Sunday, July 22, 2007

Camping with Baby

Hello all…I’ve been gone did you miss me? BT and I headed off to into the wild green yonder this past weekend…I say green because we went to Vermont to go camping with the baby.


We used to camp fairly often when we were first married. We didn’t have much money, or much time off of work, so making long weekend trips to various New England spots fit our bill nicely. BT was always very good at picking campsites that were relatively clean, with decent bathroom facilities and that were close to the local attractions. We would pack up the car (little red Honda hatchback) with snacks and CD’s and off we went.

So since we’ve been back from Colombia, we’ve been talking about doing more vaction-ey type things. But since we don’t have much money left over, or vacation time left over, our options are limited at this particular time. Enter – camping. Makes sense, right?

We decided to take a three day weekend and drive up to Grand Isle State Park, located on an island in Lake Champlain. We were here once before, many moons ago, and had a great time. Back then, an elderly park ranger eagerly plotted out a route for us on a local map, encouraging us to experience all the local culture. We hiked many different trails. We went to a church spaghetti dinner. We ate at a local diner called the “Squirrel’s Nest”. We made beeswax candles at a candle shop on Church Street in Burlington. So many great memories we couldn’t wait to recreate.

Uh, well….didn't exactly turn out that way.

First of all, the weather was really crappy. Cloudy and drizzly the whole six and half hour drive up. My poor little baby was stuck in that car seat and he was not a happy camper (ha get it). When we got to the campsite everything was wet and muddy. We found out that Ranger Rick retired many years ago, and was replaced by a young Jesus look alike who wasn’t nearly as eager for us to soak up the local culture. But we managed to set up our cozy little corner as best we could.

The first night we went to Burlington to this place, and we had a lovely meal in their quaint alleyway. The waitress somehow knew that seamonkey was Hispanic and chatted away endlessly to him in his native tongue. He blinked those long eyelashes at her and smiled in his charming way.

The next day we had beautiful weather. We started out our day by having breakfast at the Ferry Dock where you can take your car across to Plattsburgh, NY. It was one of those hidden treasures – a complete dump with friendly people and awesome food. We went down to Church Street but sadly, all the quaint business are gone – replaced by commercial behemoths like Eddie Bauer, Old Navy and Urban Outfitters….and smaller trendy overpriced stores. No beeswax candles to be had. There was a very cool green market nearby, and we wandered through there, stopping to sample awesome homemade Indian food, and great local products like cheese and honey. After that, we headed to the Magic Hat brewery to get us some glasses of No. 9. The tour was short but amusing and the beer was cold. Amazing that all of that beer comes out of that tiny little place.

We left the brewery and drove around…we used our navigation to find us a park, and we came upon a small state park that had a nice walking trail where we could take the stroller down to a small beach. It was so nice to be surrounded with all that peace and quiet and all that green-ness. That kind of thing really recharges your batteries, you know? Seamonkey enjoyed the beach, which was really mostly mud and dirt – and we let him crawl around in it and be a total boy. There was only one time that I wasn’t quick enough and he put an entire fist of the stuff directly into his mouth. I literally had to scoop it out, and would you believe he found the whole thing hilarious. Didn’t even make a face at the nasty tasting dirt. Weird kid.

Saturday night we hung out at the campsite. We had a heck of a time figuring out how to bathe the boy….We ended up having all of us go into a shower room, standing a wet wriggling boy on a very small bench, soaping him up and sticking him under the shower for a rinse. He was mostly annoyed by the whole thing but thankfully did not have a meltdown. We had takeout dinner and relaxed by a wonderfully smelling campfire. We took turns holding the baby, singing every song we could to keep his attention and distract him from wanting to crawl around in the mud. Do you guys remember that song “John Brown’s Baby”? Where you do this hand motion thing…John Browns Baby (rock imaginary baby ) had a cold (cough into your fist) upon his chest (thump chest) and they rubbed it (rub your chest) with camphorated oil….. I totally forgot that sucker and I brought that out of the arsenal which cracked seamonkey up to no end! Also kind of bizarre was that he was babbling incessantly up to the sky…waving his arms as if he was trying to emphatically make a point to someone or something. Not sure if he was just intrigued by the tall trees that surrounded our site leaving only a bright patch of sky above, or if he was berating God for placing him with this insane family that insists on sleeping in a nylon room in the middle of a mud puddle. Again, weird kid.
Sunday I awoke to seamonkey in my arms and the sounds of my husband rousing the fire outside. Not a bad way to wake up on the 10th Anniversary of one’s 28th Birthday. Unfortunately it was another crappy day, and it started to rain so much that BT had to run into the truck and we were communicating on walkie talkies for a while. “Truck to Tent – Over” “Tent here – this sucks, over” “Affirmative. Truck out” Somehow we managed to pack up everything in the rain and head out. We decided to stop and Ben & Jerry’s which I could have sworn was somewhere in the middle of rolling green hills…but no, it was right off the highway sitting atop a hill in front of a very muddy parking lot. There was construction going on and it was crowded. The ice cream didn’t even taste and good as I remember. Oh well. We came. We saw. We ate ice cream.

