Sometimes when kids are playing in the dirt or getting sticky with their food I hear parents say, "Well, I guess it's a bath night." Then I always wonder if there are really any justifiably "non-bath nights" judging by the dirtiness criterion because kids get filthy every day, and especially in the summer, when, in addition to the dirt of everyday playing they are regularly smeared in sunscreen and/or bug spray. This dirtiness is paradoxically both a disgusting and delightful sensation, and thankfully, one that my family has enjoyed almost daily during the past week and a half.
Camping was at the top of our list for the Fourth of July weekend. We recently graduated from our four-man tent and purchased a multi-room one. The entire top is mesh and so you are truly sleeping under the stars, plus the lovely trees! When we woke up in the morning Michael said, "I know that it's morning because the trees are green again. At night they are black."
Every time we camp we have tin foil dinners for dinner; pancakes, eggs, and bacon for breakfast; hot dogs for lunch; and s'mores at every meal. Since I forgot the propane tank for the camp stove, we cooked everything over the fire this time, which made it even tastier.
If I could get them to eat this much at home, they wouldn't all be hanging out at the bottom of their respective growth charts. Look at those happy campers!
They all remained happy throughout the day, especially since our tent could accommodate the nappers:
A silly story: Later we enjoyed a visit from a friendly butterfly that took a liking to Michael and stayed on his index finger for about ten minutes.
Zachary, determined to have a similar experience, smeared a roasted marshmallow all over his hands so that a butterfly would stick to him. He soon found a butterfly and it did stick to his marshmallow hands. I did not take a picture because I was busy trying to save the poor insect from becoming a flightless cripple. After rolling off most of the marshmallow, the little butterfly was able to fly away. Phew. Where does he come up with this stuff?
That afternoon we swam at a nearby state park, and then it was time to go.
But we felt disappointed to be leaving so soon, and since Eric didn't have to be at the hospital until Tuesday afternoon, we booked another campsite for the following Monday! So after a nice day at church,
we hit the road again, this time for Devil's Lake. I left most of the supplies from Friday's trip in the van so that we wouldn't forget anything. We ended up forgetting plenty of things, including Adam's shoes! He didn't really complain:
Like all of the boys, he was excited to row around in our inflatable boat and do some fishing.
We ate our favorite camp menu again and slept under the stars again, and except for the viciously snorting raccoon that spooked us in the middle of the night, it was practically perfect.
Yesterday we swam at Stewart Lake (our friends call it "mud lake"), where we swam through and around mounds of brilliant green algae. The kids found a cool water spring and built all sorts of dams and waterfalls around it. We picked wild berries and watched some teenagers cannonball off the limb of a pine tree (Adam pointed and said, "Guys! Tree!"). That evening the kids went over to a favorite friends' house to play, and so Eric and I went to a lake again, date-style! We took the smaller boat out on Lake Mendota and ate sandwiches on board while we talked and watched the sailboats.
Summer dirt, I adore you. I'd like more of you, please, and soon!
P.S. My sister Michelle currently does not want anything to do with summer dirt and so did not accompany us on any of these outings. Maybe next time.