31 May, 2009

Camping with a 4 year old or Memorial Day 2009 at Fransted!

Our first camping trip of the season is behind us. A grand time was had by all. The weather was great Friday and Saturday. We had campfires. We threw rocks in the water. We threw more rocks

in the water.

We went to Littleton and made our annual trip to Chutters and Aylakai. We stopped in at a silver shop so that I could buy a new chain for my turtle necklace. Spotty Chop and Boy Toy roamed around. Apparently Spotty found some things that were beautiful and wanted me to see them because I would “LOVE THEM”.

He first brought over a ring

Then a bracelet

As he moved on to some other pieces Boy Toy dragged him out of the store…I wonder if my purchasing everything he showed me had something to do with that?

Chutters was a lot more fun for Spotty as his candy requirements are becoming more refined. All I know is I managed to leave there with a $7.00 bag of Kettle corn.

I had a really scary moment while we were camping. There are usually lots of dogs at the campground. It’s not specific to this campground, I think folks with pets see them as part of their families and this is one vacation you can bring your pet with you. There was a beautiful husky puppy that a young girl would walk around the campground. While Spotty and I were throwing rocks off the bridge she came walking by. She told us the puppy loves kids.

I always make it a point when I am with Spotty to ask before I touch a dog. I think it’s a good habit to get into. Spotty and I were both excited to see the puppy we petted, cooed, did all the things you do when you see a pretty puppy. Spotty and the puppy were playing a game of tag across the bridge (hindsight) and at one point the puppy almost knocked him off the bridge. I was able to quickly get to Spotty and make sure he did not fall over. Another couple walked by with their much smaller dog and the puppy went after it (not in an I WILL EAT YOU, more a “let’s play LETS PLAY kind of way.)

I almost threw up realizing how close to harm Spotty came. He could have broken his neck/back, worse….we had another incident with the girl and dog later on in the weekend. Jack and Rita asked how Spotty got all cut up and we explained what happened. They suggested we go to the mom and explain what happened. I did plan on it, but between making sure Spotty was fed and a fire built to keep us warm, I never got a chance. If they are there the 4th I will pull the mom aside. I don’t want to get the girl in trouble; I just think she needs to perhaps take a class with her dog if she is going to be the primary trainer.

Sunday it rained, and rained and rained. Lucky for us we have a “TENT”. Vaude. Learn the name, buy their tents. God bless German know how. Boy toy and Spotty went off in the rain to throw rocks in the river. I was by myself for the first time in…I have no idea. I read. Sunday was also Murdock’s Birthday. Before the festivities we played mini golf and ping pong. Then there was cake and ice cream.

Monday was gorgeous. Of course it was time for us to go home. We grabbed sandwiches and headed to the basin for a mini hike. Which required our 40th change of clothes.

I will pack accordingly for the 4th


21 May, 2009

Book Review: Death Masks

Book Five of the Dresden Files
I don’t know what more I can say to get you people reading this…unless it’s this…

Harry: Susan Rodriguez was a reporter for a regional yellow paper called the Midwestern Arcane. She’d grown interested in me just after I opened up my practice…We’d gotten involved, and on our first date she wound up lying naked on the ground in a thunderstorm while lightning cooked a toadlike demon to gooey bits.

Harry: Someone stole the freaking Shroud of Turin?

Harry: Murphy was a monster-hunting Valkyrie. She was the only person I’d ever heard of who had killed one with a chainsaw.

Harry: You get handed a holy sword by an archangel, told to go fight the forces of evil, and you somehow remain an atheist. Is that what you’re saying?
Sanya: “…it is possible that I am mad, and all of this is a hallucination.

Harry: In this corner, one missing Shroud, one impossibly and thoroughly dead corpse, one dedicated and deadly vampire warlord, three holy knights, twenty-nine fallen angels, and a partridge in a pear tree….And in the opposite corner, one tired, bruised, underpaid professional wizard, threatened by his allies and about to get dumped by his would-be girlfriend for John Q. Humdrum…Oh yeah…Definitely bedtime

18 May, 2009

What happens when you don’t move fast enough…

Spotty Chop has mentioned several times in the past week or two that he would really like to go see Moo & Freakshow. I told him we would make plans. Last Wednesday as we drove to school he told me that he had the best dream. “I dreamed I was at Auntie Moo’s house playing and I had a lot of fun.”

