This past Saturday we got up bright and early and set off for my cousin Brent's wedding BBQ. Brent and Kim got married in Hawaii this year, but like any destination wedding, not everyone is able to attend and so they had a come and go BBQ this weekend.
That is a long drive to do in one stretch with kids. More so if your kids are small. Our boys did ok thanks to the Where's Waldo complete collection I bought for the trip. Kept them busy.
We checked into the hotel, had a quick shower and then looked to see where Brent and Kim live. It was complete dumb luck, but our hotel was right off the main highway and about 10 minutes from Brent's place.
In true Preston family fashion, there was a pig roast. Almost every outdoor summer special occasion is marked with a good old fashioned Pig Roast. It's the best way to feed large groups of people.
After the BBQ, we headed back to the hotel. There was a waterslide for the boys to play on. They had a great time. Jill and Jason came over and hung out with the boys in the pool. Jason is great, he hopped into the water and roughhoused with the kids. Jason and Zach have a pretty cool bond. Not everyone gets Zach, but Jason does. Zach just loves him.
Early Sunday morning after a surprisingly awesome continental breakfast, we were off again. It was 4 hours to Kenosee park. The trip in and of itself is beyond boring. As we were driving down the highway, I spotted a sign for the World's Largest Red Paperclip.
While the boys groaned, I made an executive decision to stop. I mean come on, how often are you going to have the opportunity to see the largest red paperclip am I right? So stop we did.
Now for a small town, the directions were slightly confusing, perhaps a sly attempt to have you explore their town. The story of the paperclip is really quite interesting. A guy started out with this paperclip and started making online trades, paperclip for a fish shaped pen. Pen for a doorknob... etc. Eventually working his way up to snowmobiles, condo rentals and a role in a movie directed by Corbin Bernstein. An economic adviser in Kipling suggested to town council that they make an offer and so the town offered a house for the movie role. Trade was made a year to the day from the original paperclip offer.
Pretty Cool right?
After the paperclip pit stop, we continued on to Kenosee. Neither Brad or I had ever been, but pictures online looked great. In person, it blows it all away. The place is a small resort like town which strongly reminds me of Riding Mountain. Views are really pretty. We had decided that we would camp rather than stay in a hotel. Why? Because kids needs to get outside. They need to get in nature and get dirty. Go on hikes, go fishing and just get back to simpler things sometimes.
Camping was $15/night. How it is so cheap, I can't understand. The next day we got up and headed to the Kenosee Superslides. It is an amazing waterpark. Lots of great slides and tons of green space for picnics. The weather could not have been more perfect. 35 C all freaking day.
Boys had so much fun on the slides. Me, not so much. I mean I enjoyed then an all, but I have come to the conclusion that I was not built to go airborne. Actually, it's not going airborne that is the problem, it's the landing. Holy Mother.
I promised the boys that I would go with them on all of the slides and I kept my word. I didn't want them to see how scared I was because then it would freak them out.
This proved harder than I thought when Zach wanted to go on the 8 story tall free fall slide. I was TERRIFIED. Waiting is definitely the hardest part. First the LONG walk uphill to the slide, then waiting in line and then ascending up a set of stairs to the slide platform.
I was so nervous, my heart was beating out of my chest, I was sweating (which I am going to blame on the heat) and my legs were shaking.
You have to go down this thing on an inner tube. When it was my turn we got the tube all set up and just as I was going over, I almost lost hold of the tube handles. There isn't much of a top lip, you just plummet and I just SCREAMED.
But I made it and once was more than enough.
We had arrived when the park opened at 11 am and left around 6 pm. We were just done. That much time in the sun and walking up that many hills is exhausting.
At the campsite, we had a fire. It's always tricky for us because of Zach's asthma. His asthma had settled down completely with the exception of two triggers; smoke and hard exercise. The only indication that he is having trouble is that his lips go a dark purple/blue. He doesn't get the usual shortness of breath that most people get. We have to make sure he stays out of the smoke and has his puffers handy.
After the campfire we all went to bed. We hadn't brought an air mattress and were sleeping on 2 layers of comforters. When I was a kid I could sleep on the floor of a tent with no padding and be fine; wouldn't even notice it. As an adult? My shoulders, back and neck were completely ticked off at me.
Sometime in the night, I heard some clanging and twigs snapping behind our tent. We had put the camping equipment back there. I woke up and listened again ( I can't always rely on my hearing) and sure enough I heard it again. Rather than going out the front of the tent, I unzipped the back window of the tent to get an idea of what was there.
I am not sure that I was expecting, but a big, fat, furry skunk was not it. My instinct was to yell at it to go away, but thankfully my brain took over and stopped me otherwise we would have been covered in Skunk spray.
In the morning, we surveyed the damage. Apparently Brad had left some leftover muffin wrappers in the bucket of camping equipment which proved to be irresistible for the skunk. I haven't decided if that is a compliment or insult of my baking.
We had the intention of going to the beach that day, but the clouds looked black and ominous so we headed home.
While it was a short trip, it was a good one. It's funny how much you can pack into a few days.