Monday, June 18, 2018

Rych Fam: Camping 2018

Two weekends ago, Matt and I took the boys camping to our favorite local spot. We've been renting the same cabin since 2013, next to a spot where my Dad parks his RV - giving us a great big yard for the kids to run around in and have fun!

If you're local to WNY, check out the KOA in Medina, also called Wildwood Lake. It's a quick dive, and has lots of great amenities for the kids including 3 playgrounds, a jumping pillow, 2 swimming pools, an arcade and activity center, and lots more! There's even a little bar now featuring local craft beer and locally made wine - we loved that this year!

We always get there on a Friday afternoon - we arrived just in time for dinner this year. We made hobo pies on the fire with a side of quinoa salad and chips. My Dad passed out ice cream bars to the kids and we had some cookies for dessert, too. The kids were really tired that night, so while we did get some time around the fire and they played catch with a glow in the dark football, we went to bed fairly early (at least on camping time) and didn't do much else!

The next morning was maybe my favorite thing about camping - breakfast on the fire! My Dad always makes pancakes on our first morning, and while there are plenty of gluten free mixes out there, we much prefer making them out of oat flour. So I mixed up the dry ingredients at home and we mashed in a banana and mixed in almond milk and eggs when we got there. My Dad added blueberries, too - it was all soooooo gooood!

After breakfast, the boys got dressed and I went in the cabin to get ready for the day myself. Matt took them up to the arcade to play for a while, so with my extra time I sat down to read, which was so nice to have time for!

My sister and her family came up to spend the day, and they arrived around lunch time. My dad made these awesome vegan white bean wraps that we ate together before heading up to the main activity areas for some fun. The kiddos all started out on the jumping pillow, which always makes for great photos!

Just as they were winding down, an inflatable water slide was being set up. My kids swore up and down that they wanted nothing to do with swimming while we were there (there's usually so much else to do that they just don't care to!), so I didn't bring them any swim stuff. They didn't care!! They went down the water slide in their regular clothes anyway.

After their trips down the super-dirty slide, they were seriously grimey. This picture of Henry's feet and crazy hair kind of totally sums him up!

We played on one of the playgrounds for a bit, and then went up to the snack bar for some ice cream. We sat on the patio of their new bar to eat, while the adults sampled some drinks and my Dad got chatty with some local brewers that he knows. (He knows a lot of brewers and bartenders around here! He always chats them up like old friends!!) We spent a little time just sort of wandering around after that...showing our cousins the mining sluice and the frisbee golf, and then we went back to the campsite.

For a while, we just hung out doing our own things. The boys played yardzee with their uncle, Matt taught our neice how to skip stones, and then she spent some time drawing. I read my book while my sister characteristically snoozed lol (I won't share the picture my Dad snapped in secret!), and then it was time to work on dinner.

My Dad made steaks and turkey burgers on the fire, and we had salt potatoes, green beans, and quinoa salad on the side. So good!! My sister and her family stuck around long enough for a s'more and some glow necklaces, and when they set off for the evening, we huddled around the fire for more marshmallow roasting. The boys wanted to spend their last night camping in our new tent, so they set that up, too. I opted to stay in the cabin ;)

The next morning, my big guys were up fairly early, while Jake snoozed and snoozed away. Even as I packed up our things around him, he went on sleeping. All of that fresh air makes a little man tired!! I had to wake up him to join us for breakfast - which was eggs, bacon, sausage, and leftover salt potatoes made into home-fries with some leftover steak mixed in. Yum!!

After breakfast, I walked around a bit to take some pictures. It was such a beautiful morning, and I love all of the trees and the creek near our camping site. It's so beautiful!!

There was a lot of packing and cleaning up to do before we left, but we did it surprisingly quickly. So before we took off, I followed Jake around while he explored the creek a little bit. He kept saying things like, "I just love it here, I wish I could own our cabin and just stay at this place." So sweet! He reminded me so much of my Grandpa with the way he walked along and held his arm behind his back - my Grandpa does the same thing! (We almost named Jake after him, actually...sometimes I still wish we did!!)

The last thing we did before leaving was take a picture of the boys between a set of trees just off the cabin's porch. We've done it every year since we started going, and I had to put a little collage together this year because I loooove seeing how they've grown!!!

