This weekend we spent three days camping in Wolfie, I got to put my feet in the lake, play at the playground all by myself and even made a new friend named Lizzy. I had Daddy home for three days and I am very sad that we have to take him to the train station tomorrow to say good bye again. Mommy and daddy keep telling me it is only for three sleeps but I don’t care, I don’t like Daddy being away.
What a whirlwind of events! As I just tweeted: Friday I was in San Francisco. Saturday morning I was in Toronto, then London, then Fort Gratiot Michigan. We spent the next three days there. Then, today we were back in London. And tomorrow I am back in Toronto for the week. I am not sure what time zone I am in, what currency I am using, much less which outfit to wear. But, the best part was that after two weeks away, I was back with my two favourite ladies in the world. While this house, and then Wolfie are my favourite places in the world, the arrivals area of London Airport is quickly becoming a place of comfort too!
The two weeks in California were amazing yes. I finally after three trips there got to see Muir Woods National Park—a redwood forest north of the Golden Gate Bridge that was every bit as breathtaking as I anticipated. We did some Outlet Mall shopping. And we of course got in time on the ocean. The learning part was also amazing. The store team we trained with provided me with tons of insight as well as resources to lead me into this next journey. And it was great in a lot of respects to see the things we do similarly at our stores. I return from those two weeks completely ready and eager to dive into my next chapter at Apple!
When the two weeks came to an end, I was more than ready to return home. As much as I loved every second of the trip, I was dying to see my two girls at the end of a red eye flight that would put me back in London in time to latch up Wolfie and head right back to the States for a trip in the camper for the remainder of the long weekend. I hopped in the plane in San Francisco at 10:00pm, and by 8:40am the next morning I was in London, in a throng of hugs and kisses that fuelled me enough to ignore the very little sleep I got on the planes.
Emelia is at the age now where she had a very difficult time with Daddy being away for this length of time. Even while my Genius training was a full week longer, she is at a stage now where me being away is very hard. And I’d be lying if I tried to say it was getting any easier for me. So much of these trips with the things I get to see and do, seem so less fun without my two sidekicks with me to take it all in. Suffice it to say it was great to be back and have this little weekend getaway to reconnect.
We picked Lakeport State Park on a whim months ago because of it’s proximity to London, because it was a State Park, and because it was in the US and we could some cross border shopping based on the amount of time we planned on being out of the country. What we found was a gem situated on the shores of Lake Huron with everything we needed or wanted in a park, as well as things a short drive away. Our site was in view of the playground so it afforded Emelia some independent time to venture off and play like a ‘big girl’ with some independence.
We managed to get a bit of shopping done – as if the shopping I had done in San Francisco wasn’t enough. But, the best part was we finally picked up the awning we had picked out and ordered for Wolfie months ago. She finally had her pretty skirt! But the change that awning makes to our outdoor living space is remarkable. Add in the outdoor RV rug that Danielle found this year, and its like we have a whole other trailer sized living space for Wolfie to enjoy the camping with! Plus the super cool retro trailer patio lanterns Danielle found at the same place we ordered the awning from, are amazing.
The weekend did come to an end a little faster than I would have liked, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. It was important as I head off to Toronto for this week for my last bit of Manager Training that I got in this ultra connected weekend with Danielle and Emelia. When I missed them the most, this served to be the perfect remedy and will give me the rejuvenation I need to solder through another four days away.
Tomorrow I hop a train to Toronto bright and early to finish the last bit of my training at the Yorkdale location — a beautifully large and recently renovated store with a great staff and a customer velocity that will show me challenges well beyond our own store. It will be exciting and I should learn and see a lot, but at the end of it I will be happy to be home to my store and my house and most importantly my girls!
Well the end of the longest part of the training is over and we got to have John home for three solid days of family time. It was a crazy week leading into the time away that the last week really few by in a blink.
This past week felt like one of those weeks it seemed impossible to keep on top of everything. The week started out well enough, we had glorious weather, temperatures that felt more like summer than this cold spring we have been ‘enjoying’. For two days it was sunshine and heat and it was heavenly. The kids just loved it, we could easily get outside in the sunshine and spend all morning and all afternoon playing outside. By the end of Tuesday it was getting down right hot, almost to the point that I thought I was going to have to break down and put on the air conditioning but then a massive storm came through and cooled things right now.
Tuesday night with a forecast of 3 days of rain I was trying to get on top of the outside yard work. So after I had fed Emelia I went outside to cut the grass. Well let’s just say thank goodness we have a very tiny front yard because I was literally running for the last part of the grass to keep ahead of the rain. I got the grass cut and as I was trying to get in the lawnmower in our tiny shed the skies opened up and I got soaked. And man what a storm! Emelia had art class at the school that night and we got drenched even with our huge umbrellas on the short walk to the school and back. The storm was something fierce. I had wanted to go the gym to get in a much needed workout but with the severity of it I didn’t want to leave the house and I didn’t want to venture far from where Emelia was just in case I had to rush to get her. The storm was strong and fast moving and man it dumped a ton of rain.
This was basically the story for the next three days. Lots of rain and more inside time than I would like at this time of year. I am at my wits end with the kids these days and I could really use a regular stretch of outside time to keep all of our sanity.
Wednesday was a big night around here. Emelia’s school had a musical performance night that was a dedication to the best of Broadway. She is in the primary choir and her group along with the school orchestra, the junior and senior choirs all performed for a large group at the school. Emelia was all dolled up in her favourite dress (the dress from the formal night on last years cruise). She was so animated and sang beautifully with her choir. John was so sad he was missing it that we (Poppa and I) made sure we had video of all three songs so that Grandma and Daddy could enjoy seeing and hearing them.
