Harrowing/Heartwarming Parent Moment of the Week

Vacation or Adventure: Part Two

Yes, indeed. After much wild bouncing at the trampoline park and the rapid consumption of some delightfully neon-colored slushies, we finally arrived at Ocean City State Park where our camp site awaited. Here, Sweet Boy #1 is setting up his tent while the rest of us wrestle with the large tent.

One of the best moments of a camping trip is sitting at the picnic table in that hushed morning stillness after the water has finally boiled. You wrap your hands around a cup of coffee or cocoa, spread open your Bible, and close your eyes, soaking in the birdsong and gentle rumble of the distant ocean as sunlight warms your skin.

This moment is made all the more precious because of all those other moments that occur before, after, or even during that idyllic instant of peace. Yes, that would be waking up to a small river snaking through the middle of the tent and realizing that your clothes are all soaked (different camping trip), watching the dog burst through the wall of your sleeping quarters in order to vanquish nighttime monsters (this trip), or seeing that your youngest has found a rubber chicken somewhere in the forest and has dubbed it his new best friend. Yes, I doused the thing in sanitizer and tried not to wonder who or what had owned the precious discovery before us. On a side note, Sweet Boy#2, upon breaking his brand new glasses, constructed these amazing spectacles all on his own. He popped the new lenses out of the shattered frames, managed to get them into the intact face portion of a pair of glasses whose arms had been broken off but were otherwise whole. He then found a pair of outdated glasses that still had arms, popped out the old lenses, and tapped the arm-less frames onto them. Voila!

Yep, here is our new acquisition, the beloved rubber chicken.

Tents in place, cocoa consumed, it was finally time to hit the beach. And of course, one of the highlights is watching an 80 lb. boy walk a 105 lb. dog!

Yes, despite passing a finely-illustrated sign warning us all about the sharp and pointy plants that lurked near the path, all three of the boys determined to make the trek barefoot. They gathered the aforementioned sharp and pointy seeds in their feet, pulled them out, read the sign again to learn the name, and continued barefoot, enlightened concerning what to call the painful vegetation and just as determined as ever to keep their bare toes in the sand.

As we broke free of the dunes and the wind blasted across the sand making everyone squint against the stinging blast. Finally, the scent of salt stirred the air and the ocean was sighted. Notice that the 100 lb boy is now walking the 105 lb. dog. Much much safer, I’m sure.

On to beach-side activities. Eating a sandy lunch, digging in sand, the piling up of sand, running in sand, getting sand in ears and eyes and underwear, and napping in sand. It sounds repetitive, and yet, we could have done this all day. The boys, and of course the dog, were delighted with their sandy frolics. I’m not sure why Princess Leia Freyja is sticking out her tongue. Perhaps, she is upset with the photographer for not sharing her sandwich?

A boy of twelve and his dog.

A boy of fourteen and his dog.

A ten-year-old boy and his dog.

Hmmm … after viewing these and many other photos from our trip, it is apparent that boys of all ages and dogs really are made for each other. It was so good to be able to bring Princess Leia Freyja Wilks along with us (yes, that is her registered name) even thought she broke our tent and made certain that we were always carefully watching the sandwiches, coffee, and humus. What? You didn’t know that Newfoundlands like hummus?

Of course they do!

Besides sand-related activities, the boys enjoyed wave-related pastimes. Wave sitting, wave jumping, wave running, and of course the ever popular wave-succumbing wherein a boy trips and is engulfed by a powerful wash of salt water that immediately steals his glasses and washes them out to sea. Nope, not Sweet Boy#2’s taped together glasses. Those would be the brand new glasses of Sweet Boy#3!

If you think that big boys are past frolicking …

… you are sadly mistaken!

Although they love leaping about in the ocean, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to capture photos of my sons smiling. We have many smirking photos, glaring photos, grimacing photos, and leaping photos.

Sweet Boy#2 was especially difficult to capture. Behold, his many faces!

Thankfully, he will smile for the dog and I discovered that bribing him with malt vinegar works as well! What? You don’t believe me? Well, I was enjoying my lovely little paper cup of malt vinegar from the fish shack and Sweet Boy#2 asked for a sip. Being the ancient, experienced, and pruney-skinned (their description, not mine) mother that I am, I noticed the fierce gleam of covetousness in his eyes and knew that I had room to bargain. I have been chasing him around, getting nothing but scowling pictures and glaring pictures for two years now. “What will you give me for a sip of vinegar?” I asked. Well, he promised to pose on the beach with the wind blowing his hair around his face and smiling the way I asked him to, until I was happy with the picture!!!

It took a few tries.

And a just a dash of silliness.

But I walked away the proud owner of this lovely photo of my middle-most son and he didn’t even drink all my vinegar. It was a finely flavored condiment to be sure. Mother’s everywhere should be made aware of the persuasive powers that vinegar holds upon pesky boys!

Being nearly fifteen, our oldest son has been perfecting his teenish smirk.

How do you think he is doing?

Now, I only have one child left who will smile when I point a camera at him. That is, if I can get him to hold still long enough so that he isn’t blurry.

Yay! There he is. My last hugging, smiling, and snuggling kiddo! Not that I don’t appreciate being smirked and growled at … but I never turn down a nice hug.

Princess Leia is rushing out to check on her boys as they construct “Stupidopolis.” Yes, they carefully measured the distance to the water hoping that they would have plenty of time to construct an imposing structure, but not so much time that the tide would not destroy it before we had to leave the shore and head back to camp.

And Stupidopolis rises from the sand …

Its various charming walls and towers rebuilt after the last cataclysmic wave hit its unsuspecting populace.

Will the sheer mass of the structures save them from annihilation?

Oh, no! Here comes the Tsunami!

Run! Run! Everybody run!

Stupidopolis falls again.

Time for more wave jumping!

Or possibly a nice nap on the shore, far from the Stupidopolis city limits, of course.

And there you have it folks, we went camping, we survived! Vacation or Adventure? It was definitely an Adventure!


I promise you a crazed animal, a concussion, and a kiss in every single book...you're welcome!

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