Saturday, August 14, 2010

Canoe Carnival weekend

Friday night, after I put the kids to bed, I was exhausted but decided to go over to Jim's house to return his waterproof camera he had lent me and enjoy the festivities. Canoe Carnival weekend is huge in Medford Lakes, and frankly it's kind of hard to explain. But every year the town gathers in groups and constructs huge floats that are canoed around the lake on platforms secured to canoes. The night before canoe carnival (Friday night) is always the "festival of lights", usually coined "mardi gras". My brother lives on this lakes, and everyone decorates their house with lights and such and have parties around the lake. Some people canoe around, others just party. My brother had a small gathering, which was nice. And really yummy mojitos!

Saturday morning I put Jason in the jogging stroller and Tyler and I walked to the farmer's market. They had extra vendors and activities, due to it being canoe carnival weekend. Tyler got to do 2 crafts: he got to make his own miniature canoe carnival float and see if it it did in fact float and then he got to decorate a little canoe. He had fun with both, while Jason had fun splashing the water all over himselves. Afterwards they both got their hands painted. Jason insisted on this. It's funny how he gets his point across without saying a word.

On Saturday evening it was finally canoe carnival. I took the boys to go visit my grandparents for a bit, before being met by my parents. We parked there and walked over to my brother Jim and Cara's, along with Marc and Jamey and Muriel and Jim. Beth and Erich weren't far behind us with the girls. There were other people as well, including a girl scout troop that had assembled a float and were launching it from my brother and Cara's place. So it was a large crowd, but very manageable compared to most houses I've been to at canoe carnival. Way more "kid-friendly" than past years. We ate some yummy food, the older kids played on the playground, and I followed around Jason. The canoe carnival didn't' get started until maybe 8:30 or later, but everyone loved it. Jason and Olivia sat and watched from chairs with the adults, Ty and Mackenzie watched from the swingset with the older kids, and my parents and their friends watched from the balcony. It was a great time with nice weather.

That night the boys weren't in bed until midnight. And yet Jason was still up at 5:20. Not fair! Late morning time I brought the boys to Al's moms place, for just a short while.

That night I asked my mom to accompany me to the lake so she could keep an eye on Jason while I helped Tyler out with his swimming. In reality Jason insisted on being with me while Tyler didn't need me much at all. Can't believe how much progress he has made in such a short time!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Catskills Camping, day 4

Thankfully Jason had another good night. Took a while to fall asleep, but then slept well, with the help of Tyler being in the pop-up with Mackenzie and family. The weather was iffy and it had been a long few days, so we made the decision that it would be our last day at camp and we'd drive home that night. Erich decided to start packing up camp while Beth and I took the kids for a long walk to the playground. Jason learned to blow bubbles. Mackenzie managed to flip upside down on a slide and nearly knock herself out. Tyler and Mackenzie argued like crazy. She accidentally knocked him over and he sustained a very minor knee scrape with very major drama accompanying it. By the time we got back to the campsite we were convinced we had made the right decision to leave that night as it was obvious the kids were very tired.

Unfortunately it started raining as we continued to pack up. Didn't ruin the fun for the kids!

Once the rain finally cleared we decided to take a chance and go over to Hunter Mountain. They keep the ski lift open in the summer and operate it as a "sky ride" to the top (well, actually about mid-way this season since they are using an alternate lift) of the mountain. Erich decided to stay back with Olivia, as the employee told us that the kids had to be able to sit and be cooperative for the ride or it could be dangerous (obviously). Jason was eager and ready to go though, signing "yes" and taking off for the ride when asked. He was very well behaved and loved it. Tyler was a little leery, but was fascinated. It was a steep mountain for sure and I was making Jason a little angry with my hold on him! Learned that this mountain is apparently very popular with the Jewish population. We got serenaded along the way. Interesting.

Afterwards we went back to the campground and went over to Beth's aunt and uncle's campsite, who had just arrived for the weekend. We hung out for a bit before walking to the lake, playing for a bit at the playground, and going for a short hike. The short hike ended up taking much longer than it should with two toddlers, one of which (mine) who insisted on walking the whole thing himself, water bottle in hands. We walked along the lake out to a place called dinosaur rock or alligator rock or crocodile rock or something of that nature. LOL. Along the way everyone picked blackberries. Jason was the one who enjoyed this the most, despite being the only one who wouldn't eat them.

We finally went back to the campsite and finished packing up before having a fascinating dinner at Three Guys Pizza (or was it Five Guys?). Either way, it was an italian joint, but the owners were apparently Irish. It wasn't bad pizza, but the service and facilities were, ummm, interesting. I'll leave it at that. Then we had some ice cream across the street before packing back in the vehicles to head home. We didn't get on the road until maybe 9 at night and it was a LONG drive, but luckily I had Beth to keep me up and awake. Poor Erich by himself with just a sleeping Mackenzie in his vehicle. But we arrived safe around 2am.

We survived our first camping trip. And we're crazy enough to be planning a second!