to plan for the day when the daily forecast gave her an idea. The weather was going to be sunny but not too hot. Low 20's. This made it a great day for being out in the Sun... but not just any Sun... The Sun that shone on Canada's Wonderland!

We wanted to make the visit this summer, and more particularly in June before all the school kiddies were let out. With little time left and the fact that we wouldn't be too hot walking around the park all day made it a great idea to jump in the car and make the 2 hour trek Eastward. Gord didn't end up napping but that didn't stop him from having a whole lot of fun.

The weatherman wasn't lying and the day was great. There were few line ups and truthfully, we didn't even ride on too many rides. Gord was happy to ride on the Trains, the Helicopter, and an Airplane.

Unfortunately, the battery died on our way to the helicopter ride.

The battery was also dead for the second event of the day. We got back from Wonderland in time to head off to the daycare picnic in the evening. Gord had a chance to run around with his friends and we got to see how super cute little kids are when they try to play with each other.

He of course was exhausted when he got home for good and he bathed and bedded easily. Of course his 'Mommy' had to give him his bottle though... but that's ok, cause I get all the truly fun times anyhow...

Friday, June 01, 2007

Postcards From The Good 'Ol Days...

Well, I got me a good 'Ol fashion house wife. We'll see how long it lasts, but so far so good.

With no students to run her crazy experiments on, or with, or whatever she does, Kim is now officially off for the summer. I say officially because anytime in the last month or so that I popped in on her at work she was busy doing nothing... But as of today, no more trying to look busy.

We probably would have celebrated a little more last night if I wasn't feeling as crappy as I was. I came down with something the other day and it's just bad enough to keep me horizontal on the couch and gain a little sympathy from the wife. Mainly a headache with some serious body aches. Not fun. Nonetheless, we couldn't kick off the summer holiday in true celebratory fashion so we will have to make up for it this weekend.

I am starting to feel better and I wonder how much of that has to do with it being Friday... especially after my fun little road adventure just hours ago...

This morning I had an appointment out of town so it worked out well for me getting the boy off to daycare. This allowed Kim an opportunity to truly enjoy her first day off with a coffee and a little Regis & Kelly. After dropping Gord off and making a few pit stops I started feeling a little icky in the stomach - motion sickness style. While not officially having a flu or true flu like symptoms up to this point, I trekked on. The thought of driving 2 hours however was enough to make me think fast - pull over and yack on the side of the road, or pull a "U"ey and bust it home. I opted for the latter and quickly backtracked, all the while looking for anything that could offer itself as a 'barfbag'. Not even an empty coffee cup was in sight so I knew I needed to get myself home. I couldn't help but think of the series of events that was about to take place - pulling into the drive way, jumping out, running up to the front door, bolting to the bathroom sink and letting go... however I got a little ahead of myself and my stomach was convinced I skipped the first 4 steps and was ready to let loose. After a few very hard swallows, I couldn't stop it. Up it came.

Remember the lack of items that resembled anything close to a puke pouch? Well, with my mouth full I somehow closed my throat and forced the remaining contents of my stomach that was so violently trying to escape to make its way back down my esophagus, keeping the delinquent discharge in my mouth to a minimum. I quickly spat out the partially digested dayquil and continued home.

So yeah, I am feeling a little better now.

But yes, if you don't have one already, I highly recommend you get yourself a house wife. They rock! So far, Kim has done 3 loads of laundry, changed the bedding, made up the dinner list for the upcoming week, got the groceries, emptied the dishwasher, watered the flowers outside, prepared for dinner (including chopping up the broccoli and cauliflower, peeling potatoes having them ready to go in the pot, prepared a roast which is currently in the oven), and is now out at RONA picking out tile for our kitchen renovations and will be picking up Gord from daycare on the way home. Oh, and she also made me lunch and brought it down to me in my office while I was on a conference call. I hope this lasts.

...and on that note, the fam should be walking through the door any minute, so I should get back on the couch and milk me a little more 'sympathy' while I can.