We got back from camping around 1:00, and this pic of Sydney pretty much sums up the energy level of the whole family right now. I've gotten about 4 loads of laundry moved through the washer and dryer - about 4 more to go.....definitely the downside of camping!
Right before we left, I facebooked that I was off to enjoy the campfire, starry nights, and glassy water. We absolutely succeeded in appreciating each of those - check out this glass! Saturday morning was spectacular - I've never seen Hills Creek that placid. It was a skiier/wakerboarders' paradise - and well worth it for John, Michele, Travis, and I to consider it worthy to get up early.
Apparently, we weren't the only family out enjoying the water.....
With runs that early in the morning - it was COLD!!! This picture was taken Friday morning when Michael was out with us. He was my boating buddy that morning - it wasn't the first time that we were in close proximity to share body heat...(hmmm, that other experience was also on a camping trip, apparently that's when we choose to really bond!).
On Saturday morning, Dennis brought the kids out and we had them out on the boat. They were all super great sports.....
Check out this "Wild Child"! She just couldn't wait to have Uncle John pull her up on the wakeboard. This time her daddy was on board so he could see her in action and take the pictures.
And, let's n0t forget Nati's mad-skills on the wakeboard. She was the most tenacious of all the kids to practice her talents.
While Brayden did take a turn on the wakeboard - it was short. They enjoyed more the group activities - including driving with Daddy.
And, then, of course, there was us adults. On the primo morning with the ultimate glass, we didn't have the camera with us - which left John and Travis out of the pics. They both had amazing runs. Here's a pic of Travis with his two "pseudo older sisters". The running joke from the time Travis went home on Saturday was how Michele was trying to replace him in being the ultimate "boat helper". While her and Michael together made a pretty good package deal (Michael was able to pull down the trailer while Michele mastered much of the rope and board/ski storage details) Travis is pretty irreplaceable - and not just for his boat talents....
I had more fun on the wakeboard this weekend than I've had in a while. I'm trying to risk a little more, but worrying about wiping out and hurting my neck makes me pretty timid.
Taken this morning - Michele, in her "happy place".
Dennis, giving the wakeboard a try. Adam must have been looking at his dad wondering what kind of fool would consider jumping in a cold lake at nine in the morning.
Apart from the board and ski, we had the tube. Traig and Brayden caught some pretty good air on this run. For Dave and his son, Logan (who joined us Friday to Saturday), they opted to take it a tad slower.
We weren't the only ones of the group with a boat. Mom and Dad had theirs - the girls, especially, enjoyed tubing with them.
And, for the ultimate "catching air" experience, you had to catch a ride with the Zenkes on their boat with this contraption - "The Molecule".
While I enjoy the boat - and especially the group size on board and opportunity for laughter and more intimate conversation (at times, a bit too intimate - lots of silly conversations this year!) - it's not really "camping" unless you are back on land. This year was record-breaking in how efficient our set-up and take-down was making John and I much more pleased with the "un-overwheming workload". Good news for Brayden as he's been begging for more camping opportunities next year.
The food was phenomenal. In this picture, Michael grilled up some monster steaks for the guys:
And, the necessary campfire. At risk of sounding like I'm glad more of our friends didn't make it, (which isn't the case!) the size of the crowd was really quite perfect this year in terms of the campfire circle. It didn't get so big that we couldn't appreciate the warmth of the fire or be able to talk across.
Given that it was Sydney's 4th birthday, she got some extra special treatment on this camping trip - including pretending she was a lap dog.
On Friday night in particular, the kids had the time of their life. Madison - the oldest of the kids (the sort of daughter we all pray we'll have at that age!), organized a hide-and-seek/flashlight tag game that they all participated in. It's those sorts of activities that have you feeling really great about getting your kids together in the great outdoors - having so much fun. Also on deck for entertainment (beyond making s'mores, eating, and talking) was lots of card games. Phase 10 was what these gentlemen were playing.
A little father-daughter quality time between Dad and Michele......
Because the mountain sky was so spectacular, and Mars was supposed to be in view, Mom, Dad, Michele, her kids, Mikayla, and the Quig-kids walked down to the lake to see if we could get a better view. Along the way, Sydney found a special friend.
Without fear, Michele picked the bullfrog up to show the kids - what she didn't expect was it peeing all over her hand and pants.... Hence the bullfrog got released quickly!
My camera wasn't able to capture the stars of the night sky - but it was a marvel to behold. Anytime you are able to see the fuzzy outline of the Milky Way and the stars reach all the way to the horizon - wow! We all laid on the dock a bit just to check it all out......
This morning, the girls were invited to partake in breakfast in Grandpa and Grandma's camper. They were thrilled and gave a fine review of their culinary skills. It's always such a gift to have Mom and Dad with us on this annual camping retreat.
This was the last "big hurrah" of the summer. In the past, this camping trip has always taken place in July, but because of availability at this campground, we settled on August. I kind of like it better in August. It is a nice way to "go out". Brayden declared that they have 16 days before school begins. While I know many kids are already back, and that sounds like a lot of time, I think we are already mentally gearing up. His practice begins tomorrow and Mikayla's next week. I'm going to admit publicly - for the sake of accountability - that I'm quite sure I've never weighed more (outside of pregnancy) than I do right now. Way too much celebratory "happy eating" going on - so for that matter, it is definitely a good thing for me that we are at the time to hit routine again.
But, as for these last four days - they were GOOD TIMES. It seems like every year - prior to the event - I always wonder if it's worth it trying to organize a group outing - wondering if I want to field everyone's opinions or reasons for going or not. This year was kind of a deal-sealer in that it proved that it doesn't have to be a big group to have it be ideal. All involved had a wonderful time, there were lots of smiles and very few mishaps. Packard Creek Campground - we'll see you next year!