We went to Moo’s house on Saturday.
We managed to:
Play piano

play in the attic
play in the sandbox
play on the trampoline
play on the tire swing
Make freakshow play Wii
play on the zip line
play every board game
read books
eat gum balls

I am sure I am missing something. Needless to say, he had a good time

Sunday we made jello and blueberry muffins

Right now I am listening to Boy toy and Spotty play soccer in the hallway.

I love my life

05 May, 2009

Enough with the Night Terrors

Spotty has allergies. His eyes are swollen and red. He is rubbing them constantly. He is sneezing 100 times in a row. He is stuffy. He is miserable. I feel bad.

Last night when I picked him up from Carter he was whimpering. The teachers said he had been complaining about his eyes. He cried the whole ride home (45 mins). I got him home, Boy Toy was still at work. I dragged him onto the couch with me. I pulled a cozy blanket up under his chin and turned on BAKUGAN. He almost fell asleep a few times. Boy Toy came home and snuggled Spotty while I made some Car soup. Spotty was eating and chilling so I decided to run to the grocery store. Spotty FREAKS out. Boy Toy suggests that we go lie down and read stories. We read, we sleep. Boy Toy wakes me up around 10:00pm to take out my contacts. Since I have felt crappy all weekend I fall back asleep. At some point Spotty starts screaming like someone is tearing his arms off. This goes on for what seems like hours, but it might be 15 min or so. We can't comfort him. We can't get him to wake up. I stumble out of the bed with him in my arms and we go outside. It is raining lightly. He calms down. Boy Toy ushers us back to bed.

This happens several more times during the night. Not so badly that I need to bring Spotty outside again, but enough that no one is sleeping well.

I have gone through my posts because I thought that I wrote down the last time he had Benadryl he had a really bad nightmarey night. I can't find it.


now maybe I will find it next time....

04 May, 2009

Summer Knight

Book Four of the Dresden Files

Harry: I have several tapestries, plus a Star Wars movie poster Billy gave me for Christmas. It’s the old poster, the one with Princess Leia clinging to Luke’s leg.

Need I say more?

03 May, 2009

Dear Spotty Chop you are 50 months old today

Nannie and Papa have a DVD/TV combo up in their bedroom that they use to entice you to go to bed. Because it is really only used when you sleep over, it on occasion skips. Nannie’s solution is to use canned air to blow the dust out. The other night when I was in NY Nannie went looking for the canned air. “I fixed it Nannie! I sprayed in there already.” You happily told her. When she asked what you used, you showed her…the can of Dr. Shoal’s foot deodorizer. Reason number 503 why I love you.

You were playing at a school playground with your daddy. There were lots of sports going on. You really weren’t interested in any of them until you saw…Tennis. “WOW daddy, how do they do that?”, “that’s amazing”!



You LOVE Tom and Jerry, or anything slapstick. We get the biggest kick out of hearing you laugh. Sometimes you are overcome with laughter and you actually roll on the floor giggling. We need to video tape it. Instant mood brightener.

Daddy taught you how to gargle.

You have been pretending to be a cat. You purr and rub your face against mine

It was raining the other day when we went to Nannies and from the back seat I heard you singing. “It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring….” And “Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me.” I could just squeeze you.

You love to dance now, you make up your own steps and you can really bust a move. You also like to dance with me. Although now that I think about it, when we dance you seem to just want me to twirl you around till I want to throw up.

Your daddy taught you a couple of saying/jokes:

You: Hey Mama
Me: What?
You: Chicken butt --- laughs hysterically

You: Hey Mama, you wanna know why?
Me: Why?
You: Chicken thigh

You: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,10
Me: what about 9?
You: 7-8-9

You also picked up from Gramie “Mama Mia” (not the song)

You asked me why I color my hair sometimes, I tried to explain how hair gets white sometimes and that’s why I color it. You told me that maybe next time I should color it blue so it would match your eyes.

