Lazy Days of Summer

We haven’t had too many days this summer that classify as lazy; but at least we managed to take a short break from our electronic devices and disconnect from the buzz of today’s busy lifestyle. My family managed to do this by reserving a spot at a campground on the remote end of a popular lake two hours from our home.

We brought our tents, sleeping bags, camp chairs, cooking accessories and two coolers full of food and beverages. We also brought our motor boat for water sports and were excited that the dogs were even able to join us.

With two teenagers, putting up the tents and getting set up was a snap.

camp0041

Within an hour we were organized enough to go on the boat for a spin. The kids tubed and we all swam in the refreshingly clean lake water- a great treat compared to the chlorine pool we have been doing our laps in all summer.

1tube0033

By the time we got back to our site, we were hungry and ready to start our dinner. Luckily the local vendor with fire wood and ice came by at the right time.

truck0037

That morning my husband and I had done all the prep work for a real surprise meal on a camping trip- Fondue! We spent at least an hour dipping shrimp. pork tenderloin, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes and cremini into the pot. This was accompanied by a pre-made fried rice dish that was reheated in a cast iron skillet over the fire. Who could imagine camping food could be so gourmet delicious?

After dinner, we lounged around the campfire and played charades while we digested.

fire0043

We haven’t played this game in years so we were a little rusty, but we certainly got some good laughs out of it. Afterwards we roasted marshmallows for our mandatory camping specialty- S’mores! You can’t say you have camped without putting a marshmallow on a stick over the coals, roasting it until it is dark or golden brown on the outside, yet soft and squishy inside. Then you must pair it with a piece of chocolate and smoosh them together between two graham crackers, letting the warm , mushy substance ooze over the melting chocolate as you crunch the sweet cracker sandwich in your mouth! Divine! ( see the link below if you don’t believe me)

http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7o9X/hersheys-smores#spotLink

By the time we crashed on our air mattresses at the end of the day, we felt like we had experienced everything a camping expedition required.

IMG_0047

Each one of these activities slowed us down from our normal busy pace and gave us time to enjoy the experience of the moment and the joy of being together with no distractions.

Even though it only lasted 24 hours,  it was a great way to unwind and truly appreciate the lazy days that summer is supposed to bring.

Family0053

Advertisements

Vacation highlights- not what you would expect

The family vacation I spent in Tucson had its share of exciting activities. Hot air ballooning,

visits to the zoo and the Biosphere 2, were at the top of the list; but we also had some fun activities on a daily basis, namely playing tennis and golf, badminton and bocce, which we could do right in mom’s neighborhood. If you asked my kids their favorite one, I am sure they would say the balloon ride.

While I loved it, I would put some more intimate moments at the top.

One of these was the sunny spot where mom and I would sit in the morning, sipping our coffee and admiring the beauty of the mountainous landscape behind her house. She looks out on a hillside of prickly pears and ocotillo,

where we often spotted rabbits, Peregrine Falcons and coyotes.

While we slowly woke up, we would sit together and enjoy the view. During these peaceful moments, we chatted about our plans for the day or reflected on life in general. I looked forward to our conversations every morning.It was a great way to reconnect as if we did not live thousands of miles apart.

Another time of day for bonding was in the late afternoon, sitting around the fire pit with our cocktails.

Sometimes the kids would join us and spark the conversation with observations of  the day’s activity. One example was after the Biosphere 2 visit,

we discussed what it would be like to inhabit as a subject of a scientific study and why it was important to do that experiment. This conversation led us to rent The Truman Show, a movie about a fake world created as a reality tv show. If their grandmother had not been there to get them thinking, I am sure the kids would have blown it off as one of my “teachable moment” activities. Instead, we were able to compare the movie to what we had seen, which made for another memorable discussion.

My mother encouraged me to go out for dinner with my husband. She really wanted to give us a chance to do something nice together; but I actually preferred eating together as a family and participating in a board game, a Wii tournament, a movie or some stargazing and S’mores.

I told her we would go out when we got home as the kids can fend for themselves. It was more unusual to have such a nice block of time, without distractions of homework, friends or after-school activities, during which we could all interact and have fun.

It does make you appreciate how quickly kids grow and become independent. You think you will have them around forever, and then you start seeing adulthood on the horizon. It makes you treasure every moment you have with them. Hopefully when mine are grown, they will want to come back “home” often and keep our family bond strong. I know how appreciative my parents are when I make the time to see them. That is why these moments of either one-on-one or family time are the most important to me and the highlights of my vacation.