One of my favorite things about summer (among the many things I love...) is our extended family trip. The kids just seem to bloom during that time and it means the world to them to be surrounded by the ones they love and who love them in return. Coupled with being in God's beautiful creation, this is definitely a highlight of the summer for all of us. As the kids are getting older, it is so interesting to see their relationships with each other and their cousins. Seeing them grow up together is a real blessing. And since none of us have newborns or really wee ones (although Rosie is just a little over one year) , all the kids were able to come along for this trip.
Camping was definitely the theme for this trip and after some frantic searching (campgrounds book out early....note to self to check earlier next year), we found beautiful Iron Creek Campground in Washington State. This is just south or Randle, WA and has the gorgeous Cispus River running right beside it. This is also in Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The campground has gorgeous old-growth evergreens towering all through it, with many ground coverings, such as various ferns and other vegetation. It is just lush and green, even in the midst of summer. The two days we were here the Cispus River had glacial run-offs which gave it a superb milky blue color - and if you know me, light blues just make my day.
Funny girl just to get you started.
If you were to relax in a camping chair, and looked up, this is the fantastic sight your eyes would capture here.
Uncle Rusty eating. Note that Rosie is fast asleep in her back carrier. You can spot her arm and leg and see her head peaking out.
Copper enjoying a rare treat of pork chop bone.
Auntie Megan with Rosie. Here is a link to her blog post about the same camping trip. Enjoy her pictures, she is so very talented.
Uncle Chris resting at the fire.
Olive and Abby coloring. David had the great idea to get the kids their own traveling journals. With the back-to-school sales, we snagged some $0.50 composition books for all the kids and packed them along with our markers. It was a huge success. Although this trip may have taken up one full composition book each... Abigail did miss her books terribly on this trip. Thankfully Auntie Megan had brought a Madeline (by Ludwig Bemelsmans - one of Abby's favorite series. It was even a new book Abigail had never read before! She would read to Olive if Olive wanted to listen and continue to read even if no one wanted to listen. She is my bookworm.
Nathan's rendition of our camping trip. I like his chairs. They are more like loungers than our camping chairs. We need to patent that. In the picture we are roasting marshmallows - a popular theme in their journaling.
There were two rather nice trails to follow around the campsite. This particular loop took you to the Cispus River. Pay attention to Isabelle's cute and excited face. Copper wouldn't sit still for the picture. He too was excited to be on a hike.
These old-growth forests are just magical. Their floor is so soft to walk from all the years and years of previous debris.
See the cool color of the Cispus River? Uncle Chris and Uncle Mike are walking ahead. David and Nathan, Mike and Rusty would try to fish here. But with the glacial run-off, the fish just don't bite.
Isabelle looks like a 4-year old on this picture! No!!!
Even Grandma came along on this trip. Isabelle gets such a kick out of both of her grandmas.
"Beauty that makes this heart adore you..." - Here I am to Worship (Chris Tomlin)
Uncle Mike trying to catch the elusive fish.
The girls were at first playing in the water. Then they found the sandy beach behind them. It was a perfect spot for all of us. Sand, water, beautiful landscape, fishing opportunity, forest. I think having been playing in the water first and then finding sand was the highlight. It is a kid must to get that sand to stick to you (see Isabelle enjoying this as she lifts her feet high). Abigail just went in hand and feet, while Olive followed Isabelle and dug in her feet.
My handsome husband trying his luck. It was so nice to see him far away from stress. Recently he has been able to relax a lot sooner when going on trips. It is nice to see.
More sand digging.
Rosie seems to be enjoying the texture that the ground provided her. She was quite a good little girl on this trip.
More digging, this time with sticks.
Cousin hugs. These little girls soften Nathan's heart and he love them so much. I do love to see this soft side of my little man. Olive just seems to enjoy all the attention she is getting. She is great playing with any of my kids. She has a little bit in common with each of them which lets her relate with each one. When I tell them that we will be seeing Olive, it is great excitement for each one of them, even little Isabelle (who will actually yell out in excitement the loudest). It is great to have cousins.
Family campsite. We spent many hours around the campsite, which was just so relaxing. So worth all the laundry you have after a camping trip...
Nathan clonked out on a car ride to another fishing site. I couldn't get my picture quick enough before he moved, so it is blurry. But I'm hoping his sisters will get a kick out of it one year when they are much older. Sorry, bud! :-)
This looks like a giant broken off rock. Just looks cool. :-)
This trip was definitely a highlight of the summer and hopefully one that will give the kids great memories. It is wonderful to share these trips with family and invest in the memories of our children and even ourselves.