Riding in the car the other day we were doing A is for….and you would say Apple. B is for….Bug. N is for…Neutralize. You are so my kid.

Books you like:
Lion in the Library
Edward and the Pirates
Star Wars – The Clone Wars
Captain Underpants
The Littles

02 May, 2009

Camping with children – Tips and Tricks Part 2


SLEEPING: What to do now that your baby has outgrown his infant car seat?

We bought a large doggy bed with sides http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2892433

This kept Spotty Chop from rolling off the air mattress and into a corner. The fleece added warmth and comfort. We used this for the next 2 years. (My parents have a king size bed, they would put the dog bed between them and this is where Spotty slept for sleepovers. They call it the “cozy bed”.)
At the end of the camping season last year Spotty grew too much to be comfortable in the cozy bed. So now he sleeps on an air mattress in his own sleeping bag (rated -10 degrees). He brings his pillow from home. Long john shirt and feety pj’s are all he needs. (Especially since he unzips his compartment and then crawls in with us).

FOOD: But I am hungry!

If your kid will eat anything you are all set. But what I would strongly suggest is having a cooler filled with drinks, carrots, some fruit and a bag or two (or 7 depending on your mood) of munchies. This way while you are setting up the kids can eat, and so can daddy, EVERYONE is happy.

I also always bring a giant bowl of pre made pasta. Spotty doesn’t mind eating it cold and it is really easy to re-heat as long as you can boil water. Sometimes quick dinners are a must.

  • Bring a bag of frozen peas/corn. It will help keep things cold and the kids will eat it.

  • Juice/water boxes – it’s a treat!

  • Hot dogs on a stick! – Fun for all – just remember do not throw trash into the fire before cooking. You don’t want any nasty carcinogens going into your kid.

  • Marshmallows on a stick!

PACKING: Or what would we have died without?

  • Diapers - How many diapers does your baby go through in a day? Times it by the number of days you are away from home. Then add 1 or 2 extra day’s worth.
  • New container of wipes. If you shop at a warehouse just bring a full sleeve. You really can never have enough wipes. They are not just for baby bums any more.
  • Baby Carrier – If your child is too big for a carrier, bring closed toe shoes so you can hike.
  • Bike trailer – Again, I am not in shape – but you should be! Go out and ride!
  • Pack and Play – I stopped bringing this when Spotty was 3. He doesn’t seem to care about sitting on rocks and wood chips
  • Stroller – I don’t know if I am bringing one this year. Last year all Spotty wanted to do was push it, into other people, cars etc.
  • Picture Books – I started to buy the “I Can Read” type stories. They are light and easy to pack. If you keep them in a special “camping/vacation” bag they will be something to look forward to. I also add a few new ones every trip. The ones we have out grown are going to the camp library. If your campground doesn’t have one, suggest one. Spotty and I spend every morning down by the camp store reading stories from the library.
  • Toys – I bring cars, trucks etc. We also bring beach toys. Spotty isn’t into coloring but I can’t imagine that you would go anywhere without this.
  • I am stuck in a line toys – I like these Brain Quest things http://www.workman.com/products/9780761137702/ they fit in a bag (so do the “I can read books”) and there is enough variety in the questions that it keeps kids engaged.
  • Cards – Boy Toy taught Spotty how to play War last year. We also play go fish. Uno is another good one. If they don’t know their numbers yet they can match colors.
Clothes – This again may depend on where and when you camp. All I can say is know where you are going and pack for all contingencies.
  • Raincoat
  • Winter Coat with hat and mittens
  • Fleece
  • 3 outfits per day, then include 2-3 extra days worth.
    Bring both shorts/t-shirts as well as pants and long sleeves
    Swim suits and rash guards
  • Undies - This year will be the first year without diapers. As Spotty likes to change his underwear every time he goes to the bathroom I have NO FRELLLING IDEA. I will probably bring every pair he owns. God help me
  • Summer hats
  • PJ’s – warm feety things
  • Sneakers and sandals – depending on how long you are away you might want an extra pair of sneakers if one gets wet
  • 2 pairs of sox a day, then include 2-3 extra days worth

