Monday, September 16, 2013

tribe of campers

Shenandoah National Park has become an early fall tradition for us (2010, 2011, 2012). Hiking and deer and views and park ranger programs and cave visits and sitting in the warmth of the lodge are part of our family rhythm now.

This year it was extra special because our friends the Blasers joined us. Joy and I met because of blogging, and we've become friends in person because she happens to live in the same small town as my inlaws. This was our first time traveling together, and it was such fun!

Joy and Paul's kids are truly fabulous. Aside from everyone getting along and having similar likes and such, it was so lovely to see all the different age groups hang out so nicely from 14 to 2. Nobody rolled their eyes and stomped away when Naia would perform her full repertoire of toddler tricks. Quite the contrary. The bigger kids were so kind and giving to her, always helping out and making her feel included. When a game of hide and seek in the woods would break out (not exactly a toddler friendly game in bear country), rather than tell her, "Sorry this is a big kid game, you can't go along." They offered to pair up with her and held her hand or carried her the whole time while romping out in the woods and letting her take part in hiding and seeking.

Oh and Naia was in love with the two Pauls. Both Paulie the teenager and Big Paul, Joy's husband have a special touch with little ones. She was in full flirt mode and they were more than happy to play along.

Of course Joy and I had all kinds of schemes to glamp out the camp site and have long knitting sessions in the lodge and create crafts for the kids... None of that happened. But none of it needed to because we were having too much fun just camping and hiking and hanging out.

It's always makes vacation more relaxing when you head out with people who you just click with so nicely.
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