Memorial Day Camping Weekend

We are back from a long (and FUN) camping weekend.  We spent last week getting geared up for it – MiMi and Grampy stocked up the camper while Avery and I made some goodies to pack.

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Avery was a big helper making apple chips.  Yes, he took a bite out of almost every one before putting them on the tray.
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That batch of apple chips barely lasted Friday afternoon – Avery devoured them as soon as we got to camp and shared them with his friends.  I’ll make two batches next trip. And if you noticed Avery’s face in the last picture…IMG_6491

He also helped me make cookies and since stirring is hard work, some flour escaped the bowl.

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Friday morning came and Avery was so excited…. that he just kept sleeping and sleeping.IMG_6499

I even tried my ‘mommy tactics on him – opened the window, turned on the lights… but he was still snoozing.  I guess he knew he had a big camping weekend ahead of him and he needed to stock up on sleep!  Friday at noon, we were off!  Grampy and I (Mimi had to work all day and joined us later Friday night) picked Avery up at daycare (which Avery thought was pretty cool since we had the camper with us!).IMG_6501

(Oh, Avery looks like a grump in this picture because he’s making a “Pokey Face”)

Just over an hour later, we pulled into the campground – and we were the first ones there! (first ones in our group – we had 6 sites reserved for my Papa’s side of the family – my Mom’s Dad).  After setting up the camper, we headed off to the railroad track.
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We stayed at River’s Bend, in New Haven VT.  It’s very secluded along a river, but there is a train track and bridge near the entrance.IMG_6506

We climbed up the hill and I snagged a couple good pictures of these two.

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I wouldn’t dare walk over the bridge part – eek too high.  But Grampy and Joseph did.

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Avery and I stayed on the tracks and I almost got a very poetic picture of Avery on the tracks, then the dogs photobombed it.

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We put down pennies and dimes for the train to flatten.  We went back on Saturday and we found them all – smushed.  Avery and Joseph (my cousin) thought it was pretty cool!
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To bring our first day camping to a close, we did popcorn over the fire…IMG_6518

Good thing we brought two bags of it because the first one exploded, haha.  Avery and Grampy enjoyed their usual nighttime snack.IMG_6520

The rest of the weekend was a blur of fun… lots of fishing, playing in the sand, kayaking, playing with family – cornhole and woffleball and some new game called KamnJam.  Avery skipped rocks in the water and rode his bike around with Joseph.  They played soccer and with this helicopter spinner Avery would let off and Joseph or Mia would catch.

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Grampy finally caught a couple fish.  Avery had so much fun playing with his second cousins – ‘my friends’ as he calls them.  He woke up Sunday morning and asked ‘where are my friends?’ since they only came for the day on Saturday and had left that night.  He really loves playing with them.

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Avery, Grampy, and I spent hours looking for fish.  I took this picture a split second before Avery fell in right there.  It was too funny.  He had a soaked pantleg (just one) and a shoe. We were all laughing.  The water wasn’t deep so he didn’t get far and his pants dried before we got back to camp.IMG_6536

The river was so low in places that we walked out to islands like this a couple times.  We found broken pottery, dug holes making rivers and floating sticks and leaves down – so much fun.IMG_6564

And Avery and I went out in the kayak 4 times I think… one time we even took Frasier along!

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I didn’t carry my phone around with me, so there aren’t pictures of every second of the weekend, but that’s what camping is all about – leaving work, and housework, and electronics at home and enjoying the outdoors and the people you’re with – and we sure did that.

We closed the weekend with smores… oh and catching a frog – the second one of the weekend.IMG_6566

Thank you Johnson Family for such a fun camping weekend.  Sunday afternoon while I was baking up a storm for the week and Avery was playing play doh, he says ‘I want to go camping’.  I think he had fun 🙂

❤ Meghan

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S’mores & Stripes

We spent our Independence Day weekend camping at Grand Isle State Park Campground.  Our family used to camp here when we were kids, and it was Avery’s second time, since we went last year with the Conovers.   5 Days and 4 nights of living outdoors… Avery was in HEAVEN.

We setup camp on Wednesday afternoon.  It was humid and warm, so our first order of business… the beach!

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“Wow, So many water!” Avery told me when he saw the big lake.

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Avery brought his toys down, waded in the water with me and his second cousins.  Avery threw rocks into the water, made bird noises to the seagulls flying around, and just ran around squealing and laughing like a happy little kiddo.