First Aid:

  • Pain reliever
  • Cough medicine
  • Band-aids
  • Sunscreen – and plenty of it
  • Insect repellant – I used nature based and they seemed to work pretty well
  • Tweezers – ticks
  • Hot/cold pack – for unknown bumps and bruises
  • Itch be gone – for insect bits/poison ivy

Bathing :
If you can drag your child into a freezing cold shower be my guest. (ok use the same pre soapy face cloth if you have a hot water source.) Otherwise grab a baby wipe and give him a nice long soak when you get home. Then put him to bed. Now you can have a nice relaxing tub/shower. The true highlight of any camping trip!


Now is the time to put some rudimentary rules in place.

  • Kids need to know that food NEVER comes into the tent. Animals like food and don’t mind wandering around to get it. It is much easier to teach kids at a young age that this is the rule. No food and only water to drink in the tent. We have never had a problem with animals in our tent because of this.
  • Fire – Teach them early not to run around the fire. There is no playing around the fire. Fire is hot. Fire is dangerous. But fire is also a tool. This is one of the scariest things I think for most folks about camping. My feeling is if you deal with this early, often and mater of factly you should be ok. We have never (knocking on wood) had an accident camping. But we also remind him every time we go camping. Spotty did burn himself on the muffler of Boy Toy’s Bunton (lawn mower) last summer. He unfortunately understands hot and wants nothing to do with something that might burn him. Boy Toy also is teaching him how to cook over the fire with a stick. Do we leave him alone with fire? HELL NO, and I don’t think I will until he is 23…but then he may be drinking so NEVER will I leave him alone with fire.
  • Water – Many campsites are on the water. As of now I will not get a site like this. Spotty is able to unzip the tent himself. So far I have always heard him, but what if? We have an in-ground swimming pool so we are used to water issues, but for me personally I can’t risk this. Again I am not saying you can’t or shouldn’t. Just for me personally, I am not comfortable about this.

Good Luck and Have FUN!!!

01 May, 2009

Camping with children – Tips and Tricks Part 1

We have been taking Spotty Chop camping since he was 4 months old. Before we took him the first time I tried to Google the subject, and while I found some stuff, it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. So I thought before the camping season started up that I would try to pull together a list of things we have found useful.

These tips assume that you are planning on sleeping in a tent and have been camping before. If you have not and would like some “general camping tips” feel free to email or leave a comment.

Even if you have never camped before that shouldn’t deter you from going with your kids. You can all learn together.


A family friendly campground is a must as most folks will understand if they hear a crying kid. However if you have a holler on your hands you may want to ask for a site that is more secluded.

SLEEPING: Where the heck should the kid sleep/What do we need to bring?

  • Infant car seat – This is where you child can sleep, it’s convenient because you have to pack it anyways.
  • Hat – the cute cloth ones will do
  • Onesie
  • Feety pj’s
  • A couple of baby blankets (perhaps a heavier blanket/sleeping bag if you camp in the north.) With your body heat warming the tent you should all be toasty warm.

FOOD: Bottle? Breast? Do I give a rat’s ass which is best?

Night Time:

Again the infant car seat comes in handy. By now you can whip the kid in and out of the car seat in your sleep.

You can easily grab the handle and swing your baby over to you, bring him into your sleeping bag to feed and snuggle, then toss him back in. You are good to go.

Nursing -. I really enjoyed night time feedings camping. I never found it difficult or stressful.

Powdered formula - Pre-package the powder in the bottle. Put the water in a water bottle and bring it to bed with you. Your body temperature should warm it enough. If your baby likes it warmer than body temperature,they have bottle warmer thingy’s that should warm it up enough. I never did the powdered formula camping, but this seems like a no brainer to me.

Liquid formula. – I don’t have much experience with this. I think this would depend on your baby’s feeding schedule. You could bring a lunch cooler with ice and have the bottles prepared before hand. Again you could bring a bottle in with you while you slept etc. My only concern with the liquid formula is that we camp in the northeast, generally in bear country. You NEVER want to have food in the tent. It’s a good habit to get into. I would need someone else to chime in to see if anyone has ever experienced an issue with this. I am not saying you shouldn’t or couldn’t do it. I just have never done it.

