Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Happy Campers (Times 7)

As you can see, camping tuckers you out.  That's the way I felt after 3 days of camping, even though we had a lot of fun.  The weather was gorgeous, with highs in the mid to upper 70s.  It wasn't so cool at night that we were cold in our sleeping bags, nor was it so hot that we were sweating while we were hiking.

We went to Backbone State Park in Northeast Iowa.  We've never been to this park, and it was simply beautiful.  It had fantastic views and scenery to look at all around the park.  One trail we went on had all these limestone formations sticking up out of the ground.  We had fun climbing up on them and looking across hills and ravines.  Some people even go rappelling down the cliffs near this trail. 

The kids had a BLAST.  They couldn't stop talking about it for days when we got home.  The hiking was a favorite, even by some who complained about having to go beforehand.  In the picture above, all four kids are standing in front of a massive tree that fell down and uprooted itself some time long before we were there. 

My stepdaughter took some of the pictures.  She is in her 'diagonal artsy' period.  Blake did pretty well with the camping too. To be honest, I was kind of worried about taking a 6-month old baby on a camping trip.  It would be hard for him to nap, it would be difficult to make his bottles, we wouldn't have all his toys and devices from home.  Somehow though, with some planning, it worked out.  I was so glad my Mei Tai wrap came before we left.  I put Blake in it many times during the three days, especially when we were hiking.  He actually fell asleep on our two hikes, after looking around in amazement at all the trees and nature.  I had to pull a towel between him and my shirt, to keep him from spitting up all over me. 

This was the view down through two rocks.  This wasn't the actual trail, more of a side shoot down to a scenic view.  I went part of the way down, and then stopped and came back up.  Leaning forward and climbing down slippery, steep trails is difficult when you have a 20 lb. infant strapped to your chest.  Climbing up was not so bad, but down made me nervous. 

Dale took a picture of our campsite.  You can see we had two tents, a girls' tent and a boys' tent.  Except Blake, he slept in the girls' tent.  We brought his pack and play for him to sleep in, since our tents are so big.  We loved the site.  It was only a short walk to the bathroom and shower house, and we could see the playground from our campfire.  A paved road wound around us, so the kids could ride their scooters and skateboards.  (Dad did a little skateboarding as well.  He is pretty good, I must say). 

The park had many interesting features, such as a cave large enough to walk around inside.

There were also springs that bubbled up in a clear, beautiful pool.  A sign informed us that the springs were a consistent 48 degrees year round.  We confirmed that the water was indeed cold!  We took off our shoes and tried walking across it.  The limestone rock pieces were sharp though and they were hard on our feet. 

Dad is here showing that he can wear the baby AND conquer the stream. 

Some of the best times were just chilling out around the campsite.  We put Blake's blanket inside the screen porch to protect him from bugs while he was stretching out and playing.  The sun was just up over the trees in the picture.  I kept thinking a baby couldn't have a more beautiful place to play than laying in this morning light. 

The kids loved roasting their own foods on a stick over the fire.  We let them eat as many hot dogs as they wanted for dinner the first night.  This was followed by eating as many marshmallows as they wanted a short while later.  We didn't get any complaints when it was time to go to bed while we were camping. We ate well, worked hard and played hard. Like I said, camping tuckers you out. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

A 6-Month Birthday and a Surprise

You know in your logical mind that a baby is going to take over your life for quite a while.  Saying that, and thinking you know that, is NOT the same as living it.  For example, Blake had his 6-month birthday 2 days ago, and this is the first time I have ever did a blog post with him in it.  I was thinking about my blog, and how long it had been since I posted, and I really couldn't believe it had been that long.  I have been too busy to even blog once for 6 months.

So being that he has reached his half-year birthday, I'd like to officially welcome Blake Montgomery Erickson to my blog. 

We have been expecting a tooth for a while now.  He has been showing all the classic symptoms: excessive drooling, ear pulling, slight fever, etc.  Right before we left to go camping this week, I finally felt it, a sharp ridge poking up through his bottom gum.  Now we had a reason to break out this festive "Yay! My first tooth!" onesie. 

I tried to get a picture of his tooth, but this was the best I could do.  He is difficult enough to get a picture of in the first place, he moves so much.  When I was trying to photograph his tooth, I got a surprise.  TWO TEETH.  Side by side on the bottom.  Evidently he is taking after his brother, who lost all his baby teeth in two's. 

He is also nearly ready to crawl.  It is going to happen any day now.  When I look back on his first year, I will remember how many milestones he hit right around his 6-month birthday. 

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