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Camp bliss

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Our annual vacation at family camp in northern Wisconsin did not disappoint.

The week felt like this:

And so it was no surprise that coming home initially went like this:

"I want to go baaaaack." Evidence of a great vacation.

Tea really came out of his shell this year and played hard from sunrise to starlight with the gaggle of other kids.  When the playground is water and sand and forest, the play is easy because toys to fight over are scarce (although Tea was so enamored of his favorite walking stick I had him paint it in the craft building so he could keep it for himself).  He also made many adults friends – he’s gained a lot of confidence in the last year and it was fun seeing him having engaging conversations about fire stations and how to make a unicorn sign with your hand.

Pea was thrilled to follow Tea wherever he went, and wasn’t bothered at all that we were suddenly sleeping in a new place and sharing our meals in a room with 100 other people.  Our laid back kid dove right in and loved every minute.  Especially the minutes involving s’mores.

Kyle and I didn’t manage to steal any alone time this year, but we did take Pea around the lake in a canoe a few times while Tea was in morning class.  A pair of loons surfaced so close to our canoe that Kyle could have clobbered them with his paddle.  If he’d been insane.  They were beautiful, and were calling right at us.  I was amazed at how big they were.  Pea, thinking they were ducks, was unimpressed, although he did repeatedly tell us they made a “pretty noise”.   Another morning a flock of 9 loons all appeared just off shore, all calling to each other.

The bald eagles who nest right in camp were equally noisy.  It was a constant showdown between the loons and the eagles for noisiness.  I’ll take that racket any day.

Kyle and the boys went sailing with my dad.  The little sunfish looked a bit like a clown car, but Tea was enormously proud that he was the “captain” and held the tiller the whole time.

Tea did have one disastrous crash onto the sidewalk that scraped away a good amount of skin from his face, but the mothering he got from his friends (little and big alike) clearly restored his spirits.  Long after the blood had dried, he was still solemnly walking around camp, letting all of the little girls hold his hand and baby him.  I was a almost worried he liked the attention too much and might try to injure himself again on purpose.

We hiked, we swam, we played silly games with marshmallow peeps, we read.  We made new friends and talked with kind and wise people.  We star-gazed and built things in the sand and paddled and sipped coffee in the cool morning air.  Some of us sang (and some prefer to observe the singing).  I learned what a merganser is when a flock of them dashed through the swimming area.  We danced and caught fish and snuggled and drummed in a circle and blew bubbles and caught frogs.  We relaxed.  Standing at Vesper Point overlooking the lake, Kyle and I held the kids and renewed our marriage vows to each other.  Next year, I’m hoping the kids can stay up a bit later so we parents of wee-ones can play some late-night noisy games in the lodge.

Hopefully we are recharged and refreshed enough to get us through the year until we can go back to Moon Beach again.

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Camp

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I’ve been without internet access in the north woods of Wisconsin – four generations of our family spent the week at family camp together.  For perhaps 20 years of my life, starting at age 2, we’ve gone together.  I love that my sister and I are continuing the tradition for our kids.

At camp Moon Beach, circa 1983

Tea's cousin Cricket with her proud Great-Grandma

We relished the relaxing break of having someone else prepare our meals and wash our dishes.  We had fun swimming (sometimes 3 times a day) in a clear lake, hiking through woods and bogs, canoeing, sailing, blowing bubbles, toasting marshmallows, star gazing, singing songs, puddle-stomping, square dancing, fishing, playing silly games, eating too much ice cream, and watching eagles, loons, and deer.  Most of all, we enjoyed spending time with our family and our camp family.

Tea sailing with his Granddad

Tea was a mean Pass the Pigs player

Grandma rolled an impossible 100 Pass the Pig points in *one hand*

This was Tea’s second year there, and he really thrived on the chance to interact with other kids and play more independently than last year.  He attended his morning classes without a backwards glance at us.  This is by far the easiest, most relaxing way to vacation with small kids that I can imagine.  There were always kid-friendly choices of things to do and great people to help watch Tea.  And as if that’s not enough, Kyle and I had a wonderful time, too.  At the end of the week, Tea didn’t want to come home.  I didn’t either.

Rachel, my hero, square danced with Tea

Tea and his partner in crime, moments before he got *very* wet

Bubbles on a windy day with 100% humidity

I'm so glad I packed those boots

I’m telling myself that we’re now refreshed, recharged, and ready to face the start of a busy school year (for Kyle, and therefore by extension, for Tea and I), but I still don’t quite feel ready to say goodbye to summer.

Tea played hard and slept even harder