Unsurprisingly, my wife wasn’t keen on camping in the middle of a pasture for a week when I first suggested the idea.
Lacking the foresight to make any big plans for our time off in July, an old buddy and I decided it might be fun to take our families camping on a private little lake (large slough) near my hometown of Chauvin, Alta. It was a hard sell to the wives, who made us promise to provide power, running water and to fulfil our portion of the parenting duties for the duration of the trip.
We pulled out on Monday afternoon, set up camp, cracked some cold ones and watched the kids frolic in the water while we parents got some much-needed sun on our pasty bodies.
Once word of our Prairie camping event got out, several other friends joined in, so by the third day of the trip there were half a dozen trailers scattered around our makeshift site.
Before becoming a father, I always assumed diapers and tantrums would be the toughest part.
Add that to my list of naïve pre-child assumptions that were way off the mark.
In reality, keeping our two toddlers occupied and out of trouble has proven to be the most challenging portion my parenting journey.
With my wife working part time, I often find myself looking after the boys on my own. After a day at the office, it’s sometimes tough to muster the energy to keep up with two moody toddlers, both of whom boast unbelievably short attention spans.
Back in the good old days — in this case, I’m talking about the early 1990s — you didn’t have to book a site six months in advance when you wanted to go camping.
When my dad decided to take the trailer out to the lake for the weekend, it was usually a Friday morning decision. Most of the time we didn’t make a reservation or even call ahead — we just showed up and parked in the best of the empty spots still available.
Nowadays, there are no empty spots. The camping business is booming and people like me are lining up to pay.
A couple of summers ago, my wife and I invested in our very own travel trailer. Amanda is admittedly an indoorsy sort and my old tent and Coleman stove didn’t cut it for her. She was very clear that if she was to become a camping mom, she needed a few lavish comforts, like a furnace, a bed and indoor plumbing.
I awoke Sunday morning with the feeling I was being watched.
Still foggy with sleep, I looked to my left and saw the gleaming blue eyes of my three-month-old son Grayson staring at me. My wife, Amanda, had him propped up on her pillow in anticipation of me waking up to my first Father’s Day as an honest-to-goodness daddy.
“Hey dude,” I said, and he replied with a happy gurgling sound and an ear-to-ear grin.
I couldn’t imagine a better way to start that day — or any day, really.
I’ve developed a mild obsession recently.
Over the past week, I’ve taken in so much information on peregrine falcons that I’ve started to forget other stuff.
In March, we at the Advocate newsroom heard about the Red Deer River Naturalist’s ambitious plans to place a webcam in the famous falcon nest in the Highland Green Telus tower.
From the moment the cam went live in mid April, my colleagues and I were hooked.