This year we wanted to camp closer to home because we had baby Hannah. That way I could take the little girls home to sleep and David and the older two could enjoy all the benefits of camping without a crying baby. Most of all, we didn't have to worry about Hanni getting cold in the middle of the night. We were worried that maybe Isabelle would not like this arrangement but she was super excited to sleep with mom in mom's bed, so it all worked out.
Dada, dog and Isabelle resting by the lake. It was a really cute moment because Isabelle tried to copy her dad spitting sunflower seeds. Not a trait for a little girl to acquire to cute nevertheless. At this age, she is also eating them whole (the sunflower seeds).
Little Miss Cutie-Pie. Here she is collecting sticks.
Camper girl extraordinaire. She kept running around in these extra warm clothes. But she liked it. She is making an "L" out of the sticks.
The view from our campground. Ahhh, campfire. How lovely. I can start a fire with a flint. And with ember. That's right. Now it will never happen again because I bragged! But I'm proud of that skill. :-) David taught me another fire building skill: The lodge set-up that maximizes the flame to ignite other pieces of wood. One of David's favorite camping past-times is to roast the perfect marshmallow. And he is king of perfect marshmallows. Nathan is getting really good at it too.
Little man camping. This boy loves camping! It is so good for them. Him and Abby love to just roam the woods. Abby can find something to play with just about anywhere. But while they used to play with just their imagination, it has now changed to where they actually copy adult behavior, such as sweeping an imaginary tent, building an imaginary fire, etc. Being in the woods is so good for all of us. It is great to just disconnect and go back to basics. The only thing that wasn't good, the dog was covered in tree sap. And it didn't wash out.
The little lake was perfect as the kids just got done with swim lessons. Abby did the funniest thing: She'd get wet, come to the sand bank, roll around in the sand and be completely covered in it and then go back in the water and repeat said unsanctioned behavior at least 6 times. Her and Nathan had a great time together while Isabelly was content playing in the sand.
Dirty Isabelly feet. Tree sap mixed with dirt. At least on her it washed off...
And a happy Hanni enjoying everyone being able to give her so much attention.
We live to make her laugh! Toothless baby smiles are priceless.
Abby turning Hanni into and elf by pulling her ears gently forward. Hannah thought that was the funniest thing and kept smiling big. Look at those big blue eyes. Will they stay this color? They look so much like cousin Olive's.
Nathan and Abby in the water. How much fun they had with each other. This summer they mostly loved playing with each other. Some days they'd fight all day long and drove me crazy. But camping time was not one of those days.
This frog was in our pictures. I assume David, Abby and Nathan saw this on one of their morning fishing trips without the little ones. Pretty cool.
Our pop-up tent. The old one ripped completely last year. We chose this one as it fits all of us (including Copper) and will still fit on most campgrounds (some state parks have tiny little enclosed pads).
Abby sporting her leaf hat while Isabelle is making a hilarious face. Nathan just being himself.
The kids journaling. Since last summer, we bring camping journals, markers, and pencils. This year was Isabelle's first year journaling. They were all very diligent and we even dated all the pages for future reference.
The nightly sleeping arrangement. Abby in her beloved caterpillar sleeping bag with the even more beloved "Bear". Nathan with his "Losty", a bear who once was lost but now is found. He came from Yellowstone.
Camping makes one tired. The view from the front of our car as we were on the way to McDonalds. They all fell asleep within minutes. It was really funny. Even Hanni was sleeping. We were going to surprise them with $1 ice-cream cones but in the end, it was only dad and I who got some. :-)
We had a great time camping. Hopefully next year we can venture out further (although this state park is fantastic!). Hopefully we can also camp much longer. Being in the woods is just so relaxing and wonderful.
"Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean."John Muir