I had a play date with my daycare friend Reece. We got to go to the Children’s Museum and McDonalds Playland and to see Daddy at the Apple Store.
As we’ve discussed in previous weeks and even though we’re still in the thick of some seriously cold and merciless winter, plans for Wolfie’s camping season have really begun in earnest. We’ve already booked our first outing for the Victoria Day long weekend. Danielle and I managed to have both the Friday and Monday off work as well as the weekend, so we will have four, glorious days over the maiden weekend voyage of our 2014 camping season.
We chose a state park in Michigan just across the border at Sarnia on the shores of Lake Huron. We picked a location in the US because there are some supplies we’ve been looking for, for the trailer that the only place we’ve found them at, ship to Canada at a severe premium. So, this first trip is about dressing Wolfie up with new things as much as it is about making our clothes smell like campfire.
The park is called Lakeport State Park and is on the shores of one of our great lakes. It looks to have nice beaches and a lot of nature to explore. It also boasts ranger-patrolled evenings of quiet time which while some people we’d seen online complain about, appeals to us, after the fiasco last year in Niagara Falls when we tried to get Emelia to sleep while they ran an outdoor dance party till 11pm at the Rec centre that our trailer was one hundred feet from. Quiet nights appeal to us… All I ever want to hear is the crickets and crackles of camp fire at night anyway. And maybe the odd crack of the lid of a wobbly pop or two?
Not the second trip chronologically but the one we have booked second also got a lot more settled this last week. Our annual trip to the Wolfe Island Music Festival got fleshed out too. Last year we got the trailer just ahead of the trip and as thus quickly cobbled together a few days here and there at parks we could find campsites still available at. Sandbanks the one we’ve heard so much about literally had zero availability so it was a definite No last year. This year with six months in front of us we were able to get a site at the park for the entire week prior to the weekend festival an hour down the road in Kingston. It means a lot less packing and unpacking and moving on. And it means a lot more maxim’ & relaxin’ that week. Really looking forward to that trip! We always do! It will be our fifth year attending the festival and it’s been a highlight of every year.
The other trip we’re looking into is perhaps off to Ottawa around Canada Day to see what that is like in our nation’s capital. But, also to visit our pal Jim and his family who live just outside of Ottawa. I am really hoping that we can make that trip a reality. Both Danielle and I have separately been to Ottawa, and together, but Emelia has never had the opportunity so we’re excited for her to see it. But ultimately the part I am most excited about with that trip is seeing our friend Jim and his family, as well as his slice of life he has there, along with his super cool new backyard shed studio!
We still have a few other possible weekends to think about and make trips out of, but those will be more planned on a whim when we see a weekend or three day weekend that we can squeeze a trip out of Wolfie. But all this talk and planning camping has really lessened the grips that winter has had on us so impressively long and hard this year. It’s hard to be convinced that winter won, when in a month’s time we’re looking at pulling Wolfie out of her hibernation.
This week was about dreaming about warmer weather. Another blast of extreme cold meant another week of keeping the kids inside, another week of blustery school runs and trying to make quick order of it. Even the kids are getting fed up with this never ending winter.
So this week John and I booked some of our summer camping. We still have to decide on a location for July but we are booked now for the Victoria Day weekend in Michigan and the week leading into Civic Long Weekend in August at Sandbanks in Prince Edward County.
Michigan was chosen for a specific purpose. When we got Wolfie last year the first thing I did was ask friends who have experience camping what do we need for our new camper. I had never really camped without my parents, although John and I both love camping and went a lot as children we were very green to the experience as adults. So we asked around and we got lot of various advice, but we had a list quickly.
Since our trailer is very small we knew that the first thing we would need would be to expand our outside living space:
- We would need a dining tent (thanks to my best friend Kelli we have one for this coming season as they had a spare)
- We would need a portable BBQ (we have one we are going to get at Costco that we will get in the next few weeks)
- We need camping pots (found some a MEC that we will get soon)
- An outdoor RV mat that would help keep the trailer clean (we found that this weekend at Costco for ½ the price I had seen it anywhere online)
- We need an outdoor prep table (still looking for the perfect one)
- And finally, and most importantly, we need an awning… We found after a bit of research with a company that specializes in vintage trailer awnings and accessories. So this week I will be calling them and seeing what lead time they need to assure we have one in place for May
So back to my original point… the reason we choose to camp in Michigan in May was simply the awning, shipping of the awning to Canada was double compared to the US, add in duty and brokerage and we would be paying likely more than $100 more for the same awning when all is said and done. So with Michigan only an hour away why not make a weekend of it? We can claim the awning with no duty because we will have been gone long enough. Food, gas, alcohol and campsites are cheaper in Michigan so it really was a no brainer to make this trip for the May long weekend. I will be booking the Friday off the daycare as well so we can take our time getting going in the morning. Although I am sure we will be quite anxious to get going and break in Wolfie for our first camping trip of 2014.
The other big thing going on in my world, well the daycare part of it is a looming bill that will change how my daycare life will exist and well how daycare will be in this province. Bill 143 has been weighing heavy on the minds of most people I know who run daycares. If it passes (and if the Liberals and NDP parties have their way it will and fast) it will greatly impact my ability to make a living proving care for my wee ones and being home with Emelia before and after school. It is certainly scary right now to know that although I have been following all the laws set in this province and going above and beyond providing excellent care that one bill could take that all way. Time will tell.
As a positive distraction and a gentle reminder of why I love what I do, I had one of my former daycare boys with me for the afternoon on Saturday. This family and I have become close and I love the friendship I have with mom. She and I have so much in common and can spend hours chatting with ease. And I adore her little boy.
Reece was always what Norma and I joked as Emelia’s fake little brother. Of all my daycare kids Emelia and Reece spent more time together one on one. Reece was often my first one here and the last pick up so he and Emelia had lots of time to play just the two of them. That also meant I had an even stronger bond with Reece. Not that I have not bonded with all my kids, I love them all but I always had a soft spot in my heart for their entire family. I have been so fortunate the amazing families that have come into my life because of the last 6+ years of providing care. So Emelia had been wanting to have a playdate with Reece so I offered to take Reece for the afternoon to just that.
That was my week, trying to plan for a future that I don’t even know what it will look like but as always trying to focus on the positive and focusing for now on time as a family in our little 13 foot portable cottage.