Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Roughing It!

It was the Saturday before my 49th birthday. Dad and I were sitting on the back porch enjoying the early morning with a cup of coffee in hand, children still sleeping, sun shining, and birds singing in the trees. It was lovely! Dad asked me what I wanted for my birthday....again. So I pondered for a bit, asking myself, "What do I really want, or even really need, for that matter, for my birthday?". Then it hit, I want to go camping!

It had been 7 years since we last packed up all our gear to go spend a week roughing it in the woods with 14 children! It has also been 7 years since our family had all been together for a camping trip. It was also 7 years ago, when our 7 children on this camping trip were the 'little kids' between 8-11 years old on our last camping trip. They were the ones who played, or were minimal helpers, while the rest of us pitched camp!

This was the reality check we got that day when we arrived at our campsite and began to pitch tents! Dad and I actually had to stop and re-calibrate. Our minds said these are the 'big' kids, they should know what we are telling them to do and what is expected with pitching tents! But the truth was they had never done it! So the training began and the tents were put up without too much mishap; however, the sun did go down on our labors.

Now down to serious business....eating dinner: hot dogs, mac & cheese, and watermelon!

Wednesday morning's view while we talked over a couple cups of coffee before the children got up.

The campsite...that is Evergreen Lake behind the green dinning fly!

Happy sisters sitting in Dad's big chair waiting for breakfast.

A look-see at our kitchen/dinning room for the next three days.

At home, cooking is usually done more as a family effort with us girls doing the bulk of it. While camping, Mom and Dad took on the job of Chief cook and bottle washer! 

Bulls-eyes for breakfast! A family favorite when camping.

 Young ladies first. The boys wait patiently for their turn to get their food.
(Yes, they posed for the shot. :-)

After breakfast Dad lead us in family worship.....

Then he went 'to work' using his Blackberry. This wonderful man is swamped at work but he took a few days to bless his bride. He is my hero!

After breakfast dishes were all washed, dried, and put away, we headed out to find a trail to hike. There was  a great one at the entrance to the park. 

Back to the campsite for lunch and then some good old fashion fishing....

...with worms bought at the camp store.

Dad and I rested as we watched 'our blessings' play.

There were not enough fishing poles, so Elaina and Rebecca rigged cups with fishing line found around the campsite to try and catch some minnows. No captures but they had lots of fun!

Only two actually reeled in a catch for the day...

and Adrianna

That evening, Josh, Jen, Jael, and 'Roo', who is growing in the 'pouch', came to have dinner with us. It was Hobo Stew!

This family was able to use the new chairs they bought.... 

They even brought me a birthday gift!
Jael is having so much fun ripping off the paper.
(Christmas is going to be a blast this year with her!)

A KINDLE...I couldn't believe it; but what a blessing!!!

Dinner is still cooking. That little dutch oven cooked more than enough food for the 12 of us to eat with everyone getting seconds!

Josh is trying to explain how to use this 'new fangled contraption'! I am thankful to say it is pretty easy to use and I have truly enjoyed it; added a new book today as a matter of fact.

Always seeing new things to point out!

And discovering new things to play with!

"What'cha doing?"

Finally....dinner! The stew was delicious!

Next, a game of Bocce Ball for the guys while the girls played Uno.

Jael brought Rebecca to see the game. Gramps never misses an opportunity to talk with his granddaughter. 

Jael's new trick...fist bump!!

Now for what we have all been waiting for.....

A fine ending to a wonderful evening.

The next day....bacon and blueberry pancakes!

While I packed up breakfast, Dad enjoyed some time with his children.
Then we all 'hit the showers'!

The 'water run'....made at least once a day.
Teamwork at its best!

Elaina was taking the 'Made in Mexico with real sugar' Coca-Cola bottle-tops and smashing them flat.

 More fishing...

Long distance fishing....

as well as finding a few treasures.

The boys can be seen through the fork of the tree.

I am enjoying my Kindle and Dad is catching up on the news.

Before dinner in the cool of the late afternoon, we take another hike
'over the river and through the woods'!

Stopped to pose for pics.

Our really awesome kids!!!

Meet a few mountain bikers on the trail; how they fly!

Our campsite from the road...

and from the lake. 

Nothing like a refreshing Coca-Cola after a long hike! 

And then a game to fill the time for the coals to get ready to cook dinner using the 'pie irons' to make pizza pockets and spam with cheese pockets.

Dad getting a couple of minutes rest while enjoying a Coke too!

After dinner, more relaxing while enjoying the fire.... 

some talking; some singing...

...and then night two of s'mores!

It was our last night under the stars and very bright moon.

Good-night moon. 

And, the next morning, good-bye Comlara Park.

Thank you, my dear husband and family.
You gave me a wonderful and memorabilia birthday present!
I love you!