(Tim and Lee cooking Breakfast -- David and Quinn playing catch)
Soon we were driving up the Graham's and by nightfall we reached our camp out. David, Tricia and Lee were there with the motor home and Jill came with Quinn and Parker. We managed to find a good place to set up camp despite the darkness. The first thing I noticed was how cold it was! As expected the first night of sleeping in a tent on a air mattress was pretty rough. But we were excited to be up with the sun and explore our new home for the next two days. Abbey was the most excited of all, she had a blast playing in the dirt with her cousins. She would wander off and come back to get more toys or food. It was a lot of fun to let go of all our worries and enjoy the quite of nature. We even got to take a drive up and see the lake. And yes, Abbey fell in the lake. What would be a lake trip with out someone falling in? (Which reminds me, I didn't have my camera with me... who ever has those pictures, can I have copies?)
(Quinn, Parker and Abbey with Grandma in the dirt and playing catch)
(Parker playing with Aunt Lee -- Abbey snacking on Strawberries all morning)
Later that afternoon, Pete and Brit with Meg and Mel joined us. They brought their yellow lab to Abbey's delight. That evening around the camp fire we had a Family Home Evening. It was fun to listen to the stories all of the Merrill's had of growing up, Grandpa Merrill, and going camping. I think the message of the night was to cherish the simple memories and things in life, especially family because they are what makes this life matter.
(Abbey lounging in her chair eating Doritos! -- Meg and Mel playing with toys)
(Running free in the fields -- Abbey's bath, the water was brown in the end) (Parker dead asleep!)
Our second night under the stars was great, we slept hard due to the lack of sleep and fresh air. Our last day camping was bitter sweet. David, Tricia, Lee, Jill, Quinn and Parker left shortly after breakfast. So Tim and I got to spend some time with Pete and Brit. We took a drive and enjoyed a walk around the lake. Pete's dog was showing off his skills as a swimmer. He went pretty far out, I was a little nervous that Pete was going to jump in after him. The girls had fun throwing rocks in the water. Abbey especially liked the freedom of walking beside everyone like one of the big girls. She did really well and made it 3/4 of the way before she got tired and rode on dad's shoulders. After the dusty ride back to camp, we decided to try and get a nap in. With allergies flaring up and restless kids, we all decided it was time to pack up and head home (the plan was to stay one more night and leave in the morning).
(Our little family at the lake -- Abbey riding on Dad's shoulders at the lake)
It was sad to go but it was good timing. We needed to get back so Tim didn't feel rushed before work the next day. Plus it was nice to sleep in our bed again. Abbey was very excited to take a bath. She looked just as excited and relieved to see her crib. What a fun trip it was... I am looking forward to the next one, I just hope that Heidi and Jere can make it because we sure did miss them (we all felt a little guilty, they were the ones who brought up the idea in the first place!). Most of all I am looking forward to making more memories as family.
(Riding back from the lake, a dirt booger showed how dusty the ride was -- On our way home, Abbey was pooped! We rinsed her off in the drinking water pump at the camp site, it was very cold. She rode home in her diaper!)