Camping Pictorial

Posted in Travel on June 7th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If you’ve been reading my blog lately, then you know that I was away last week camping with my family –  my husband, 4 kids (ages 9, 5, 2, and almost 1), and 2 dogs.  Camping for the entire week with 4 little kids has its ups and downs; mostly ups.  But one of the major downs is the amount of house-mom work that awaits my return:  6 persons worth of laundry for a week and a half, which I refer to as “Mount Washmore”, grows to be the size of a small county’s dump.  And my Week O’ Heap O’ Paperwork I must sort through is picture-worthy:

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But when all is said and done (a week or more from now), I will say it was well worth it.  It was worth it to be (mostly) away from the internet and other electronic distractions for a week, especially tv.  During that week, it wasn’t my job to dwell on horrid and depressing headlines from around the world.  And it was worth it to spend a distraction-less 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with my family, just the 6 of us in the wilderness (of Indiana) with only the bare necessities (a furnished cabin with refrigerator and a store within walking distance) with which to survive…

A great time was had by all, and camping is definitely  something that we will do again in the future.

This is our cabin.  It has two beds downstairs where Daddy, Mommy, Disney, and Charity and Beasley (the dogs) slept.   Along with the two beds are a table and chairs, a bench, shelves, a half-bathroom, a mini-fridge, and a microwave.  There is also a ladder which leads to the loft that spaciously houses two twin mattresses where our two oldest girls slept.  As you can see, there is also a picnic table out front and a grill and fire pit.  Our cabin’s porch also came with a great view of the fishing creek and the sunset.

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We did lots of fun activities while we were camping; including boating.  We took out a rowboat (thanks for rowing, Dad!), and the little ones caught a nap before we set sail:

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We also took out a large pontoon boat and made ourselves quite comfortable watching for wildlife for hours at a time:angola-camping-trip-spring-09-062

I think I could get used to being a boat captain; I just loved driving the boat (and my husband says I’m good at it, whatever that means).  But I really did love being the captain, deciding when to pull close to shore, idling the boat or even keeping pace with the wildlife as we did when we followed a young hunting raccoon.  We were able to see SO much wildlife; all in its natural glory; it was great!  Among the highlights: butterflies, dragonflies, water snakes attacking fish, fish attacking fish, herons, swan  families, frogs, crayfish, geese families, raccoons, does and their fawns, turtles, and even lots of campground dogs and puppies.  Here is an example of the beautiful scenery with a doe getting a drink at sunset – I missed photographing her fawn, oops:
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And the next picture combines two of the kids’ favorite things about camping –  frogs and marshmallows – I guess “Big Buddy” does not eat marshmallows…  not raw ones anyway.  For those of you who are wondering about my frog phobia, you  should know that there was a mandatory 5-foot-diameter ‘frog buffer zone’ around the cabin for me.  But I did come to terms with the phobia in some ways during the trip, maybe it will lessen with time, who knows.

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Next is a pic of our baby boy – he was so excited to  finally get at that basketball that we had to take a picture.  Never mind that he’s going to play baseball for the Chicago Cubs some day – or the Chicago Bears if my husband gets his way…

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Here are all 4 of my kids on the beach – they all loved playing on the beach!

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And, some more examples of the beautiful scenery – the rising moon over the lake at sunset:angola-camping-trip-spring-09-088

A hot air balloon over the lake:

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And that reminds me – we also spotted some parachuters in the sky (and lots of cool airplanes – the airport was across the highway at the front of camp) who landed in a field nearby.  Our daredevil 5-year-old Sammie said, “I want to do that!”.  It’s really funny that she said that if you know Sammie.  And ironically, when she was in the womb, I  even said that she would be the one to parachute and do crazy things like that to scare her parents!  I could just tell by the strength of her kicking and the fact that she was constantly moving…  Well, anyway, another great trip, and let me close by recommending camping as an inexpensive family vacation that pays dividends in quality time and togetherness!

That Darn Cat

Posted in Pets on August 27th, 2008 and tagged , , , ,

I love animals…  all animals, even ones I’m afraid of like frogs.  I can honestly say I would not want to see harm come to a frog even though I don’t like them.  I really love cats, even though I’m allergic to them.  When I was growing up, I always wanted a cat, so as soon as I moved out of my parents’ house I got one.  I had her for over 10 years, her name was Mally, and she was a sweetheart.  She passed away last January, and I miss her very much.  While she was alive, I couldn’t pet her as much as I wanted to because of my allergies, and that’s the only reason why I haven’t gotten another cat – I really like them.  Except for my neighbor’s cat.

When we moved in 2 years ago, we saw Phoebe the neighbor’s cat roaming around and we thought it was kind of cool to have a neighborhood cat.  That was before we saw how mischievous she can be.  Phoebe likes to sit on our window sill because she knows it makes the dogs crazy.  She also sits on the kids’ slide in the backyard which is just out of the dogs reach, further aggravating them.  One day, our dog Charity got loose and treed the cat.  I felt a little badly although part of me enjoyed the surprised (and pissed) look on that cat’s face when she was in the tree because she wasn’t expecting the dog to get loose and chase her.  One time, I noticed the front door was open and she was peeking in our house!  Don’t know how she managed that one; maybe one of the kids left the door open or something.  I used to have a bird house and a bird feeder in the tree in our side yard.  I would go out there and sprinkle seed, and we had a nice menagerie of creatures that would visit, giving our parrot some friends to look at out his window.  But then I saw Phoebe out there stalking the squirrels and birds that frequented the tree, and I stopped putting seed out because I no longer wanted to lure animals into her lair.  One day, I saw her playing with a baby bunny.  The bunny was alive, but not moving, so we scooped it up and took it to this lady who rehabs wildlife nearby.  Her place is really neat; she has raccoons, bandicoots, squirrels, rabbits, geese, ducks, and even a few bears!  Anyway, she said the bunny looked to be in bad shape and she didn’t expect it to survive.  Hopefully it defied the odds…

Being an animal lover, I was really sad when Phoebe hurt the baby bunny.  I was even more sad when I saw what she did the other day.  I was outside with my daughter, and Phoebe started to climb the tree in the front of our house.  I thought it was really cute, so I pointed to her and showed my daughter the cat.  But then I saw what she was doing – there were 2 doves sitting silently in the tree, and she was stalking them.  Suddenly one of the doves flew off the branch or at least tried to.  He flapped to the ground; I don’t know if he hit his wing on a branch or if he was hurt before he tried to fly away, but he landed on the ground, and Phoebe chased him.  He got lift a few more times, but he couldn’t fly.  Phoebe was chasing him until they both disappeared around the side of the neighbor’s house.  I grabbed my daughter and followed them, but I didn’t see anything.  When I got back to the front of the house, I saw the other dove in the tree, just sitting there waiting for her mate to come back.  She was there all day, just waiting, and it was the saddest thing because I didn’t think he’d be coming back.  The next day, she was gone, so I don’t know if she just gave up or what.  Maybe he survived the cat attack and they found each other again…  doubtful, but I am hopeful that’s the case because I don’t know what happened.  What I do know is that I don’t like Phoebe the cat.  She’s not even friendly; she never lets my kids pet her.  I’ve considered leaving a note on the neighbor’s door asking them to please corral their cat a little better…  but I don’t want to be one of those people.  For now, I just hold onto the hope the neighbors will move and take Phoebe with them, and when that day comes, I will promptly set up my wildlife area once again.