All in all it was a good time, but I think the thought of camping is always better than the reality of Of course my manly man husband, who enjoyed plodding around in the mud and playing with fire exclaims "this was great, let's plan another 3 day weekend in August!". Uh yeah....why don't we just think that over a little more there chief....

Once home we had a real home cooked meal waiting for us (Baked Ziti) and my little brother, who will always be my little bratty brother for his entire life, made me this cake.

He got me a Michael's gift card (going to start scrapbooking now) so he made up for it.

Thought I would share some things that were indispensable for us during this trip:

Jogging stroller - great for the street as well as hiking trails. Rides like a dream.
Hook on Chair - Best thing we ever bought - better than a high chair at restaurants
Rubber place mat - put it under the arms of the hook on chair and you've got a completely sanitary environment - the catchall prevents baby from making an embarrassing mess underneath.
Formula Dispenser - Keeps 3 servings of premeasured formula in a compact container.
Avent Tempo bottle system - Disposable liners enable you to bring only one or two bottles with you.
Baby Trend Pack n play - Small & Compact, and easy to fold & unfold. Great for home too.
Gerber Baby Puffs - I kept ziplock baggies of these everywhere, they are good to tide baby over if you are stuck in traffic
Saline spray and aspirator - Different climate made the boy's nose really dry.
Huggies disposable washclothes - These were great for baby and parents alike. No washclothes to hang out and dry.


Michelle Smiles said...

You make it look easy! I can't imagine dragging all of the Sabrina related stuff out into the woods - but it looks like you had fun!

Tami said...

Even with all the rain, it sounds like a lot of fun. But I can't figure out how you managed to camp with a toddler. We just took the kids camping last year when they were 8, 5 and 4. I thought that was nuts! :)

Jenny said...

that looks soo pretty. Though I have only ever been to Vermont like 2x. And that stroller rocks, we used our exactly the same double today and it is soo much nicer than any others I have. That hook chair, can't do it, as we have the 2 and it is hard to find somewhere to put 2 but that placemat!!! I have to go buy one, opps I mean 2.

Glad you got out of the city for a while.

Andrea said...

Yea, you guys are amazing! I can't go camping when it's just me and my dear husband. Let alone a toddler. But, I WILL take your recommendations, thank you. The placemat and hook chair have already been added to my registry :) Thanks, Starfish!!

Julie said...

Happy birthday! You are SO brave to take the little guy out camping. I really don't think I could handle it :)

Rachael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachael said...

Happy birthday, I mean, anniversary!! It does sound memorable.

I can't believe you braved camping with a toddler -- I'm impressed. I agree that the idea of camping is sometimes better than the actual camping.

Karaoke Diva said...

Your little guy is just gorgeous!! Those curls are going to knock the ladies out someday. Thanks for stopping by my site.

Bezzie said...

I like the way you put it "tenth anniversary of your 28th birthday!"

Happy Birthday!

We took Chunky camping when he was about Seamonkey's age, and would you believe we haven't been back since? Hee hee!

MMrussianadoption said...

you are more adventurous than I. I like to camp, but it will be a few more years before I take the dynamic duo camping. I have been to that brewery and to Ben and Jerrys. Yum. We used to go camping in PA at Lake Wallenpawpack (or however you spell it)

Beagle said...

Happy belated Birthday!

Looks like a great trip even if the weather did suck.

Thanks for sharing your list of kid things that are great to have. I've been trying to decide on a pack and play.

Rob, Dana, & Billy said...

Happy Birthday!!!

Jenni said...

Happy birthday! Sounds like a fun weekend, even if it wasn't as you remembered. I prefer to camp in hotels, but that shot of the green trees surrounding BT and Seamonkey almost makes me reconsider....

Wendy said...

Where did you get that cool rubber mat that went under the clamp on chair? I need one (or three) of those!

I used to camp a lot. Now, unless it has room service, Mama isn't playing that game. I do love the outdoors, though. But only to visit. Hah!

Miss Scarlett said...

Camping is a lot of work, but the memories are so great! And for some strange, strange reason - I LOVE waking up in a tent (rain or shine, though rain...I'd rather just stay in the tent). I am not a morning person, but I always wake up happy when I am camping.

Your 'weird' little baby sounds like a true delight!

And this might be one of the funniest things I have read in awhile: 10th Anniversary of one’s 28th Birthday

Dana said...

I love the comments about fat girls, hair and makeup. I nearly fell off my chair!! It is soooo true! I thought I was the only one to think this way. Too funny!