Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Time for Gratitude - Family and Nature

We had the opportunity to go on a big family vacation at the end of June. When I say big, I mean it was big because my entire family was able to be there – my folks, my sister, her husband and their almost two-year-old daughter, my brother and his three-year-old daughter, and my “baby” brother who just graduated from high school…not to mention my husband and I, and our two kiddos (3 ½ and 18 months).

My folks’ had bid on and won a cabin stay in central Montana at a recent Ducks Unlimited banquet. The cabin slept 15 people, so there was plenty of room, it was up in the mountains away from everything…the closest town was 24 miles away and there wasn’t any cell phone service *or* internet. We were quite literally “away from it all”.

My parents hauled their four wheelers out there because there are many, many ATV trails in the area where we were. We also took several games (indoor and outdoor), fishing equipment, and my dad’s new “movie theater” style popcorn maker. We had a campfire every night, and the kids picked “flowers” from the abundance of very large and full dandelions in the yard…in fact, it was one of their favorite activities. We all got several beautiful dandelion bouquets from their precious “flower picking” sessions.

This was the first time we had all been on a vacation together since well before any of us were married. Of course we get together on holidays and as often as possible at other times throughout the year, but it’s just not the same as all going somewhere together and spending a week in the same cabin. Since I have been a little girl we have taken trips together as a family, but with each of us having our own families now, it adds a completely new dynamic, and definitely could have gone either way – tense and irritating, or comfortable and easy. It was fabulous!

The kids had a fantastic time, my folks had a great time with the grandkids and their “babies” (i.e. us), and of course we, the “babies” and our spouses all had fun too. My husband got to enjoy some fishing with two of his brother-in-laws, I went four-wheeling on different trails every day with my brother, sister, mom, and dad (all at different times) – we even made it to the top of a mountain where there was too much snow to get through the trail…somewhere around 10,000 feet…talk about a beautiful view! My husband and I went on a long walk by a nearby creek, and the kids got to do what they do best – play their little hearts out. They love spending time together and especially with their grandma and grandpa and auntie and uncles.

All in all it was a fantastic trip and SO nice to “unplug” for a little while and just get close to the people who are most important in my life surrounded by the majesty and beauty of God’s creation. On the way back home, we took an extra day and drove through Yellowstone National Park. If you have never done that and if you appreciate wildlife, beautiful waterfalls, and nature in general, I would highly recommend it. Our daughter can’t stop talking about the waterfalls we got to see and different fun things we got to do and see when we were “at the vacation”. Aren’t kids wonderful?

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