Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fourth of July Camping

This weekend we went with friends to camp just 45 minutes from our home. The girls had one of the nicest trips of that length we've ever had, and on the way we spotted mountain goats, deer, horses, and cows.

When we got to the campsite, they were happy to help us set up. Here Clara and Charlie bring in some of the sleeping bags.

Christina was trying to figure out how to get a sharp rock out from under the (already set up) tent.
Maeve jumped in to help by sliding UNDER the tent, to try to get the rock out with her foot. Do we have nice friends or what?

If you've spent much time around Clara or Elena in the last year, you'll think this next photo is surprising. Although they love the idea of dogs, and pretending to be dogs, they grow wary around actual dogs. Somehow they got over that with our friend's dog, Jasmine, and they really took to her. It was great to see.
Trying to get the fire started...or some people earnestly working to get the fire started and some bemused in the background.
Elena here is showing off her socks - they are the ones she got for riding the carousel by herself, and she wanted to show them to EVERYONE.
What sweeter sight could anyone ever hope to see? Steve took the girls to the creek while Christina hung out with friends at the campsite. Upon their return, they saw Christina and bolted for her, showing off the grasses they had found on their way. Such a sweet trio here.
Some of the friends who came camping play lacrosse - Elena would like to put an early bid in for this to be her sport, too.

S'mores cheers! The girls didn't really like our "you are two years old so you get two marshmallows each" rule - I think they could each have eaten a whole bag!
This is where Leni started showing the lack of nap that day and the lateness of the hour - she's trying to eat her marshmallow...
But can seriously barely keep her eyes open.

Clara, on the other hand, was full of energy!

And full of company. Charlie is a sweet friend to both girls, but he definitely plays favorites. At first he liked Elena best, and in the last few months he has switched to Clara. He sat himself down beside her to hold hands all while she ate her marshmallows.
And, unexpected to any of us, brought on the affection even further.
Clara loved the attention, but was too busy to sit still for long. She took the care of Jasmine on extensively. She was allowed to give her this bowl of kibble for dinner, but when Jasmine didn't seem interested Clara took it upon herself to feed Jasmine the entire meal, piece by piece, from her own hand.
Leni continued, in those twilight hours, to battle her fatigue. Here she keeps saying "I'm just too tired, I'm just too tired." When Christina suggests bed, the response is always an adamant no.

But she did just flop over several times! And it didn't seem to be (entirely) for dramatic effect.
Caryn engages Clara in a game of hide and seek, helping her count. Most of the campsite looked like what you see here (one big boulder field behind us, and these trees all around) so hiding spots were really sparse!
Soon, attention drifted to the boulder field instead. It was dramatic and beautiful, and everyone had fun climbing it to their varying abilities.

Elena finally passed out at about 10:00, and Clara stayed up for some time around the campfire with the adults. She really didn't seem sleepy until right before we were going to bed, at about 11.

We are happy to report that the girls did MUCH better than they did last year sleeping on the floor of the tent in their sleeping bags - they really didn't migrate around at all this year. We did have an issue with Elena waking up and wailing for about 20 minutes - she seemed upset and disoriented, but rejected all of our efforts to help the situation. We probably woke up the surrounding three campsites, at least. Eventually, she slipped into a sleeping bag with Christina to sleep the rest of the night (yes, that had been offered and rejected at least five times already by that point, and no, we have no idea why the idea finally became okay).

Also, it was COLD!! We know many of you are having temperatures higher than you know what to do with, but the low was 40 degrees, and it was just so very, very cold to be out in a tent. The girls didn't seem as bothered as we did, and perhaps no one was as bothered as Christina, who huddled around a fire Steve made her in the morning and finally gave up and sat in a car with the heat on. Pitiful.

Stoic, camp-skilled Steve rustled up some irish oats on the campfire - the four of us have never been so happy to have warm oats, and it finally got the day going on the right foot.
After breakfast, Elena pulled Christina aside and said "Look, Mama! My moon! My friend come back!" She continues her love affair with the moon from when she was very young, and she's always so happy to find it out.

The new day brought another trip to the creek -this time Christina came to get evidence of the fun on camera.
Both girls enjoyed watching the water go by as we walked over a series of these bridges over the creek.

Steve started showing the girls how to fish - Elena is adamant that she wants her own fishing rod now!

Here is Clara "catching" a fish (this was a fun pretend game - the hook never came out here).

And here's Elena "catching" hers:

Elena takes some time out to blow a wish on her dandelion:

And Clara takes up fishing with a blade of grass.

It was really a very fun camping trip, but we were happy to get home. We all took a nice long soak in a bath or shower, washed our hair of the woodsmoke, and hung out in the garden for a while.

Beautiful Clara of the poppies:

Lovely Lena of the berry patch:

And "cheers" to all on this fourth of July. Happy Independence Day!

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