Monday, June 23, 2014

Time Set Aside

We went camping this weekend, for the first time in a couple of years.  It was a first outing for our "New to Us" hybrid camping trailer, recently acquired after months and months of stalking Craig's List, Ebay, RV Trader, and more.  We got our deal, by golly, as patience once again proved to be our best bet.  We had saved all the money I had put aside for the now returned harp, as well as all I had earned working at the homeschool shows in order to eventually be able to acquire what we hoped would turn out to be the right rig for camping adventures.  Without access to the funds from our former Charter Homeschool program, which was such a blessing to provide such wonderful academic field trips, we new would likely be unable to afford any travel at all unless we found some way to make it more affordable.  For larger families such as ours, it can cost upwards of $200 per night for hotels at even moderately priced places.  Throw in a few meals out, and you have costs of what can be $300+ a day or more to travel, without the cost of gas.  We wanted to still be able to get out and see things, but needed a replacement hotel room/personal kitchen to keep it more economical.  Hence, our desire to find the "perfect" Rolling Yurt for our Eurasian Crew.

Here's a glimpse of our trailer, now nicknamed "Guadalupe" to accompany the Big Green Machine (van) nicknamed Jorge.  We thought they would make a cute couple :-)

It was worth the months of looking, Guadalupe is 11 years old, but was in almost mint condition.  We stumbled across her, and turned out she was being sold by someone Dominick knew and trusted.  All of us were ecstatic, we never expected to find something so nice in our price range...she should have been thousands more!  We ended up with a hybrid, as we needed as much space as possible but with a smaller towing length and weight.  With a small slide out,and two pop out beds, this fit the bill wonderfully.  We no longer have a "One Butt Kitchen" and can pass one another, and there is a place for every shoe (a real menace we discovered long ago!), every book, every flashlight.  An enormous kitchen helps make it so much more comfortable for so many people to share a trailer.  We felt a bit like we were sleeping in a mansion versus our other experiences.

The kids get the bunk ends, the boys on one Queen size and the girls on the other.

Dominick and I get the fold out couch and the fold down dinette as our individual beds.  We couldn't believe we could actually sleep seven comfortably.

This has almost as much storage as our kitchen at home!

Best of all?  No wheels fell off, no leaks were found, no holes in the tent ends, nothing at all went wrong!!  Imagine that!  Hahaha!  Our first two nights in Guadalupe were so comfortable and cozy, we just couldn't believe it.  We kept our first trip relatively close to home, and just two nights, in case something went wrong.  Inside we managed to cram four bicycles, a large cooler, and a small BBQ that mounts on the side of the trailer as well.  We still look a bit like the Clampett's, but we are more organized.

The kids had a blast riding bikes all over, walking trails with Sunny, discovering cool lookout points.  Ridgway Reservoir is consistently rated the top state park in Colorado, and we are so lucky it is nearby.  Kenny and Matthew went on a biking adventure, riding about 10 miles over trails all by themselves, returning feeling like Real Men as Matt needed a little minor doctoring for a cut hand.  Joshie is in need of a larger bike, as none of us had realized he had outgrown his old bike, but is not yet tall enough for the bigger boys' bikes.  We need to save a little money and see if we can get him an "in between" bike until he gets a smidgen taller.  While the Big Boys were on their trek, Josh and the girls went with Dominick and I on a boat ride with friends from church who were camping nearby.  It was the first time on a small motorized boat for any of them, and they all thought it was wonderful!:

Windblown and loving it!

This was the view quite literally from our campsite. Pretty awesome, huh? 
Only 45 minutes from home...Colorado, how I love you!

Sitting on a rough hewn log bench high above Ridgway Reservoir, a dear friend and I watched an unequaled sunset play out before us.  The criss crossing of small sailboats creating a pattern of clear plaid upon the smooth, calm water, we took it in while quietly speaking of matters small and large, each of us pausing every few minutes to exclaim about the beauty that was being recreated over and over again in new patterns before us, as if God was manipulating a Holy Etch-a-Sketch on the sun dappled lake.  More than once I wished I had not left my camera behind, and multiple times I reminded myself to live in the moment, and not worry about capturing bits of collected data, but rather let my my mind record it indelibly on my soul.

It was time set aside, nothing else at that moment needed our attention, nor would we let anything pull us away.

Funny, but I have noticed that as our world around us speeds up, faster and faster keeping everyone busier and busier, our family seems to be feeling the need to slow down, to buck the system.  The kids all proclaimed that they are really enjoying doing absolutely nothing much at all this summer but a little activity here or TaeKwonDo, not much in the way of outside activities other than volunteering at the food bank, or doing a little church stuff.  They are daring to be different, not lazy, but intentionally slowing down when most young people their ages are speeding up as they begin thinking of padding college applications with activity after activity.  Ours are spending days doing a little school, a lot of reading, a lot of exploring different ideas and interests.  Not once have I heard, "I'm bored!!!" but often they've chanted, "I am so glad we have nothing we have to go do!"  I hope something is seeping deep within them, that they begin to understand they are the masters of their lives, they can control what happens and how busy they are.  Josh's big interview at the library is tomorrow, as he hopes to be allowed to volunteer.  His big excitement about that is that then he would be at the library every single week and be able to check out books more often!  He also loves the organization of a library, but said, "I want to volunteer, but I think one day a week for a couple of hours is plenty of time."

We can't wait until our next camping trip, which will necessarily be a few weeks away.  We have long time friends coming to spend a week with us, then church camp for all the kids.  That will be enough excitement for July, but we'll be planning the next get together for Jorge and Guadalupe, and hope to visit someplace totally new.

In the meantime, a few more moments that I did manage to capture.  Summer is moving slowly along, wonderfully restful and beautiful...Josh took these four photos:

Smiles and giggles, over very little!
Classic Kenny, aka:  Watermelon King

Lessie and her best friend!

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