Monday, September 17, 2012

Emily's First Camping Trip

Dear Emily,

We just got back from your first ever camping trip, something we had both been looking forward to for a long time. We originally thought of camping in the backyard, but finally decided to just do it right and go real camping, which brought us to Ohiopyle state park. We set up camp, put on our adventure hats, and set out to find some fun.

Our first adventure was to Cucumber Falls, which looked a little dry this year, but still very nice.

We dipped our feet in the mighty Youghiogheny, and watched a few kayakers take on the rapids.

Next we went into the town of Ohiopyle to see the sites, walk along the river, and visit the famous Ohiopyle falls, which is much more impressive in person.

After a long afternoon of adventures, we went back to camp, where you learned how to build a fire, which you thought was pretty cool. However, once the fire was lit and roaring, it took quite a bit of coaxing to convince you it was OK to get close. This was worked out fine while you helped me prepare the potatoes and I did the cooking. After dinner we stretched our legs with a quick drive to Baughman's rock, and then back to the campground as it got dark. Your extreme caution regarding the fire became a problem when you wanted to roast your marshmallow for s'mores (something you had been excited about the whole day), but did not want to get within arm's reach, stick's reach, or arm+stick's reach of the fire. Eventually, we worked it out, and you had a great s'more. After that, it was off to the tent for stories and sleeping. It was quite chilly outside, getting down to the low 40's, but we stayed cozy warm in our sleeping bags and blankets.

The next morning you and Emily (your new favorite doll) had power pancakes with me before our hike.

You were quite excited about hiking, especially reading the signs and finding things in the woods. We hiked from our campground over to the Great Allegheny Passage trail and Ferncliff Peninsula Natural Area, which was quite a long hike for you (you got a few rides on my shoulders to get up some big hills at the end).

We picked flowers, told jokes, threw sticks in the river, took in some breathtaking views, and just enjoyed God's creation. You even told me: "Daddy, I think God's creation is really good over here".

By the end of it all, you were tuckered out. We got in the car for the drive home, and as soon as you finished your peanut butter sandwich, you announced you were going to take a nap. A few minutes later, when I pointed out a nice view, you said "Are you talking to me? I'm trying to take a nap". I quickly apologized. Over an hour later, you woke up and announced that you were only halfway done with your nap.

Even though it was only one night, we both had lots of fun, and I really enjoyed spending quality time with you. When we got home, we both agreed that we should go again. I hope this is the start of many more outdoor adventures.



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Summer Isn't Over Yet

It's been a busy few months here at the Plantinga household, and we've neglected to keep the blog up to date on all sorts of things from vacationing in Michigan with the kids (and in Hilton Head without the kids), to visiting Kennywood, swimming lessons, Emily's first day of school, and a slew of other things that I am probably forgetting.

Tonight was a warm September evening, and it wasn't anything momentous, but it was special.  It was special because we all ran outside after dinner, forgot about the dishes and spent two hours running around truly enjoying one another and the last of the warm weather.  I may not have written about some of our milestones this summer, but we'll probably naturally recall many of them.  Nights like tonight, though, would be easy to forget.  So instead, here are some pictures.

 This girl can really catch some air.  
Sure to make grandmothers everywhere a little queasy.
 Dancing in the backyard, such an expressive little girl.
Her bright smile is because she just completed a somersault on her own.