Friday, October 10, 2014

that smell

i love the smell of campfires. every whiff of smoke this weekend was perfume to my senses. i was somewhat reluctant to wash everything when we got home because the scent would be gone. (actually, even after washing, the odor lingers, so says my husband.)

it was our second time camping with our local homeschool group. i had been looking forward to it all year with great anticipation and the experience exceeded my expectations.

we got started a little later than i had hoped (can't imagine why i thought we could get everything done in the time i allowed), but still early enough in the afternoon to avoid significant traffic. on an impulse, i asked to stop at a roadside farm stand along the way (in the village of lucketts) to get fresh tomatoes and apples and corn plus pumpkins for the kids.  (you can never have too many pumpkins during this time of year.) they also had homemade ice cream.  it was the best salted caramel i've ever had.

we opted for a cabin this year so that we could have immediate access to electrical power. it turned out to be a fortuitous choice, given the weather. diana was still hoping to stay in her own hard-earned personal tent, so of course we made it happen.

we had barely exited the minivan when the kids eagerly scrambled off to find their friends and reacquaint themselves with the rock gathering place.

he's batman.

already starting her stores of acorns & caps for trading purposes
we needed to do some cleaning and unpacking and setting up our campsite. also snacking.

the first night was pretty wet. fortunately, the rain held off until after we had finished dinner and it added to the fun of flashlight tag when the sun went down.  after the kids stayed up telling stories on the rocks, we turned in.  ander, steve, and i were snug in our cabin, listening to the raindrops fall on the roof, and diana stayed warm and dry in her tent after we pulled it onto the covered porch.

top bunk silliness

saturday brought us beautiful weather and enough sun to dry out kindling for our campfires by lunchtime. it was definitely a good day to enjoy nature and everything in it.

fungus among-us

"spontaneous inchworm" would be a good name for a rock band, so diana says

meet george, the millipede

louisa garnered great attention by announcing the marshmallow challenge. it really reminded me of the balsa wood challenge aspect of diana's odyssey team problem from last year.  i was so impressed by everyone's interest, enthusiasm and ingenuity.

awaiting instructions

ander observes the team

if it had stayed standing, theirs would have towered the competition at 31"

everyone got to eat a clean marshmallow afterwards, so that was ok
and now for a break in the action to admire my sweet son.

can you tell his favorite color is brown?

diana joined her girlfriends, self-named "the twandystahls" for the group hike to the falls. steve, ander, and i met up with them after we drove to a separate trail location for a shorter and slightly less troublesome route. the three of us admired the view and held our breaths while diana and others eagerly scrambled to the top of the 78 foot falls.

the temperature dropped into the thirties for our second night. we barely noticed it as we roasted marshmallows for s'mores and sat around the roaring group campfire and bundled into our fleece jammies.

reading stella and roy go camping

the morning chill didn't dampen our spirits one bit. diana felt just fine in her tent for the second night in a row.

farm-fresh tomatoes, homemade pumpkin muffins, and cheesy eggs with sausage and bacon. just yum.
my favorite purchase for camping this year was the hammock.  we spent a fair amount of time in it.

my saturday afternoon view. perfect.

i made the boys breakfast hot dogs cooked in bacon grease. they were a hit.
my sweet snuggle-buddies
i think i was particularly relaxed for this camping trip because of ander. he has shown a greater willingness and desire to make new friends and join groups of others for games and adventures.  to my utter surprise and delight he would often depart our cabin campsite, either with diana or on his own, calling out to us that he was going to play with his friends.  he'd come back for a quiet break or a snack or to report on what he'd been doing or to introduce a new buddy. i felt calmer this weekend, more secure in my belief that he could navigate confidently and independently within this group and this space while maintaining a close and loving attachment to our family. i had two free-range kids and was open to embracing those moments.

farewell, fair cabin! see you next year!
me and my boy

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