Sunday, July 11, 2010

Favorite Camping Picture



Most days there was a brief 20 minute rain shower, it was beautiful! This one particular day there was a gorgeous double rainbow!

Our Final Camping Day






So Sunday morning was the 4th of July, we woke up early and got the fire and grill going, we made a big breakfast of biscuits and gravy, eggs, bacon, and grits. After eating and cleaning up, we had a morning side of sorts where Jeremy talked to the kids about what the 4th of July means and how very blessed we are to live in this free country. Then we loaded up water bottles and drove to the AZ trail, we hiked a small ways into it until we found the perfect spot for our outdoor church. We had an opening prayer and song, Jeremy blessed the sacrament for us, we had a short testimony meeting, then we had a closing song and prayer, it was so beautiful there. We rarely ever miss a Sunday of church, but this was as close as we could get to it up in the mountains, it was really a special time and a nice way to end our camping trip. We went back to camp, we all pitched in and got our camp cleaned up and our tents and all put away. A camp ranger drove past as the kids were doing one final hunt for any paper or trash, the ranger stopped and thanked us for leaving our campground so clean, she gave the kids each Smokey the Bear Frisbees, shoelaces, zipper pulls, and a few other little thinks, they were so excited! Then we said goodbye to Rock Crossing Campground and headed home. It was sad and exciting to leave. Sad because we were coming back to the "real world" with cell phone reception, Internet, homework, etc, but exciting because we were also coming back to showers, and soft beds. It was a week I will never forget and I hope our kids will remember all the special times we had. Hopefully we won't wait another 4 years before going on another family camp out, I think this should definitely be a yearly tradition.

Camping Day #4






Well, the kids woke up asking to go back to the gorgeous Clear Creek Canyon. We needed to go get an oil change first and we wanted to go to check out the Arts and Crafts fairs in the small towns of Pine and Strawberry, so we made a fun day of it. We ended up going to Payson to get an oil change, there just so happened to be a big parking lot festival right next to the Jiffy Lube. The kids just hung out and jumped in the big jumping castle/slide things, we bought kettle corn and just walked around, it was so nice, I LOVE small towns. After our car was done, we went back to the campground and fed the kids and then headed to Clear Creek Canyon, we walked down it a bit and found a deeper section, it was like ice water, but everyone jumped in anyways. Skyler immediately caught a water snake snake, UGGGHHHH, I didn't want to get in the water after that. I did break down and end up holding both of the snakes he caught while everyone else swam and played in the water. Skyler made a couple of friends and showed them how to catch crawdads, they followed us everywhere. I never saw their parents the whole couple hours we were in our secluded area, but we saw them after we hiked back up to the parking lot(scary). Skyler let several people hold his snakes before he released them back into the water, then he helped a couple little kids catch crawdads, they had fishing poles, but he would just reach in the water and grab them with his bare hands, what a cool kid! He had a net he had initially used to catch the crawdads, but he wanted to give it to the two friends he made because they didn't want to touch the crawdads with their bare hands. I was proud of him for being so nice. Kenzie had a great time holding the snakes too. We grilled hamburgers and hot dogs at the camp on Saturday night. We had our first and only incident before dinner when Kenzie fell out of a tree and landed hard on her leg, she scraped it up pretty good as you can see from the pictures. The picture where Skyler is hugging her from behind made me laugh because she was crying so hard when he hugged her, I wanted a picture of it and she made herself smile for the camera. After dinner was ready, Kenzie just wanted me to go in the tent with her and play UNO, so I did, her leg was stinging so bad. She finally said, maybe I need to say another prayer, she did, she prayed that her leg would quit hurting so bad and that she could quit thinking about it so she would be able to beat me at UNO(nice). A few minutes into our game she said, "Mom, it isn't hurting so bad anymore, wow, can't you just feel how much Heavenly Father loves us, he made my pain go away, we are so lucky to be loved so much." I can still hear her little voice saying that, it was one of those moments that makes you so happy; to know that her testimony is growing and that she can feel her Heavenly Father's love. That love, along with ours of course, will get her through anything this world throws at her. Anyways, Jeremy wasn't feeling well after dinner, his head was killing him, so he went to bed early. The kids and I played card games, and sat by the fire. I told them their ghost story that night by the campfire instead of in the tent so Jeremy could get some sleep. The campground got very full that night with it being the day before the 4th of July. It was a very fun day and night. Once we went to bed we all slept like rocks.

