Tent Camping at R.B. Winter State Park

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I have no idea why (probably my new mom nerves), but I was always afraid of camping in a tent when Evelyn was a baby.  I had done it myself many times, but just needed some extra security when she was younger.  Since her first summer, we have always done our camping in my parent’s pop up camper or a cabin.  But, now that she’s a bit older, I felt ready to try camping in a tent.  So, for our first tenting adventure, we reserved 2 nights over the 4th of July weekend at R.B. Winter State Park.  My dad, aunt, and cousins were also staying in the park and my brother and his girlfriend decided to join us on our site.  We also decided to take our dog (something that we have never done before).  I was praying that it would all work out.  Fortunately, I can report that everything went pretty smoothly, aside from a flat air mattress and a scraped knee.

We arrived in the afternoon on Saturday and set up camp.  The weather could not have been better.  We had two tents and a few hammocks with lots of camp chairs.  I always keep a few extras around for my pesky nephews, who like to steal a chair the second it’s empty.  We had site #56, which sits on the side of the hill, so it has a lower level for parking with some steps that lead up to the elevated tent pad and fire ring.  There was also a picnic table and lantern hook. My only complaint about this site was that it was a little too close to the neighboring site.  We were talking about trying to get both sites for next year, so that at least we will have family next door.  Fortunately, our neighbors for this trip were friendly enough.  I couldn’t help but giggle one morning as I watched the chipmunks fervently scramble to eat up all the food that had been left sitting out on their site, after we were so careful to put everything away in our car, so as not to attract bears.

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Our three days at camp were just relaxing and fun.  We went for walks, played in the sand on the beach by the lake, cooked over the fire, made s’mores, and picked on each other. I love that Evelyn can be entertained with barely anything “to do.”  She finds her own fun. She loved just going in and out of the tent and curling up inside the sleeping bags, staking a claim on her sleeping spot right away. The kids enjoyed playing in the creek, lounging in the hammock, and exploring the paths. I even got in on the fun. I think that our dog, Moxie, didn’t quite know what to make of all of it, but she was very well behaved and I would definitely take her again in the future.

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We had so much fun that we are planning to do it again sometime, and trying to talk even more of our family into joining us.  Meanwhile, we’re getting ready for this summer’s next camping adventure.

i heart philly

I’ve been a little MIA for the past week or so and that’s because we’ve been on vacation in Philadelphia.  Well, we were house and dog sitting for my brother-in-law while he was on a tropical vacation.  We poor folk with a young baby have to stay close to home.  Anyway, since Michael’s brother moved to Philly about 3 years ago, it’s been kind of a home away from home for us.  We go to visit and sometimes stay for a week at a time, if we’re holding down the fort, like we did this past week.

I decided not to lug my Nikon DSLR with me, since I have already used it to take a ton of pics there.  This week all my photos were shot using Instagram on my iPhone.

It seems like Evelyn grew by leaps and bounds these past few days.  Looking after her was a bit of a challenge in a house that isn’t baby-proofed, especially since she is super mobile these days.  We tried our best to keep her corralled, but she managed to get into every sort of trouble.  First, she found the stairs…and even made it to the second step on one occasion.

Michael put this box on the floor, so that she could use it for support while standing…then she promptly crawled ON TOP of it.

This is the look I got when I told her “no.”

She had a great time playing with her dad’s shoes (I let this one slide as long as she wasn’t trying to put the shoe in her mouth!)

…and she had no trouble chasing all three dogs off of their bed, so she could play on it.

Despite all the mischief, Evelyn was a trooper.  We dragged her all over the city and she was in her glory most of the time.  I have to admit, it was a little difficult for us to do the things we would normally enjoy doing, because we had to work around her nap times, fussy times, and eating times, and she is too young to really appreciate all the fun kid things to do in the city, but we still managed to do a lot and she was right there along with us, absorbing every minute of it.

One day when we went out, it poured down raining, so we popped the little canopy up on her stroller, covered her lap with a blanket and pressed on.  Michael and I were a little disgruntled, but Evelyn didn’t seem to mind it at all.  When the rain finally stopped and I pulled back the stroller canopy, she was sitting up, taking it all in, and enjoying herself immensely.

She also finally began to sign “more” while we were away.  At first, I though it was a fluke, but then she did it again and again.  We had been signing with her here and there, mostly “more,” “milk,” and “all done,” but I had actually been getting pretty lazy about it.  Now that she seems to be doing a lot more imitating (she waved for the first time to a random lady in the check out line at Ikea), and picking it up, I will definitely start introducing more signs and using them consistently.

So, what did we do while we were in the city?  Well, we had already done all the basic touristy things (Constitution Center, Liberty Bell, Museum of Art, Phillies Game, etc) during previous visits, so we decided to try some low key activities.

One of our favorite places to visit is the Reading Terminal Market, but on the day we decided to stop there, it was closed (duh, it was Labor Day).  That also happened to be the day it rained buckets.  Blah.

Crossing the Ben Franklin bridge into New Jersey, home of our favorite destination…Total Wine!

And more rain…

The neighborhood where we stay is full of little restaurants, cafes, and shops.  We stopped at Cafe Lutecia for breakfast one morning, a little slice of France in the heart of Philly.

We were also located close to the University of Pennsylvania, so we visited the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.  The had a special Mayan Exhibit, I’m certain capitalizing on the 2012 Apocalypse theories.

To get to the museum, we had to cross the South Street Bridge, which provides an awesome view of the city.

We visited the 9th Street Italian Market

…and enjoyed a gelato at 10 o’clock in the morning.

Then we stopped at the Rosenbach Museum and Library, which was featuring the works of Maurice Sendak.  The photo below shows a mural that was painted by Sendak on the wall of a friend’s home.  The painting was donated to the museum and they had to remove the wall of the home in order to put it on display.

Finally, we visited Penn’s Landing, along the Delaware River.

And we couldn’t go to Penn’s Landing without stopping at The Franklin Fountain for some ice cream.  I got the green tea, and even though Evelyn shouldn’t really be having dairy yet, I let her try some anyway.  She gave me this look when I started to eat it and I just couldn’t sit and eat it in front of her.  Needless to say, she loved it!

Ah, well, as much as I love being on vacation, it’s good to be home, surrounded by the familiar.  Where did you vacation this year?