Tuesday, May 28, 2013

#makesmesmilemondays Kicking Off Summer in the Woods

We spent the entire Memorial Day weekend in a little piece of paradise: camping on the shores of a beautiful, spring-fed but chilly lake. That's my son out there in the inner tube out in the middle of the lake in the photo below, his friend Jaleel about to dive off the floaty pier, his other pals Mila and Zoe in the water with him. I would guess that the water was about 50 degrees but the kids incredibly seemed amazingly oblivious to that fact. (At what age do we humans develop intolerance for freezing water temperatures?). My daughter was beside me when I took this photo, dipping her toes into the lake, too, and madly building sandcastles galore with other little friends. 

Nothing says summer to me like sleeping under the stars in the great outdoors, cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner by a roaring campfire, hiking through the woods, watching my daughter build her sandcastles on the beach, and best of all, gathering with friends at night, beside a campfire, while the children sleep snuggled in their sleeping bags. 

The weather was chilly at night but beautiful and sunny during the day for our first three days. On the day we were set to leave, yesterday, we woke up to the pitter patter of rain on our tent. My daughter woke up and was amazed by the fact that it was raining on our tent. The first thing she said when she woke up was: "I lurrrrrrveee camping". Indeed the kids loved camping so much that they were begging to please stay for a few more days. I am proud to see that my kids appreciate the un-pampered, media-free, muddy, messy but delightful outdoor life. Camping isn't easy work for me, but I think that it's essential to unplug my kids from everyday life and teach them skills such as pitching a tent, building a fire, using a pocketknife, and best of all, find the joy in in connecting with others in nature. To know that they appreciate a rugged, rainy tent as much as a five-star hotel is priceless to me. 

I am also thankful for my friends who joined us - five families in all! To see all of our children - 11 kids in all, ranging in ages 4 months to 12 - running around in the woods, leaping into the lake, and roasting marshmallows over the campfire was a joy. And to have some uninterrupted time with my friends, late at night, round a campfire, just filled me up with happiness. 

This post is brimming with superlatives but I just can't help it: I'm just thankful for the many fun memories we made this past Memorial Day weekend. 

Three cheers for summer! 

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