Monday, May 11, 2015

Camping Out For Mom

Greetings friends and family,

Mother's Day came and went, but I'm always a few days behind reality here on the blog so this is my Mother's Day post.  I have one excellent mom who gave birth to me and raised me.  I have one excellent mom who had no choice but to take me on as a son when I married Kendra.  Both of them are more valuable to me every year that goes by.  I am blessed to have their presence and input into my life.  They are also a blessing to the twins and since grandmother's day isn't a big deal I'll go ahead and call that out right now as a part of this post.

This is the second annual Mother's Day camp out.  Last year was such a success we decided to make this a regular event.  What I gave Kendra for Mother's Day was 3 days and 2 nights of my absence along with the kids.  This is the only time each year where she gets to be in her own house with no one else around.  no one to clean up after.  no one to cook for.  no one to tip-toe around because they are sleeping.  no one to consider when deciding to leave the house.  It's a rare break that is often overlooked by dads, but from what I've seen it is very necessary.

Many women love to travel or receive tangible gifts or go out to dinner. Kendra enjoys all of those things, but the one thing she gets during this annual event that she doesn't get the rest of the year is peace and quiet in her own house.

This is a double winning situation because I get some intense daddy time with the twins.  We had a blast!  We went to Canyon Lake, but discovered there were no campsites available.  We could have quit right there and went home, but I asked for other options and the campsite attendant told me about Apache Lake.  We drove the van over dirt roads for 30 minutes and arrived at one of best lakes I've seen.  It is clear and surrounded by mountains and bluffs.  We arrived in the afternoon and set up camp right on the shoreline just a few feet from the water's edge.

I don't normally post a bunch of similar pics, but these are just too much fun to pass up.  We were happy to be chilly enough to wear jackets and breeze was refreshing.  The sunset was incredible, but I'm not skilled enough in photography to catch it accurately.

Easton and Layla were quick to jump into full vacation mode.  Silliness is completely acceptable along with loud voices, muddy hands, and sandy shoes.

Put these two in front of a camera long enough and somebody's tongue is going to come out, guaranteed.

My friend and his two older kids arrived later that evening so our entire first day was spent setting up camp and playing around.  One of the most anticipated aspects of camping was sleeping next to me.  Easton and Layla both ask me occasionally, "when are you going to get to sleep next to me?"  I always respond with, "when we go camping!"  Layla woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed.  I took a picture because this is usually when I would look over and see Kendra sleeping next to me.  instead i saw sweet Layla smiling at me.

I bought cheap kid fishing rods for the twins because my friend said his kids were bringing their own.  I don't even have my own fishing gear, but I wouldn't have been able to use it anyway.  I spent most of my fishing time putting worms on hooks, untangling fishing line, and teaching how to cast.

The few moments I was able to relax and sit around doing nothing was a result of my friend's kids exploring with Easton and Layla.  They found a rope swing that was over the land and gained some confidence as they hung on for dear life.  I was proud of them for allowing the swing to go so high and far.  Nobody was injured, but both of them had to empty sand out of their shorts a couple of times.

The scenery was spectacular.  My favorite moment of the camp out was walking slowly down a dirt road while holding their hands.  We had no place special to go and no "hurry" necessary for us to get there.  The slowed-down pace of life was exactly what the doctor ordered.

We ate non-stop for over 48 hours.  My guts are still paying for it, but not as much as my friend who ate 5 hot dogs for lunch.  There was no shortage of food and snacks!

On one of our adventure walks Layla found a fake fish that looks like a Christmas ornament.  the fins are made of corn husk and the scales are made of sequins.  It's badly damaged and probably has some disgusting germs, but Layla was excited to find such a treasure washed up on the lake shore.  

Fishing was mediocre at best.  Easton caught a couple of perch.  Layla caught nothing.  Even so, they got the concept of fishing down very well with all their casting, waiting, and relaxing.  They were happy to just sit and enjoy.  I consider this to be one of the biggest accomplishments of the weekend.

We missed church and celebrated every minute of it.  We've been faithful to church for months now without ever missing a single Sunday.  Usually we go to Sacramento for the summer and miss 8-10 weeks straight of church, but with Kendra's chemotherapy keeping us close at home it was no big deal to miss church.  For me it was a ministry break after the fast and furious first half of the year.  The amount of time and effort I put into the church as a volunteer is borderline unhealthy.  Especially considering all the circumstances of Kendra's cancer and fractured vertebrae.  I decreased the amount of ministry time and kept my priorities correct to support Kendra, but we maintained quite a bit of responsibility and leadership.  Time with Easton and Layla suffered quite a bit from all the things life threw at us for the past few months.  I know i can't make up for lost time, but this weekend was a good start in getting reconnected with twins.

See you soon!

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