Friday, August 26, 2011

Church Camp @ Cove Palisades

Boy Two with a tiny lizard that he caught; one of the hundreds that the kids searched for and chased over the week.  We also saw jack rabbits, garter snakes, buzzards and mice, none of which we caught.

Girl and I in the kayak.  She fell asleep!
Our church usually spends one long weekend a summer at a campground and this year it was at Cove Palisades on Lake Billy Chinook in Central Oregon.

While I seem to have (or, at least, want to have) fond memories of tent camping with my family as a kid, I realize as an adult that there is nothing fun about tent camping with small children.  Nothing.

That said, the other families all brought their RVs and we happened to benefit from their relative luxury, which made the experience bearable.  That, and the camp hosts were a retired couple from our church that made everything easier: from collecting excess wood and giving it to us for our campfires so we didn't have to bring our own; to advising us on which of the shower stalls were the best; to sharing their air pump when we forgot ours; to opening up the laundry facilities early (Laundry facilities!  While camping!!) so I could do two loads of laundry the morning my son had an accident in his sleeping bag.
Boy One in the little raft he commandeered for himself.  He was very good with it!
Camping Cons:

The dust.  It was everywhere.  It coated everything.  The kids threw it in the air in handfuls when they had nothing else to do.

Forgetting the pump to your air mattress at home.

Five people in a four person tent.

Not having room for a decent sized ice chest and having to make do with a miniscule plug-in fridge.

Night critters chewing on all your Tupperware containers so that you eventually have to throw them all away.

Husband having to work all day Friday and missing out on a day of fun that he really needed.

Exhaustedly falling into bed at 9pm every night, and getting up every morning at  5:45am.  I felt so old.

Girl with one of the many bugs that she found, picked up, and tortured.  No fear.
 Camping Pros:

Five entire days away from home.

Seeing my husband relax enough to enjoy himself - it's been years since he's been that relaxed.
Boys and their sticks.  There were many.  They were coveted.

Boy One driving the paddle boat with a dear friend from church.
 My children spending two entire days in the water and loving it.

Life jackets for the whole family!

Our pastor taking each of the kids out on the Wave Runner as many times as they wanted and even letting them 'drive'.
Someone sharing their homemade smoked fresh salmon.  Deliriously happy.

Finally getting a chance to talk with the two women in our church that I'm closest to.  Honestly, it's been years since I've gotten to talk with them.

Boy One getting to take the paddle-boat/ kayak/ raft/ wave runner out as much as he wanted, asserting his independence, learning his strengths, gaining more self confidence.  He bloomed before my very eyes.

Taking the kids to explore the Lava Tubes in Bend.  We were prepared with torch lights and warm jackets and the kids were delighted with the trek.  That is, after the teenagers ahead of us in the cave stopped making scary noises.

My husband declaring "This isn't just camping, it's our vacation" and taking us out to dinner at Mazatlan in Madras on Thursday night instead of my having to prepare something back at camp.

Boy Two declaring "I like the green stuff!" and heaping the lettuce onto his tacos.

Daddy learning how to drive our pastor's Wave Runner.
BLTs with avocado as camp food.  Why didn't I think of this earlier?

Scattering quarters around our campsite as we left, knowing that our camp hosts rake the sights and get a thrill out of finding the spare change.

 Knowing there is a Fred Meyer in every Oregon town, just in case you need to make a run to the store one or all of the days that you are vacationing.

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