We reek of chlorine. A good day. :)
I played and played, and PLAYED. But eventually, like 4 hours later, it was time for me to warm up in the sun to dry off, and there was some time for me and my book.
The 8th was the last day of elementary school, and this year I wanted to start the summer off with a small-scale adventure. So, we went camping at Big Basin Redwoods Park. Paul and I went on a couple-few hikes there when we were DINKy types, and I have taken the kids there once, but this really is a jewel not too far away, and it deserved a better look.
We arrived at about 6:30, 2 hours before sunset, but it was already becoming dark so deep in the woods, so we set up quickly and got to the business of making a fire and dinner. At this point we’re sticking with tent cabins and other structures that are a little more substantial than tents because it makes Carter feel more secure with a real door, and hey, it’s also less to pack and set up. Plus, the kids love the cabins. To Paul and me, they’re just a place to change and sleep, but they had a clubhouse to play in and all around. Sometimes they just chased each other in circles around and around. All good as far as I’m concerned. :)
We all enjoyed the fire pit, and I can’t quite say how many bundles of wood Paul got from the general store—all I know is, we never lacked for fire…
…even at breakfast.
I love morning in the redwoods. The light is magical.
After we filled out bellies with breakfast, we headed out to explore.
By the visitor’s center, there is a small museum, and I had misgivings taking the kids in because sometimes things end poorly in those types of places, with the smaller kids trying to treat them more like inside jungle gyms than anything else, but it seems we’re turning a corner and, as I told Paul that night by the fire, it was the most fun I’ve had with the kids in a museum setting in…. ever. Everyone was interested in the exhibits.
We also explored, and explored, and explored.
inside The Mother of the Forest... “she” burned a long time ago, but is healing herself… incredible resilience
All told, we spent 4 hours exploring before heading back to camp for lunch, and some unconventional desserts.
why yes, yes that is a gummy candy
We hung out at the camp for a while after lunch, and at about 4:30 I made a critical error. It was four hours until dusk, and I feared the kids, who were happily running around that tent cabin and crawling through the huckleberry bushes would bore of that. “Let’s walk to the general store for some ice cream!” It was probably only a 3.5 mile round trip, but we’d been walking all morning. Paul and I were fine, of course, and the kids were also great the way there. The way back, Cole needed to ride on Paul’s shoulder’s and Carter said he was very, very tired. With 20/20 hindsight, I realize he was completely exhausted, and not in the good way. Back at camp, Carter was ravenous and devoured 3 or 4 slices of his newfound love, Texas toast, and certainly seemed playful throughout dinner and camp fire time, but the rude awakening at “I-don’t-even-know-what-o’clock” where he threw up in his sleep, messing both his and Cole’s sleeping bags was the price. I used all our paper towels cleaning with LED strength light while Paul got the boys back to sleep with him (better to keep the kids asleep to minimize the time span of this awesomeness). Both their pillows were also messy, but one had one side dry, and I use it, minus the pillow case, and two towels, plus a throw blanket to sleep sideways on the foot of the boys’ double platform bed. Not my best night’s sleep, to be sure.
Thank goodness for coffee. Rallying is important, and the next morning we still had a very nice breakfast and the kids barely remembered anything about the night before. I give the cheesy Bisquik shake and pour pancake mix a huge thumbs-up for camping, by the way—just eyeball adding water to the line and you’ve got pancakes ready to make. We made it home midafternoon and I have to say, all in all, it was a wonderful way to start the summer.
Can’t wait for our next camping adventure in July! Gold country! :)
Tomorrow it’ll be a week since the last day of school, and I swear I’m only starting to recover—from that, and of course, camping. When did the last week of school become such a to-do? Actually, it’s more like the last two weeks of school, which is now some extended celebration and teacher appreciation extravaganza. I kind of think it’s because STAR testing (our SOLs) is over in early May, and I don’t begrudge it as much as I wonder when this happened, or if I was just not noticing it when I was in elementary school (totally possible). At any rate, bear with me as I catch up chronicling all the special fun.
A week after Crazy Socks Day, which was… ya know… socks… but crazy!… it was time for Crazy Hair Day. Carter usually doesn’t want to have anything to do with crazy days. (With the socks, he considered wearing brown socks, the NUT! I think I said, “Whoa, hold on, let’s not get too crazy there!”) He wants to be normal, thanks.
However, all the kids were excited about this one, so we bought a few colors of spray on color and I died of fume inhalation covering their heads. I’m now a ghost writing this. Boooo-oooo, oogey-boogey.
Carter elected for a subtle blue with glitter overlay, while Bun asked for half purple, half blue, yellow polka dots and glitter.
Sometimes little brothers like to have crazy hair, too, and Cole wanted a variation of Bun’s ‘look.’ Me, I had ‘crazy left had day’ since I shielded their faces, etc., with that hand. Go me! ;)
Another school year bit the dust!
Thank you, Mrs. F! Bunny loves you so much, and is already missing you (if not the homework!).
Thank you, Ms. P! Carter has grown *so* much this year, and you are no small part of that!
Our family has a little tradition over the past couple of years where our kids’ superstar teachers receive these stars as presents, which they can, of course, hang where they like—but we love to see the stars in classroom windows as our brood passes through.
I can’t believe summer is already here. It seems like just a blink ago I was sending them off for their first day. Both kids did very well on their final report cards and have earned a summer of fun. :)