Right after the 24th of July holiday, we were lucky to be able to take Bridge to Camelot with us for a short weekend.
He calls it his "new home."
Before we even got there, he and Hunter Man (aka: Papa) had to stop and try to catch a fish in the stream in Daniel’s canyon. I was standing by the truck holding Bridge while Hunter Man got the pole ready, when Bridge pointed at an ant on my shirt and I realized that I was standing in an ant bed and had ants crawling all over my legs! (I freaked out a little bit!)
As he and Papa walked along the road, they were singing Old MacDonald Had a Farm together. Almost all of the animals on the farm were chickens that day. Hunter Man must do a pretty good chicken impression.
Because we forgot our keys and had to go back home to get them (we were only about 20 minutes from home when we realized our mistake), and because we stopped to buy lunch at JCW's (my favorite burger place), and because we stopped to fish, it took a LONG time to get to Camelot. Bridge said that it took TWO days to get there just like it takes to go to his Uncle Rex's (who lives in Washington).
So, as soon as we got to Camelot, he was ready to play. While I helped Hunter Man unload the truck, Bridge kept asking, "Damma, don't you want to play with me?" Well, I couldn't resist that and before I had a chance to even put anything away, we were setting up the Kerplunk game. For Bridge, the best things about Kerplunk are putting the sticks in and then pulling them out to MAKE the marbles fall. He always has to put the green ones in because “geen is my favorite color”. He is never interested in taking turns, or in getting the least amount of marbles to win the game. He WANTS the marbles to fall and he wants them ALL to fall at once. We slowly start removing the sticks, but the speed at which we remove them increases rapidly until he just grabs a bunch of sticks and pulls them all out at the same time. The marbles cascade down with a loud crash and then we are done.
Next he reminded me that he had watched Shark Tale in our trailer before (last fall) and he wanted to watch it again. Usually, when he comes to our house, or sleeps over, he brings a few of his own "shows" because he is a big movie fan. I was glad that I had grabbed our DVD case right before we left, just in case it rained a lot and we needed extra entertainment and relieved that Shark Tale was in it.
We didn’t watch it for long before he was ready to go to the shed to get a croquet mallet, ball, and hoop for each of us. His idea of playing croquet is to take everything out to lawn, put one hoop in the ground, hammer in the two pegs, then hit the ball through the hoop a couple of times, and then we were done. Sometimes, we get a different color of mallet and ball and do it again, but normally, once is enough for awhile.
I didn't think he had ever played with marshmallow guns before and I thought he might be old enough to figure out how to do it. So, I got out the marshmallow guns and the bags of mini marshmallows, then demonstrated to him how to shoot the marshmallows by blowing them through the PVC pipe "gun".
We tried a few of them until he picked the one he liked and we called it his pistol. He thought that it was very fun to blow marshmallows through the guns and we spent a lot of time shooting marshmallows at Papa and at a paper plate target (where he got a bulls-eye every time).
While we were out on the deck, there was a bird that kept acting like we were cramping her style. Hunter Man thought he heard baby birds chirping, so he acrobatically climbed up to the rafters to look on top of a beam and saw that there was a bird nest up there. I couldn’t believe that birds had built a nest up there again. Kj had knocked all of the empty robin’s nests down after their babies flew away in June. Now, here we were at the end of July with a new nest and three hungry baby birds. Papa lifted Bridge up to try to let him see the birds, but Bridge was very nervous about being lifted up so high and wanted to be down on the ground more than he wanted to see baby birds.
That evening, we roasted hot dogs for dinner. There is nothing like a hot dog roasted over a fire. Papa could not get that fire ready for roasting fast enough. Bridge waited as patiently as he could. Finally he was able to roast his hot dogs. He insisted on roasting THREE at one time because he IS THREE. Then, the three hot dogs had to go into three buns, even though as soon as we started eating, he wanted one of them taken out and cut into pieces and we knew that there was no way he was going to eat more than one.
(We think that roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire is fun and cheap entertainment for kids. We used to buy bags of marshmallows for Ty to just roast and burn over the fire. He had a blast doing it and it gave him something to do when he was a young boy, while we all sat around the fire talking. He burned marshmallow after marshmallow and relatives would try to point out to us that we shouldn't be letting him do that because we were wasting marshmallows. But, we would just say that marshmallows don't cost that much and we would let him continue).
As soon as Bridge had eaten a sufficient amount of hot dog and applesauce, it was time to roast marshmallows. Again, the magic number was THREE. We managed to roast three at one time and even had them turn out almost perfectly golden. I put one between two graham crackers for him and then we enjoyed the show as he tried to eat that nice thick marshmallow sandwich.
The next morning, the first thing that Bridge asked about was going fishing. He couldn't understand why he had to wait for Papa to get back from metal detecting around old cabins. He thought Papa should have been there, ready to go fishing as soon as he woke up. He settled for eating pancakes and then going for a walk down the road to see what was happening at Grandpa’s cabin while he waited to be able to go fishing.
While we walked, Bridge began telling me all about how he was using all of his energy. I told him that he should have gotten a lot of energy from his pancakes and he agreed that he had, but insisted that he was still using it all up. I asked him if he wanted a piggy back ride and he said, “No, only my dad and Papa can give me one of those.” A few steps later, he changed his mind and said he guessed I could give him one. As I put him on my shoulders, he sat on my hair causing my head to be in a weird position. I couldn’t do anything to move it, and I thought, “He was right. Damma can’t give him a piggy back ride!”
But, because I will do pretty much anything for my grandkids, I gave him the best piggy back ride that I could. Luckily, just a few minutes later, Papa came driving toward us in the truck and we were able to get a ride the rest of the way.
While we were visiting cousins at the cabin, he got Papa to take him to the 'bridge to nowhere' so that he could throw sticks into the river from the middle of it. He thinks that is fun, but as soon as he was done doing that, he was ready to go back to our property with us.
We were running out of time and when we got back, we crammed in some more Kerplunk, marshmallow guns, and croquet, then packed up to leave to go fishing on the way home. Just before we left, I saw a chipmunk sitting on a rock, close to the deck. We haven't had chipmunks there before, so I was excited about it and scared it away in my exuberance to show it to Bridge. We put out a trail of chocolate covered peanuts for him, hoping to lure him back so that Bridge could see him. He stood on the deck and waited and waited, but the chipmunk didn't come back. He kept asking, "Why didn't the chipmunk want the peanuts, Damma?"
Of course, we never found out because we had to leave. Bridge was sad to have to go. I was, too. The break from real life, and the ability to play around and yet, relax too, is hard to want to give up after a short weekend.
But, we did stop to fish, as promised. Hunter Man thoroughly enjoys helping people catch fish. When we are with other people, he loves to teach them how to fish and usually spends more time baiting everyone else's poles and throwing out their lines, than he does fishing for himself. Finally, after trying a few fishing holes, they were successful at catching a fish. But, when we tried to take a picture with the fish, Bridge was adamant about not wanting his picture taken because he didn't want to touch the fish.
It took some convincing, but we finally got him to pose with Papa holding the fish. He wanted to take it home to show his Dad (which made his Dad really happy--since he had to clean it and promise to cook it soon. Tass told me that he asked to have it for breakfast the next day!)
We love to spend as much time as we can with our kids and grandkids at Camelot. It is one of our favorite places to be. Bridge was so good and so much fun to be with. He is a great little boy and we just love him.