Tuesday, May 27, 2014

So we went camping, part 3

Not long after the group picture we all packed up and headed our separate ways. Most people headed home but a bunch of us decided to take advantage of some of the local hiking trails.

On our hike we ran across the lovely remnants of an old fireplace and root cellar. It was built by Irish immigrants around 150 years ago when the moved to American to escape the second potato famine.  They lived here for decades, raising sheep along the hills and growing a subsistence farm with their children. 

I'm not sure why, but this site felt really special to me--maybe because I can imagine how beautiful it must have been to wake up in this forest every day (and how cold and forbidding it must have been in the winter), but also because many of my ancestors are Irish immigrants, and I think I felt a kinship with this family. 

It was really refreshing to be outside for a prolonged period of time.  We thought Nikolai might get tired of it, but if anything it whet his appetite for more!

Towards the end of the hike we found a little bridge, where the tots threw rocks and we played pooh sticks. 

Impromptu family picture! And we're all looking at the camera! Miracle!

Do you know that I love my boys? Do you know that I love them outside? They are great!

Guys, this was such a relaxing trip.  It took some work to pack and prepare but the rest of the trip was surprisingly easy.  It went so well, in fact, that we've decided to do it again very soon! Hooray for the great outdoors!

So we went camping, part 2

So I wrote this post last week but somehow deleted it (!!!) so I'm attempting to re-write it now.  It will likely be considerably less wordy (since I have no idea what I originally wrote) and maybe sort of awkward, but there you go!

Before long, other people from the ward started showing up, included Niko's best bud Hyrum! 

We had a great dinner, with hamburgers and hotdogs provided by the church and side dishes brought by people who came. I brought cookies (are you surprised?!). 

The rest of the evening was basically spent with all the children wandering around in the trees like this: 

Though some of us went back out to the pier to enjoy the crisp evening:

Michelle had the amazing idea to grab a handful of rocks for the boys to toss in the water, so they spent probably the better part of an hour tossing rocks in the water and then running back for more.

 After a bit we all headed back to camp to start a fire and warm up (it was quite chilly in general that day and even cooler out on the water!):

It was slow going at first while we all wrangled our boy scouts/girl's camp knowledge, but soon we had a nice blaze going.

Not pictured: S'mores. Mmmm. 

Nikolai wandered around, picking up dirt and yelling "Dirt!" like he'd never seen the stuff before.

The picture below was taken right after Nikolai picked up a piece of grass, said "Eat. Grass!" and put half of it in his mouth. He chewed, said "Mm!" and ate the other half.  Then he got another piece and ate that too.  Silly boy!

We kept Nikolai up as late as possible (til about 9:30 or 9:45) then just did our normal bedtime routine, but in the tent. We put on pjs (lots of layers for Niko because it was going to be below 40 degrees out and we were nervous he'd freeze!), read a few books, then turned out the lights and sang a few bedtime songs. By the last one he fell right to sleep, completely tuckered out from all the excitement of camping. 

It was quite nippy that night but we all slept pretty well! Nikolai woke once or twice and fussed a little, but went right back to sleep. I was nervous he'd wake up at 3 am and think it was morning, but he slept all the way til 6:30! 

At that point he sat up, looked at me and said, "Birds!" 

Because let me tell you guys, it sounded like every bird in creation was outside singing! I practically expected Grieg's Morgenstimmung to start playing, it was that gorgeous. 

The next thing he said was, "Megan? Jorgan? Hyrum?" hoping that his friends had stayed the night too! I assured him they were all still there and he was so pleased :) 

Nikolai is not very quiet in the morning (he wakes up happy to be alive and wants to tell you all about it!) so we took a little walk away from the other sleeping campers and headed out to the dock again.

We stayed out there for a blissfully quiet 30 minutes or so, just enjoying the morning. 

When we got back to camp, we met up with Jesse and Jordan, who had woken up early to go birding. We ate some granola bars for breakfast before starting a little fire to warm up (let me mention one more time: it was cold!). 

I split some wood to keep the fire going:

And obviously, we followed our breakfast up with more roasted marshmallows and s'mores :)

The little ones liked this part a lot:

Especially this little guy. Look at that sweet choclate 'stache!

We meandered around the campsite a little more, packing up here and there and playing with the tots. We found this gorgeous old maple right next to our site, where the little boys could climb up and stand!

Finally, we gathered everyone we could find in for a commemorative photo. For there being 11 kids involved, this turned out pretty well, don't you think?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

So we went camping, part 1

Last week some people at church organized a ward camping trip. We've been itching to get into the great outdoors now that the frigid Michigan winter has ended, so we packed up a ridiculous amount of stuff and took off! 

Warning: I took far too many pictures on this excursion so I've split the trip up into three posts that are all photo dumps. Sorry/not sorry!

Setting up the tent: 

Nikolai loved helping!

The finished product:

Nikolai thought the sleeping pads were tunnels!

Nikolai did this basically the whole time:

He loved being outside!

I liked it too :)

Right next to the campsite was the gorgeous Crooked Lake:

My boys:

Nikolai got a kick out of the dock!

Nikolai really wanted to touch those lily pads!

Jesse spent a lot of time breaking in his new binoculars and spotting dozens of birds!

On our romp we found some dandelion puffs, which Nikolai loved blowing away. 

Look how cute!

And all these photos are from before any of the rest of the ward even showed up!