Camping Day #3






Ugg I wish I would have just done all the camping posts at once, I feel so old because I can hardly remember what we did on which day now. Oh well, I will just have to give it my best shot. On day three we woke up ate breakfast and did our morning scavenger hunt, the kids LOVED following the trails or the clues we provided them to help lead them to their prize. We played a couple games of UNO after cleaning up, then we headed out hoping to join the Polar Bear club by jumping in the Blue Ridge Reservoir, unfortunately it was quite a STEEP hike down from the parking lot to the water and we were just not going to risk it with the dog and kids, so we ended up taking a scenic drive to Long Lake, we had never been there before, but we drove and drove and finally got there, it was pretty from a distance, but the water was all cloudy and it was muddy and mucky, so we ended up leaving shortly after arriving, Kenzie managed to step in a big wet pile of cow poop right before we got to the car, so that was an adventure in it's stinky self. We ended up going to a small area of Clear Creek up in the mountains, it was absolutely beautiful. I almost cried sitting there watching the Jeremy and the kids catch crawdads, there was a cool breeze down in the canyon and it was just so peaceful. We caught a million crawdad, actually I think the number was 32. The kids were so excited to eat them, I was a little leery, but Jeremy made me promise to just taste them. On the way back to camp, we made a pit stop at Clint's Well gas station and got ice for the cooler and ice cream for the kids, then back to camp we went. We cooked and ate the crawdads, they were actually pretty good, you don't get more than a bite, but Jeremy wanted us just to practice catching and cooking what we caught in case we ever had to live off the land (hopefully that day never comes, but who knows). The kids enjoyed free time to just play in their "tree houses" and catch bugs while we got dinner going. After dinner we had a devotional again and talked to the kids about how important they are to us. Then we played UNO and Phase 10 made smores, and then got ready for bed. It was Jeremy's turn to tell the Ghost story that night, he told one about Vampires, it was actually quite good, there was no Cullen family involved, but it was pretty spooky. The kids loved it and fell asleep super fast. It was a great day. As I am typing this, I am really missing the beautiful mountains. It is super hot and humid here in Yuma today.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Camping Day #2...






We woke up at 6am and got the fire going and breakfast ready, it was so nice to be chilly, that NEVER happens during the summers here in Yuma. After we got cleaned up, the kids played with a couple kids that came to visit our campsite, Kasey and Trey. Jeremy and I read and talked about what we would do that day. We ended up driving down to Winslow so the kids could jump off the big rocks into the reservoir there. THEY LOVED IT! The water was freezing, but it felt so good. Jeremy jumped off the small cliff with the kids. I wasn't planning on jumping in since it was only our second day of camping and we didn't have showers at our camp or there at the reservoir. I just didn't want to be gross already. My kids told me that I was probably just afraid to jump that far and that I was just using the whole "I don't want to get my hair wet" as an excuse, so needless to say, I had to run and jump off that cliff to show my kids I am not that big of a chicken (if they only knew). We played there and then went back to town, we ended up grabbing lunch at McDonalds and then driving around and finding my friend Natalie's restaurant. I ran in and got a root beer for Jeremy there and we took a picture to prove that we were really there so my friend would believe me. Then we went and filled up our cooler with ice and food at Walmart and then we drove back up to camp where the kids played and played until dinner. Oh and we decided to do some type of scavenger hunt for them each morning before leaving the camp. The prize was always something cheap from the dollar store. Most days we just made arrows out of sticks that lead them to their prize in the woods, but the first day, I made a scavenger hunt with stupid clues. The kids would take turns reading and finding the clues. They LOVED it. Here are the silly clues I came up with...

#1-"The tent is not the place for these guys who are blue and black with tiny eyes. To see where your next clue will be, hurry off to the beetle tree."

