Sunday, June 2, 2013

First Camping Adventure.

Memorial Day may have kicked off the start of summer, however this weekend our first camping trip made it official.  The mountains called and we answered.

For the past 7 years we have celebrated our friend, Amy's birthday with an annual camping trip at her favorite spot.  The first time was when Ava and their son were only 1 year old.  I remember that time so fondly...Ava feeding him dirt with a spoon and us all thinking it was hilarious.  Now we've added a couple more kids to this lovely tradition...

It has become something we all look forward to each June and because we missed it last year, I was especially excited about it.  The only bummer of it this time was Matt wasn't able to join us.  He was planning to, but his cousin ended up coming to town for his first trip to Montana so they had a guys weekend and I loaded up the car for a camping weekend with my girls and our friends.  I was a little nervous about going without Matt.  We don't have our camper any longer so we would be tent camping for the first time with kids.  I had my obvious worries of bears or crazy people ripping into our tent. (I had a teacher who used to tell us horror stories about people being abducted in the mountains from their tents and can't help but think about.  Why a teacher would tell these stories is beyond me...it's been 15 years and they still freak me out).  I get a great deal of safety and security when Matt is around, he's our protector and takes care of us.  I know that sounds old fashion, but I like it.  And, I also  simply like being around the guy.  Of course, I was not going to let this stop us from still going.  I knew I could do it without him and occasionally it's really nice to be reminded of it.  To know that I could load up the car and take my girlies up to the mountains for the weekend.  Know that I could set up the tent and be the protector of my babies.  To be in the tent in the middle of the night with sleeping girls, hearing noises out in the wild and not being scared.  Show the girls that even though daddy is usually the one who handles these things, mama can do it to.  Okay, I'll stop before it gets a little too much "I am woman, hear me roar".  

After a week of rain and cold we woke up Saturday to glorious blue skies.  We packed our camping gear (a ridiculous amount of stuff for one night and three girls) and we were off...

On our way we made a stop in Livingston for some lunch.  Amy grew up in Livingston before moving to Bozeman so it holds a special place in her heart.  We had to go to her beloved Marks In -n- Out for french fries and milkshakes and went to the most darling park for a picnic and some play.  
Lewis, Clark, Sacajawea and a very sunshiny Dru.


Then it was a short drive up the beautiful Paradise Valley to our camping destination.  Having just the girls and I in the car for the drive I got the opportunity to be a bigger part of their conversations.  When it is the whole family they tend to have their own thing going on while Matt and I chat up front.  The three of us are in the car together on a daily basis but it is usually the short drive to and from school and we're talking about thing like what homework they have, whose library day is tomorrow and why didn't you eat any of your lunch today?  When stuck in the car for a longer drive I got to be a part of the conversation.  I got to learn such things as Layla's favorite animal now is a pig (this I knew) and her third favorite animal is a horse (this I didn't know).  And, when she's a grown up it'll "probably be something like a bunny rabbit"  to which Ava responded "You can probably have a bunny when you're older because they're not expensive.  Probably costs the same as taking care of, hmmm, something like a small cat"  This made me smile.  Soon conversation turned to excitement as we pulled into the familiar campground.  This time of year we generally have the place to ourselves.  We set up and got to the business of camping.  This is what the business of camping looks like according to us...

Tents up, kids playing, and the delicious smell of campfire as it gets going-

Birthday girl pretending she is helping with the fire.  She didn't actually have to do much...she kept playing the "it's my birthday weekend" card.  Well played friend.  

Kiddos playing with the fire...something mesmerizing about fire.  It's the center of every camping trip.  It's where we cook, where we stay warm and where we stay up late watching it while talking late into the night making memories.  

Junk food!  Camping always means Doritos for snacks and cold beers for adults.  The girls actually call them "camping chips" because I only buy them for such occasions.  Cheers.  

Swimming!  We don't generally camp at campgrounds, preferring a secluded spot somewhere in the mountains.  But, this campground is hard to beat because it has a pool for our little fish.  


Camping food!!  Everything was wrapped up in tinfoil and thrown on the fire.  Everything tastes better cooked over a campfire.  It looked pretty too.  With Matt being gone we had girl camping food.  Veggies, potatoes and bread.    

Best Friends.  The reason we were all here together- to celebrate Miss Amy.  I love this girl.  I love that when we declared to be BFF's back in 9th grade that it really was forever.  

Banana Boats!  We don't usually stray from our usual s'mores but last weekend my sister reminded us of the banana boats we used to make at Girl Scout camp.  We went this route this weekend...yummmmmmy.  

 Fairy Houses.  One time camping I brought some old baking tins and helped the girls create little fairy lands with moss, leaves and dirt.  I told them we would leave them out for the forest fairies.  This idea stuck and now every time we camp the girls make them.  Graci got in on the action this time and it went a step further with the girls leaving snacks and making notes for the "camping" fairies.  Too cute.  (Don't worry the snack was one little peanut...not bear bait or anything)
 Sleepy morning faces.  Waking up in the tent to the sound of birds, the sun streaming in and my sweet baby girls happy face.  Not quite awake and still so tired from a way too late bedtime.  Love it.  

Ava kept asking why we couldn't stay another night and was sad to leave.  I had to agree with her...one night is simply not enough.  Luckily camping season has just begun.  Next time will be even better because Matt will be able to come with us.  Even though I totally rocked it alone.  

Have a happy week.  

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