Monday, August 21, 2017

The Kindness of Strangers

Last week we went camping at Presqu'ile Provincial Park.  Despite the heavy rains recently, we had mostly clear weather.  We had a beautiful site right on the water.  We remembered most of our supplies.  And yet...

And yet, Gavin and I struggled to keep up with the demands of the day.  There was no time for playing, relaxing, having fun or just watching the children.  Feeding, medicating, dressing, diaper changing, cooking on a camp stove, cleaning dishes in cold water and dealing with bugs and heat left us completely exhausted.  There was no time to just be.  To just enjoy.

Zoe was a bit rashy, she started running a fever and she has these enormous bowel movements we could not even begin to explain but wouldn't want to anyway.  The point of bringing it up at all is that a diaper change can take literally 90 minutes and involve at least Zoe and one adult getting a shower, sometimes two adults.  Zoe uses a commode at home, but taking the enormous commode along while travelling is not possible.  And so we end up with this issue on most trips.  It is very frustrating for all of us, especially Zoe.

And so we felt frustrated and angry but mostly we felt sad.  As Zoe grows, her physical demands grow and travelling with her is getting more difficult.  We will keep doing it because Zoe deserves to travel and have fun like any other child.  But it is sad that we can't just take the children to the beach (it was right there!) and just play.  We never even found the time to get Zoe in her walker (her giant walker we brought along in our very packed van).

On the hottest day Zoe and Willow were getting overheated by the late afternoon so we decided to go out for dinner.  Forget cooking and camp clean up, lets just go to town and enjoy the air conditioning.

Dinner was lovely.  I ate one handed while breastfeeding Willow and Gavin fed Zoe.  Ailsa enjoyed eating the ice out of her water while beating us at tic-tac-toe (how does she win so often?!)

There was an older couple sitting behind me.  When they got up to leave, the man came over to Gavin and handed him money and said something like, "Please take this from me.  Thank you so much for bringing your daughter out to the restaurant."  He smiled at all three girls and told us we have a beautiful family.

Gavin and I were touched by this strangers' generosity.  He could not have known what a difficult day we were having and how alone this often makes us feel.

Thank you random stranger for your kindness.  It means a lot to us.  We will add you to our long mental list of people who have shown us such kindness.

We are lucky in this life.

And yes- we do have a beautiful family.

 Early morning in the tent.  
No matter where we put Zoe and Ailsa to bed in the tent they always manage to find each other in the night and end up side by side in the morning.

 Lake Ontario is so large and there was so much wind that it sounded like waves in the ocean.  The sound was very soothing but also loud!  We would definitely go back to this campsite again.  It was beautiful.

 This photo is from a trip earlier this month.  We went to Grandma Sheena's for three nights.  We did a canoe ride with four of us (Zoe, Ailsa, Gavin and myself) and then each girl got to go for a ride by themselves with daddy.  Zoe loved stretching out on the bottom of the canoe.

Zoe enjoys the moment floating in Grandma's hot tub.  She is so proud of herself for being able to "swim" on her own now.  As always, her laid back attitude and joy grounds us.

Friday, August 4, 2017

August Already!!!!!

Happy July 1st!!!!
Ok, ok its August and July is gone but this is a super cute family picture so I just had to share it.  This was our first outing as a family of five.  We went three whole blocks from our house to the local park!  We hung out waiting for the fireworks to start.  Ailsa ran around and played with a giant parachute, Willow slept and Zoe played on the blanket.  All was going great until just before fireworks time- Zoe had to return to the house for a diaper change, Ailsa got stressed about the potential noise from the fireworks and Willow woke up hungry.  Since Gavin had not returned with Zoe yet, I decided to take a crying Ailsa and Willow home.  Zoe did decide to return to the park to see the fireworks after her change but unfortunately by that time, she missed most of the show.  So, the day did not turn out as we hoped but hey- we got a cute picture out of it!

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Too
A more recent and successful outing was to the Science Centre.  Again, Willow slept or nursed most of the time we were there but she is only two months old.  Zoe and Ailsa had a great time exploring the Kidspark play area (their favourite place to explore) as well as other areas.  We also spent some time in the outside play area.  They have updated the trails since we were there last so that they are more wheelchair accessible (Thank you!).  Zoe really loved the giant tree slide.  They hollowed out a tree trunk from a very large tree and made it in to a slide that is very fast.  I wish I could have gotten some pictures but I was busy trying to catch Zoe while she flew toward me with her boots at my eye level!  Gavin walked her to the top and then sent her down by herself.  

This is the teepee in the outside play area.  As always, Gavin was willing to get Zoe in where she wanted to be/play. 

Super Dad wonders why his back is hurting these days...

This picture was from the Aquarium in March.  Again- Gavin got Zoe to where she wanted to be.  This is a clear tube that goes through the middle of one of the tanks.  All the kids (and some adults) love going through the tube.

Willow and Ailsa show off my knitting in this photo.  The blanket was designed by Ailsa as a gift for Willow- she likes to tell people she made it for her sister!  I started the sweater before Willow was born as a distraction in my final pregnant days.  I was super excited I actually finished while it still fits Willow! Knitting has been a great activity for me.  It is so important for parents to find something they enjoy.  Of course I mainly knit things for the kids... but I do enjoy altering patterns I find or making my own design.  It gives me a creative outlet.  And the meditative aspect of knitting has a calming effect on me.  It is one of the things that helps keep me as sane as I am.  I even bring knitting with me when Zoe needs to go to the emergency room.  If/when Zoe is very sick and not active it is very scary and stressful.  I find it helpful to have something to do with my hands.  It gives me something to concentrate on at a time when I just want to yell at hospital staff to make it better NOW!  And when times are not stressful, its just plain fun.