Thursday, July 3, 2008

Port Burwell

Summer holidays have arrived … supposedly summer has too, although you’ll have to look at the calendar to confirm that one as the weather definitely does not always support that theory. I’m quite content if the weather would stay this temperature all summer, and I even don’t mind the rain … just not on wash day :) And most definitely not while we’re camping!!

I am not a fan of camping. We do go camping, but we go “my style”. We borrow my parents 5th wheel trailer and live in relative comfort, with all the necessary conveniences. Under these conditions we will go camping, even though it’s still not my idea of a holiday … but yes well … money does dictate a few things in this area. I have yet to understand why people actually enjoy camping and consider this a holiday. Lots of packing, lots of unpacking and setting up, lots of mess, you still have to cook and clean, stay up late then get a crappy sleep … nope not my idea of fun. This weekend supported my dislike for camping. But yet, I really can’t complain, for I did get a chance to relax as my mom did all the cooking and cleaning, I just had to chase after a filthy dirty boy and make sure he didn’t eat everything he got his hands on (and to think we have feeding problems with this kid). But did I mention the rain? And that we were sleeping in a tent this time? Of all the times we have gone camping only once have we made it through a whole trip without any rain, and it seems usually we get poured on when we do get rain. Nope, camping is not my idea of a holiday … but we did still manage to have some fun.

So this past weekend (Friday evening to Monday night) we packed up and went off to Port Burwell for a few days. This is sort of a tradition. I say sort of because this is only the second time we’ve made it. Each July long weekend my parents go camping here and the children are welcome to camp out, hang out, veg out, with them. It was three years ago that we last made it on this trip. We bought a tent to support this new tradition, but until now we have not had a chance to use the tent again (not that I’m complaining. I dislike camping remember :)

During our ride up we had talked about the significance of this weekend. June 28 a year ago seen James admitted to SickKids for the first time. We spent the July long weekend in Toronto, while the girls went camping. We were finally released from the hospital on July 4, after 44 days in hospital. It was on this weekend that I can so clearly remember the doctor coming and sitting with me and explaining that our son was terminally ill and without treatment he only had a year left. I heard it all, I took it to heart, but my mind and heart had no idea what this all truly meant. Although I thought these memories would make it a hard weekend I hardly thought about this for camping instead brought back various other memories. I was not prepared for the memories this would bring back. We had only been there for a short time and as we set up the bedding inside the tent the exact same way we did last time it hit rather hard once again that someone was missing. Although there were little memories of a little six months old boy who went on a similar trip, the weekend was still good (minus the rain … did I mention the rain? :)

So let it suffice to say that it rained a good part of the weekend. We did manage to get a few minutes at the beach. The one evening we just went for a walk since it was rather cool, but the sun was shining at the beach and it wasn’t as bad there so we let the kids swim in their clothes. Matthew absolutely loved the water, but was shivering like crazy so we had to pack up. The only other chance we got at the beach was Monday afternoon for a couple hours. We packed up when we seen some really dark clouds heading into the area and zipped back to camp to try get everything packed into the van before the rain arrived …we just made it, everything was in the van and it the rain came. Needless to say it was a damp and cool weekend, nothing could dry because it was either raining or extremely damp out. Everything in the tent was damp from all the moisture and I’m just thankful that Matthew faired through it without picking up some new and wonderful bug. But the evenings were nice and we were able to sit around the fire each night, which is one of the best things about camping.

But hey it was lovely weather on Tuesday when we were home again and I could actually get everything wash, dried and cleaned up in one day … thanks to Rob’s help (so glad he had the day off). And then I packed the girls stuff back into suitcases for them to take off to Campfire! They left yesterday morning and I’m curious to know how they’re doing. Guess I’ll have to wait until tomorrow when they come home again.

On to the pictures. I made sure I charged up all my batteries for my camera and video camera, had enough memory cards, etc … only to arrive and find out I forgot my camera bag at home. Thankfully I had our cheapo camera in my purse (with the charged batteries at home, thanks dad for the spares). So I still got pictures, although not always the greatest and the colour is totally wacko on some.
Memory Lane
Port Burwell 2005

Marietta - almost 5; Rebecca - 3; James - 6 months

James spending quality time with Grandma and Grandpa

Port Burwell 2008

Marietta - almost 8; Rebecca - 6; Matthew - 11 months

Beach Time. The water was freezing but the kids insisted on swimming. Matthew loved it but was shaking like a leaf becau
se it was so cold.

Fire Time. The kids love fire time and now that they're older they get to stay up later and enjoy it much longer.
Matthew also loved it, and did very well at not getting too close.

Matthew absolutely loved the slide. And I think he was watching pretty closely as I caught him climbing up our slide yesterday. He managed to get half-way up before he fell and slide down. He thought it was just great ... our little monkey.

Cleaning up. Wow what a mess he was, with everything so wet there was not a chance we were going to be able to keep him even slightly clean.


L.V. said...

Ahh, the memories of Port Burwell (we always went there as kids)! Looking forward to going there again this year. Steph, you gotta come on the weekend with "just the girls" (aka - Ladies only!) - then you get a good sense of how much fun camping is when there's little work to be done besides taking care of yourself!
Laura :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, I can appreciate how being back at Port Burwell would bring back memories of times gone by. It's often the little things that catch you off guard. I don't often comment, but do check in regularly to see how you are all coping. You have been blessed with a very strong faith, coupled with a dislike of self pity. Your blogs are a joy to read, and often when you refer back to James' time in Sick kids and such, it is hard to hold back the tears. I've never met him, yet I feel I know him through your writing. Hope you keep up your blog for a long time to come! (bet you're curious who I am... We have met, but don't really know each other IRL...That's all I'm saying!!! Seriously though, know that we have prayed often for you and your family, and we wish you his continued strength wisdom and nearness.

Anonymous said...


you should come with us to Port Burwell this fall...ladies only...just watch out for Laura aka Sandshark...;-)


Steph said...

I'm afraid I'll have to pass on the Ladies Only camping ... I've haven't heard the entire Sandshark story ... but considering I don't like sand either I don't think I'd much enjoy being buried in it or having it thrown at me :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Steph:

I feel the same way about camping as you do - well, atleast from a parent's perspective. I grew up camping, without electricity, sleeping in a tent and hauling water from the tap every morning to make orange juice, and then, when I was introduced to cottaging, I wondered to myself why my parents had been torturing me for so many years. But now, as a mom, I realize how fun camping is for kids (even if it is a ton of work, and everyone and everything gets so dirty), so we compromise and offer both options for our kids. Sadly, they like camping, and a lot. So... I feel for you! I'm glad you still make the effort and go camping - your kids might thank you some day! I enjoyed your pictures from 3 years ago - you are always in our prayers.


Kevin & Amy said...

Well, I'm glad you survived the weekend:) Despite how much work it is, I find the best part is that you're with the whole family. There are TWO parents around to the carry the load, and in that way I'm more relaxed when on holidays. Glad Rob was able to get away for a few days, too!

Carol VR said...

Only a stone's throw from Port Burwell, it has always been a great locality for camping.

Glad you had a good time.

Do feel free to pop by and say hello at my blog.