I committed to a Sabbath Summer this year. I knew this wasn't going to be there year of a long list of things we tried to make happen in the the two and half months the kids have off from school. I need this year to be about room for spontaneous adventures, like the one we had this weekend.
Friday was the kids' last day of school, which meant two hours to go in, gather up the last of the papers, report cards, and meeting next year's teacher. Eric took the day off, but went on a early morning bike ride so that the kids wouldn't know he was home and would be there when they got off the bus.
When they hopped off the bus we instructed them to run inside to go potty and then to load up in the van. It was already packed. Their lunches were in bags sitting on their seat. As we pulled away we told them the plan, to spend the night at the extended family's property near Toutle, Washington. At first there were tears from Daniel. He doesn't handle surprises well, but we were quickly able to brush those away by assuring him that we had packed the bikes.
And he rode his bike. I was so proud of him. We haven't been very good at getting him out to practice very often, so it's taken longer than perhaps it has for other kids. Eric took his training wheels off a couple of weeks ago. A few minutes in he lost his balance and got scraped up pretty badly on the rocks. We worried he wouldn't get back on. But after a little while doing something else he came bounding around the corner announcing, "I'm going to ride my bike!" And something clicked this weekend. He figured out his balance and I can now say he knows how to ride his bike without training wheels. By the end of the weekend he was coaching his sisters, who are both still using training wheels.
The swing. Love the swing. They would have been happy swinging the entire time, but that requires adult supervision since it swings out over a bank. So Dad took them to the swing multiple times both days.
The last really good family photo we have was taken at The Toutle, as well. Yep, and Gracie was still needing to be held on the rock. It's been far too long. So we set up the tri-pod and used the remote and got some pictures. I love this one because Gracie's personality is captured perfectly! One thing I've noticed in these family photos is the authenticity of my husband's smile. Seriously, he doesn't smile like he does at The Toutle anywhere else. So it's the perfect location for a family photo, even if we are in our camping-no-shower-no-make-up-pulled-back-hair-hat-and-helmets-selves. We look happy, which we are.
And we got some other fun ones too!
And I occasionally do hair, even when camping. Mercy doesn't love to sit for the process, so it isn't an everyday thing. It's one of those things I choose not to get uptight about. It's just hair. But she wanted her hair in french braids, which is perfect for camping.
And this is Pincone, the caterpillar friend that Gracie found. The kids constructed a three log palace like home for this friendly little caterpillar. They played for hours. Eventually the caterpillar escaped, probably for a little peace and quiet.
We made it down to the river and the kids threw rocks into the water.
But this is what they were looking forward to all weekend, a cool treat at the little gas station. Yum!
Also, this weekend, in the car both directions we read some more Clementine books, finishing up The Talented Clementine, and Clementine's Letter. We love Clementine so much. I think I even heard Eric laugh out loud a few times. Definitely a fabulous find. When I stopped in to pick up holds at the library last night I saw two more Clementine books and simply had to bring them home!
We came home that wonderful kind of tired and rested all at the same time. This Sabbath Summer has started out perfectly!