Monday, June 13, 2011

All This Life

It only took me two days to pack. But how could anyone say no to three pleading treasures and a baby boy who could probably care less but is part of the pack and thus always included in the head count?

"Wanna go camping Mom?"

"Sure, when?"

"Next week."

"Sure. Why not? After all we'll only have one summer when you're six, and you're five, and you're three, and you, littlest one, this will be the very last summer that you're one-year-old."

So we did it. We found the sleeping bags, the tent. We borrowed a cooler, and packed up some Cheetos, and some Apple Jacks (Camping staples of course:). Papa finished up his schoolwork and we piled the kiddos in the Burb, and headed up the mountain.

We made a few stops on the way out of town, but eventually we curved around the high mountain bend and there they were...

Friends, our tent all set up, and a nice fire pit in the middle of it all that we couldn't even use because of the "red alert" fire warning that was posted in bright red letters on the sign that welcomed us into the national forest. Bummer... no fire. But no need for tears, all we need is a camper that'll hold all 14 of us so that we can crowd around the gas stove and roast marsh mellows that are big enough for the Jolly Green Giant.

First things first, let's take a little stroll through the woods, find some shell casings, let the Papas have a nice cold drink in a bottle, and make a few memories...

What's full-fledged camping without a little team work? The boys figured out a way to get the bike that they were sharing up the cracked dirt hill. It was a together thing.

And Papa and Reesie worked together too to get themselves through the dirt and back to the campsite.

Once we were back, well, what's the point in waiting any longer, so we bust out the marsh mellows and all 14 of us pile into the camper shell on the back of his truck. Have you ever seen such HUGE mellows? Sticky goodness enjoyed by all.

Kids hyped up on sugar and just plain joy, romped around for hours into the dusk of the evening. It's kinda what summer's been about around here... long afternoon naps, staying up late, waking up early, soaking up the daylight hours while they're still a gift that He's giving. We'll take it, and soak up every minute of it!

The sun's gone and we tuck those kids in tight. This Mama all giddy at the adventure of this life with all these treasures, in these mountains, in this summer, with the one man she's given all her love to. She steam rolls those treasures and they laugh and laugh. In the dark this Mama inquires of their heart's joys... "What was your favorite part of the day?"
"Smores" seems to be the consensus, except for littlest girl who insists that dinner was the best part of her day (which is quite odd because she maybe took five bites total of all the yummy goodness that was offered to her! That treasure... she keeps me on my toes with never a dull moment! :)

The night is long but I expected nothing less. Littlest treasure slept great in his own special spot but the rest of us were cold and sleeping with our skin to close to rocks. Never the less, morning came and we woke up with joy, probably just glad that the sun was once again faithful in it's rising.

What to do with littlest one?? He crawls... everywhere. He puts, everything in his mouth.
MMMMM? What to do?
I'm a brilliant Mama and I set up the pac n play in the middle of all the other dirt sculpting kids and I hand littlest treasure a handful of Apple Jacks... yes, Apple Jacks for my 11 month old. What can I say, he's baby number four. He munched down the first handful. The first sister climbed into the pac n play with her brother and asked for some Apple Jacks of her own. Then the older brother climbed in. Little sister stood up against the railing and this Mama put the whole box in the middle of them all. An hour of camping entertainment, all from a little old Apple Jacks box. :)

The big boys though... they had different plans.


What can I say?

I didn't really grow up on
guns myself. They aren't really my thing. But they are my Joey's thing. He's studying in hopes to one day protect and serve... :)

He's teaching all kids gun safety. Giving them wise wisdom. Getting them excited but being sure to instill caution all the same. Teaching them that guns are a responsibility that must not be taken lightly. And I think the boys are getting it...

Well, see for yourself...
The girls, they just make spy glasses out of the casings...

But the boys....

My favorite line is when the Papas are putting the bright orange ear plugs in the boys ears....
AJ: "Can we eat these?"
Campbell: "No AJ. They're not carrots."

I love the kind of kids that love them some dirt!!!
And these girls went all out!!!

A Mama and her treasures laughing their way into joy-filled memories...

Boys working together to load up the gear.... there sure is a lot of stuff for a one-night camping trip for a crew of six... time very well spent.

What if this was our one last summer?
If He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him, then this Mama's vote is to take all these gift moments, and allow these treasures to discover His glorious creation and naturally fall in love with the Maker of all this life.

The Resevoir, an attempt at fishing, brother and sister chatting by the shore, long picnic afternoons, and fine friends that lead hearts to Him with their lives.
Somehow the kids get on the topic of fasting. Someone inquires what on earth "fasting" actually is, and our Hal enlightens us all with her understanding of the matter,
"Fasting is when you eat your food really fast so that you have more time to spend with the Lord."
Have you ever heard a better definition than that? :)
Gifts, gifts, and more gifts.

Rub-a-dub-dub, four very dirty treasures in a tub.
The dark water spins down the drain washing away the grime...

But the memories made, will always remain.