From the moment Natalie left school for spring break on Friday, she's been in underwear during waking hours. Here Tom took a shot of the boys while Natalie and I made a pit stop. See how full the back of the van is?
Mount San Jacinto (10,000 feet) behind our van. And more stuff attached to the back of the van.
All the stuff unloaded from the van. Tom used the dolly in the foreground to help bring it the hundred feet from the van to the campsite...then he had to go rescue Lukas, who had climbed 50 feet up and couldn't get down.
Dinner our first night.
After dinner, we roasted marshmallows, then made apple pie in the campfire...Natalie ate that whole pie all up!
We loved the homey addition of Lukas playing the harmonica around the fire.
Beautiful sunset the first night!
And a little walk around the campground before bedtime.
Breakfast the next morning: bagels and eggs. I have come full circle from making pancakes at the campground, to making pancakes at home and warming them up, to buying bagels and toasting them on the griddle. No sticky syrup! Easy! We will definitely be having bagels for breakfast again! Our dinners are leftovers from meals at home that I've frozen and reheat at the campsite...definitely easier than bringing ingredients.
This is not sprinkles on the Nutella-covered bagel...it's desert sand. The chocolate side always ends up facing down when you drop it, doesn't it?
Our campsite included a huge wash...probably not fun during a flash flood, but a spectacular, natural sandpit for the kids to play in.
Boys and their trucks.
We brought the camping toilet for Natalie to use, which she did, with great success! But Dominik wanted to use it too...he did a lot of sitting but no production.
While Tom took the older boys out for a hike, Natalie and I did homework while Dominik napped. She loves to say, "let's do homework!" I cannot believe the turnaround with her desire to do schoolwork, in the past few months.
Then, since it was a hotter-than-expected day, we went into town to get ice cream. I love this picture of Dominik reading a Lego magazine. He is definitely taking after his brothers!
We stopped by the ranger station for Dominik's picture with this perpetual motion machine. Tom likes to take pictures of the kids here.
Then Natalie did a little rock climbing herself.
Dinner the second night.
Lukas, if you make a silly face, that's what shows up for everyone to see!
Dominik roasting a marshmallow (as it catches on fire). That's my leg there...I'm spotting him to make sure he doesn't jump into the fire.
Tom doing manly campfire stuff.
I always boil water the night before and put it in our thermos so it's easy to make hot chocolate for the kids first thing. This is much more necessary when it's colder in the morning...you see they already just have short-sleeves on and it's before 8 a.m. But even though it's not freezing, the kids come asking for hot chocolate first thing. The water is not super hot...just warm enough for child's hot chocolate.
Then we went on a hike, all together as a family. Tom captured a great shot of Dominik matching the flowers. We brought along a lot of red, yellow and orange shirts so we could see our kids at a distance.
The Happy Ones in front of a Joshua Tree.
Natalie and Dominik did great on the hike!
A friendly fellow-hiker offered to take a picture of all of us together.
Then it was time to find some shade for a snack.
I kept Natalie walking by saying, "Let's look for the next sign." She enjoyed reading the signs...or having me read them. Whatever works!
Dominik did so great! He hiked the whole way! We didn't use that baby backpack I was carrying in the picture above.
But Natalie didn't make it the whole way...Tom carried her on his shoulders for about the last quarter of the hike.
Back near the campsite, we took a picture of the kids in the hole in the rock. Dominik was scared and ran away from being in the picture, for some reason.
Natalie and Tom.
Natalie is having fun watching her brothers with their trucks.
I love this picture because it shows the boys launching their trucks down the rocks, and on the right side is a rock climber attempting a vertical climb with no equipment. That rock must be in some climbing guidebooks, because every day several climbers came over to attempt to climb it.
Natalie did a little of her own rock climbing. Her PT would be so proud!
Then she took her jacket off for the model shot in the wind.
On your marks, get set...
And those are the pictures I'm going to talk about...Tom has promised to blog about pictures he took with the boys, and Lukas has also started a report that we will include on the blog. It was such a fun camping trip: the weather was perfect, we got a wonderful campsite (the same one we had last time) and everyone came home safely.