Last night we returned from two glorious days of camping at New Brighton State Beach . Now, I can't claim to be a super outdoorsy girl, but I just had the best time. Among the highlights:
Pirate treasure: So we went with two other families, and one of the dads prepared a special surprise for the kiddos. Before the trip he created a pretty elaborate map of the beach, that included an 'X' to mark a treasure spot. On the first day, while the kids were busy playing in the sand, the dads buried the treasure (a cigar type box decorated with a skull and cross bones). Conveniently, there was a big 'pirate looking' boat far in the distance that the kids spotted. Anyway, the map was placed in an old bottle that the dads 'discovered' washed up on the beach. The kids - all aged between 3 and 5, went bananas, followed the map, found a marked 'x' in the sand in black charcoal, and dug up the box with their shovels. There were bracelets, necklaces, gold coins, and light-up trinkets. Very cool.
Seals, Sea Otters, and dolphins: We saw all of these creatures. Some up close enough to see their eyes. It was insane. As the kids played, the adults sat in their chairs and just marveled at all of the animals, particularly the seals that were thisclose to us. I was so excited I ran out into the water a few times in my yoga pants - I swear I'd be able to touch them. I ended up almost waist high in water and very close a couple of times, until I feared one might feel threatened and bite me. There is something about seeing sea life in its natural setting, that is just cooler than the aquarium (which I also love).
Miss P's Willingness to try new things: As I've mentioned, P is quite tentative. I'm no wild child myself (except for when it comes to seals, apparently), so I understand. Yet, I want her to have fun experiencing life, so I try to give some healthy pushes. Anyway, one of our current goals is to get her out and riding her bike more in new territory and on anything other than a perfectly flat road. On this trip, she and some of the other kids did loops around the campsite including some minor uphill and downhill, and made some progress learning how to coast and break when going faster than she'd like. She also began the trip not wanting to go anywhere near the actual ocean water and ended it taunting the waves as she ran in and out of the surf. Hooray!
And everything else: the 'big kids' each told a ghost story (unprompted by adults), did puppet shows, and played for hours. We ate like kings: hot breakfast, yummy salads, roasted veggies, kabobs, chicken, homemade tortillas, s'mores, and a fresh berry pie from a farm. E said it was better than we eat at home (oops!) But mostly it was so nice to be in the fresh air, away from home, 'unplugged,' and just having fun. I even found time to read my latest book. Now for me, that is a vacation. : )