Monday, June 25, 2012

A camping we will go!

Wow, there is just soooo much to document about our first ever camping trip!!  To sum it was awesome!!!  We have been wanting to go camping for several years but it always felt like the kids were just not the right ages, or I was pregnant, or had a newborn, or whatever!  But this summer, we decided Reilly and Braxton were at perfect ages for camping!  We made plans with our "camping expert" friends, the Dreschers, and reserved our campsite at New River State Park near Sparta, NC.  James has developed a spreadsheet for packing for camping trips over the years and he graciously shared it with me to help as we prepared for our FIRST EVER trip.  Yes, we were absolutely rookies, and proud of it!  The spreadsheet was definitely overwhelming as I began pulling things together and trying to get organized for the trip!  Dry ice?  What is this and why do we need it to survive in the woods?  So many things I learned about camping, for sure!  We finally loaded the car, or I should say packed it as tightly and full as it's ever been, and headed up to the mountains on Friday afternoon.  We arrived at the campground around 4:00 on Friday.  We were grateful to find out that the park provides wheelbarrows to help carry the millions of things we needed to get from the car to the campsite!  We didn't waste anytime getting unloaded and setting up camp at our site!!  The kids immediately hooked up with Ava, Ellie and Branson and started doing "camp stuff", ie., playing in the dirt!!  Shawn and I were smart enough to pull the tent out of it's box a few weeks ago and "practice" setting it up in our front yard so we would have half an idea how to do it once we got in the woods!!  Because of our practice session, we had that bad boy pitched in no time!  ;)  Shawn was pretty insistent that we blow up two queen sized air mattresses in the tent, although I was a bit skeptical!  But, he was right and they fit and boy was I grateful!  As soon as we got the tent set up and things semi-organized, we set off to do some exploring!  Our campsites were right on the New River and there was a field right across from us that the kids loved playing in.  My favorite part was being completely oblivious to TIME while out there!  There was no concept of what time it was, a routine, a schedule, nothing!  So so relaxing and so so nice to just "BE"!  We finally got around to cooking some dinner around 7:30 Friday dogs and hamburgers with baked beans!  Then s'mores, glow stick mania, and off to bed around 10:00ish!  Let's just say that the first night of sleeping didn't go too well in the Turner tent!  With Reilly's ear aches, rain from 2:00-3:30am and dripping from the trees throughout the entire night, potty trips in the pitch black, switching beds, being "tackled" by a restless sleeping Reilly, and birds chirping starting at 5:00am, it was a little rough, to say the least!  Morning consisted of powdered sugar donuts and coffee cake...SUGAR!  The kids played, dug in the dirt, swung in the most awesome hammocks that James brought along, went for a hike and then we were all ready for some lunch.  We decided to do some wading in the river after lunch, which was pretty adventurous for sure!  The rest of the afternoon consisted of totally relaxing...naps at random, hammock time, reading, walking around, kids playing and making up games, campfires, more hikes, etc.  It was perfect.  Dinner on Saturday was hamburgers and steak fajitas over the fire!  YUM!  And of course, some more s'mores (aka, "s'more s'mores"!!!!!)  Shawn and James created a game with the kids that consisted of throwing glow sticks WAY up in the air and watching them fall like shooting stars, so this is what filled up the time between desert and bedtime, yet again!  The 2nd night of sleep in the Turner tent was awesome.  I think we were all so stinkin' tired and all slept really well.  And surprisingly, both mornings, we didn't all wake up until right around 8:00!  Sunday morning started by building campfires and cooking pancakes for breakfast!  And then the clean-up began.  Ugh.  Definitely the not so fun part of camping.  After we got home we started cleaning clothes and blankets and the millions of other things that had to be washed.  Shawn was trying to get the tarp cleaned outside when the rain came in a downpour!  The kids went right out there in it, clothes and all, and helped him clean the tarp!  How else to end an entire weekend of being outside!!  Worked as a perfect prelude to the much needed SHOWER that we all needed to wash up.  We definitely have many "raise the bar" opportunities for our next camping trip, but we can't wait to do it again.  It really was a great experience!  And just for is our camping trip by the numbers:

