Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Camping season opener

"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children."
-Charles R. Swindoll

A few weeks ago we loaded up the camper for the first time of the season and parked it at a campground we usually visit for our last one of the season in the fall. We weren't able to go last fall because of an impending baby arrival. But Mother Nature decided we should experience fall-like weather anyway, and it gifted us with 40 degree weather.

We skipped Friday because of the constant rain and went out early Saturday morning instead. Dressed in our winter outerwear, we braved the chilly day. A hike at a nearby state park warmed us up nicely, except our moods took a hit and it took us a bit to get into our groove. We cut the hike shorter than planned and headed back to the campground where the boys were able to jump away their crabbies with the fast friends they made at the playground. I strapped Jillian into the carrier and walked the campground, coffee in my gloved hand, to rock my baby to sleep for a much needed nap.It was there walking past the campers lined along the path, my baby's cheek pressed flat against my chest and her small legs dangling out the sides, that it felt right. Despite the cold and our moods spoiling the hike, we rallied, because we realize this season of our lives might take more effort, the little things seem big, but the result is always worth it.

We spent the day alternating between riding bikes to the bridge to throw rocks and sticks into the river and playing at the playground. Then that night we decided a respite from the wind and cold temperature was in order, and we bailed for an hour to eat supper at a nearby A&W. Later that night we huddled around a fire at the neighboring campsite--a family we met that day--and I knew. I knew all the fuss, all the seemingly spoiled moments, all the flared tempers and lost patience, all the regular ole day-to-day trivial inner workings of a family with young children are worth the effort we make to create these memories. It's not always easy or pretty, and sometimes we admit defeat, but mostly we get it right one way or another and we simply enjoy. Enjoy the giggles and the silliness of brothers, and the newness of a baby on her first camping trip, and hot coffee on a brisk afternoon, and warm, salty fries huddled in a booth, and the cold air on our faces on a darkening night as we make one final bike ride around the campground, and the sight of three sleeping babes at the end of our season opener all snuggled under one camper roof, heat humming through the vents. It most definitely is worth it.

Thursday, May 12, 2016


"Throughout human history, in any great endeavor requiring the common effort of many nations and men and women everywhere, we have learned--it is only through seriousness of purpose and persistence that we ultimately carry the day. We might liken it to riding a bicycle. You stay upright and move forward so long as you keep up the momentum."
-Ban Ki-moon

Some days take great effort. One foot in front of the other. Lots of apologies doled out and "thank goodness we get to start over tomorrow" sighs. Some days are survived, one notch on the schedule passed and another looming. Some days are filled with whining and raised voices and "I don't like you!" proclamations. Some days we fumble. Some days we fall. But we always keep moving forward. Because tomorrow is another day.

Some days take little effort. We skip through our days with contentment. Laughter coming easily. Yeses flowing from my lips when nos seem easier. Extra effort is rewarded with agreeable attitudes. Some days are filled with constant chatter and "This is the best day ever!" exclamations. Some days we win the battle against the crabbies. Some days is less about surviving and more about living. And, lately, we've been wading knee deep in all of the above.

With the school year winding down and the weather intermittently offering us a preview of our summer days ahead, our moods have been riding the spring fever roller coaster. As fickle as the Minnesota weather, we teeter between good and bad days. Spencer comes home from school announcing how many days remain until summer vacation and as the days dwindle down, our excitement grows. Long lazy days ahead.
But we're still in the thick of our school schedule, riding that roller coaster. Some days are better than others. And some days are really, really good.