Sunday, 13 November 2016

Ocean Grove Trip

I hadn't done much preparation for our camping trip (we've been quite busy lately, and I'd just spent the weekend in Sydney for my sister-in-laws 40th), so we packed our clothes the night before, I put the awning canvases and the tarps back on the trailer the night before, then we did the rest on the Tuesday morning before we left and were away by 11. We got petrol and came back for a few things we'd forgotten, then were properly on the way by 11.30.

I stopped just out of Geelong because I was feeling pretty tired. I had a snack and walked around a bit, then the kids got frozen slushies from Hungry Jacks and we bought some fruit and veg from a little shop at the roadhouse. We continued on and reached Ocean Grove a bit after 2.

3 of the other homeschooling families we were camping with were already there, and another family joined us each day then went home of a night (they only live half an hour away). I set up the tent while the kids played with their friends, then the kids all did the watermelon challenge - putting rubber bands around a watermelon until it explodes. The top of the melon cracked and popped open and it felt like a bit of a let down, so the kids kept putting rubber bands on even though we thought it probably wouldn't explode now that the pressure had been let out. They put a few more on and it suddenly exploded upwards, covering one of the girls completely in watermelon and hitting everyone else, and spreading many metres out from the blast zone. It was hilarious and a lot of fun.

The kids rode their bikes and played in the playground and after a while LiAM and another boy went over to the beach (his mum and I went too). They built a big wall with a hole behind it that they tried to keep filled with water, as the tide was coming in the waves were filling the hole and knocking down the wall and things became more challenging. It was cold and windy on the beach, quite grey. The boys had a lot of fun and came home a little bit wet and very happy. The boy's family went home after we got back, they were only staying the one night as they had things on for the rest of the week, so LiAM was a little disappointed that his friend had left, although we will see them again soon.

I went to the shops to get food for dinner, we had hotdogs for tea in the camp kitchen. The others were around too, getting their own dinner and we chatted and played. After tea Caitlin went for a walk to the beach with the older girls, and the rest of us went to bed and read for a while, Caitlin came in not long afterwards.

It was sprinkling in the morning and I hadn't put the annex up because I thought it wasn't going to rain. I moved things that I didn't want to get wet and went to the camp kitchen for my cup of tea. Gradually everyone else woke up and wandered to the kitchen and we had breakfast, the kids played games and we had a nice easy morning as the weather cleared up. There was more playing in the playground and lots of bike riding, then in the late morning we all headed over to the beach. It was sunny by now, but the wind was still pretty cold. 2 of the older kids went out surfing, and I went in the water with my 3 kids and Amelie's friend. It was very cold, and the 2 younger girls soon went back to play in the shallow waves at the edge. Caitlin, LiAM and I went out a lot further - it was shallow for a very long way and the waves weren't big, it was fairly easy surf to swim in, just really really cold. The kids had wetsuits on so they coped with it a bit better than me. Eventually I felt like my reflexes were getting a bit slower because I was so cold so I went back and sat on the sand in the sun to warm up. The kids played in the sand and after a while Caitlin went back in with the older kids and was able to go out further to where the water was a bit deeper (and it wasn't as rough there as I'd feared). They had a go at boogie boarding but the waves weren't quite right.

Amelie had had enough of the sand after a while so she went back to camp with some of the others. Her friend's mum had brought kites along, and LiAM and the other younger kids flew them on the beach for a while, the wind was strong and the kites flew really well. We wandered back to camp and had some lunch, the kids played in the playground and rode their bikes and the mums sat and chatted. In the afternoon we went strawberry picking at a local farm, the strawberries were fresh and delicious and it was a lot of fun. Afterwards LiAM sat with me and the other mums and dipped all his strawberries in cream - very enjoyable.

We all had dinner together that night, a few of us went to get roast chickens and hot chips, and we had a bit of salad and stuff too and we all ate in the camp kitchen together (it was really well equipped, and had lots of little tables and a great big table which fit most of us around it (there were 13 people altogether). After dinner Millie's friends went to bed, and once it got dark the rest of us walked over to the beach to see if we could see the Aurora Australis - it was supposed to be a good night for it but it was cloudy and so not possible to see anything. The kids had a play on the sand in the dark and it was cool to be there watching the surf and the night sky. When we got back Amelie and I wandered off soon afterwards, everyone else went back to the kitchen for a games night and played cards and other games until about midnight.

It was raining again in the morning, a bit more heavily this time, so again I had my cup of tea in the kitchen and the others wandered in one by one. We had breakfast then played Racing Demons, which the kids had learnt the night before. After a while we switched to playing Burn, and some of the others joined us. Amelie went to play with her friends in the playground, and everyone else played Burn for a few rounds (9 of us) which was a lot of fun.

By now it was midday and quite sunny again. We all went over to Barwon Heads to get ice-cream - it was delicious! We wandered around the shops for a while, while Millie and her friends went to the playground, then the rest of us met them there. The playground was right on the river, overlooking the bridge between Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove, a beautiful spot to play. Caitlin and LiAM explored the sandbanks in the river then LiAM and I walked back into town so he could buy something from the bakery.

The older kids wanted to go to the lolly shop in Ocean Grove, and Amelie chose to stay with her friends on the condition we could go to the lolly shop again tomorrow. Caitlin and LiAM selected their lollies and I grabbed a few too, then we headed back to camp (with one of the other boys in our car, he'd been with us all day). The mums sat and chatted again at our campsite while the kids rode their bikes and climbed trees, and when Amelie and the others came back they played in the playground.  The others (except Amelie's friends) were leaving this afternoon so they finished packing up then we talked at the car while the big kids rode their ripsticks.

LiAM wasn't feeling well and had a nap and Caitlin crashed on the couch in the kitchen once everyone else had left. I cooked some dinner and the kids played, LiAM had a shower and then joined us as well. We had a relatively early night and read Harry Potter for a while.

It was sunny on our last morning so I went for a quick walk near the edge of the river then had my cup of tea at the tent. As the kids woke up they had breakfast then they went down to the kitchen to play cards while I packed up. Amelie's friend's Mum packed up as well, then she took all the kids down to the other playground while I finished off. We all met in the kitchen for lunch and then headed off. We drove over to Portarlington to the lolly shop there and met up with the family who'd been coming over each day. We bought our lollies then sat outside at a cafe with them in the warm sun and had the most magnificent milkshakes we've ever tasted. I reversed the trailer out of the tricky spot that I had parked in (feeling much more confident about my reversing now) and we headed to Geelong where we called in to see Amelie's friends again. The kids all had a wonderful afternoon playing with all their games and activities and I had more time to chat to their mum. We left around 6.30 which meant we missed the traffic on the Ring Road and had an easy trip home, arriving just after 8.30.

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