When I was young, my family did not take a lot of fancy vacations. We didn't go to Disneyland or Disneyworld. We never went on a cruise.
We lived in Washington state, so we used to pack up the car and drive to Deception Pass or Astoria or Cannon Beach or Winthrop.
One of my favorite memories was when we took a vacation to Utah and spent several days camping on the way down. We ended up in Little Mill Campground (on the Alpine Loop) and we found this great huge boulder that had been eroded and smoothed and made a perfect, giant (and slightly dangerous) slide.
We used to ride bikes and pick blackberries and put sticks in the fire.
So I thought it was time that our family take a camping trip.
I planned for weeks. And I shared my plans with Brad. And that was weird.
Brad comes from a camping background too. But not so much family camping. I don't know how much of that he did. Or at least not the kind I was used to. My family camped in a lot of car camping sites (where you park right next to your tent). We did a few middle-of-nowhere-no-plumbing-no-bathroom-camptrips, but not many. Brad, however, did only that kind of camping. He was a backpack camper. He never took anything that didn't fit into a backpack.
So I was planning steak and potato foil dinners, and pancakes for breakfast (with our gas stove), and dutch oven desserts... and he looked at me like I was from Mars.
But I talked him into it, and then Memorial Day weekend came, and we headed into the mountains of New Mexico. Whenever we go, all Grace and Claire can say is, "Wow!! Look at all the trees!!" And then Brad and I look at each other, heartbroken, wondering whether we're ruining our children's lives by raising them in the desert instead of the gorgeous Pacific Northwest. Sigh.
Anyway, we found a cute little site minus plumbing, but with some beautiful scenery and only a few other campers.
We played hide-and-go-seek in the woods. We went for a walk. We introduced the munchkins to s'mores. We taught them how to roast marshmallows. Roasting by children ended when Claire accidentally flung a flaming mallow into Brad's arm, which burned Brad's arm and singed his hair [which he handled by standing up and silently yelling. I thought that was a very fair and mild reaction to being burned by fire.]. Claire spent the next half hour inconsolably moping in the tent because she felt so bad. At the campfire, Brad spent all his time at the edge of his camp chair, arms out, catching kids who ran too close to the fire pit. Then, cleaning their hands with baby wipes before bed, he kept saying, "How do they get so dirty? I mean they are covered in dirt!" Which I responded to by laughing hysterically.
The whole experience was kind of a role reversal. I was mostly calm. Brad was a little panicked. Not typical us.
Everything was fabulous until nighttime. When the temperature cooled to a chilly 30 degrees and Weston screamed his head off every twenty minutes.
That's when we decided not to stay all weekend.
But it was fun while it lasted!
An attempt at a family portrait...
Oh, yeah. I forgot...
We don't do family portraits.
I love them so:
Hide-and-go-seek. Grace was a fantastic hider. This was just her refusing to pose.
I told the girls dandelions are edible. They gave them a try.
Oh but Grace likes them.
Um... no thank you.
Chesney the beautiful dog.
Brad's crazy long hair and marshmallow burn.
Blurry pictures are at least evidence that I still exist. And that I like marshmallows. And that I am capable of smiling occasionally.
We wore this puppy out!
After the kids went to bed, Brad and I spent about an hour talking and goofing off with the camera and fire. We tried to write words with fiery sticks. Because we're five years old like that. Anyone guess this one?