At the campground I got to ride my bike around all by myself! And I got to go to the playground all by myself too!
The measure of a good vacation is that when it is time to head home, you’re ready to do that. And trust me, there were times that Danielle and I toyed with staying just one more night at the campsite Saturday night and cram all of our getting ready for the work week into today after we returned, but we decided for the better to continue with our plans to head home yesterday afternoon. And it was the perfect decision as it gave us the same relaxing pace to unpack and prepare to re-enter the non-vacation world that we’d had all week camping.
Aside from moving campsites on Monday from camp we literally had no agenda or plans. Each day was a wake up and see what we want to do, and then do that. When we bored of that, we moved on to something new. Monday we snuck an hour down the road to Utica to do some shopping at Partridge Creek, Lakeside Mall, and a Marshall’s and that was the only mildly planned day but even that visit away from camp life was short lived.
The only hiccup in our trip came in a collection of three unfortunate incidents for Emelia…
The first came Sunday when she and her beloved bike had a directional disagreement where the bike went one way and she the other culminating in a scraped elbow on the path. After we got her all sorted out, we discovered that the nut that keeps her bike handlebars tight was broken. While we can fix it, she is already too big for that bike so we resolved to enjoy the significantly cheaper prices on bikes in the US and upgrade her to the proper size given that our time away afforded us some significant duty free shopping totals.
The second came that evening when Emelia was trotting into the trailer, caught her flipflop on the door trim and managed to lift a sizeable chunk of her big toenail right to the nail-bed up. That was the probably most excruciating of injuries and got us closest to checking out how good my medical coverage is in the US. Thankfully we were able to get her toe cleaned up and bandaged well enough that we avoided a trip to the US ($) hospital.
The third and thankfully last incident was on Canada Day (Tuesday) when Emelia woke up and didn’t immediately demand breakfast. That should have been our first clue, but it wasn’t until we were all up for about an hour that Emelia complained of a sore tummy. In what can best be described as both Danielle and I getting a healthy dose of what our stubbornness is like, we had a standoff with Emelia for the better part 45 minutes trying to get her to take some Pepto-Bismol to ease her tummy.
It culminated in her threatening to spit out the mouthful of medicine and us threatening to not replace her bicycle if she did. Mommy and Daddy eventually won out and the medicine was taken. It did ease her tummy long enough that we could get her to nap in the car for about 15 minutes on a drive. But sure enough, an hour after getting back to the camp site as Emelia was heading into the trailer to have a nap, she threw up. Just like her Mother, the moment that she finished throwing up she was immediately feeling better—all was well in the world. And back came her appetite with a vengeance.
The big transformation on this trip was Emelia’s increased request for independence. When we stayed at the site last May, we recognized that with a properly picked site in visibility of the camp playground we could let her build confidence going off to play all by herself, and potentially make some new friends. And slowly but surely she asserted more and more independence both in repeated trips to the playground as well as trips on her bike around the campground site roads.
In fact it became probably my favourite part of the trip – seeing Emelia flourish on her own and not needing Danielle and I to map our her activities. We actually got to sit on our camp chairs and have breakfast and coffee at a pretty leisurely pace every morning.
We lucked out and ran into our friend Gabie’s husband Marcel and her kids Millie and Mikey who were there camping for the first bit of our week there. Emelia and Millie know each other, a managed to connect and play quite a bit for the first few days. But after they left, with her new found confidence, Emelia managed to make two new different friends on her own. She’s still shy yes, but it was nice to see her venture out of her shell and reap the rewards of being friendly.
One of the fun things we did was on Canada Day we went down to the beach on Lake Huron at dusk and managed to watch what looked to be no less then 20 different communities along the Canadian shore of the lake, have their Canada Day Fireworks—the biggest and easiest to see were the ones in Sarnia. While it was little surreal not being home in Canada for the day, it was nice to connect with it across the lake.
Friday was Independence Day so that helped fill the void of Canada Day, and Danielle and I did not miss the opportunity to really step it up and become honorary Americans for the day getting adorned in the tackiest America-wear we could find. They had a bicycle parade in the park that the kids could gather and decorate their bikes ahead of, that Emelia was beside herself at the thought of both dressing up her new bike and getting to be in a parade around the park on it. It was a real hoot!
That evening Emelia played at the park well into the evening till after dusk. And then Danielle and she made a dash down to the beach to catch the American fireworks while I tended to the fire back at the site. It was kind of the perfect way to end the week.
And while Saturday morning we still woke up thinking it might be nice to stay just one more night, the thought of getting back to our own bed and cleaned up in a proper shower was far too alluring. And quite honestly I felt like I had been away longer than a week, and I was ready to be home.
Knowing as we hooked up Wolfie to the CRV and pulled her out of the site that we’d be heading back out in her in a month’s time for a week at Sandbanks, ending at the Wolfe Island Music Festival also made it that much easier.
I really do love the way that trailer has fallen into our lives and connected us all with all the things we love: nature, travelling, music, and each other!
What a glorious week. Even with all the unfortunate injuries that Emelia inflicted upon herself the first two days it was an incredible week.
We were nervous going down that would not be able to secure the site for the entire week but once we knew we were able to stay at the second site for the full 6 remaining nights we made our little home and settled in for a long trip. It was perfect. It was the first real chance we had since buying the trailer to have a full week using and making it our own home away from home.
It has been a slowish process transforming our little trailer into our secondary home. It has taken a lot of planning, organizing and reorganizing, with some trial and error but I have to say I feel that this week we are about 90% there to make this an organized little home. Yes my geek organizing self has kicked in but I was warned from some really seasoned campers that the more organized you are the more relaxed you can be once you are all set. And it’s so true. We are able to fit so much of what we need in a very limited space no matter what the weather might throw at you. And this week the weather really threw some things at us. I did learn the hard way that you should be prepared for colder than anticipated temperatures even in July but other than that we are ready for most things.
This week I was able to add some little touches and it has made our little trailer work so much better for our family. And my sanity. There are of course still some small projects, there is still the bane of my existence – the light yellow floor and how to best mask the mud and dirt that goes along with camping. But we were given some great ideas from another camper and we might have a solution. There is some cosmetic things we want to fix and there is some work to be done on the door but other than that she’s just about perfect.
I can tell you the one thing that John and I have both loved about having our little unique trailer is the number of people who comment on her, love seeing the inside of the trailer and they all have a story to go along with their hope to find the same kind of gem we have. In a sea of monster campers with every bell and whistle it is our simple little trailer that gets so much attention. We know that we are so lucky to have such a unique little trailer and we could not be happier.
As John mentioned this week was all about relaxing and an incredible amount of family time, this is exactly what we needed. It has been a challenge with the daycare, Emelia in school full time, John’s work schedule and well the day to day life to real have time that is truly ours. And that is what this little trailer has allowed us. We had such an incredible time, lots of time together, playing games, doing crafts, eating smores, playing at the beach, going on nature walks.
And most importantly for us, Emelia spent just about every waking (less the rainy ones) moment out in the sun either riding her bike, playing in the sand, playing at the park or playing with the new friends she made. This was the first trip since becoming parents that we were truly able to 100% relax, Emelia’s independence allowed John and I to take care of things at the trailer but more importantly we got to spend lots of time together talking about our life, having a couple drinks and enjoying the sunshine ourselves.
Tomorrow we are back to reality, John and I are both back to work and that means the house will be filled with daycare kids. So I am going to sign off and enjoy the last hour before we call it a night before real life begins again.