Day Time:

This depends on what your baby is eating.

Nursing - You are in your campsite feed away. I never had a huge hang up about nursing in public. Perhaps it’s because my first “public” nursing experience was when we were camping. We were in Littleton, NH shopping on the main drag. We were in a shop that I like to call hippy dippy. Lots of tie dye, mystical and goddess related suff. They also have a basement which they call the broom closet. They do body piercing, tattoos and sell adult entertainment/only for tobacco use items. So we were down stairs poking around (only children small enough to be a parent’s arms are allowed down there). Spotty Chop starting fussing because he was hungry. I told Boy Toy that we would have to split so I could feed him and the owner said. “I have never turned a nursing mom out; you sit right down and feed your baby.” So Spotty’s first public feed was next to fuck me boots and dominatrix gear and behind the bowls and pipes. GOOD TIMES.

Solid food – Lots of baby food doesn’t need to be heated it can be eaten right out of the jar. As long as you have a burner you can always heat up a pan of water to warm stuff up.
Just remember to put food in your car or up in a tree to prevent the critters to getting into it.

PACKING: Or what would we have died without?

  • Diaper Bag – We used two.
    The first one was small, the one you probably have in your car right now will work. It has 3 or 4 diapers, a travel pack of wipes, swaddling blanket/changing pad and a change of clothes. This went everywhere with us. More items could be added depending on how long we were away from the campground.
  • The second bag stayed in the tent with us and was placed near my head so I could grab it at a moments notice. There is nothing like trying to search through a pitch blank tent at 3 am with a screaming baby when it’s 30 degrees out and you are wearing a tank top. In this bag should be all of your diapers. How many to bring? How many diapers does your baby go through in a day? Times it by the number of days you are away from home. Then add 3 or 4 extra days worth. I never ran out.
  • New container of wipes. If you shop at a warehouse just bring a full sleeve. You really can never have enough wipes. They are not just for baby bums any more.
  • Baby Carrier – LOVED this. We were able to hike and explore with no issues whatsoever.
  • Bike trailer – We didn’t use this, but if my ass was more in shape we would have. Looks like fun.
  • Pack and Play – The only time I really used this was camping
  • Stroller – when your baby wakes up at 5:00 it’s good to have something to lean against as you walk around and around…
  • Picture Books – reading good
  • Toys you won’t mind getting dirty/lost. We never had to deal with a “lovey” but if you have one I am sure you have a spare just in case. Keep that one in the car under your seat.

Clothes – This again may depend on where and when you camp. We camp in the White Mountains of NH. When Spotty was 4 months our first camping trip with him was over the 4th of July. The temperatures at night went down to 30 degrees F. All I can say is know where you are going and pack for all contingencies.

  • Raincoat
  • Winter Coat with hat and mittens
  • Fleece
  • 3 outfits per day, then include 2-3 extra days worth. Bring both shorts/t-shirts as well as pants and long sleeves (I will admit I probably brought 4-5 outfits for hot/cold then added an extra few days worth. )
  • Summer hat
  • PJ’s – warm feety things
  • Shoes/foot covers
  • 2 pairs of sox a day, then include 2-3 extra days worth

First Aid:

  • Diaper cream/powder etc.
  • Infant Motrin
  • Bugger bulb
  • Teething soothing stuff
  • Extra pacifiers
  • Netting for over the infant car seat
  • Sunscreen - depending on the age of the baby
  • Insect repellant – I used nature based and they seemed to work pretty well
  • Tweezers – ticks

Do I really need?

Bathing – Depends on how long you are gone for.

  • A night or two - Use baby wipes
  • Longer – bring the washcloths that have the soap already in it. J&J has one that is nice.

You will probably want to do this as a group as showering while camping is often tricky. One of you can hold the baby under the water then pass him out to be soaped then pass back for the rinse. Don’t forget extra quarters if you have to pay for the hot water. And be prepared to jump out of the shower if someone flushes.