Thursday, August 15, 2013

Day tripper

Although it really isn't in the budget to go anywhere on vacation over the summer (or at any time for that matter!) it's still nice to get out on day trips. Some of them are even free.

We had a great time at the beach with my Mom, May, Shannon and Reggie. We didn't get in the water other than up to my ankles. It was too cold anyway and Michelle isn't a fan of the lake yet. She loves running around on the sand and chasing the seagulls. I have a hard time keeping up with her!

I found Michelle this little polka dot outfit on sale at Old Navy. I was relieved to find a hat that would actually stay on her head and that she wouldn't grab off. The fact that it matched the swimsuit was just icing on the cake.


I always loved the beach but it is definitely different now. It's still fun, it's just a lot more work. Before having a baby I could travel light. A towel and some sunscreen and I was good to go. I could lay on the sand and soak up the sun or float in the water, carefree. Now I have to bring a whole kit and caboodle -- a tent for shade, snacks for the baby, water diapers, changes of clothes, toys, etc and let me tell you, pushing a stroller packed to the gills through deep, soft sand is no easy feat! There's no lounging on the sand anymore. I spend 99% of the time chasing after Michelle and making sure she doesn't get hurt. There's no floating in the water anymore. Michelle doesn't even let me go in the water if I wanted to. I still love to listen to the waves, to hear the seagulls and to watch people on the beach. My favourite thing now is watching Michelle's excitement as she discovers everything.
The tent is a godsend. My sister always had one and I got one myself when they were on sale half price. It's great to store all your stuff in and it's somewhere to retreat to for a few moments at least for shade.
Michelle wouldn't stay in the tent for long and while there she was trying to pull everything out of the bags. I managed to keep her still for a few moments by letting her have some snacks. She LOVES "Mum Mums" rice rusks.
Having been on the beach with her before I knew better what to expect and didn't stress out quite as much about her being covered in sand. It's not the end of the world. I really wish they could invent a sunscreen that wasn't so darn thick and sticky but then I guess it wouldn't be waterproof and stay put. I'm always careful to cover Michelle so she doesn't get a burn. I don't usually bother to cover myself quite as well so I get a little pink. We redheads have to be careful in the sun. I got a severe burn as a child where I turned purple and got blisters (they didn't have SPF 60 back then I guess, if my Mom put sunscreen on me at all) and still have huge freckles on my shoulders. I think it would be cute if Michelle got a couple of little freckles on her cheek but I know that freckles are actually sun damage and I want to protect her skin.
I managed to get  Michelle to stay still for a few moments at least because she wanted to sit up in a big girl chair next to her cousin Shannon. I LOVE these shots of them smiling at each other. At some point when she's older I'm sure I'll have to tell Michelle that it's not polite to point but at this stage she's so excited about everything that she's pointing all the time -- at people, places, animals, objects, everything. When you even say the word excited she clenches her fists and shakes. She understands and reacts to so many different words. I can't even keep track of all the new words she's saying now. She eats little bits of cheese now and all of a sudden said "cheese" perfectly. She was saying "up" for quite a while but says "down" now too. She says "Hi" and "Bye." "Yes" (actually yep! I hope she didn't get that from me!) and "No" (more like "Nah" but with a head shake to be sure. She's been doing the head shake for a while.) She even tried to say "fish" but it's hard to make an "f" sound without teeth since you kind of bite your lip to say it.
She wants to be outside 24-7 but it seems to be good for her since she's more alert and learning more every day. She's taking more of an interest in books and turns the pages almost perfectly by herself. She goes to the shelves to pick out what she wants me to read and gets so excited she screams. Then she sits on my lap and waits for me to begin.
I want to go to the beach with her again. There haven't been a lot of really hot days (though I am relieved about that since I don't have air conditioning at home and the cooler weather has been really nice especially in the evening for sleeping.) I'd love to go to Port Dover. It's always been my favourite beach. I love the water, the palm trees and the little shops along the beach. Of course I haven't been there since before the baby and it is a bit of a drive to get there. At least she survived our trip to Wasaga Beach when we went up for Evie's birthday party so there is hope. My Mom said she doesn't want to go on any long rides with the baby again. It's fine if you time it perfectly and get lucky and Michelle naps most of the way but when she doesn't nap and is cranky, being trapped in a car with a screaming baby is pretty stressful!
I wanted to do something different with Michelle and I know that she loves animals so another day I thought I'd take her to a petting zoo or farm. There is a great one at Waterloo Park, Eby Farm, and it's free! Michelle loved seeing the pigs, sheep, goats, pony, donkey, llamas, ducks, geese, fuzzy chickens and peacocks. To my surprise when she saw the sheep she even went "Baaa!" She hadn't done that before. She'd certainly heard me do it enough when I sang Old Macdonald or read her stories with sheep in them but she'd never actually done it herself until then.  
She has a little Dora book where Dora goes to the farm and sees all the different animals. I thought it would be good for Michelle to meet all the different animals in person. She was thrilled. Other people were reaching their fingers in to touch the animals. I was reluctant to let Michelle do that because I was worried it wouldn't be sanitary. She puts her hands in her mouth too much so it's probably not a good idea to touch a pig! She was pointing at each of the animals though and squealing with delight.
A couple of girls were trying to take their own picture with the llamas. I offered to take their picture and then asked if they'd take one of Michelle and I with the llama. It's easier than trying to find a spot to sit the camera and setting the timer. They even almost caught Michelle smiling, having one of her Mum Mum biscuits.
They say the best things in life are free and it is great to be able to take Michelle out on adventures without spending anything (well, aside from gas which certainly isn't free these days. I was glad it dropped below $1.30/L, of course I remember back in the days when it was below a dollar and we couldn't believe it might go UP to a dollar. Now we'd be lucky if it would ever go DOWN to a dollar again!) Seeing Michelle's reaction to everything is priceless. Everything is new and magical and exciting. Her excitement is infectious. It makes me happy too. We were both well-rested which made it a perfect day. If only that happened more often!
Even after being out all day Michelle still wants to go to the backyard when we're back home. She wants to be outside constantly. I wonder if she'll still be like that in the winter. I've never been a snow person myself but I know it's different with kids. For her sake I will brave the cold weather, make snow angels, build snowmen and go tobogganing. Everything is an adventure with Michelle anyway.
Someday I would like to take Michelle on trips around the world. For now, we can enjoy day trips close by. Michelle is so excited by everything. She even has fun running back and forth on the sand in our own little backyard beach. She was yelling "Bee!" when she saw bumblebees in the garden, pointing at planes and birds flying overhead and grasshoppers jumping around on the ground. She paces back and forth chattering away in her own little language, complete with hand gestures. Then she sits on the swing for a few moments with Mama before running off again.

Every day brings something new to discover. The world is full of wonder and Michelle is eager to take it all in. Sometimes when she refuses to nap and doesn't sleep well at night I think it's probably because she doesn't want to miss anything!   


  1. Sounds like great fun! We're right on your way to Port let me know if you plan to go & want the company!!

    1. That would be nice! We're planning a trip there next week with Auntie May. If it goes well we may go again before Summer is out. I love it there. I'll email you! :)