This year we decided to attempt a fun family first - camping! Lucas and I had done a bit of camping before kids, but hadn't been up for trying it post kids (unless Sandy Island counts). Our good friends, however, have more kids and even a younger child and go camping every year! Not only that, they were telling us how much they liked a campground that is just outside of Lucas' hometown. It sounded like the perfect setup - camping with good friends who are experienced campers just minutes away from Nana & Poppy's should it not work out! Even better, some other good friends have a family hunting cabin not far away and decided to join us!
The girls (and M) playing together with dolls.
This is pretty much what he did all day every day. Boy loves to bike.
My pictures are going to be all out of the order of what happened during the week (just in case anyone who was there reads this and gets confused), but we had SO much fun and went on SO many adventures! The campground was fabulous. I can only say wonderful things! One thing they offered was a nature program for kids twice a day. We forgot most days, but remembered a couple times (because the nature teacher stopped by our campsite to remind us...)
Learning about Black Bears
The kids all loved the life-sized, rubber paw.
The teacher's name was also Allie so they bonded quickly.
On the hike they learned all about what Black Bears eat. Allie liked almost all of the same things. We started calling her "Allie bear" as a result.
Another great program was fishing. They provided all of the poles and bait! Seeing as we don't even have poles at home (should we find ourselves inclined to go fishing) I jumped at this opportunity to do something my kids love but rarely have a chance to enjoy.
Holding their poles just like Miss Allie told them!
In the end, each of the girls caught a fish, but neither of the boys did. Clearly, it was a case of gender-biased fish.
Petting her fish. No kisses this time!
Miss Allie also brought little nets for the kids to use to try to catch things in the water. They had so much fun with some of the other kids there fishing, although Allie waded into the water and ended up with a leech on her foot. Before they left, each child was given a bobber and a coloring book (which they affectionately titled their "learn about fish" book and have read incessantly to their stuffed animals).
Walking back across the dam to leave.
There were dozens of other fun adventures at the campground of which I didn't take pictures. Like the time spent at the beach. They had such a beautiful beach and, even though it was fairly cold, the kids went every chance they had. But I never took my camera to the beach. So the only picture I have was taken with my phone when we first arrived.
Their first glimpse. They were so excited!
Another adventure that required me leaving my camera at home was our trip to the lighthouse. A short 2.5 mile bike ride away was a beautiful, historic lighthouse that was open to the public! We all decided to go, but it turned out that Lucas and I were the only ones not towing our children in a bike trailer (we didn't have enough room, so we left it at home). We were pretty confident that they could make it (and they did!), but I didn't want to lug my camera with me on the off chance I would be carrying a child and pushing 2 bikes home...
I was sad because the view at the lighthouse was spectacular. I almost didn't see it. Ryan is frightened by floating stairs or stairs he can see through. The lighthouse had a beautiful iron staircase that curved up and around the outer wall, but it was his least favorite - floating stairs that he could see through. He balked initially and I told him I would stay down with him. But he wanted to see the top so badly that he decided to tackle his fears and try. Even though I'm not a big fan of high places that appear easy to fall from either, I held his hand confidently, promised him it would be okay, and guided him higher and higher up the three staircases. At the top he got to turn the light on and off and look out at the amazing view. Totally worth it. I was so proud of my brave little man.
On the way home, I took some video. I rode with Allie, who was slow but steady.
Riding on the bike path.
Her enthusiasm, however, never waned. The whole way home she sang the sweetest little song that she made up.
We're on a bike ride.
We're on a bike ride.
We're on a bike, a bike, a bike, a bike ride!
I managed to catch a short clip of her singing before it was cut off by my phone dying.
There were more campground adventures, of course, that I didn't catch with my camera:
evenings by the fire making s'mores and popping popcorn, delicious mealtimes, a rainy night falling asleep to the sound of the rain on our tent, playing at the campground park. So many wonderful moments that made up a great camping trip! And these are just the moments at the campground! We went on many adventures as well!