#2-"The sun above can bring us great thirst, where should you go when you need water the worst? To find the place your clue will be, it's on the water spout near the place you go pee." (I know kinda gross, but it rhymed)

#3-"Clue number 3 you will find, under a plate with rules you must mind."(We wrote our camp rules on a paper plate)

#4-"You're almost there just a few clues more, your next clue you'll find behind door number 4." (car door)

#5-"The next clue is not very far, it is under a rock near the car."

#6-"Almost there, I hope you're not bored you'll find this clue where the wood is stored."

#7-"Here's the moment, your prize will be nice, for food not to rot you must use ice!" (ice chest)

They were so excited to find their little dollar store bug cages, those were two very well spent dollars, they played with those the entire trip!
After dinner the second night we played a few rounds of UNO and then had a little devotional again, this time it was about being a good example to those around us, and choosing the right even if it is not "the cool thing to do." Oh and after the first night on the hard ground, my back was killing me, so Jeremy blew up a little pool air matress for me to sleep on, it helped, but I was up half the night because every little move I made it would make the loudest farting sounds. People were probably so grossed out, it really was so loud. Oh and I was in charge of the ghost story that night. The kids said they wanted the scariest story EVER, so I did my best. Halfway through the story this is what they say,
Kenzie- "Mom, I think your story may be a little too scary!"
Skyler- "Yeah mom, can you tone the scariness down a notch or two."
I wasn't scared a bit until the middle of the night when I had to go to the bathroom again by myself. I had a flashlight that time, but then I was even more nervous than the night before because if there were skunks or other animals in my path I would actually see them. Day number two was a TON of fun~!

Camping Day One...






Man I wish I could have had a computer or even a journal to record in at night on our camping trip, I feel like I have already forgotten a ton of the fun details of our trip. I want to include it all for Skyler and MaKenzie to read back on one day. So I am going to post a little about what we did each day. On Wednesday morning we woke up, finished loading the car and were about to start our trip when Jeremy did a quick check of the tires; he noticed that our front ones were really bad, so instead of spending our morning driving, we spent it waiting for our tires to get changed. We were finally on the road by noon. It was so great after we were through Phoenix and we would touch the windows and they were slowly getting cooler and cooler. We were pleasantly surprised that the kids didn't try to kill each other or fight at all on the way up, they were packed so tightly in the back seat, they had a cooler in-between them so they really couldn't even see each other. Skyler held our dog Annie the whole way there. We arrived at Rock Crossing Campground around 5pm and it was soooooooo nice, the weather was perfect. While Jeremy and I put the tent and dining fly up, the kids gathered firewood and scoped out potential tree houses and forts. That evening we just ate soup for dinner and then roasted some marshmallows. Jeremy borrowed a really great church book with talks in it from his mom and we had a little lesson that night about making good choices. Then we all snuggled up in our sleeping bags and listened to Jeremy tell a ghost story, he was being very serious about it and then he made up a name for one of his characters and I couldn't help but laugh and then he started laughing and it kind of ruined the whole spooky thing he had going. We were all asleep by 9:30, I was the only one who had to get up during the night to use the bathroom. I am such a baby about leaving the tent in the middle of the night. We forgot to buy batteries, so our flashlight didn't work, it was a bright moon, but was still creepy as I headed towards the bathroom site. I kept thinking about happy thoughts trying to distract myself from the story of the ancient Indian legend that Jeremy told us all earlier. When I spotted the door to the bathroom ahead, I ended up running to it and quickly locking the door behind me. Who, in there right mind, wants to hang out in a camping bathroom. They had lots of air freshener in there so it actually smelled like apples and Cinnamon, but it was pitch black. I was wishing I had taken the dog with me because I was all scared and paranoid. I finally walked back to the campsite and then I laid there awake for a while since the adrenalin was going. I felt like such a little kid, I can't believe I am 31 years old and yet walking to that bathroom in the dark I felt like I was 9. It makes me laugh now, I was just sure though that I would cross paths with a skunk or worse, the scary Indian shape-shifter from Jeremy's story. Well that was pretty much day one of camping in a nutshell, I will post about day two later.