Sunday, September 9, 2012


Sometime after we had decided that taking a road-trip would be the best way to attend a wedding near Detroit we decided to take a few days afterwards to have our first family vacation.

Sometime after deciding to take a mini family vacation we decided to camp.

I think it was one of those late night brainstorming sessions, after the kids were asleep.  
semi-accurate reenactment:
E: "Hey, we should think of what to do on our family vacation."
J: "Yeah.  How about visiting Chicago?"
E: "!  Or maybe going to Niagara Falls!"
J: "Yes!  I've never been."
E: "Wow...yes.  It's beautiful.  We camped there when I was little."
J: "Or camping...that could be fun."
E: "Gosh, so many great ideas.  Let's sleep on it."
And somehow, when we woke up I started planning for camping.  It wasn't until I was halfway packed (weeks later) that I sat back to consider how we had - or hadn't - (really ever) made a final decision.  I guess camping picked us?

We like to fly by the seat of our pants around here.  This trip was certainly no exception.   We picked a campground from my phone, in the car, on the way there and an hour later had the tent set up.

But it worked out perfectly.

Jon's requirements:  a secluded setting without crowds or Elvis impersonators (which is basically the opposite of what we experienced last time we went camping).

My requirements: bathroom, water, an air mattress and no bear infestation.

We got:  Raccoon Creek State Park  

Out of 150 camping spots there were 12 taken.  We could see bits of two other tents from our spot but couldn't hear them (and hopefully, maybe vice versa?).  Next to a field and close to the really nice bathrooms.  AND free firewood left behind by the last campers!

We set up our tent around 6:30 pm in between rain showers, ate quick pbj sandwiches huddled on the air mattress (YES!) and went to bed...kind of damp and cold but feeling very authentic and campy.

The next day Jon battled the wet wood to get us some boiling water for oatmeal.  After running some errands we took a hike through the huge wildflower reserve adjacent to the park.  (It was definitely not very stroller friendly.  Everly was portaged on a number of occasions.  Thank goodness it was just us and the wildlife.)

Camp food.  PBJ, Chip, Donuts.  I'm feeling a little sick looking at this (except for the donuts - they were homemade and super good).  Let's assume the food was not awesome.  Poor Jon ate his weight in hot dogs and baked beans.  Belch.

But these two didn't care.  And now I know what to bring next time (my own instant oatmeal).

Owen learns fire skills.  Waving some extra oxygen on the poor sputtering flames.

Drying clothes from the rain and from general Everly-ness.

There was a nice beach area close by the campground.  A muddy sand beach and pretty views of the hills.  The kids could have stayed there for a few hours but our day was short and we needed to get ready for bed before dark.

We had to pack up and leave the next morning - so essentially we had one full day with two nights.  But it was a good first experience.  
Minus the trying to shower with a naked screaming monkey baby, in the dark, with a giant centipede.  

I should probably write myself a letter with all the do's and don'ts I learned from it, in case we decide to do this again.  But wouldn't that take away from the fun for next time?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Double Roar

I involuntarily smile when I see these picture.  A big, cheesy, goofy-looking, full on mom smile.  

Friday, September 7, 2012


'Passport' photos for a project at church.  The outtakes remind me that:

1) these two are definitely related
2) they are growing (duh...but sometimes you ignore the signs, right?)
3) there is a big gap in compliance between 1.5 and 3.5
4) I have some pretty awesome kids

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Garden, RIP

Our garden is almost gone.  Sure sign that a) fall is coming and b) I shouldn't make agriculture my day job yet.

Our pumpkins looked like this before we left for a roadtrip/vacation two weeks ago.

Big, beautiful flowers dotted the vine climbing up the old, rickety privacy fence.

With our first (only?) fall fruit happily hammocked at the top where I thought it'd be safe from pumpkin predators.  (Ha!)  

It was getting pretty big up there!  

But when we got back the vine was dead and the pumpkin had some kind of worm in it.  Vine borers perhaps?  Sigh.  Nature was not working with me on this one.  (no pictures...but it was ugly.)

We do have some honey dew melons growing...but I'm not holding my breath.  And the tomatoes are lost to caterpillars and deadish leaves.  

Don't let the apparent abundance of tomatoes fool you.  They've likely all been half eaten.  I'm in the process of cutting the plants back but can't quite commit.

On the bright side: I did do well with herbs this year - and got a ton of black cherry tomatoes early in the summer (and enough romas to make sauce for one calzone meal).  

And I'm grateful for the slight bit of experience this gave me.  And the activity for the kids since they helped me water and pick and weed the tomatoes.  

So take that bugs and plant diseases!  I'm counting this as a life lesson WIN.  

And next year I'm making pumpkin pie. (I'm coming for you, vine borer.)