Sunday, March 31, 2013

Non-camping and Easter Eggs

Weeks ago we made plans to go beach camping this weekend. It was above 70 during the day and staying fairly warm at night when we booked our campsite. I found a decent tent on Craigslist for dirt cheap. The girls didn't have rehearsal for their ballet performance. Everything was perfect—we were going to begin spring break with a bang!

But then the weather turned cold again and the forecast for the beach was cold and rainy.

So we wimped out and stayed at home.

Naturally we were all terribly disappointed (some more than others, as I'm sure you can imagine) so alternate plans were made and carried out.

When Andrew and I announced to the girls that we were cancelling the camping trip we made a number of promises: we could go to the Life and Science Museum! We could roast hot dogs and make s'mores at home! We could set the tent up in the living room and sleep inside!

The Museum worked out well. It was super crowded, but I think that's because everyone is on spring break this week and the museum is popular, anyway. I drove the kids to the museum after the egg hunt and Andrew met us at the museum after his class. The only kink in our plan was that the parking lot was completely full. I had to wait for someone to leave in order for them to take their spot and...well...

Let's just say that I'm terrible at parking.

I parked successfully, meaning that I didn't hit any other vehicles, but I was so crooked that my neighbours didn't have half a chance of pulling out and I was so close to the car on my left that I couldn't even open my door to get out. There was no way I was going to be able to back up the car on my own so I swallowed my pride, threw the car into park, hopped out of the passenger side, flagged down the next family who came walking my way, and asked if they wouldn't mind fixing my terrible, terrible parking job.

It was really terrible so they happily obliged. The wife took all the kids and headed off to her car while the husband climbed in through the passenger side of my van and parked it properly.

Thanks, strangers!

The museum was fun, as it normally is. We spent our time outside because it was beautiful and because if you have to be surrounded by swarms of people it's better out than in (at least, I think so).

Benjamin's still a little young for most of the activities. He spent a lot of time playing with his seat belt and people watching...

...though he did enjoy the silly rides his daddy kept giving him (tipping the stroller backward, etc).

Below is one of the only pictures we got of Miriam playing. She was exhausted and ready for a nap so she spent a lot of time in the stroller pouting while Rachel went on to have a lot of fun.

Benjamin, who was also, exhausted and ready for a nap, was happy to give up the stroller in favour of the front carrier.

Rachel enjoyed the farm animals. This is her alpaca impersonation:

Nailed it.

Andrew mooed at this cow and she mooed back and so he—you guessed it—mooed back. This went on for a while. When it went on for so long that it was getting to be more embarrassing than having to ask a perfect stranger to park your car for you (what? no valet parking? what kind of museum is this?) I was like, "C'mon, let's go!" and Andrew was like, "But we're communicating!"

We spent a few minutes squabbling over shovels in the fossil dig (that was probably more full of children than fossils) before moving on. Miriam collected three shells, which she added to her shell collection at home. Rachel almost sat on a baby (not our baby, either) and found a few things which she left at the fossil dig (and I was completely okay with that because there was still an entire ziplock baggie full of things she thought she should take home from the fossil dig hiding in the diaper bag from the last time we were there).

We stopped to climb the dinosaur and then went on the little dino-walk.

Miriam got into a fight with a bunch of kids over a set of wings she wanted to work all by herself. It was quick and ended in tears (on her part) when we told her to stop being a bossy-pants and "come here!" She tried to obey, because she's typically very obedient, but she was blinded by tears and walked right into a pole, which brought on more tears.

She sat sniffling in the stroller while Rachel played with the seed-drop station.

We made a quick stop at the butterfly house (Miriam's request, even though she still wouldn't get out of the stroller) before heading home to put Miriam down for a much-needed nap.

While she was sleeping, Rachel helped me clean up the house. We had to get the living room ready to set up the tent, which Rachel was rather impatient to do.

Before we set up the tent, though, we decided we should have dinner and dye easter eggs.

Andrew readied the coals for the grill while I readied the dye for the eggs.

Benjamin sat on the grass and watched everything with great interest before quickly losing interest and focusing all his efforts in trimming the lawn.

I did my best to keep the girls from killing each other over eggs. When I said they could dye three eggs each, they sorted out three eggs for each other. "One for me, one for you! One for me, one for you! One for me, one for you!" This involved a bit of...tossing...which was rough on the eggs.

Both girls started crying when they'd realized they'd cracked a few of the eggs.

(Duh, children—they're eggs!)

We dyed them all, anyway. But first I made them colour on them with crayons. It makes the dying process last longer. Sometimes I wish I was more willing to dye more eggs but we can only go through so many hard-boiled eggs at a time, you know?

I gave them strict instructions to continue colouring on their eggs but to not even go near the dye until I was there to supervise. This was very difficult for Rachel, so as I was making my third trip out of the house (carrying two cups of dye) she called out, "Are you ready for us to dye yet, Mom?"

