We haven't had a "normal" summer in years.
In 2009, Bryan was on a night shift and working 6-7 days per week. He'd leave home around 4pm and return around 4am. He slept during the day, so the summer flew by without Bryan participating in much of our usual summer activities.
In 2010, Bryan was laid-off and we were running a paper route to make ends meet. The paper was delivered seven days a week, 2am-7am Monday through Saturday and 2am-10am on Sunday. Again, we rested at odd times. We were never away from the house overnight.
It has been a long time since we've had any room in our schedule for extended periods of family fun.
But this summer... Bryan is laid-off again and my teaching job doesn't start until August. Since we have the time - but limited funds - we have decided to explore the great outdoors around us.
We took our first camping trip last week. We waited for a storm-free forecast...and headed up to a nearby lake for 24 hours.
Our family has taken incredible vacations to Washington D.C. and Estes Park, CO...but Zach declared our camping trip to be "the best vacation ever" as we were headed into the tent for bed.
Does it get any better than that?
We grilled burgers and hotdogs. We had s'mores and hung out around the fire pit with our "neighbors". We took walks. We watched deer. We took a late night trip to the playground.
We woke to the call of an owl. The boys stepped foot on their first beach. We swam in the lake. We built sand castles and buried our feet in the sand. We read.
We handled a lot of nightcrawlers and minnows. We tried to catch a catfish and a crocodile, but came up empty-handed.
We listened to music. We jumped rope. We played soccer. We blew bubbles and drew with chalk.
We climbed trees. We watched birds. We watched the sun set over the lake.
We attracted geese every time we were near the water.
Our camping trip was magical.