Last week we decided to go camping for three days. Due to the upheaval and the new baby this summer, we haven't had much of a holiday. We wanted to do a little something, though, so the boys could feel like we'd been on a "real" holiday over the summer. We went to Ottawa area, as we had friends we wanted to visit. It was kind of a last minute thing, but we hoped they could fit us in anyway.
After all the sorting and packing we finally got on our way mid-afternoon on Sunday. Although it is not a super far drive to the Rideau River Provincial park, it is sort of a strange drive. The park is on the south west of Ottawa, and we were driving to Ottawa from the south east. While the main highway route drive into Ottawa and then back out again, there are a lot of side roads that cut across directly to the campsite. We thought we would be clever and take one of these, but it wasn't as clear of a road as we initially thought, and so we had to turn around and go back to the highway. This, combined with a sudden torrential downpour, meant that at supper time we were doing this:
The downpour and almost getting lost was a harbinger of other small, non-major disasters - no plugs for the air mattresses (last packed away during our hurried, flu induced early departure from Family Camp last summer), no matches, no ropes to cover our picnic table with a tarp, and very hungry mosquitos attacking my feet before I could get bug repellent on myself. I was pretty proud of Dave and I, because while we could have started arguing and blaming one another and generally being grumpy, instead we just made the best of our situation. The kids didn't know any better, and this trip was for them, after all. As you can see, Owen was happy to be there. We went to sleep (on the ground) and hoped for a better day.
In between, Dave had fun teaching them how to build proper fires and roasting and burning things like fir cones, corn, marshmallows and (sigh) a pop can. The boys had a blast,
Dave meanwhile got to prepare his favorite camping / traveling meal. We call it "the Irish Meal" - not because it is intrinsically Irish (although it does contain potatoes) but because we made it a lot a hostels when we were staying in Ireland, as potatoes were cheap and the cheese was excellent.
The next day Andrew and Aaron had a final play with their friends, we packed up the van and headed out to visit our friends Brian and Jean. They have 6 kids, and Brian recently finished his PhD in religious studies, so we have a lot in common. It was lovely to see them settled in Ottawa, to enjoy food from Brian's garden and to watch Jean so effortlessly manage her 6 children (ages 6 - 14).
After a lovely, long visit we all climbed back into the van and headed back to Montreal, glad to see our city, our house, and our soft cozy beds.