Vacation Day One: and the Traditional Destroying of my Phone.

Behold, my Sanity!
Oh, wait....that was before four children.  Sanity has been lost for years...

Behold, my Place of Rest!'s not going to work, either.
Especially, when three of my four children each took turns falling off of the dock this week.

Behold, my Bliss!
Yes.  Let's go with that one.
My Happy Place.

14 out of our 16 years of marriage we have been coming here.  (Two of those years we were city peeps living out in Philly). We even spent part of our Honeymoon on this sweet little island.  We can count the vacations by the ages of our kids...and by the level of chaos that each stage of those ages has brought to the table.  Ha!  Kaden and London have been out here as young as six and eight weeks old.  No matter the ages of our babies...and no matter the amount of crazy...if we have been Home in the summer, we have come to this little piece of Heaven.

My kids live for this week out to camp.  It is one of their greatest highlights of the summer.  And it's one of Kev's and mine, as well.  We feel so very blessed and thankful to be able to use this camp. Years ago, (I believe my facts are correct), my Father-in-Law's Dad bought this little island for just a couple of hundred dollars.  Crazy!  It's really priceless...

Adventures in Toddlerhood.
Sweet simplicity.

No electronics.  Surrounded by nature.  Lulled to sleep by the lapping of waves and the cries of the loons.  It really is a little slice of Heaven.  My little brother and his wife and two sons live right in the town of Rangeley, as well, so it's really special to spend some time with them on their turf and do some crazy adventuring together whenever we come into "town."

Now that I mention Crazy Adventuring....I feel like it's time for a story:
We spent the first night at my little bro's house, and decided the next morning to hike some trails up to what is arguably the tallest waterfall in Maine - Angel Falls.  It's a fun little hike - fairly short - that switches back and forth across the river several times before arriving at the tippy top.  Definitely would not have worked for London's toddler legs and balance, but perfectly doable for all of the little boys, with just a few places where we needed to help them.

Fun and crazy.
Before the trail even started, though, Aaron knew of a little fishing hole down in the woods that had some great little trouties; so the boys all traipsed off into the wilderness with Julie and I wearing our packs of small children following along behind.  They fished there for a bit, caught a couple of trout, the littlest boys explored all around, and then we decided we needed to actually get on the trail before the toddlers got too antsy in their packs.  When we finally got on to what we thought was the trail, it completely dead-ended, and we realized we needed to turn around.  By this time, the four and five year old boys were loudly announcing that they were ready for this adventure to be over, London was destroying my back, and we hadn't even set one foot on the actual trail.

We finally found the start of the trail, and Julie and I looked at each other, promptly set our toddlers onto the ground, and got out lunch!  We didn't even pull off the trail.  We just stepped to the side a bit, spread out lunch for the Littles, and took a nice long break before we even began.  Everyone that passed us going up the trail kept asking us how the view was at the top - assuming that we were on our way down!  For some reason, this struck the four of us adults hilarious, and we all died laughing. We'd take turns saying something smart to anyone who asked us a question.

Kev would say:  "We're just pacing ourselves."
I would optimistically call out:  "We're almost there, right?"

This is totally the stage of the game where we are at right now, and we might as well embrace it.  Everything takes longer.  Someone is always needing something - food, a tree to pee behind, just one more cast!!! - of such is this season of motherhood, and while we were eating our lunch on the trail that we hadn't even set one foot onto yet, it just struck me hilarious and kind of sweet.  This is a crazy, chaotic season right now.  It would be so much easier to just stay home.  It honestly would.  Everything takes so much time and so much work.

But, it's worth it.  And the memories are priceless.  And it really is so very fleeting.

Speaking of priceless memories...let me carry on with my story.
So, after our bellies were filled, and after we actually got ourselves onto the correct trail, and after I traded packs with Kevin - lunch was over, so the food pack was considerably lighter than the London pack.  I'm no fool - it really only took us about a half hour to get to the top.  The hike was really fun, and we hadn't done this since our Honeymoon sixteen years ago.  Many waters have gone under that bridge, so to speak...

Aaron's family had to get back home, so we didn't stay up there long.  Ransom and I followed them back to the cars via the way we came, and Kev and the two big boys decided to fish the river back down and meet us there...thinking the river would just spit him back at the starting point.  Aaron took off for home while Rancey and I sat on the hood of our car and ate a bag of chips.  I realized that Kev had the keys in his pocket.  No big deal.  I had the snacks, and it was a nice day, so we were golden.
After eating the entire bag of chips.
And after taking about 35 selfies of ourselves on the hood.
After Ransom did his business #2 behind a tree.
And after the 57th bug bite...
I decided it was time for us to get walking.

I wrote a message in the dirt of our car windows:  "Headed home.  Pick us up!"

We were literally out in the wilderness...  we never would have made it back to my brother's place, but I decided that heading that way actually made me feel like I was getting somewhere.  We sang songs.  We collected five dead butterflies.  We picked a bazillion wild strawberries.  We made stick trails for about two miles.  Ransom went to the bathroom again.  He chattered incessantly about all of his birthday gift choice options that he would like to have three months from now.
Mama Loon and her baby at camp.
And I rued the moment that I ever said to Kev:  "London is sleeping, so just take your time."
Three.  Hours.  Later.  they emerged from the woods.

They had gotten lost - the river does NOT spit one back onto the trail - and about 1 1/2 hours in, they realized that they needed to do some serious backtracking to be able to get back onto the trail. Somewhere along the way, Kev slipped on a wet rock, twisted his ankle, and London and the backpack kind of flung off to the side with my phone taking a swim downstream.

He was really starting to get concerned - he had three of the four kids - one whom he'd been wearing for just about four hours, zero cell service, and (so he thought) no water.  There actually was water in the pack, which he would have found if he'd had to go digging.  Meanwhile, I was never once concerned.  I honestly thought that he'd just completely lost track of time.  This happens during hunting and fishing season...  Three hours was excessive, but I would not have been surprised.  Oh Heavens.

Good times.  We'd said we were going without electronics.  That just made sure of it.  Day one last year, my phone fell out of my pocket and shattered on some rocks.  Maybe this is to be one of our new fun little traditions.  Better my phone than something far worse that could have happened.
Needless to say, we were both a little frazzled and tired by the time we got to camp around 7:00 p.m.  We tucked the two youngest ones right into bed - Ransom had just had a three hour walk! - we unpacked and settled in, and then completely vegged and relaxed until the late, great hour of 9:00 p.m. where we kicked it off to bed ourselves.

We like to make sure that we're extra specially exhausted to really be able to fully appreciate our vacations....

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