We love to be outside.
We love to go on adventures.
And we love to explore the Great Outdoors.
|A sweet hike with a mountain on top of the trail.|
It was Epic.
And every single one of us loved it.
All of Dad's brothers and their kids came along for these vacations. Our cousins were our siblings, and these vacations were absolutely lived for. We would canoe the river - rain or shine - with 5 gallon pickle buckets as our chairs and with trash bags as our rain coats. The river was our shower, and the Great Outdoors was our source of entertainment. In the winter time, everyone drove beater snowmobiles, and if it was freezing, Dad wrapped my sleigh up in plastic and pricked pinholes all around it so that I could breathe.
I remember canoeing the Allagash one summer where moose sightings became the norm and where we lost count after the first couple of days. I can remember getting caught out the lake in the middle of a crazy lightning storm, so Dad rushed us to shore where we broke into some guy's outhouse to wait out the rain! With all five of us cramped into that itty bitty room, my brother Clay reached up and found the camp key - we let ourselves in until the rain subsided - and then we left a note with our address confessing what we had done. Weeks later, we received a letter back with an invitation to come and visit any time we were up in that area again! This is the culture of my people. We would have LOVED learning that our camp was a source of safety and a haven for someone caught in a storm!
Never once - in all of my growing up years - did I wish for Disney.
Never once - did I feel like I was missing out. My entire world was an amusement park!
My childhood was rich, and my memories run deep.
Blueberries on top of the trail.
While the big boys rigged up homemade fishing lines (and caught nothing), the Littles and I had a feast.
From the time we were young, we would target practice and skeet shoot with the dad's and the uncles, and I loved every bit of it. The boys hunted squirrels when they were still in the single digits, and a bb gun was one of the earliest gifts ever requested. I remember when my cousin shot her very first partridge, and my Uncle called her the "Queen for the Day." And I can remember the only time my Dad ever yelled at me was when I aimlessly walked in front of all of the boys who were shooting. He scared me terrified, and then he held me close, and never again was I careless in front of the firearms.
I can remember waking up in my tent with my cousin Nicki during a rainstorm - and literally floating in water from a leak that must have sprung. Mom bundled us up in winter jackets and we spent the rest of the night in the truck with the heater running. I can remember finding a pile of dried up deer poop and putting a piece of it on each of the boy's pillows in their tent....only to find out at bedtime that their retaliation involved fistfuls of the stuff throughout our entire sleeping bags! I remember my Uncle Phil's Hank William's music always playing in the background, and the stories that both he and Uncle Keith would tell around the fires at nighttime.
This is the richness of childhood that I am trying to instill into my children...(minus the deer poop)...
These are the memories that I am trying to create.
And, for the most part, it doesn't cost a dime.
Just a little bit of effort and imagination.
It's about being intentional, and it's about making our own traditions.
This is the kind of HAPPY that I want my own kids to remember.
|Setting up homemade targets for target practicing.|
They work on crazy projects, and Dad has them pile wood.
They sleep out back in Dad's cabin, they set raccoon and skunk traps, and every day is an adventure. Kaden drives his own 4-wheeler, and Dad has wagons attached to the back with bus seats welded down, so that our entire family can go on Beverly Hillbilly adventures all together!
Every single one of my babies - from birth - has been lulled to sleep on the back of one of those 4-wheelers, strapped tight to my chest, all cuddled in while we explored for hours. Four wheeling with my family is still one of my deepest joys, and it is one of the things that soothes my soul the most.
Simple times with Family that we love.
Making memories....and Just Being.
|Well, helloooo photo bombers...|
For my parents, I am deeply grateful.
And for my Husband - my partner on this whole Journey of Crazy, and most often the brains behind our adventures - I am thankful.
Filled to overflowing...