We couldn’t make it back to the campsite without making a pit stop at the playground.
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Avery and his second cousin, Aiden, get along so well.  Aiden helps Avery, leads him around with his hand, and Avery is just in awe, watching and learning from a bigger kid. It was nice to sit back on the park bench and just watch them play together.

I shared some muchies with my little man and snagged a Mommy/Son selfie 🙂IMG_2128

Albeit blurry, but it totally shows Avery’s personality – always moving, food on his face, and smiling!

Back at camp, Avery discovered Grampy’s hammock…IMG_2131

Avery thought it was pretty cool.  Throughout the weekend, Avery and Grampy played in the hammock, had snacks, all sorts of fun.  And getting Avery to nap while all this fun camping was going on would have been much harder without that hammock…IMG_2162

Napping was a much easier feat than bedtime while camping.  Since my parents have a camper, it’s still light inside, so getting Avery to sleep at 8pm when kids are still running around and the suns still out, well, that was a challenge.  Avery showered in the bathrooms, had s’mores for desert, and I laid with him for an hour and he would finally fall asleep.  You would think that after such busy days camping, he would be pooped and pass out, but nooo.  I’m not surprised.  He’s fought sleep ever since he was born.  I’ll look back on this and laugh when he’s a teenage and sleeping until noon!

Breakfast while camping was easy peasy.
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We setup a table and Avery had his yummy cereal.
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Avery was wide awake and excited to see everyone each morning, especially Michael Eyes.

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These two are a riot… give them tomatoes and… Tomato Eyes!
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Michael Eyes brought his boat camping, so we went out fishing every day!
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Grampy made a mini fishing pole for Avery, and he caught his first fish!!!

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We caught 20+ fish every time we went out and Aiden caught the biggest one!IMG_2154

Avery and Aiden were the best fishing buddies…
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There’s Avery fishing like a big boy…

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Avery wasn’t sure what to think of the fish when we started catching them…

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He eventually warmed up and kept wanting to catch more and he touched them and helped throw them back.

One of the days we went out, it was very cloudy…

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Avery got to help drive the boat!
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On Saturday, my friend Steve took us out for a ride on his boat.
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We lounged around…Avery drove…
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And Avery shared his gold fish snack with the seagulls..IMG_2198
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The campground had lots of activities for the kids.  Avery and Aiden made hats and wands for the 4th of July.
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On July 4th, they had an hour of activities… a donut eating contest…
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A water balloon toss:

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And a bubble gum blowing contest.  The kids (and adults) had so much fun!  Every time Avery’s balloon popped he ran back to the bin and got one more all by himself.  It was too cute.

We did get rained on a bit and had to hunker  down in the campers for a while…
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But that didn’t stop the kiddos from having fun… pillow fights, play doh, and board games kept them occupied.

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When the rain finally stopped, everyone was in good spirits…
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Avery even found a little fort for himself where he made ‘coffee and food’ for everyone (we gave him water, cups, plates, and animal crackers and he used it as his kitchen and picnic table).

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We went to the beach a couple more times, played in the sandbox at the playground every morning, took a bike ride, took walks and saw a family of baby raccoons, played cards, participated in the bike parade, and the biggest adventure of the weekend was Avery learned how to ride his tricycle all by himself!  The weekend started out with people pushing him around.
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But after Avery took a ride down a little hill, and discovered he could peddle, we ended the weekend with Avery biking around all by himself!IMG_2192

Next we upgrade to a big big with training wheels!

We had such a fun weekend with family and friends that Avery did not want to leave on Sunday. Happy Independence Day!

❤ Meghan

A Gorges Camping Weekend

Playground and Waterfalls – that pretty much sums up our camping weekend in Ithica, NY.  We set out on Friday morning to visit Sarah in Ithica, NY – she just moved there 2 months ago to attend grad school.  Well, Ithica is a 6 1/2 hour drive from where we live… roadtripmap And you know I’m queen of long road trips with a toddler, so I thought… we got this!  We left around 8:45am.  Logistics…we took my parents truck that seats 6, and it was full capacity: Grampy, MiMi, and Frasier up front (oh yeah, we took my parents dogs too!) IMG_1960 Backseat… Pokey, Me, & Mister Excited: IMG_1967 IMG_1958

