September 20, 2006

Mount Charleston Field Trip

Last week Sarah asked if I'd like to take the kids to the mountain for picnic and playtime. I thought it sounded like a great idea! The kids and I looked forward to our Friday afternoon adventure. We (or I should say Sarah) managed to get 6 kids and their car seats stuffed into their Excursion, and we took off after our week of "official" school activities.

The kids were so excited they could hardly stand it. Arden was so excited he thought he had to go potty right after we turned on the road to go up the mountain. With no toilet in sight, we pulled off to the side of the road and I tried to get him to go outside, but the combination of the extraordinary winds and cars zipping by probably scared the poor little guy, so we continued on without any production. Better safe than sorry with potty training ones, I say! He's done so great the last couple of weeks, and I didn't want to give him a chance to regress, particularly that early in our adventure.

We drove up a ways, seeing the little town, lodges, and beautiful houses, then circled around and drove up a different road to a place Sarah remembered going before for a picnic. All the areas we had passed before required fees to enter, but her memory served her well, and we found a parking lot (with potties!) and were able to cross the road to a path that took us to some picnic tables. It was a beautiful spot, and the kids immediately got into the spirit of things, picking flowers, grabbing pine cones, and generally doing kid stuff. Every sight was a cause for celebration and shouting! Remember when we got excited like that?!

The air was so crisp and cool, and the wind blowing in the trees made a lovely sound. Since we had been studying music, I told the kids it was God's woodwinds section. :-)

We found a picnic table that hadn't been trashed out (yes, sad to say, we passed the first one because of all the litter around it) and began lunch. This didn't last long, as the song of the creek was calling, and the kids just had to answer! They came back and grazed every now and then, but they were obviously much more interested in exploring the woods than eating PBJs. Sarah and I helped them cross the creek at several different points. They were so thrilled to be able to walk over a fallen log in one place and step on stones in another. It reminded me of the times my family went camping in New Mexico and Colorado, and I wondered if my parents had the same amusement in watching my brother and me as Sarah and I did at watching our own children. Ahhh, the joys and epiphanies of parenthood.

We probably spent close to 3 hours on the mountain all together, with a half-hour drive each way. Charis and Tobin both had their first potty-in-the-great-outdoors experience, and I am pleased to say that Arden did not have an accident, making use of the parking lot toilet both coming and going. By the time we got back to Sarah's house and make the car seat transfer, it was 3:30 p.m. I gave up on the idea of trying to get my kids to nap and instead sent them to play quietly while I lay down for a nap! :-)

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