April 30, 2007

One Never Knows...

We have a kind of family motto - a way we answer the kids questions "Where are we going?" or "What are we doing?" or any other question about upcoming activites - we have been saying it since they were little. We always respond with "One never knows what this crazy clan will do!" We say that and sometimes we are just running boring errands and sometimes we are going to Disney World. We say it when we they ask and our desitination is the library or when it is an all day drive just to reach the nearest state because we can. The thing is this family motto sometimes leads us to be spontaneous.

This weekend was beautiful perfect weather, the kind to truly be cherished in Minnesota for the brief period of time that it lasts. Saturday morning Serona had political work to do and in the afternoon I had a book discussion group. The book we are discussing is great for conversation starters Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, ... America (or at least the Republican Party), by Rod Dreher. We had a great first meeting. We sat outside in the beautiful sunshine for 3 hours talking about a great variety of topics of interest to me. I got sunburn but enjoyed an afternoon with friends, good conversation and sunshine. Serona and the kids did some much needed yardwork while I was gone.

I returned and found them enjoying some lemonade in our yard. The kids were biking and playing in the yard and Serona and I were laying on the grass looking at the blue sky and enjoying the weather, the kids came over and wrestled with us and we were having a great time being outside as a family. Suddenly Serona and I decided it would be a great weekend to go camping. We went back and forth a bit because it was already after 4pm on a Saturday but then we just decided it would really be fun and worth it. So I called around for a nearby campsite and Serona headed to the store to pick up a few things. The girls and I packed all our supplies and we all gathered our camping gear. We were ready in just little over an hour after making our decision to go. Pretty impressive for us especially since this was the first camping trip of the year with no pre-planning.

We made it to the campground, set up camp, ate dinner and played a bit in the nearby wooded area before sundown. We enjoyed a special evening together of roasting marshmallows, talking, sharing stories, singing songs and just being together. The weather was perfect and no bugs which is to be cherished here in Minnesota. The kids fell asleep around 9:30 and Serona and I stayed up and chatted around the fire and listened to the frog calls for a few more hours before heading to bed ourselves. We woke up with the birds of course and did a 5am bathroom break but somehow managed to convice the kids to stay in the tent until 7:01 when we got up and started the fire and breakfast and the days activities.

We had a really special prayer and bible time together. We read from the book of James and talked about taming the tongue. Each family member shared a positive thing they could do with their mouths and a bad habit they had that needed work on. We shared and then prayed for each other and made a commitment to work on those things together through the day. The kids had smores again for a snack and we headed out on a family hike.

We planned on a 2 mile hike around a nearby lake. We packed water and decided against carrying snacks as they had just eaten and it was a short walk. We apparently got on the wrong trail and we must need oreinteering classes because our map reading skills were pretty lacking! When we reached the 4 mile marker we became concerned about just how far we were going to have to go. We then realized it was going to be shorter to just continue on then to walk back - but not by much! We were in a position where we had no real choice but to continue on until we reached the end. Now we do hike and walk a bit but not this much all at once with our young children! Even that much just for me would be challenging, nevermind our 7 year old!

The kids were really great troopers. They were tired and their feet were getting sore but they were really good about not complaining. Here we found ourselves with a real challenge to test our commitments for the day since they included things like: not whining or complaining, encouraging and supporting each other and not losing our tempers. This was a situation that put all of us under some stress and strain and we were encouraging and supporting one another and not complaining but making the best of it. We were so proud of all of them. Thankfully we had the Kelty backpack with us and Sirah spent most of the time in there but even Ciaran got a turn in there - Serona managed to carry all 50 pounds of him for a few miles while Sirah walked and held my hand. Only Rhia had to walk the whole thing with us but she was really great about it.

We arrived at our camp a little after 3 hours and nearly 8 miles and everyone sat down, drank water and ate granola bars. Serona and I broke camp while the kids relaxed but soon again they were climbing trees and running around again while we finished up. We headed home for a pizza and movie night and early to bed. Finally got around to seeing Night at the Museum which was fun for me especially since I love the Museum of Natural History.

Today is a relaxing and resting day for us here. Because it is true "One never knows what this crazy clan will do...sometimes even us!"


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