Archive for October, 2007

How Many Licks Does It Take?

Long, long ago, for a child first born….

[Mike] Oh crap, I dropped Amelia’s pacifier.
[Beth] No problem dear, put it on the rack to steralize and I’ll get a fresh one from its plastic case.

Fast forward to yesterday, for a child second born….

[Mike] Siena spit her pacifier out on the grocery store floor.
…fuzzy memories due to distractions of parenting…later in the car…
[Beth] Do you think three licks is enough?
[Mike] Huh?
[Beth] After she dropped it, I licked Siena’s pacifier three times before giving it back to her, do you think that’s enough?

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Fall Creek Fools

What do you get when you combine two guys who want more adventure in their lives, two currently/recently pregnant women who remember life before kids, two toddlers, one infant, fire, perfect weather, rocks, even ground, new camping equipment, some beautiful scenery and of course lots of smores? Such a volatile mixture can only be predicted through experiment, so we thought, why not?

From the most sadistic depths of our minds came the brilliant idea to take the kids camping last weekend. You couldn’t have asked for a better forecast, so we bought some gear and decided to give it a try. How hard could it be? Beth made no less than six separate checklists of things we would “need” and two hours before our scheduled departure that car was packed, the kids were napped and things were looking good. Mind you, I could have summited Everest with less stuff than what we brought…ok, never mind, who are we kidding, I couldn’t even make it to base camp on Everest.

Somehow the realities of moving two two-year olds turned two hours early into leaving two hours late. Which put us into the campground at Fall Creek Falls right at dusk. Now, if you’ve ever tried to set up a seven person tent for the first time by yourself, you know that rushing to finish before it gets too dark is a great experience….especially when the tent directions seem to have vanished into the darkness…and most especially when the kids want to “help” by playing with the lantern…and it’s even more comforting to get to the end to find the directions right underneath all the “extra” parts.

Somehow we managed to get everything set up, grill some burgers and even start a camp fire with some sticks we found lying around. We needed lots of sticks since the firewood store was closed by the time we got there. Not a problem, hunting for firewood in the dark is good for the testosterone levels around a camp fire.

The kids seemed to be having fun…fire, flashlights, food, friends. The only downside was those dang stumps in the ground. We must be raising a city slicker because the concept of uneven ground just baffled Amelia. She found a way to trip over every stump in our little campground. I kid you not, she probably did at least six face plants in the first hour after dark.

We finally got Amelia away from the stumps and settled into bed (err, air mattress). The night was a bit chilly, but otherwise fairly uneventful. We heard a raccoon sniffing around in our campground and neither Beth or I slept much…she was worried about the kids…I was too lazy to get out of my warm sleeping bag to pee.

Morning came soon enough and true to form, Amelia awoke around 6:30 with a chorus of “Wake up Daddy”, “Wake up Daddy”….repeat 1583 times). “Morning Sweety, Daddy’s Awake”. “See Ayden”. “See Ayden”. “See Ayden”. “Ayden’s asleep honey”. “See Ayden”. “Shh honey, Ayden’s trying to sleep”…repeat 7452 times. Once she woke up Ayden and the rest of the campground, we emerged from the tent and the kids played together for a bit in Ayden’s tent. We lit a fire, cooked some eggs, had some fresh air potty time, and overall enjoyed a nice relaxing morning in preparation for our planned late morning hike to the falls.

Somehow we got started towards the trail head a bit later than expect, but no big deal. That is, until we get there and find Ayden asleep (could it be because somebody woke him up early?). Amelia’s on the verge of sleep too. Mission aborted. Back to the camp ground.

When men have a few hours to kill in the woods, men need a manly mission. Our mission was wood. Firewood. Lots of firewood. None of these piddly sticks we burned the night before, we needed logs, lots of logs. Our neighbors’ fire put ours to shame the previous night. We could not be embarrassed again. Shall we go buy a lot of firewood? Oh, no, this is a manly mission, we’re no city slickers. We went to the store and walked right past the firewood, straight to the hatchet aisle (with a quick glance in the cooler to check the beer situation). Dustin grew up in the woods and he showed me the way. I became a man on this trip. I felled a tree with my bare hands (it’s the truth, and it wasn’t even a sapling…it was however dead). I chopped the logs with the hatchet and hauled them back to camp to provide warmth and sustenance for my family. I was feeling burly, tough, manly and more than a little proud. The girls were not impressed. So we went back for more logs. Still they were not impressed. They even went so far as to insult the size of our logs. Now you do NOT belittle the size of a man’s wood. It’s okay though, I had the last laugh later that night when my wood got fired up and made all the women hot (that should ONLY be taken literally).

The kids woke up about the same time and we made our way back to the trail head for our hike to the bottom of the falls. A 1.6 mile hike over 256 vertical feet doesn’t sound all that daunting, but when you’ve got 30 extra pounds on your back (in addition to the extra 30 pounds on your gut), it takes a bit of work. The kids had a blast, but you’d be amazed how well an infant’s cry echos off the rocks at the bottom of the falls. You can make it back up the trail a whole lot faster when you think your infant is on the verge of meltdown.

Back at the camp site, the kids seemed to have figured out the stumps, but that didn’t save Amelia from injury. Completely without malice, Ayden managed to throw a cynder block at Amelia and hit her in the head and foot. To top it off, she tripped coming out of the tent and did a face plant right into the picnic table. Total city slicker.

Siena took it all in stride. Like always, she just went with the flow. We bundled her up the second night until all we could see were two cheeks and nose poking out. Saturday night went much smoother when we started dinner before dusk. Overall, everybody really had a great time. I dare say we’ll be crazy enough to try it again.

Some more pictures from the last few weeks:

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