Behind us was a truck bed full of Sarah’s furniture (she’s moving into an apartment so she needed it) and the camper.  The ride went pretty well.  I had my “bag of tricks” that kept Avery entertained… matchbox cars, a bag of amphibian animals, coloring and sticker books, snacks, and the iPad.  Avery was pretty entertained… we even passed a bunch of windturbines which made for a fun game of I-Spy. IMG_2061 Around 11, we took a pit stop for a diaper change and a treat at the store… IMG_1969 At noon we stopped for lunch.  We had the dogs so we brought the food outside with us on a blanket.  That was the only and only meltdown Avery had.  Eating outside, cars going by, helicopters in the sky, dogs trying to eat you food… and it was past his usual nap time.. so a little meltdown that passed and we ate, got back in the truck and he was quickly sound asleep for his usual mid-day nap. IMG_1970 We pulled into the campground around 4:30pm.  Avery had been up and was getting very antsy.  A 7 hour car ride is tough for a toddler, but we had fun and he was very excited when we pulled into our campsite and setup the camper.IMG_1974

We sat down for a little snack…
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Then…Aunt Sarah joined us, and these two were very excited to see each other! IMG_1971

Our first order of business?  Check out the playground, duh!IMG_1972

We stayed at the Robert H. Treman State Park.  It was only 10-15min from Ithica College, Sarah’s school.  It had playgrounds (2), a waterfall (Ithica has many of these!), and it was a State Campground, which we have preferred to stay at over the years of camping as a family – they are clean, updated, reasonably priced, and always have lots of outdoor stuff to do.
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We stayed at site #22 (or Two Two, as we taught Avery), it was near the playground and bathrooms and really big.  There was little traffic so it was nice for Avery to play and walk around without being worried.

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We had hot dogs, hamburgers, and potato salad for dinner… then it was time for a fire and s’mores for desert! IMG_1982
Avery doesn’t care for s’mores… he just eats the marshmellows. IMG_1984 IMG_1986

And thanks to the idea from Joey, we used peanut butter cups instead of chocolate in the s’mores… yum! IMG_1985

Like any trip, I think about Avery’s routine and how to keep it as close to normal as possible, even though we are away from home.  The car trip was great because he had his lunch and nap like usual.  But I knew bedtime would be a challenge.  At home, Avery is in bed at 8, and we all know the sun is still up then in the summer, so window shades help mask that every night.  When camping in a pop up, that’s not possible, especially when quiet hours aren’t until 10pm,and the rowdy group near us could be heard for a mile.  So, I tried to keep his routine, but knew going in that his bed time would be shifted a bit.  Avery took a shower in the bath house like a big boy – he did a great job but thought it was funny wearing his sandals in the shower!  We plopped down in bed around 9, when it was getting dark enough for him to realize it was bed time.  Oh, and we shared a bed, so I went to sleep with him, which was also different for him and me.  Avery finally fell asleep around 930-45.  But man is he a wiggle worm.  I work up 20 times that night because he moves ALOT in his sleep.  By morning, I was on the edge of the bed, Avery comfy in the middle, Pokey sleeping at my feet… oh good times!

Saturday was our one full day in Ithica.  First on our agenda… touring Sarah’s college!  Sarah is in a 2-year program at Ithica College for her Masters in Occupational Therapy.  She stayed on campus for the summer session and just found a great apartment that she moves into soon and will stay for the next year.  Oh yeah, before we toured her school, we spent a couple hours moving the furniture we brought into her new apartment.  That was quite interesting.. two dogs tied up outside (one of which got caught in the bushes) and Avery was all over Grampy to use his power tools… good times!  We setup her bed, dresser, table and chairs… she should be good for a while!

Back at her school, Sarah took us up to a football field/track that overlooked the lake.
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Avery had fun running on the big football field…

So are we thinking running back… or track star?

We walked around campus and found this setup for orientation… had to take a picture!

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Future student????

The campus was very pretty and Avery especially loved the water fountains.

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Until we found this hidden gem… a cute little garden, flowing water, and a turtle!!

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Next we were off to the local Farmer’s Market.  We couldn’t go in with the dogs, so we took turns.  Grampy, Avery and I walked around and scored some maple popcorn and strawberries.  Then we went outside to keep the dogs company while Mimi and Grampy went inside.  We sat by the water feeding ducks.  Avery was thrilled.

