…and I drop off the face of the planet for a few days… but in a GOOD way…
Friday was a bit of a slow start as Ken had to finish something for work before we could get out the door (which inevitably took longer than expected) BUT around noon we were packed up and out the door to go CAMPING! This is the first REAL camping trip for all 5 of our kids… and a REAL adventure. Destination Tolman Bridge campgrounds… but with a stop off to pick up the map with my Aunty Lorraine in Trochu. Did you know that Trochu has a few claims to fame? The ones I do NOT have pictures of are – they are the Pinkest Little Town in the West (2010) for breastcancer… you can still see the remnants of their pink claim to fame all over the town and the world’s largest golf tee – Veronika took me, Echo and Trinity past it and I can verify – it is a massively large golf tee!
After sending me in to get the map and added instructions we headed back to the highway and promptly turned back so KEN could go get better instructions… I tell him EACH TIME that I am horrible with handdrawn maps and verbal directions and each time he sends me in. Thankfully Aunty Lorraine was busy so he talked to a cashier in the bank (slightly less embarrassing for yours truly) and THEN we were finally off… The camp site was another 15 min out of Trochu in some lovely country! Lots of hills and trees and interesting landscape.
Entering the valley
We got into the camp late in the afternoon. Adam was already there with Holli and Combyne (the dogs) with two tents set up and the rv parked and ready to be used… and most importantly to the kids – a fire going!
You can see a good portion of the campsite here... apparently we got the good one! It is a nice size and down a little bit is the outhouse
Resting for a moment
We had been texting with Veronika before we got into the valley and the super spotty to NO cell phone signal area and knew she was on her way. So while we were waiting for her (she was coming from her orientation at her new job at Indigo!!) we walked kids and dogs to the river to play in the water.
Checking out the river... the boys were excited as this river also goes through the city we live in!
It was so hot out so the water was welcoming but FREEZING cold! We played there until Veronika met up with us in her Jeep. Then we headed back to the campsite to unload what she brought. Then Veronika and I took off with Echo to the store in Trochu to “fill in the gaps” on some food items… aka = pop tarts, pork chops and some sausages. It was a nice drive and Echo got in a nap. I was reminded as to how EXPENSIVE things are in small towns… a package of pull ups in Trochu at the grocery store is 25.00… way more than in the city!!! So we decided to deal with however many we had left.
Apparently while we were gone to the store the kids found a caterpillar which was a HUGE source of excitement… many pictures were taken and I am told the critter managed to make it off intact.
Then it was time to pack up and head back to the lake. It had cooled off a bit so the water was VERY cold, we persevered and managed to enjoy ourselves. This time we all wore bathing suits, well except Echo but she put a toe in and very quickly voiced her opinion that the water was NOT to her liking!
Back to the lake...
The sun looks so pretty here
Supper was cooked over the fire by our total pro Adam. It was beyond delicious and included some amazing potatoes. He really does cook EVERYTHING over the fire. And then of course there was the marshmallows… what is a camp out without them? And Veronika had the jumbo ones… they were deemed too big for the kids though… it took multiple cookings and layer after layer to get them fully eaten (you can be sure we complained loudly… well we would have except for our mouths were full and fingers too sticky!).
Showing the kids why diamond bark is called what it is (and Zander's rocks)
Snuggles in front of the fire
A marshmallow AND popcorn for Echo
The kids got to choose their tent so of course chose the big one… so after dinner it was pj’s and bed… with very few interruptions once they realized we could see their shadows from the light in the tent! That left the adults (and Echo) free to stay up late chatting, drinking, eating more marshmallows and just relaxing. How marvelous! Though I have now been reminded how out of practice I am in drinking shots… drink something all at once? Seriously?
Ken, Echo and I slept in the rv on a VERY comfy bed… not exactly SLEPT IN but got a nice sleep… then it was up and back to camping in the morning – the rather chilly morning! So it was a very good thing I brought jeans and sweaters for all the kids. Though they were quick to lend a hand and ask poor Adam a MILLION questions about the fire – if the poor man had any intention to quit smoking they most certainly were NOT helping him with it… all 4 kids peppering you with questions CAN be quite stressful!
Echo, Combyne and Ken hiding from the other kids
After breakfast (cooked on the fire again – YUM) it was time for some relaxing… well as relaxing as it gets with 5 active kids… but we managed…
After relaxing and such it became clear to Veronika and I that Echo was NOT going to nap in the rv and Trinity needed a boy break. So we decided to tour Trochu and Three Hill and get some soft serve at the Trochu Dollar Store. First off to Three Hills where Adam and Veronika had rented a couple places (we drove by) and cousins from the other side of the family once lived (could not remember the way to their old place). We saw the pool with splash park, stopped in at the grocery store to NOT buy pull ups (ouch!) and generally toured. Good thing to know about Three Hills – if you need gas do NOT stop by the place on the highway but go further into the city – there was a like 9 cents difference!
On the way back to Trochu we stopped and checked out the large windmills that are generating power out in the fields. They are intensely huge and rather awe inspiring. Trinity checked them out (with Cousin Veronika’s sunglasses on as the sun was too sunny) and was rather impressed.
