So, you’ve probably noticed there haven’t been a lot of posts lately. That is because we have been having some crazy weeks lately! First off, I went to Detroit for business from Tuesday until Thursday night, then Friday we left for WI for a family reunion until Sunday, followed by camping with family from Sunday until Wednesday, followed by one night in Madison with my brother, then back to Chicago on Thursday when people began arriving for Evie’s big birthday party which was on Saturday. I think we are mostly cleaned up now and everything put back in order, but there are still a few loose ends. Lets just say I am not looking forward to going to work tomorrow, but I am looking forward to a weekend off next weekend!
So lets see, camping. Well, let me say for starters that this was the most exhausting vacation I have ever had. Camping tends to be a lot of work in the first place, but with a baby it is 10 times worse. There are so many more things to take with you and remember and every time you leave the campsite you end up making 3 more trips back because of all the things you forgot. So we were planning on driving all the way to the reunion but by the time we got out the door and then with typical Friday rush hour traffic, we realized we were crazy to think we could go that far in one day. So we ended up finding a campsite at a state park along the way. Even though it meant putting up and taking down the tent one extra time and rearranging the car a little, it ended up working out pretty well. It was only $30 total for the night (rather than $100 or who knows how much for a hotel) and it really wasn’t all that much work. The only bad thing was the mosquitoes! Due to all the flooding, the mosquito population in WI is really out of control. I probably got ~25 bites that first night. They were actually fine for the rest of the trip, but that first night we couldn’t even leave the tent.
The reunion was a lot of fun, although it seemed like a lot of people were missing; specifically my cousins! Very few of them were there. Attendance was a little down this year, I think it was around like 170 people. This was my first time at the new site, but I liked it. The only complaint I have about the whole thing was the fireworks. Now, I understand that not everybody has a sleeping baby and its not like I am one of those parents who thinks the whole world should stop and bow to my will because I have a kid, but I have to tell you it was as if the fireworks were going off on top of our tent. In fact that is not wholely inaccurate since I was standing outside of my tent when the first one went off and an 18 inch piece of debris landed about 2 feet away from me. Aunt Lois actually found some of the debris inside her car the next day! But I digress. By the time Sara made it to the tent she found me huddling over Evie with a pillow covering our heads. But it worked apparently because she was back asleep as soon as the fireworks were over. She even slept through the 4 wheeler drive-by / off road show a few hours later. Oh, and (as usual) our dish to pass went over very poorly. That wasn’t so bad though, since we ate it for pretty much the rest of the trip.
The rest of the camping went pretty good as well. There is not a lot of time to relax since (like at home) you are always thinking about the next thing the baby needs to do. By the time you get everybody up and showered and dressed, you start thinking about breakfast, then diaper changes, then naps then lunch, then more diaper changes, etc. Before you know it you are working on baths and pajamas and bedtime. It was fairly hot, but we (I) managed a dip in the pool I think every day. The campsite was really nice, I would definitely recommend it. It was obvious that the people really work hard to make it a nice place. The pictures on the website don’t really do it justice, but maybe that is because they are constantly upgrading everything. My family has gone there I think 7 of the last 8 years or something like that. Some of them even get Christmas cards from the owners! I would definitely go back there again. We would probably still tent camp, but the cabins were probably the nicest cabins I have ever seen at a camp site. Our tent was the perfect distance from the site where we had a fire every night: far enough away that we wouldn’t wake her up, but close enough that we could get there in a hurry if we needed to
Speaking of being away from the tent, Sara had this great idea I think she got maybe from parent hacks. In order to separate ourselves a little bit from the tent when Evie was sleeping, we improvised a baby monitor. Sara would call my phone, put both phones on speaker and then mute my phone. Her phone would stay with the baby. Since we don’t use minutes between our phone, we could let it go like that for hours. The only hard part is remembering to charge our phones constantly.
Anyway, Evie was again walking like a maniac all the time and again improved so much on the skill that she is now walking. Everyone was really helpful with her and it was very appreciated. She is starting to have some serious mommy issues (like separation anxiety). Also, she got some major diaper rash which meant kicking and screaming at every diaper change as well as hating the outdoor baths. Even though there were plenty of people to take her for long periods of time, I just got more and more worn out every day that went by. By the time we left I was sooo glad we were staying in a hotel the next night and not camping or even going back to our own house. If we went back to our place we would have ended up unpacking, etc. So the hotel was perfect.
So we went to Madison and got to take a tour of the capitol where little brother works. His co-worker gave us a tour, and he could definitely be a tour guide. He has worked there for something like 38 years so he definitely knew what he was talking about. Our hotel was literally across the street from the capitol which was handy since we had to leave early from the orchestral “concert on the square” to get Evie to bed, but we could still hear and see it from our room. We walked around the shops and things and ate at some restaurants and generally confirmed what everybody says: Madison is a great town! We even discussed what it would be like to live there, although probably not until we retired. The only thing we’re not sure of is that it, like much of the rest of Wisconsin, seems to be built on quite a beer culture that we have no desire to participate in. Well, it was just an intellectual exercise, but it goes to show you it is a nice town!
Okay, I think that is enough for one night!