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Grampy and Mimi came out with flatbread pizza (which Avery ate 3 of the 4 slices!) and Sarah and I went back in for a yummy cookie!

We headed back to the campsite because it was nap time…
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While the boys were sleeping, us girls played a few hands of cards and ate way too many chips and salsa.  Avery woke up and did a puzzle with Mimi…

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And played a little hide and seek with Grampy…

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Our afternoon was very WET! We visited THREE waterfalls.  “Ithica is Gorges” is the city motto and they sure live up to it… first waterfall was Enfield Falls, just a walk away at the state park we were camping at.  Well, no walk to a waterfall is complete without this little dude tagging along…
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After a short walk thru the woods we were here!
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And as you can see, so were lots of other people.  These falls were natural but the pool/dam beneath it was all man made… steps and ladders into the water, even a diving board!  We chilled out in the kiddie zone and we went swimming…
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Next, we were off to a more local spot, all natural, and hidden off the road… we had to hike for a few minutes, even go thru a tunnel, to get there!
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Ithica Falls were much bigger, and all natural… not many tourists, but not really safe for swimming, so we just looked and hopped around on the rocks.
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Our third, and final waterfall was Buttermilk Falls… my favorite, by far!  Avery stopped on the way for a drink…
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These falls weren’t as steep as the others but they just kept going and going…
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Down below we walked on the water…
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Then we hiked above the falls.. so many stairs!  Pokey practically had to run up them because he is so long and has short legs and Fraiser was scared from the loud water crashing that Sarah had to pick him up and carry him because he refused to go any further!  But when we got to the top, it was worth it…
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The water was slow moving so we got to walk around on the flat rocks.  After the falls, we stopped and played at this biiiiig playground they had.  Avery had so much fun!!!  They had ropes and rock walls, slides, and it just makes we wish I designed playgrounds for a living!

On our way back to camp, we saw this little fellow… a baby fox!

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Sarah, Avery, and I played at the big playground back at the state park (the third playground of the weekend!)IMG_1981

Dinner, fire…

IMG_2046…..then out for ice cream!!! (Check out Purity Ice Cream… yum!!)  We did a lap around town so Avery would fall asleep and then we all turned in for the night.  We packed up and headed back on Sunday…

Although we spent 2 days driving and only 1 day enjoying Ithica (& Aunt Sarah), it was well worth the drive!  We all had a great time, especially Avery!  Now, if I don’t have to drive anywhere with Avery for a while, I would be very happy!  Man, this Momma and her bag of tricks need a rest!!!

This week is a normal week for us – school and work.  Plenty of time to rest up for another busy weekend… a 5K and a Birthday Party!  Next week is 4th of July and we’ll be… you guessed it… camping!

❤ Meghan

Avery Goes Camping!

In true Vermonter fashion, Avery got his first taste of camping this month.  Growing up, our summers were all about camping.  We used to camp in a tent – real roughing it.  We would spend a weekend just being outdoors… s’mores and hot dogs over the fire, relaxing at the beach or riding our bikes around.  Our family friends ‘Aunt Candy & Uncle Paul’ and their son Marcus (my ‘brother’) were with us many of those summers.  To this day we still tease my sister about the rain storm we were stuck in and how she was at one tent and we were all in another, and she was so scared from the storm to run through the rain to the other tent…. haha.  And then there was the times Marcus would eat ants, telling us it was good protein.  Oh and I remember catching a duck one year and we got to hold it.  So many memories growing up from camping…

Since then my parents have upgraded to a pop-up camper, and Aunt Candy & Uncle Paul have an RV.  So,  although it wasn’t really roughing it – it did make it a little easier with the pack-n-play and getting Avery to sleep before the sun went down.

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But it was still camping… eating outside, playing in the dirt, sitting around doing noting – just talking and connecting.  Marcus has been stationed in Germany for the past few (3-4?) years, and he’s FINALLY back home.  So we made a camping weekend, like old times, of his visit home before he headed down to Alabama.
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I picked Avery up at 1PM from daycare, just before his nap and strapped him into the car for the 4 hour ride.  He slept 3 hours and 45 minutes!  Wow.  I was able to drive straight thru and he was a little fussy at the end, but before we knew it, we were pulling into the campground and Grampy was there with the dogs to greet us.  They had already setup camp and it was so great to finally see Marcus.  I hadn’t seen him since… last summer!

