Heh, I just realized the similarity of names.
Anyway, we returned home from Kamiah on Sunday, I was laid up cold on Monday with one of the worst migraines I've had in a very long time and thus was left with only two days to plan, shop, and pack for 6 people to camp for 4 nights. Yikes!
Usually I relish the planning and preparation, but this time I wasn't and it was a heavy chore. My Mother, bless her dear heart, took pity on my poor soul and took the kids Tuesday and kept them overnight, giving me time to recoup a bit, plan, shop and even pack a good deal without interference. She dropped the kids and Jenni off, along with the bike rack my Dad made many years ago and took Toby home with her (he was vacationing at her house while we were gone).
This trip to Fort Stevens is a yearly event for my friend April and a group of her friends. April invited us to join them early last year and we immediately agreed! We'd never camped in a group setting and thought it would be interesting if nothing else.
By Thursday we were able to get everything loaded and out the door by 9. We arrived at our campsite around 2pm and set up. We arrived a day earlier than everyone else so we could visit with Grandpa Les and Grandma Karen and make the most of our time. It was cold, but we assumed that it would clear up by later that afternoon or the next day. Its July, so it couldn't be cold for 4 days in a row!
Me doing what I did a lot of on this trip. Nursing!
A shot of our campsite and Ethan too. My campstove could beat up your campstove.
Jenni giving Gwen a stroller ride
Ethan playing in a squirrel burrow. We had thought he was just digging a hole for fun, but later realized that there were actually animals living in that burrow and coming and going all the time. So basically? We were letting Ethan play in the home of a disease ridden rodent, putting him at risk of being bit by said rodent. We are great parents. Luckily he lost interest in the hole after the first day.
A real, honest to goodness smile from my boy. I love it.
We make our own entertainment while camping. The kids making music out of kindling.
Grandpa Les and Grandma Karen arrive (bearing warm jackets that we had asked them to pick up for us since it was colder than expected). Ethan also tried his hand at 'smores. It was great to have visitors our first night!
Gwen's grubby hobbit feet.
Tucked in snug into their warm sleeping bags. The kids had never slept in sleeping bags outside in tents before so this was a first. Gwen shared a tent with Jenni and Ethan shared our tent.
Ethan was out almost immediately.
Gwen took a little bit longer, but not much.
The next day we went sightseeing while we waited for the others to arrive in camp. We stopped at a random beach and found that we had to hike up and down a 40 foot dune to get to the ocean. Oops! It was quite the workout, but as always, it didn't slow the kids a bit, just us old folk.
LOVE this picture.
Slinging the kidlet
They were dogs. I don't know. Its what they do.
We also stopped by the Battery Russell which was pretty cool. Pictures from inside the battery.
The next day a WWII re-enactment of the Normandy Beach invasion was done here. We did not attend, but April did and I'm sorry we missed it. Check out her pics of the event (and the entire trip) here.
We were happy to return and find everyone arrived and set up. The kids all started playing together and did very well. There were 6 kids between 4 and 19 months, a 1 year old and our own Elsa taking the youngest spot at 2 months. Everyone played together pretty well, all things considered.
Gregg (April's husband) playing mediator between the kids and distracting them with a fantastical tale about... something. I can't remember what exactly, but it distracted them from fighting :)
Gwen took immediately to Heather and greeted her every morning with a hug. Heather had a pretty purple scooter which Gwen adored. Gwen had a pink bike that Heather adored. It worked out well for both :)
Grady, April's youngest. Total cutie.
I foudn this on my camera. Apparently Ethan took a self-portrait
I tried a Boy Scout recipe as an experiment. You are supposed to put canned biscuit dough on a stick and cook it over the fire, then roll in butter and then sugar and cinnamon. Theory is good, but in practice it didn't work. We are going to try next time with bread dough, which shouldn't flake and fall off our sticks!
Poor Ely, this was a common problem. Her hat and hoods were always falling over her eyes.We noticed by the third day, she wouldn't even cry... just sit patiently until someone noticed and pulled up the hat!
Notice how tightly she was bundled. Yeah. It was STILL cold. Really cold. And rainy in the mornings. Friday and Saturday night we got little bursts of sun, but mostly? Freeeeeezing. I didn't wear a short sleeved shirt or shorts the entire time.
Saturday we took to the beach again and found it extremely windy and chilly. Nonetheless, we braved the churned up sand that had trapped more than a few vehicles and drove onto the beach and flew our kites. For $7 kites, they held up very well in the strong winds.
Gwen's ladybug kite
Helping Gwen with her kite. I couldn't let her hold it alone... I really think it would have dragged her on the sand
Jenni wrestling in Ethan's kite. It was hard work!
After the short stint on the beach, we hopped back in the car and drove to Seaside for the the fun of it. We had lunch, then let the kids ride this cool little train
They also had little peddle carts, which you can see below.
After the train we stopped by at the first ice cream place we saw and it was our great luck that it turned out to be Zingers. What a place! We're going there every time we visit the Oregon coast. The ice cream was delish, the flavors unique and everything super high quality. Loved it.
Picture of April and I. How does that woman looks so fresh and clean, especially since she was getting WAY less sleep than I?
All in all we had a great time. We were/are thoroughly exhausted by the last two weeks and don't plan on taking more than a 30 minute car ride anywhere for a long time. Thank you April and friends for having us, and thank you Jenni for coming with us and helping. We couldn't have done it without you and kept our sanity.