Our first time in our new camper, and we are so excited! The kids are living their dream!
We arrived in the evening, just in time to see the setting sun glowing across the water.
Our first camping trip of the year. It was also my favorite one of the whole summer. We went to a new spot we had never camped at before, high up in the Boise national forest, called Sage Hen Reservoir. It was so high up in the mountains that the forest was uncustomarily thick and lush and green, just the way I like it. I mean, there were ferns, and moss!! Which is SO not Idaho. The moss and ferns are for Washington and the tumbleweeds and dry brush are for Idaho. The temperatures were also cooler because of the altitude, so it was actually a really nice change and escape from the usual hot weather we have in the summer. We didn't go swimming, which was fine by me because it made my job easier. Drying towels and swimsuits and dressing all the kids in their gear and slathering on sunscreen, then lugging their buckets and floaties to and from the water--it's a full-time job, and I was glad to avoid it and instead take more time to prepare meals, sit around the fire, take walks, snap pictures of the kids.
I am so grateful that we get to have these weekends with our kids up in the mountains, surrounded by God's beautiful nature that never fails to remind me that He's near me and loves me and He created all this for me. For us. I think it's so important to have long chunks of uninterrupted time in this technology-obsessed world for families to remember what it feels like to just be together. I believe it helps us find a comfortable rhythm in which we function as a family. We are all present, no one is rushing off to soccer practice or work, we aren't spread out in separate rooms, eating meals at separate times. There's no schedule and nobody has to go places they don't want to go. We stick together all day long and just observe each other doing our thing. At home we don't have the patience for that.
When you put yourself in a completely different environment like this and are able to separate yourself from your everyday world, there is so much more room for conversation to happen, jokes to be told, funny things to happen that we can all laugh about later. The kids remember all kinds of things that they have been wanting to tell you. It unites you as a family. I hope our kids understand that, yes, we enjoy camping too, but we really do it for them. It is SO much work to take four children camping, especially a busy, busy baby that WILL NOT for the life of her sit still, but I find it so rewarding as well. There were times I wanted to quit and go home (or tie Naomi to a tree--either/or), but I know she had so much fun. Just for the fact that I can get Bogdan away from his work and up to where his cell phone won't work even if he wanted it to--it's really the only way that I can get him completely to ourselves these days--and it's worth it just for that. I know he needs that break as much as we need him to take it.
The kids spent a good chunk of the afternoon catching tadpoles and collecting them in their buckets. The water was cold, but they at least got to go in up to their knees. Bogdan and I put Naomi to sleep in the stroller and sat on a fallen log nearby, watching the kids while chatting. Then Bogdan and Ben went for a run together, exploring all the trails that surround the lake and nearby areas.
This is why I love camping. Ben gets his dad's uninterrupted attention, and Lord knows boys need their fathers at this age.
The luxury of a fridge and a sink (and cupboards!) made food prep so amazingly easy, I don't know if I can ever go back. Less frustration is always a good thing. Oh, and a toilet AT the place you sleep? AH-mazing! No more running out into the cold, dark night, fumbling with shoes and coats and hats and flashlights, holding the flashlight for each other so you can see what you're doing. I don't miss it.
He got a new ax that he did a lot of research to find, and he LOVES splitting wood now. I call that a win-win.
They love this hammock chair. If we were ever at our campsite, they were in this chair.
There was no flat ground at our campsite whatsoever, and even the road was slanted, which made it hard for Naomi to find good spots to play in. One of us had to be holding her hand at all times, and we had to make sure she wouldn't roll down any hills or fall into the fire, because any little stumble will send her sprawling.
Oh, the joy an empty water jug and some rocks bring! This was her favorite.
There was a really pretty hike just across the street from us, and us brave people decided to do it with a stroller. We don't use slings or carriers with Naomi because she hates anything that constricts her in any way, and we couldn't exactly carry her the whole time, so we did the best we could with the stroller. We rode it over rocks and logs and carried it over large boulders and rough terrain. Naomi even fell asleep at one point as we were carrying her up some rocky places.
The girls were calling, "Tato, Tato!" because Naomi had woken up and it was time to turn back. :) We went as far as we wanted to go with the stroller, and Bogdan and Ben had gone on ahead to see what we were going to miss. They discovered some pretty waterfalls and big clusters of large boulders along the path as well. Maybe we can go back sometime soon and hike the whole thing and explore some more. It was such a beautiful hike. The kids didn't want to go at the beginning because they knew it'd be a lot of work, but they loved it and couldn't stop talking about it after.
S'mores are definitely a favorite camping activity for us! I pride myself on making pretty darn near perfect marshmallows!