Our night wasn’t done there, we had a big trip planned for the weekend so there was a ton of prep to be done to get Wolfie ready for the big first camping trip of the year. Well John and I have never owned a trailer so this is all a learning curve for he and I. Add in that he was 3500KM away, the prep fell a mainly on my shoulders. Well this time Doug’s and my shoulders. When we were over at Helen and Doug’s house for Mother’s Day, Doug had offered to help out in anyway he could and this was something I really needed an extra set of hands for. So after a bit of trial and error and a quick FaceTime conversation with John we managed to de-winterize Wolfie and be that much closer to being ready for the big trip.
Thursday was Sparks night for Emelia and another running around to prep for camping night for me. Remember that hot weather I mentioned for the first part of the week? Well with the massive storm cells that came through so did a cold cell and huge temperatures drops. Well with that meant some pretty cold nights. Memories of freezing our butts off last Thanksgiving camping trip meant we needed a solution. The trailer does have a heater but it is not in perfect working order and the fact that it is fuelled by propane made both of us nervous and so we thought opting for space heater would be a safer option. But where to find a space heater in May? After looking around I finally (well my best friend Kelli finally found) one at a Canadian Tire here, last one in any of their stores in the city. So after I brought Emelia to Sparks I booted my butt over and got it, gassed up for the weekend and bolted back over to get Emelia from her meeting.
Friday finally arrived and it could not have come soon enough. It was a hell of a long couple weeks—hell… a couple months leading up to finally having some time off together as a family. Friday night I still had a long to buy/pack/prep list for the camping trip so Emelia went over to Poppa and Grandma’s so I could get some shopping done and Emelia and Poppa could get their garden seedlings in the ground for the season. It was quick order for all and then we went out to dinner as a family and I got a very tired girl home.
I spent the night packing and having one last long distance chat with John before I went to bed and he made his long trek home.
Saturday morning came quickly and I got the last of the things done that I could for the trailer and then we made our way over bright and early to pick up John from the airport. Emelia was over the moon at finally seeing daddy in person and we could not wait to spend the next three days together as a family. No distractions—just us.
Before John could make the change from work suitcase to camping suitcase he had some fun treasures to give to us. He had done a bit of shopping, he got some new clothes for himself, a cute pair of shoes for Emelia and for me he got a dress and some adorable shoes that I love. But that was not all. John was away for Mother’s Day this year, but before he left he and Emelia had decided that my gift would be a new Pandora charm for my bracelet, the one that would represent Emelia and me. I had looked and looked and could not find the perfect one, well John did. He found a mother/daughter one that has two sides of the same heart. It was perfect and I just adore it. Every time I look down at it I smile, it represents my sweet little girl, the bond she and I share and also this transition time in our lives. Perfect all around.
Now on to the family time. After some much needed caffeine and last minute packing we were on our way. We made incredibly quick time. With the long weekend I was worried how bad the border was going to be but we were over in less than ½ hour. We went right to the campsite and set up before going out get supplies. I had been told by my good friend Margaret who is also celiac that I should just pass on worrying about packing food here and go to the States to get our food supplies because the prices are so much better and the options for gluten free are far better than here. And she wasn’t wrong. We first went to Walmart which was ok but later in the day we ended up going to Meijer and wow it was incredible – so many options and the prices were amazing. We did a bit of shopping and stocked up on everything we needed.
We spent the weekend at Lakeport State Park. We chose it mainly because it was close to the border. We knew last year that we wanted an awning for the trailer. We love Wolfie but she’s tinny and we knew we wanted to expand our outside usable space. After researching we found a vintage awning company in the US. Great, the price was reasonable, the customer reviews were amazing but shipping to Canada was going to cost us three times as to the US. Add in brokerage and duty and it was going to become very expensive. So camping for 3 days in the US meant a few things, we could get our awing duty free, we could save on shipping, we could get cheaper camping, cheaper food, cheaper alcohol and cheaper gas. So even if the campsite sucked it was only for three days and we only traveled an hour and a half. Win/win.
The campsite we got was great, the campground wasn’t huge, around 200 or so sites. It was clean, they had a brand new playground that was in perfect sight line to see Emelia so she got to be a big girl and go to the park solo and we could safely watch her from our site. It was great for John and I because we could spend tons of time together and not have to worry if Emelia was entertained. There were lots of kids but unlike the campground we went to last fall it wasn’t so annoying with the amount of activities that kids just played here, lots of kids on bikes, scooters, playing at the park and just being kids. Emelia made a friend that she played with almost the entire weekend.
When we were booking this site we were mildly concerned. We picked this state park because first we really prefer State/Provincial parks versus public ones that jam you in like sardines and then shove a ton of ‘activities’ at you. We just want to be in nature, go hiking and generally give Emelia the same experience we had as kids. But when I looked at the reviews it was mixed but the biggest complaint was the strict quiet time. Well we could not sign up fast enough. After last year we were more than happy to have one that was quiet at night. And man was it! People were so polite, the staff was amazing and so accommodating. We loved it so much that we tried to book it for our July week off but it was already booked.
We had an amazing time, we spent our days enjoying our new awning, expanded outside space and new additions to make camping life just a bit easier (and for me a bit more organized). John and I could have a couple drinks and catch up and watch Emelia play. It was the perfect end to a long winter and long couple weeks of John being away.
We got home and unpacked everything and went over to visit with Helen and Doug to bring some things John and picked up for them in California. To share some pictures and stories of John’s trip and show them the photos from our week away. We had to leave just after dinner as we had an overtired little girl who was getting quite emotional about her daddy leaving again so we knew it was time to get her home to bed.
Well it took a long time to get Emelia to bed tonight, she was very upset about daddy leaving but it will go by quickly. All the explaining that it is only three sleeps didn’t really help but I know this week will fly by in a blink and before we know it we will all be home together again!