Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Return of Summer, Hot & Sweaty

I will not complain...too much. Summer was too long coming to Portland to complain of the heat now. Being pregnant in the heat is no picnic, but I'd rather have chores piling up because it's too hot to be inside than because the rain is making me too depressed to move.

But things are looking up finally... I made some iced coffee which was nice in itself, but it pleased the man so much it made it twice as nice! Not only that, but we sat in our plastic deck chairs at the side of the kiddie pool, soaking our feet, sipping our deliciousness-on-ice, just pleased as pie at how much better we felt outside. When my glass was empty, I just decided it was time to take the plunge into the grass- and toy-infested waters myself, clothes and all, which delighted the little ones to no end, who immediately dog-piled my pregnant body. AHHHHHH, REFRESHING!! Then we turned down pleas from the older ones to visit the local public pool in exchange for spending the last of our vacation money on going to see WALL*E as a family....a perfect air-conditioned ending to this hot and sweaty day. And to top it all off, I found something cute to wear to church tomorrow, again getting creative with the clothes I have rather than fork it out for billowy maternity dresses. (I'll admit, however, that I spent the day in a very comfortable -and kind to the sunbrnt, pregnant body- Mu'u Mu'u, which I got from Hawai'i and not from the Polyesters-R-Us Catalog, no offense you-know-who!)

This is the road into the Cove Palisades Campground, near Lake Billy Chinook. It's definately the desert side of Mt. Hood, and reminds us of good 'ole California in the rocky, dry, "maybe it will spontaneously catch fire" sort of beauty. There were Hawks circling the river and lake all the time, who no doubt roost in the rocky cliffs...that was pretty cool. We actually saw a deer and a wild rabbit, and the kids were chasing lizards --um, excuse me-- "Geckos" (but I'm not so sure about the scientific accuracy of that label) every day, and even incorporated them into their playing "house" games.

Camping was a little less satisfying than I expected...and I blame most of it on being 5 months pregnant. I was so wiped out most of the time, and NOT in the mood to be "missional" with my vacation. I wanted to be alone with my brood, with space for wildlife between us and the next family...but that's not how it came to pass. As it turned out (and I should've known this when I booked a campsite that seemed to "overlap" the campsites that flanked it, however perfectly close to the playground and bathrooms it was), we were in the dinkiest campsite, wedged between the Clackamas Middle School Girls' Soccer team and the neighborly Perpetual Campers, whose stay is indefinite because, we speculated, it's cheaper than renting an apartment. This was the worst part, and I'll do all my complaining about this quick so I can end on what I loved. Understand that it's not that I hate people or that I don't want to minister to the neighborhood children (that's actually my dream) but I just didn't have it in me to be social, and thank God (seriously) I have a husband who should totally be running Summer Backyard Kid's Clubs because he was SO awesome at reaching out to this family when I was just struggling to not come off as a total anti-social. David is SO good with the kids! These two smudgy little muchkins were at our campsite from the moment they crawled out of their tents in the morning to come and beg us for bacon until they left with s'mores stuck to their faces at night. Then there was their 12-year old "brother" who was really the little ones' uncle, I think, who would just plop himself down in one of our camp chairs and challenge everything--everything--that David said or did, from how to chop wood, to video game experience. He was disrespectful not only to David, but to his mom and dad especially, which was really annoying...but also really sad. His parents are in their late 50's and possibly retired, possibly with disability, and they have custody of their grandkids (pictured s'mores munchers), so this kid is probably in need of a Big Brother. I'm not sure what exactly God wanted by putting us next to this friendly but boundary-less family, and maybe my pregnant lethargy/bad attitude was getting in the way, but we opened up our vacation and let them in, mostly thanks to David's big heart and gift for loving people. David was especially awesome when we were packing up, and Trey (the little boy) was following him around, wanting to help him with everything, hanging on David's every word. Dave taught him how to "munch" the camp chairs and the tent poles with the bags they get packed in, and would repeat David's rules, like "munch it all up!" and "tie it tight!" When everything was packed, he announced "it's time to load it up [in the trailer]! Load this stuff up!" And when we were all done and ready to roll, Trey wondered if David was going to stay while the rest of us went home. So cute! Hmmm....I'm getting a clearer picture of what to pray for this family, and if I can be faithful to pray and that's the only reason God put us there, that's good enough for me.
Other than the lack of campsite personal space, it was a good spot: the playground was right next to us so the kids could run off and play anytime and could still be seen, there was a loop around it where they could ride their bikes endlessly, and there were huge boulders for bouldering...or playing house, depending on your outdoor experience. This was the first time Morgen had a bike of her very own to ride and she LOVED it. It was so awesome to hear her little voice asking "mommy, can I ride my bike?" I love that she has a bike she can call her own. Then she would strap on her little hand-me-down helmet and go!

For three days we would just hang out at Lake Billy Chinook swimming, building sand walls, rowing around in our awesome inflatable boat (and dreaming of the day when we'll have a ski boat and all the kids get to bring a friend on our family ski trip). Pretty much doing what we came for: relaxing.

Here are some more pictures:
The swimming hole at The Cove Palisades

Mich loves the freedom his Life Jacket affords him.
He loves the water and is pretty much fearless!

Yum...PB&J and chips...lots of chips!
Better known as "camping food"

Grab a snack and back down to the construction site!

Korah liked to wrap herself in her towel and go lay in the sun
on the warm sand, while the rest of us were sweating in
the shade or jumping in the water to cool off!

Mommy & Morgen time

Looking for Geckos...
...and that squirrel that kept getting into our lunch!

Micah's living the good life!

Aren't we all? That was pretty much it, except for our 8-hour adventure getting there, where we broke down, prayed for guidance and God sent an angel (who pulled over behind us for some random reason and just happened to have knowledge and experience with our EXACT problem) who went above and beyond to help us with our car troubles and get us on our way.... but that's a story for another time...


CC said...

We're trying family camping for the 1st time in a few weeks. I'm pretty nervous. But I only have 2 kids to worry about!! How do you do it?

wendy said...

Funny you should ask! I'm thinking of starting a blog forum called "The Tidy Tent Camper" that details tips and techniques for camping (with kids and babies specifically). Let's get together and I'll tell you what I've learned!