This week we took our first family camping trip since Kieran was born. We joined my parents for an overnight stay at Sherando Lake, about 2 hours south-west of our house. We had a fantastic time! We got very little sleep and had way too much sugar, so by the second day the kids were little crabapples. Its amazing that it took me a few days to pack, and a couple more to unpack and I did 5 loads of laundry afterwards. I think that in the end, being outdoors connected with nature and away from the busy everyday lives we live, it was all totally worth it.
Kieran really enjoyed just being outside all day long. Camping was as natural to him as breathing. Only, he slept poorly and was the biggest fuss the next morning. Thankfully, he gladly sat in his car seat and napped for an hour, and became the charming young man we know and love. I am glad we have several more months before another camping trip is in our future. Squishing him between Nick and I on an air mattress was a total nightmare. I honestly don't know if I slept more than 20 minutes that night.
Oddly enough, this was the first time we have ever taken Leia camping with us. She is of course the perfect camping dog. She sat at our campsite eating the scraps and scaring the bears away. They had pretty intense bear warnings posted all around the campground so we did in fact have quite the threat. Leia did her job as we didn't see any bears. And we are all incredilbly thankful that we didn't have any skunks walk into our campsite because Leia still has skunk smell in layers of her fur... many months and several baths later.
We spent our first day pitching our tent and enjoying the lake, cooking out and having s'mores over the campfire. The girls love swimming, especially anywhere that has "deep water". Anastasia finally taught herself to swim underwater this summer, so I am really excited that we finally have a near-swimmer among us! Isabel is our little mermaid and would probably live in the water if she could. Its really neat to see new aspects of their personalities come to life each day. :)
On our second day we hiked a little bit of Crab Tree Falls. We made it about 1/4 mile when Isabel flung herself around a railing above the falls. It could have been really awful if she fell, and she was beside herself that Nick grabbed and startled her. So we hiked a tad further and went back down. They really are beautiful falls.
We then drove to McCormick Farm and had lunch. The farm belonged to Cyrus McCormick who invented the "reaper" for reaping crops. The farm and landscape were beautiful and the perfect setting for a peaceful lunch.
We spent another evening at the lake, and packed up and headed home with a little Starbucks in hand. We were wet, muddy, exhausted and happy. :)
I look forward to more camping trips next year. We have been dreaming lately of purchasing a pop-up camper and kind of cheat a little, but mainly to make camping more comfortable and overall more accessible to our family. Someday maybe! But for now, I am just glad we finally made it outdoors and slept under the stars for the first time in years! :)