I took a few pictures
At the base of it
Of course we had to drive through Trochu also, see our grandparents’ old house (fenced and for sale), the splash park (we HAVE TO go there next year), the arboretum that we took pictures at with our grandparents ages ago… downtown… where we ended up at the Dollar Store for soft serve… Echo shared some of mine (cheesecake flavoured) and Trinity had a baby (baby??? big!) banana.
Trinity's ice cream and the glitter paper
We picked up a treat for the boys – shaped elastics, and a sheet of purple glitter paper (only 1.50!) and headed BACK to the campsite.
The boys' treat
The guys were all at the river so we went over there to meet up and wade in the rather chilly water. After that it was back to the campsite and more hanging out before supper… cooked over the fire of course!
Trinity was so worn out we forced a nap on her. She woke up while everyone was eating supper and was beyond ready to go home so we figured it was time to pack up and head out. The flies and other bugs were way worse Saturday afternoon anyway and we had to be home and in bed to be awake and ready Sunday morning. So we helped pack up and said good-bye to Adam and Veronika.
I am happy to report that the complaining van and the cell phone on low battery BOTH saw us home safely… of course as when we came to the campsite I texted people to let them know we were on the road and went from there. I just felt safer that way, and it IS entertaining to chat while on the road. The kids were exhausted when we got home but it was definitely a BATHS FIRST sort of night, as well as the start on the mountain of laundry that had come home with us. I love campfires, do NOT love the smell of smoke on everything later.
Sunday marked the beginning of Sunday School at our new church and the boys and Ken were the ones who went. I kept the girls home to give Echo nap time and myself the time for prep work for the afternoon crafting event. I have yet to discuss 9/11 with the kids and will probably talk to the boys about it in the future years… but what I remember the most is being in a panic with Ken as we tried to find his parents who were supposed to be flying home from vacation back to Minnesota on some unknown flight. It was a full 2 days before we were contacted and told they had been grounded in Florida and stayed with my brother in law. In the panic no one had thought to call us up here in Alberta (though keep in mind they are the same people who were in the eye of Katrina on vacation too! And drove TO work on the bridge in Mn that later collapsed that evening but not home on it!!).
They chose matching outfits for their first day!
We had a lovely turn out for my crafting afternoon! Supplies were brought, ideas shared, glitter and more used in abundance. Crafting messes are some of the BEST messes. And boy did we make a mess! Ken had to bring up the second table and I added both spare leaves to the kitchen table. We had Karyn’s Cricut, Kristen’s texturing machine and my embossing powder and heat gun as well as tons of other bits and bobs.
Craft supplies all over!
There was a variety of crafts going on – Victoria made stationary, most people cards and Karyn and I worked on some scrapbook pages. What we learned is that we need to pick ONE topic or theme to cut down on the large quantity of supplies we needed and that every event will most likely include at least ONE trip to Michaels with some group of people!! (we did towards the end go in with coupons and the like).
Lauralee with purple bits and bobs... I don't have a finished card picture
Karyn brought her finished cards for people to look through and there were snacks and drinks, in fact KEN made us raspberry cake and a VERY chocolaty banana bread! All were thoroughly approved.
After some crafting was done and Echo woke up Kathy and Victoria took charge of keeping her entertained, although apparently Echo has decided she wants to learn how to knit and made it nearly impossible for Victoria to work on her blue giraffe!
All in all tons of interesting things were made and much fun had! We are already discussing an October gathering with maybe a Halloween theme! YAY!!!
Two of Kristen's cards
The scrapbook page Karyn made for Emanuel with the pictures I had printed out
I did this one using Kristen's embosser... I think it is a small Sizzix
I really like this card... I need to get some of these little jewels Kristen had for myself!
I got a Currclick freebie of the week that some parents with younger children may be interested in as well! (if you have made it all the way through my weekend babble that is!)… it is called My Learning Desk Mat. I plan on making one as place mats for at least Trinity and Emanuel.
Today’s homeschooling for the twins was mainly focused on COMPLETION. We worked hard on one of the math grade 1 workbooks they had found in their drawers and they BOTH completed it! They were so excited… it covered a variety of things but what I loved the most is that it focused on fractions in a VERY basic way so that helped them get a better idea of what they are… something I want to focus on in a big way this year.
Emanuel worked VERY hard on his letters and numbers today. He is absolutely determined to get in as much learning as he can!
Working on 2's
We even made time for Stuart Little… we learned all about what he does first thing in the morning. Trinity had Daddy draw him brushing his teeth.
Stuart Little pages
So with that much accomplished we let it go and the kids went down and watched the OLD My Little Pony dvds that Kathy had given them ages ago (something I can’t stand to watch so I stayed upstairs and sorted craft stuff). I feel that we ended the day work wise at a good point and they are ALL excited about tomorrow… more Stuart Little, some special pictures to draw… oh did I mention we did one last picture from each boy for their Summer Adventure File? Emanuel and Zander drew Prickie Pie who came for a visit yesterday and Gavin the tent they slept in while camping.
Meeting Prickie Pie
Now I have a corner set up even better in the basement thanks to bookcases Kathy gave us (thank you so much!) and I am hoping to have made great inroads on the rest of the mess screaming at me for cleaning. We still need to figure out curtains… and find pictures… THEN we will truly be home!