It was SO good to be back, and we had SO much fun! Matt and I kept commenting about how much easier and relaxing it was to be there with slightly older boys. We always enjoyed ourselves over the years, but it's certainly a different experience when there's no diapers to change, and they are big enough to not be SO scared of them falling in the creek (which Henry totally did this trip). It was fun for them to have their cousins along, too, so they could show them all of their favorite things!

They're already talking about next year! It's a perfect kick-off to our summer, and I hope we make many more happy, fun, outdoorsy memories just like this!

(I haven't always been good at documenting these trips, but here's my posts from 2014 & 2016!)
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Friday, June 15, 2018

Friday Favorites: Signs of Summer

Compared to most people in the blogging community, summer vacation has an impossibly late start for us! Jake, my preschooler, is already on vaca - but my other boys still have another week to get through!! The weather has certainly turned summery, but I'm still over here packing lunches and signing agendas (soooob, make it stop!!!)

Despite school taking forever to wrap it up, we've had some glorious signs of summer lately that are my absolute favorite!

Reading on my patio swing is one of my favorite things do during the warm weather months, but having a buddy join me for some evening before-bed reading is my favorite, favorite, favorite!

Seeing all of my kiddos jammed into the tiny little turtle sandbox is my favorite, because it gets more hilarious every year. They still ask for this thing to get filled up every summer - I wonder how long it'll be fun for them!

Our little pool went up and the excitement over swimming the boys have had is my favorite! As much of a hassle as it is, there's something about the smell of chlorine and bright beach towels lying around that just makes life feel truly summery.

We made our first trip to the drive-in already, which always screams summertime! It was so warm that night, we didn't even need a hoodie until it was time to leave. We had so much fun!! The drive-in is always a favorite!

On that note, the silly mosquito repellent commercial from the 1950's that they play at the drive-in are one of my favorite summertime things :)

Before preschool ended for the year, I took Jake on his farm field trip - something I've done with both of my older boys over the years, so it's always so much fun to revisit those moments! Preschool traditions are totally my favorite (don't even get me started on how sad I'll be with our last year at our favorite preschool this September!!!) (PS - riding the pony was totally Jake's favorite! And his Matilda Jane boys' shorts are my favorite!)

Luke & Henry celebrated their field day last week, which they call Super Fun Day. Being there for it is my favorite day of the school year! I wish I could share more pictures, but there are a lot of little faces in them that we don't know personally, so I don't want to put them out there without their parents knowing!!

We went to the farmer's market to get all of our garden plants the morning after Super Fun Day, and having my little plant babies in the ground with the promise of a yummy harvest is my favorite!

I've been having fun with summery outfits lately - I probably say this every season, but my they are my current favorite styles to play with. Everything bright, colorful, and breezy! Lots and greens and yellows for me right now!!

We have had a lot of amazing sunsets lately! The blazing colors of summer skies are my FAVORITE!!!

These silly summer "uniforms" my kids end up in are my favorite. We usually run outside early in the morning - just add sandals to their jammies to complete the outfit ;) And ya know, worn out glow necklaces from last night are the perfect accessory!

We went camping last weekend after taking a year off from visiting our favorite spot! It was so good to be back, and we had so much fun!! (Lots of details to come on that!)

While we were gone, the roses along our fence bloomed, and their striking red color against the blue sky is my favorite!!!!

Getting extra one-on-one time with my littlest dude is my favorite. Since he's been on break, we've been playing outside a lot, having epic cuddle sessions, and sharing lots of interesting conversations. Picking a four year old's brain is the BEST!! This photo is my favorite because 1, he's wearing Matilda Jane (eeek!) 2, he thought an R2D2 hat would pair nicely with it (love lol) 3, his Grandma gave him a box of mints and he carried them around like they were gold, told everyone he saw about them, and shared and shared them until they were all gone. He is so curious and explores everything and finds passion in the smallest things! Lately he's been sorting money...over and over again. I know this is the stuff I'll look back on when my boys are big smelly teenagers ;)

Summer is my FAVORITE!!!

It's partly the freedom and escape from routine and obligations, partly the time spent outdoors and the fresh air, and partly seeing my kids come alive - playing, exploring, and letting loose more than they tend to do in the other seasons of the year. I'm so happy it's almost time for months of open-ended fun with my guys!

I'm linking up with Friday Favorites today!!! Have a great weekend! :)

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