Whew.  I know it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post, but I think I have a good excuse.  It has been a whirlwind of activity around here.  Good times, good friends, and even better memories.  This will go down as a summer to remember.

To start off our festivities, we celebrated Isaac’s 8th birthday with some good buddies and a backyard camp out in the tent.  There were water balloons, slip-n-slide, pizza and a pretty funny magic show put on by two surprise guests. 

He had a blast, and everything was smooth sailing until a streak of
lightning and thunder that shook the ground made us bolt upright from
our sleeping bags and begin screaming in terror.  There is nothing quite
like being awakened from a fitful sleep on the hard ground by four
boys screaming in terror.

At first, I tried to calm everyone, but
when the tent (which had not really been prepared for rain– maybe
should have checked the weather?) began to not just leak but rather
flood, I told everyone to gather their things and when I unzipped the
flap, to run to the house.  Another bolt of lightning.  Everyone began
screaming again, left all their stuff in the now drenched tent and ran
like madmen to the back door where Rob was waiting for us. 

hour later, everyone was settled again and slept for about 30 minutes
before getting up again to begin our day.  *Picture me yawning here. 
Hair wild, eyes with dark circles, staggering to the kitchen to make an
entire pot of coffee for myself.

The boys played Legos, ate
cinnamon rolls and watched cartoons while I dragged sopping wet quilts
across the backyard and tried to wring them out in the still pouring
rain.  Rob, however, got the worst end of the deal, since he was
downstairs in ankle deep muddy water trying to pump out the basement
that had flooded during the night. 

And after everyone had left
and the garage was covered in mildewed, drippy blankets and
sleeping bags, Isaac shouted, “That was the best party ever!”  I love
that kid. 

Fortunately, the weather did not last (though I was
sweatin’ it pretty hard), and Backyard Adventure Camp was just about
perfect all week.

There was plenty of sunshine for playing out in the water. 

Climbing Trees

Walking on the slack line.
I cannot seem to master this skill, but the kids were quite good.

Discovering interesting things in the woods and working together.

We had a visitor all week.  It was the biggest caterpillar I’ve ever seen.  Awesome.

The morning nature walk was a daily favorite.  I think I’d like to incorporate this practice into my everyday life. 

Tree branch weaving. 
This turned into a super cool art project.  I love watching creative minds at work.

Sidewalk chalk “zoo” of monsters.
This was one of the favorite activities as well.  It was our only rainy day, so we stayed inside for the morning making soap.  But afterwards, when things began to dry out, we did this.  Too funny.

The tree swings and hammock were among the most popular activities. 
Who needs lesson plans?

We did a lot of learning and creating during the week, and by Friday, we were all moving a little slower.  There was some hard core play going on, and I slept for a long time afterwards.  But I would totally do it again.   I hope they all had as much fun as I did.

After all the games had been put away and art supplies were stacked back on the shelves, we loaded up and took Harper Lee and Isaac on their first backpacking trip. 

This summer has been spent largely in the woods, and that has been a very good thing.  For them and for me.  There is something about being outside, walking on dirt and grass with bare feet, surrounded on all sides by towering trees.  It’s good for the head and the heart.

This summer has been an adventure.
A respite.
A blessing.