Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Needles Camping trip


Over President’s Day we went camping at Pirate Cove, in Needles, CA, right on the Colorado River.  Mark had heard from co-workers that it was a cool place to visit so we went to check it out.  The camp sites are right on the CO River on these little peninsula’s.  There were 4 sites on our peninsula, but some of them had 8-10 sites on them.


The camp site was beautiful, but it literally was right on the water.  There was a rocky “hill” about 6-8 feet down to the water.  If J had been any older or moving like he is now, it would have terrified me.  I was nervous enough with the big kids falling down it, but luckily they didn’t either.  I also didn’t sleep great because I had visions of people pulling the chocks out from behind the wheels and the whole trailer going down into the water and then how would I get all 3 kids out by myself before it filled with water and how would I swim while trying to save 3 kids and could Abbie swim to the shore by herself, etc.  Yes, I did lay awake thinking about these things.  If I can’t sleep, 95% of the time it’s because I’m having bad “dreams” about the kids.  Parenthood is so fun.


We got there Friday evening and Mark and I did the mad scramble to try to hook everything up and get the trailer set before dark so we didn’t have to cook dinner in the dark.  Didn’t exactly work because it was still dark by the time we got everything done.   Saturday the other 2 campers got there, so we had more neighbors, but it wasn’t too bad.  They had little kids too so they were quiet which was nice.  Abbie met another Abby on Friday and they played together quite a bit.  We found some geese on Saturday morning after breakfast and fed them some bread.  Ben is getting so much more brave now.  He wouldn’t have gotten within 4 ft of the things before, but now he almost fed them out of his hand!


The rest of Saturday we relaxed around the camp.  Mark and I sat in our chairs and watched the big kids play on the beach.  Jamison took a few naps and then played in the pack n play some of the time.  Our next camping trip will be harder with him as he’s much more mobile.  Mark and I are going to get one of those portable play yards for him so we can corral him while we’re both busy.  And I also need a portable high chair of some sort for him because he doesn’t fit in the bumbo very well anymore and he rips the tray off of it as fast as you can get it on so it’s pointless to feed him in it.  It was a relaxing day and it was nice that the big kids could go play for a little while and Mark and I could actually talk.



Saturday evening Ben started screaming and saying his ear hurt.  We still have no clue what that was about but he cried about it for a good 20 minutes until he finally fell asleep and Mark was able to get him to sleep in our bed for an hour or so and then he acted fine.  I think the camping just got to him a little bit and he was overly tired and needed a nap.  We went to dinner in Needles that night after we showed up at the restaurant at the RV resort at 6pm only to find out it was closed.  Odd.


Sunday Mark cooked breakfast like he usually does when we’re camping while I wrangled kids and then we headed to WalMart in Lake Havasu to grab a few things.  We decided to eat lunch down there and also drove over the original London Bridge.  Seemed like a cute little town.  And the drive was pretty too.


Sunday evening Abbie lost her first tooth!!  She was pretty excited.  We went for a walk around the campground and the kids threw rocks in the water some more.  Ben could throw rocks into water for hours.  That’s totally his thing.  And I realized it is hard to fit all of us in selfie pictures now so I bought a cheap selfie stick for next time!  Mark practiced his Mission Impossible moves trying to let the baby touch the water.


Camping with kids can be quite the adventure.  It’s definitely a challenge when you’re outnumbered by kids but it’s also a lot of fun.  It’s a little tough right now because J doesn’t always sleep through the night when we camp and when he wakes up crying, he wakes everyone up and sometimes Ben starts crying too.  But other than that, we’re getting the hang of it and it’s definitely nice to have our little home away from home.


Friday, February 12, 2016

Our French student


We decided to try to host an exchange student again.  I’ve had numerous people tell me what a good experience it was for them and I’ve experienced that in the past as well, so we decided to give it another try, although this time was just for 10 days, not an entire school year.  We chose to host Eloise, a 13 year old from France who said she wanted to be a pediatrician.  That was the main reason we chose her because I figured she must like kids if she wanted to be a pediatrician.  She got along great with our kids and our kids loved her as well.  Abbie and her really hit it off and Abbie would follow her all over the place and Eloise would play with her.  Ben was constantly asking where she was and when she’d be home.  They really liked her and she fit it very well with our family and was so easy to have around.  Her English wasn’t the best and my French is non-existent so sometimes it was a little bit like cherades, but we got through it and she is a very sweet girl.

She had a lot of activities with her group and the boys and Mark and I went along to the Cat House which is a big cat rescue place near us.  It was neat to see all the big cats.  That tiger really was as close as he looks…  It was neat to hear all the noises they make that you can’t really hear in bigger zoos.


Eloise wanted to go to Disneyland while she was here, but that is so expensive for a family of 5.  It would have been almost $500 for the 5 of us and more for Eloise and we just couldn’t spend that right now.  So we went to Ventura and ate near the harbor there and then walked on the beach.  Eloise had never had popcorn shrimp so there she is with her first bite!  She liked it!




Our next stop was Ventura Beach.  (We actually just walked across the street from the harbor.)  Our kids love the beach and could easily spend hours there.  If they have water and sand to play with, they’re happy.


Next we headed to Solvang, which is a little Danish town close to the coast.  It was so cute!  I would have loved to spend more time here and it really reminded me of Galena with a European flare.




We rented one of these bikes to ride around, which was fun but scary.  It’s hard to wear a baby and have the only way to balance yourself be with pedals that are moving.  I should have had Eloise hold him since she wasn’t pedaling, but I managed to not fall out.  J wasn’t feeling the best though so he was a little bit crabby.


Solvang was a gorgeous little town.  I would love to go back someday, when our kids are older, or better yet, with just Mark.


Our last day trip was to Red Rock Canyon.  Everyone else went for a walk, but I stayed to nurse J a little bit.  He didn’t have a hat and the sun was kind of intense and he was crabby again because he didn’t feel good and wasn’t getting his naps.  I took him for a little walk and took a few pictures, but we didn’t stay out long.  Everyone else went for a walk around the loop.  It’s a pretty area.



Overall, it was a great experience hosting Eloise and we’d love to host again.  It’s harder to host in our CA house because it’s smaller than our AZ house and only has 4 bedrooms vs the 5 we had there.  I miss having more space!  But Abbie is good about giving up her room and sleeping on cushions in our room.  I think I might see if Mark wants to build a loft for Ben’s room and then Abbie can go sleep in the loft in Ben’s room when we have guests.  That would be ideal since the baby is still too young to room share with.  If he sees someone in his room at 5am, he’s up and ready to play and I’m not up for playing that early…  I’ll add that to our list of things to do…  =)