Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sand Dunes/Camping/Hotel/WARNING: lot's of pictures/Baby Britton Blurbs

Time for a family vacation! What else is there to do (that is affordable) with 4 kids but camp? (Well, I could think of a few ideas, but whatever.) We had heard a lot about the Colorado Sand Dunes. Originally we were going to rent an RV and travel around that part of Colorado (South). That cost a lot. We moved toward camping. Cabin or tent though? Hmmm ... For some reason, I pushed for the tent. For anyone who knows me, you'll be shocked to know - it was A LOT of fun! So much fun that we got a hotel the second night. Haha. No, it really was fun. The Sand Dunes were amazing. Memories were made. But then - mosquitoes were biting. Heat was pounding. Sand was sticking ... everywhere. There was no bathtub in sight. So, forget the RV, cabin, or tent ....hotel camping for us !

Here is a photo story of our vacation: (remember, the title warned you about this)

Packing for camping does not help my desire for a bigger vehicle. We had to take out a seat in the van and we still barely fit all our stuff .... PLUS the children. (Picky, picky.) I loaded the kids in, then piled in the remainder of the gear around them.

4 1/2 hours later, we made it to the Dunes. The view was stunning! I've never seen anything like it. You're driving in the desert, then all of a sudden, MOUNTAINS !!! Then all of a sudden, sand. Wow!

**Baby Britton Blurb -
Eden - "Daddy, those mountains look like Elephants". (Wish I had a picture of the Elephant Mountains, but I don't.)**

Our Home.
After dinner, we of course had to roast marshmallows. Yum!

Shortly after the S'mores, it was bedtime. Sam of course, had to keep coming out. You know... going to the bathroom, needing a drink, it's too dark routine. Oh well. We think we slept for about 4 or 5 hours, which we considered a success with 4 kids in one tent all lined up in a row next to us. (Didn't help that Providence is a maniac sleeper and kept rolling on everybody. Malachi didn't appreciate that much.)

For not growing up camping, I'm pretty proud of myself for how the night went. It was really fun. It was really cold !!!! (40 degrees to be exact.) The next morning, I woke up to Aaron and the kids out of the tent around a fire. Aaron was trying to cook up some eggs for the kids. The first batch was ruined, or so I was told. He was on his second try when I found him. I stepped in. I made great eggs! Along with the great eggs were even better Baby Britton Blurbs!

Eden - "It's so cold out here! I wish I were eggs so I could sit on top of the fire." :)
Provi - "These are the best eggs I've ever had!" (I agree ... something about campfire eggs are extra yummy!)
Sam - "Dad, how come mom does everything right?" (I didn't even pay him to say that!)

After breakfast, we headed out to do some sand dune hiking.

This next picture should win a contest. No, I'm not being conceited. Just sayin'. Sam against the world in this one. He kept trying to set the pace the entire day. He'd run ahead of us, just so he could come darting back down the hill to meet up with us slow pokes.

As for Malachi ... he had it pretty easy. Good thing. He's not a big fan of sand.

The 3 musketeers.

Standing on the edge of one of the cliff-like hills made the kids feel like they were on top of the world, I think. However they felt, it was very cute.

I can't figure out how to turn this picture ... so turn your head. Aaron and Provi (and Malachi in tow) were really heading straight up this hill .... not just crawling sideways. It was really funny to watch.
It's kinda hard to climb when every step you take you end up sliding a quarter of a step back because your foot is buried in sand. Oh well.
We didn't make it all the way to the top, but we got close. Regardless, we were really proud of the kids. It was hard! So hard that Eden was crying by the time we got to our highest point because she was "so tired of walking". Poor thing.

And now we will all look into the sun and smile.

The way back down was so fun! You can run as fast as you can because really, what harm can it do if you fall in sand as you fly down a hill?

Um, this is what harm can be done.
Sam went head first down a hill. I suppose I should have been hugging and kissing him. Instead I was snapping photos and giggling uncontrollably over the sand IN his ears and hair, and my favorite ... the snot running down his nose. Okay, fine, I'm a horrible mom. He really wasn't that hurt. He was just upset that I wasn't fussing over him. (I think.)
We stopped a couple of times to dump the sand from our shoes. I normally wear a size 9 shoe. Add the sand in though, and I was a comfortable size 6! (Or maybe not so comfortable.) I had to take a shot of the sand I dumped at the end. Now that we are home though, it's even more funny to me that I went out running in the same shoes the day after we got home, and this much sand (if not more) worked it's way up to the surface AGAIN! I wonder when that will stop.

After the hike, we played in the stream for a long time. That was a lot of fun. And a lot of dirty.

We made it back to our campsite and realized we were out of bug spray and firewood .... and energy. So we decided pack up and head to a hotel. We needed a shower in the worst way, and our campsite didn't offer one. Off we went. Think the kids were tired???

We made it to a hotel about 25 minutes from the Dunes. There was an indoor water park that we used to bathe the kids in .... I mean, continue our vacation. That frog kept trying to eat my kids. It was weird. They loved every minute of it!

This next slide was perhaps one of the highlights for me. The kids all went down the slide and Aaron followed with Malachi in tow. I saw him disappear into the slide... and then wondered why he wasn't coming out. All of a sudden, I realized I was hearing this steady thumping sound. After a few thumps from this twist of the slide and that turn, I realized it was Aaron slamming his feet to move forward down the slide. (Okay, I'm cracking up again as I type this. It was that funny! You probably had to be there, but it was hilarious getting that mental picture of Aaron trying to propel himself down the slide with Malachi. Weeeeeeee !!!!!) He finally made it. Malachi had fallen asleep in his arms. No. He didn't. hehe Oh well! The kids flew down it!

All in all, it was a wonderful vacation! We will try camping again one day. We've learned a few lessons though about what it takes for our family to camp. (ie: Yogi Bear maybe is cool after all, or showers on site are a necessity.) More than that, I truly believe this will be a memory that our kids will cherish throughout their lives. I know I will!


Kristina said...

Fun pictures! You are a brave woman camping with 4 kiddos...I don't think I will atempt that for a looooong time, if ever. It did look like a lot of fun though:)

Carmine said...

Awesome pictures. I would have been giggling and laughing to at my kids while snapping pictures after they fell. That's what memories are made of!

Sharilyn said...

Great job on the camping!! I'm sure that you will always remember that night!! Now try it a few more times and you will know the secret to a happy successful, close-knit family. I just read a book about that! Camping was the one thing successful families had in common. !!!!

lynjoyce said...

BRAVE Family.....Brave, Brave Family! Kuddos to you Jody & Aaron! The farthest we went was our backyard....and oh yeah, I slept inside while all the boys (including Bob) slept outside. All I can say is BRAVE!