Number of days it took to pack and prepare for the trip: 4
Number of times I reviewed the packing checklist: 18
Number of trips to the car to pack it all in:  8
Number of hours it took us to get there:  4 (should have only taken 2 and it seemed like it took 8)
Number of our campsite:  22
Number of trips with 2 giant wheelbarrows to unload our car:  4
Number of minutes it took to pitch our tent and set up camp:  35
Number of hambugers that were dropped into the fire:  1
Number of times Braxton fell while walking, running, jumping, hiking:  42 (at least)
Number of glow sticks played with:  37
Number of children between our two campsites:  6
Number of ears of Mr. Christenbury corn consumed:  10
Number of times the tent was unzipped and zipped back up:  192  (getting in and out and in and out!)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

and she's off...on TWO wheels!

Reilly blew us away with how quickly she hopped on a two wheel bike and just took off without the training wheels!!  She kept asking me over and over when she would be able to ride without training wheels and my response was always "maybe when you get older" or "when Daddy can spend some time teaching you".  Well, that just wasn't good enough for our little overachiever, I guess!  We were over at the Dreschers house one afternoon and Branson had his little coaster bike out.  She got on it a few times and tried to find her balance some and had a few falls, but since it was so tiny and close to the ground, it was nothing major.  Then he had a tiny two wheel bike with pedals that he was riding around and she was determined to figure it out.  Since it was so small too, she could put her feet on the ground, get the pedals ready to start pushing, and then pick her feet up and try to take off.  She practiced at it for about 15 minutes or so and was really starting to get it.  So, we went home and told Daddy it was time to take the training wheels off.  We lowered the seat on her bike all the way down so she would be able to stand up and touch and headed to a big parking lot to practice.  Shawn had visions of having this moment where he would be holding onto the back of Reilly's bike seat and be holding onto her while she was starting to pedal and then just let go and watch ride away.  Well, that never happened.  The first time she got on the bike and started pedaling, off she went without any trouble at all!! It was so crazy.  She was definitely ready!  Wow, growing up so fast.

"Lawn Mowering", and more.

When I say Braxton has an obsession with "lawn mowering", it's definitely an understatement.  I can't even begin to explain how obsessed he is.  Truly, it's dominates about 90% of conversations we have with him.  Everytime we walk outside he asks if we are going to "cut the grass today?!"  He is way OCD about the whole thing, quite frankly.  I'm not really sure when it began, but it has definitely gotten out of control!  He LOVES, and I mean, L-O-V-E-S all things yardwork related.  His face lights up when you tell him it's time to cut the grass, or when he hears the neighbor crank up their lawnmower.  It's actually pretty stinkin cute.  I actually enjoy cutting the grass, so I have done that part of the yard every single time it's needed it this season.  And everytime, without fail, Braxton follows right behind me with this lawnmower, "cutting" away.  He'll take his own path some time but typically stays right in my "lines", even if he's way far behind me.  The neighbors gave him one of their pretend "weed wackers" to add to his yard equipment, so he'll stop mowing with me and go grab his weed eater and do some "weed wackering", as he calls it.  He is very serious about it too.  He really does believe that he is CUTTING the grass.  And it's been so cute to watch how he imitates just what Shawn does when he weedwacks;  Braxton actually walks backward exactly like Daddy when he "edges" and goes around the mailbox just like Daddy does too.  Now, he not only obsesses about the act of doing the yard work, but also where he stores his equipment, including his "cutting grass shoes".  Everything is lined up right next to Daddy's...lawn equipment under the house next to each piece of Daddy's equipment, and shoes right next to Daddy's "cutting grass shoes" in the garage. 

And as if all of this wasn't enough, one day Braxton could NOT get over the fact that he did NOT have a "blower" like Daddy's.  Well, Shawn fixed that....

One Saturday, Braxton saw a yard crew over at the house across the street and he was just itching to go over there.  He just stared and stared at the guys working and kept asking if he could.  All of the sudden, a plan was developed, and he and Reilly created their own yardcrew....they loaded all the equipment up into the wagon and Reilly pulled Braxton with his stuff up to the neighbors house, unloaded so he cut "do the yard" and then loaded back up and headed to the next house!  Seriously, this guy is on his way to making some serious money one summer when he gets a little older!!