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The weather forecast was threatening showers, but we made it thru the whole weekend with just a couple sprinkles.  Avery didn’t take long to start exploring… first he played in the camper with Aunt Sarah.

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It wasn’t long before he discovered the water station across the road and had to help get some water for the dogs…
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He helped Aunt Sarah bring the dish back for the thirsty dogs and after watching them take a drink, he had to have one too…

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We had some yummy stew for dinner (thanks Mom!), and gathered around the camp fire for s’mores, and we had a nice conversation about where the word s’more came from… Marcus thinks it’s because they’re so good someone wanted ‘some-more’ and they became s’mores from that.  Maybe?  With the sun setting, Grammy put Avery down to bed and he slept pretty well, but he was up with the sun (and the dogs) on Saturday.

Saturday was all about the boat.  Uncle Paul had brought his boat (per my request!), so we (Grampy, Me & Avery, Aunt Sarah, & Marcus) took the boat out onto Lake Champlain – there’s a boat dock at the campground.  Anticipating the boat ride, weeks ago I bought Avery a life-vest, which the boat gurus (Paul & Marc) approved of…. Avery… not so much…
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Although it was a warm and sunny day, we knew it would be chilly on the water.  So we bundled Avery up, but that made the life-vest a little snug… Avery wasn’t thrilled.  He seemed a little weary and very observant of the water, but more-so awkward from the vest.
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Uncle Paul drove pretty slow, and avery just sat there, observing with a grimace on this face.

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We were all thrilled to be out on the water, and passed Avery around the boat as we cruised around.

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He sat in the front with Aunt Sarah for a while.  Still not impressed by all the water and boat.

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Sarah said he seemed sleepy, and within minutes of passing him off to me, he was out!

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Maybe it was the vibrations and motion from the boat, or that it was late morning and about time for a weekend nap (since he’d been up with the sun)… but for the next hour on the boat, he just snoozed away…

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The men took full advantage and threw a couple lines in to go fishing.

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Sarah and I don’t have fishing licences, so I relaxed with Avery in my lap while Sarah drove the boat..

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After an hour of fishing and no fish, we headed back in.

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Avery woke up just before we got to the dock.

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He was a little discombobulated, but he loved seeing the water and wanted to go near it.  And he really liked watching them pull the boat in on the trailer.  He loves trucks, so no surprise.

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We hoped in the boat to ride it back to the campsite.  With his life-vest off, Avery was thrilled to take a hand at the wheel.
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Back at camp, we all (even the dogs) took a walk to the playground.  Avery HAD to hold a dog leash too!  He threw a fit until we realized he just wanted to hold a dog leash- by himself.  Such a big boy!

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Avery could have cared less about the slide and playground stuff, because there was a sandbox…

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Everyone sat in the shade with the dogs while Avery had fun in the sand.

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Back at camp, Avery explored with Frasier….

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…did a little cleaning for Grammy.

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And Grammy had brought along Avery’s matchbox cars from their house.  These cars were actually Marcus’ cars from when he was a kiddo, passed down to Avery.

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Marcus and Grampy got in on the car action, and made a ramp for the cars to race down.

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Avery even has a camping chair, just his size… that Marcus tried out… a little snug.

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Avery was still fascinated with the water station….

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So, Avery helped Grampy bring some water back to camp…

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There were some bubbles too…

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But most our afternoon was spent in the boat… on land that is.

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For some odd reason, Avery loved the boat.  Loved to drive it and run around playing in it… while it was parked on land.  We had some drinks and snacks in the boat while Avery played… he even did some fishing!

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Oh, and I can’t forget to share these pictures… Grammy had spent a while looking for a tub for Avery to take a bath in.  They have showers at camp, but Avery likes baths… especially in a pink tub out on the grass…

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Saturday night, we had a special cake for desert, for Father’s Day for Grampy & Uncle Paul.  Of coarse none of us remembered to take a picture of it!  And Avery colored a pretty sign for the Dads too.  The cake was delicious and we hardly spend 15 minutes around the campfire before we all crashed.

Sunday morning, Avery was so wiped from Saturday’s activities that he slept in…

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Such a fun weekend… So much of it brought back memories of camping growing up, and having Avery there with us just made it so special – to be able to do with him what I did as a kid.  We can’t wait to do it again!

Have you been camping?  Do you rough it or relax in the comforts of a camper/RV?