Friday, September 7, 2012

Roughing it

Last month, I brought Marla to the annual Terwilliger family camping trip at Interstate Park near Taylor's Falls, MN. We only stayed one night, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well Marla did and very proud of myself for sleeping in a tent for the first time in several years. The last time I camped, a tornado hit the campground one night and a skunk showed up the other night, so I wasn't exactly eager for a wilderness experience. But I do believe in the value of camping, at least for kids, so I hope to do it every once in a while in the future.

Ah, the majestic St. Croix River.

Not surprisingly, Marla wanted nothing more than to float away in the river. Thank goodness Grandma was there to hold her back.

She had a blast getting really, really, really dirty.

And sitting in her super special frog camping chair from Auntie Alisa. (Notice the giant scrape on her nose. She'd taken a face plant into the sidewalk earlier that week.)

The Terwilliger family isn't exactly gender-balanced. In fact, girls are kind of an anomaly with this crowd. She had a great time with all the boy cousins.

Loving the great outdoors!

Loving Grandma!

Loving water fountains! 


We took a vacation to North Carolina's Outer Banks at the end of July. It was our first "real" vacation since Marla was born, and it was exactly what we all needed. It was a perfect mixture of relaxation and fun activities. Marla had a blast, the weather was fabulous, and I got my ocean beach fix. I highly recommend the OBX to anyone, especially anyone with young children.

I miss it so much.

We rented a condo in Duck, NC. Duck is one of the northernmost towns in the Outer Banks. Our condo complex was right on the beach, which made it easy to hit the beach every day, sometimes two or three times a day.
Here's our living room. Marla is watching the Elmo DVD that we brought for her. Speaking of which, Jeff and I both nearly poked our own eyes out by the end of the week, having watched that DVD at least 20 times. I really hope this child develops a taste for other TV characters soon.
We ate most breakfasts and lunches in the condo, and usually ate dinner out at a restaurant. Marla practiced big kid stuff such as sitting in a chair to eat...
And sleeping in a real bed! We did push chairs up against the bed to prevent her from falling out (although she still did fall out one night). She loved sleeping in a big bed, but is clearly not ready for one yet.

We did a little non-beach sightseeing each day, including touring the Wright Brothers Memorial, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the Currituck County Lighthouse, and Jockey Ridge State Park.
Here's Jeff and Marla walking along the Wright Brothers' first flight track.
Wright Brothers Memorial

Our favorite part of the vacation was the beach, naturally. Marla loved the water and playing in the sand. She had no fear of the ocean whatsoever, and since the Atlantic current is pretty strong, the experience was both exciting and scary. Keeping her from getting swept out to sea was a constant battle. But at least we got a good workout.

We had lots of great food, including very fresh seafood and genuine North Carolina barbeque.

I took nearly 400 photos, so this post doesn't really do the trip justice. I'll leave you with a small sample of our week. What an awesome vacation!


The state fair, Wisconsin style

This post is about two months after the fact, but still worth it. This year was my first experience at the Northern Wisconsin State Fair. Coming from Minnesota, home of the best state fair in the world, I wasn't sure what to expect. It turns out the Wisconsin fair is actually pretty perfect for toddlers. It's small, but not so small that it lacks all-important fair staples like barn animals and lots of fried food.

Marla LOVED feeding the donkeys, goats, and llamas. And they LOVED her for not eating all the pellets herself (though she tried).

I was a little uneasy letting her ride a carnival ride alone, especially since the only thing holding her down was a nylon strap. But she did a fantastic job sitting in the car. Even though her face was completely expressionless throughout the ride, she insisted on riding the cars again afterwards.

She was more interested in Grandma's cotton candy than the corn dog I gave her.

Still just not sure about people dressed as animals. Maybe next year.

Her grandma, monkey, and pacifier. What more could a girl want?

She rode the merry-go-round once with me and cried the whole time. She rode it twice more with Grandma and was all smiles. Guess it's all about the company you keep.