Saturday, July 7, 2012

Our Time at the Campground

What a wonderful time we had! We talked, walked and ate. We had an outing to some shops, and a day spent at Upper Canada Village (post to follow). We cooked our dinners on the bbq and had some marshmallows over the campfire. We had a tea party complete with pretty tablecloths and teacups (root beer for the girls, champagne for the ladies).

Every day was hot, hot, hot! And coming from New Zealand the girls were not acclimatized to all this heat. They wore their bathing suits and we set up the hose so they could douse themselves with icy water. Unfortunately the swimming at this park is yuck, but wading was fine and we dipped our toes at the beach a few times.

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This is the view of the camper from across the water. It is a bit of a hike to the beach but with the girls’ boundless energy it was no problem for them (maybe for me a bit though!).

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We also had some relax time at the site. Bella soaked up all the attention. She loves nothing more than being petted and the girls were happy to oblige.

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At night we all crammed in. The sofa bed was deployed. Complete with a strange downward slant. We figured it was because the floor of the slide is about 2 inches higher than the rest of the floor, so the bed ended up with quite a slop. I don’t think it is the most comfortable place to sleep – especially for big people.

Kirsten and Shenna bunked together on the slope the first night, Nissa with me up in the nose. The next night Kirsten swapped with Nissa. Kirsten and I lay talking into the night – it was fun.

In the four and 1/2 years that had passed since I last saw Kirsten I had forgotten the comfort and ease of time with a sister. Our conversations were easy and it seemed we never ran out of things to talk about. It makes my tear to think of them going back and being so far away (the tears are pricking at my eyes right now).

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We made sure to walk the dogs first thing in the morning when it was a tiny bit “cool” – okay, it was never cool, but it wasn’t 32C either.

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We used the outdoor cooking facilities as much as possible, even for our breakfast pancakes. The grill that Mom & Dad gave us for Christmas saw good use. Kirsten was a pro and managing pancakes and flipped them like a pro.

Kirsten quickly made herself at home which was really great. It didn’t feel like having company at all, in fact I felt a bit like I had a vacation! Which is unusual when there are extra people around. There were a few times that I was doing something (like the awning) when Kirsten stopped me from screwing up. She’s really with it and very capable. Not having Carm around I sometimes felt a bit stunned (he does so much) so it was nice to have Kirsten step in.

The girls were both really helpful as well. The participated in numerous tasks around the camper. Clearing the table, dishes, and any other requested task. On the last day I asked Nissa to clean up around the fire pit so it was tidy for the next guests – even the charred remains of logs were neatly arranged. I never heard them complain or whinge once, rather they seemed happy to be involved. What good girls!

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Of course the girls didn’t bring sun hats with them all the way from New Zealand, but luckily I had a few in my cupboards that suited them well. Nissa is a bit of a clown and is happy to pose for photos.

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Shenna is more reserved but has a beautiful smile for the camera too.

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On our walks, after Spike had done all his business I passed him over to Nissa. Perhaps he felt like a big dog walking with a little person!

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On the final night, when Mom was with us, we finally had a campfire. Just a small one. We made enough coals to toast our giant marshmallows. The mosquitos quickly found us and swarmed in thick clouds. Shenna got several bites that welted up and drove her crazy with the itchies. Poor thing – she was miserable.

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That last night, with Mom there, we really had to cram ourselves in. Thankfully Nissa is still small enough that she could fit in the little floor that remained. We had to be careful not to step on her!

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Throughout the visit the girls talked and whistled with Grace. It wasn’t long before she was talking right back to them, even with them right up close to the cage. I’ve never seen her like that. She had the most wonderful time!

Grace also got a new cage – you can see just the corner of it in the photo above. Instead of the dark cage in the cubby hole under the TV, this one is a bit larger and is sitting beside a window. When I first put her into it she gave it the “hairy eyeball” for a minute or two and then was happily eating, preening and playing with her new toys. She is a most unconventional Congo! (they are known for being pretty high strung)

In summary, I think we all had a great time – I sure did. It was great to spend time with Kirsten and the nieces in such close quarters where we really got to visit. I wished it had never ended and of course I cried (just a bit) when it was all over!

A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
George Bernard Shaw