For the Fourth of July, we went on our every other year "Cousin Campout." Growing up, my grandparents would have all the cousins in the area over every summer for the "cousin campout" where we would sleep out on their trampoline in the backyard. Now, as adults, we take turns planning a Cousin Campout every other year with any cousins in the area who can come.
We left on the Fourth of July. The above picture of the kiddos is right before we loaded into the van to leave and the last picture of scrubbed clean kiddos for the next four days. Within minutes of getting to the campsite and unpacking, they had plopped themselves down on the sandy dirt, emptied the bucket of sand toys and started digging.
After getting set up and eating dinner, we headed over to a local laser show followed by fireworks. We thought we needed to be there way earlier than we actually did and ended up with over two hours of wait time. The kids did pretty good entertaining themselves, but were definitely anxious by the time the show started. The laser show turned out to be a history of the river and the dam, which was informative and interesting, but not exactly riveting to a bunch of children seven and under. Finally, about 10:30 the firework show started. By this time, children and adults were exhausted. It had gotten chilly and all twelve of us were huddled under the blankets we had brought with children snuggled in the middle. Poor Kiwi fell asleep just as the first firework was being shot up. The show was fun and the kids that were awake enjoyed it. All the kids were troopers about hiking back to the car afterwards and I was proud of them. They all fell asleep almost immediately in the tent, but Mason and Kiwi did not stay asleep. That first night was a LONG night and had Mike and I wondering what in the world we were doing as we woke up with barely any sleep in the morning. Luckily, the rest of the trip, the kids, especially Mason, were so wiped out they slept great.
Mason wearing Uncle Mike's sunglasses and hat.
Kiwi enjoying a very overpriced and very delicious fourth of july blackberry ice cream cone.
Happy 4th of July!
Cousin Jer, Mirian, and their cute boys
Mike and Paula
Kiwi and Mason danced and danced to the music that was playing before the show.
Although they are dancing in this picture, Little Man and Cousin D spent most the time before the show running, playing, wrestling, being redirected by parents into a quieter activity that didn't involve almost running into people and knocking down booths that were selling thing, playing that quieter game for a few minutes and then starting the process all over.
We spent the rest of the trip at the campsite and the lake which was just a walk down the hill from us. The kids would wake up and start playing at the campsite and then when it got warm enough we would move the whole crew down to the beach until it was time to head back for dinner. The weather was in the 80s and 90s and we swam, built sand castles, buried kids in the sand, threw footballs and Frisbees, went out on tubes, sat in the sand when the water got too cold, and stayed there until the heat got to be too much, and then got back in the chilly water. It was wonderful.
Our view from the campsite
On Friday, Jon, Janelle and their four kids arrived. Kiwi was thrilled to no longer be the only girl. Miriam has been blessed with three handsome little boys who don't really have a need for her braiding skills. She asked to do Kiwi's hair everyday and she loved it. I need her to give me some braiding lessons.
All the adult cousins ready to head down to the beach.
All the little cousins. Ten kids ages seven and younger.
Mason LOVED the sand and the water. He did such a good job completely off his schedule and with no naps. He spent hours filling up buckets with water and sand and was always so excited when we said we were going to the beach. If you ask him about it now, he likes to talk about his "lellow" (yellow) shovel and making sand castles.
Have you seen those over sized marshmallows at the store? They looked so fun, the kids and I couldn't resist throwing them in the cart even though we already had marshmallows. In theory they are a good idea, but I think I will stick with the normal sized mallows for now on. These created quite a sticky mess all over the children and everything within proximity of their sticky fingers.
All in all, it was a fun trip. I was really worried about camping with an almost two year old and of course there were moments, but he was such a trooper and I'm looking forward to going again.