And then Andrew and I burst out laughing.

Rachel was thrilled to be decorating eggs.

Miriam had just woken up from her nap and was a little ho-hum about the whole process. I asked her to show me what she was working on and she was like, "Here."

Here they are, dying their eggs:

We had a heck of a time keeping Benjamin from eating the weeds. I know that nothing in our lawn is going to poison him but the entire backyard is classified as a "choking hazard." I spent the whole afternoon pulling bits of leaves from his mouth and trying to keep the grass out of his reach.

Blankets used to work.

They don't anymore.

This horse used to work:

But not anymore:

He can actually gracefully (and purposefully) flip out of that rocking horse in five seconds flat. This time his leg got twisted and he ended up taking the horse over with him, which he wasn't very happy about.

Usually he ends up happily on his tummy, though that's probably only because the grass is such a soft landing. I think that if he were to try flipping out of the horse on the wood floor he wouldn't end up so happily on his tummy. I don't think we'll be using the rocking horse on any hard surface until Benjamin can dismount a little more gracefully.

I didn't really expect him to cartwheel off the rocking horse—but he totally does it. Like a boss.

Miriam eventually warmed up to the idea of being...cheerful.

I'm not sure why they both look so disgusted here:

Dinner was a smashing success! Hot dogs usually are when your dinner crowd is in the five-and-under category. We ate outside because we were "camping."

After dinner the kids decided that they were cold so they bundled up (and proceeded to look very grumpy).

That's better...

Roasting the marshmallows was slow-going. We'd let the coals die down a little too much, but they did the job and melted the marshmallows very nicely without ever burning them once.

Still, I cheated and warmed up the chocolate in the microwave so that it would be a little more smooshy since the marshmallows weren't getting nearly hot enough. The s'mores ended up perfectly gooey.

Rachel thoroughly enjoyed hers:

Miriam picked hers up, got sticky stuff on her hands, and then refused to eat it. She went inside to wash up.

Andrew enjoyed her s'more for her:

Then he roasted some marshmallows for me.

We went for a little nature walk in our backyard...

...and then we decided we'd better go inside so we could set up the tent before it got too late.

Unfortunately, this was the first time we'd tried setting up the tent and we didn't realize, until we had it all unrolled in our living room, that four of the poles had to be staked into the ground for the tent to remain standing. There was no way to put it up inside the house, so outside it went.

We didn't make any solid plans about sleeping arrangements but the girls really wanted to try out the tent, so we let them get all set up inside and then I read them Harry Potter by flashlight in the dark outside. I think they were nice and warm, on the ground, on their foam pads, in their sleeping bags, but I was freezing on the air mattress, with just a fleece blanket around me.

When Andrew went outside to join the girls in the tent (Benjamin and I camped inside on the bed) I warned him that the air mattress was not a good insulator and warned him to sleep with something underneath him. He didn't and instead piled all the blankets on top—and couldn't get warm the whole night (until he woke up at 3 AM and remembered that I had said he needed something underneath him).

He might've had his little Klondike Adventures as a Scout, but I had Young Women's Summer Camp in Canada (which is almost as good as a Klondike Adventure since we had snow more than one year—yup; in the summer). Having a nice foam pad under you does wonders to help you retain your body heat. Having a bubble of air underneath you does...very little—but it should be great once the weather gets warmer!

Andrew had bounced around the idea of getting up to make pancakes for breakfast and I really didn't think he would do it but he surprised me and I woke up to the smell of pancakes cooking. The poor man had come inside, absolutely freezing, at around 7 AM and made pancakes just to get warm (he also took a warm shower).

The girls woke up much more comfortable. Miriam, who had been in footie jammies, socks, a sweater, a touque, and slept in a sleeping bag with five or six blankets on top, was fine. Rachel had slept in two pairs of pyjamas and a hoodie (and sleeping bag with five or six blankets on top) but only one pair of socks. She said her feet felt like ice. Andrew said he felt like he had slept on a block of ice. The low of the night hovered right around freezing point so I suppose their complaints were valid, though I do wonder why they didn't just come inside. I was completely expecting them to storm inside in the middle of the night. I guess they're a little tougher than I thought (Andrew claims that the girls slept like logs so he didn't have any choice but to stay outside).

Today we finished up our "camping" adventure but I'll have to write about that tomorrow because it's late and I'm tired. "Camping" really wears me out!


  1. How fun! I'm really sorry your camping trip didn't work out, but this camping-at-home adventure was a great read!

    (The local weatherman said this was the 8th coldest March since they started keeping records in 1900 so, yeah, this is unusual for us.)

    Thanks for sharing about your trip to the museum, too. Cute pictures as always.

  2. I am so proud of you for asking some random person to park for you! That is awesome! I would probably have given up in sheer frustration. I loved this post, as always. I love them all!

  3. I love the new family picture! It turned out so cute!

  4. Oh me, too! I just saw it because Myrna mentioned it. Very very cute!!