September 3, 2012

Labor Day Camping Trip

We have been planning to go camping all summer and finally decided to just go somewhere close.  Past Labor Day Holidays we've gone up to Hourglass Lake but this year there were to many extenuating circumstances to make that happen.  Our plans to go north with Melissa's family fell threw.  But we didn't want to allow the entire summer to go by without a camping trip.

So Sunday afternoon we decided to take what we had and just go up into the mountains overnight.  That way the boys would have the experience of sleeping overnight in the tent and we could check it off our to-do list.

We didn't get out of town until after 7:00 pm once we finally decided to go.  That put us in the mountain to set up in the dark (this is a Petersen Family tradition, to set up camp in the dark).  However, due to the holiday weekend we ended up going much further than originally anticipated to find an acceptable camping spot.

Once we had arrived we set about to establish camp.  Me and Michelle unloaded the suburban to get the tent and bags set up.  The boys were on fire duty.

It seems that the boys were having a little difficulty getting the fire started, most likely due to the recent rains and the lack of appropriate tinder (paper).  We had brought Aleky's birthday present along because we needed the use of a sixth sleeping bag for the boys.  Ironically, the wrapping paper proved to be the "fire paper" needed to get the camp fire going.

We did a quick little celebration by singing to Aleky and letting him open his birthday present early and then we went back to work establishing camp.

Once camp was set up Michelle got dinner ready.  This year we did green smoothies.  We felt that it would be easier and more convenient to bring them along rather than try and prepare a dinner at the late hour of the night.  Plus, we haven't actually had green smoothies in a couple of days and we can feel the difference.

We all sat around the camp fire and drank our smoothies.  The four older boys were having fun lighting sticks on fire and then watching them smoke, writing their names in the air or just waving them to watch the ember tracks in the sky.

We finally called it a night and put the boys in bed.  However, due to a recent change in privileges, our boys decided to stay up and read.  When we're at home the boys use their headlamps as reading lights and they may stay up past their 8:00 pm bedtimes if they are quietly readying.  Tonight was no different.  The boys read until they were tired and fell asleep.  David read until after midnight (at least until after Michelle and I were safely tucked in bed and trying to sleep).

 Monday morning we woke up.  The boys got a lesson in fire starting to try and improve their skills.  David was the only one interested enough to complete the lesson.  He was able to get the fire started without any "fire paper" but it took until breakfast time to do it.  Fortunately it was warm enough that it didn't really matter to anyone, just the fact that we finally had a fire was good enough for the family.

Michelle made us her special hot cereal for breakfast.  The boys all lined up for chow and at very politely.  This is the best table manners they've exhibited during breakfast and we didn't even eat at a table.  However, the great outdoors was too great a distraction and the boys didn't eat nearly as heartily as they normally do.

We don't have the cool guns that the Petersens do but we brought the BB gun and the pellet pistol and had some fun shooting some plastic bottles for targets.  Donovan, Aleky and Quinten each had a turn but the lack of the semi-automatic guns with the associated "pop" of the bullets shooting drained their excitement very quickly.  David and Michael, however, seem to have a never ending fascination with shooting and they kept at it until it was time to pack up camp.

While the boys were shooting Donovan decided to head off and do a little exploring.  He didn't go far but it was interesting to see him leave the shooting range to explore the landscape.

 Michael, before he got started with the guns, spent the morning drawing pictures.  He was able to draw our complete campsite along with two other colorful pictures.

Aleky found it very difficult to follow directions and was breaking most of our camp rules.  He finally ended up in timeout to rethink his actions.

After packing up camp we drove through the area to see if there were better camp sites available.  At one point we almost got stuck in a mud puddle but fortunately we were able to slide out with just enough traction to escape.  Otherwise, we had a pleasant drive through the mountain backroads, found a couple more camping spots for future adventures and returned home without further incident.

We're glad we went and were glad were back.  Our family may be built for these quick little excursions for the time being.

September 2, 2012

Fall From the Highest Bunk

Last night as I was getting ready for bed I heard a very loud thud and knew that something large had been dropped from a significant height.  Michelle and I went to the boys room to discover what was going on.  When we got there we discovered Donovan on the floor in a heap, just a lump on the floor not moving at all.  There was no crying or screaming.  We tried to talk to Donovan but he was unresponsive.
The unresponsiveness was quite alarming!  We brought him out to the living room for a more thorough examination to determine if advanced medical attention would be required.  Once in the light we noticed a huge contusion on his right temple and so we concluded that he must have fell off the top bunk and landed right on his head.  We tried to rouse the sleeping child for a good minute and we were about to rush him to the hospital when he started to respond to us.  He was very confused and couldn't remember anyone's name or even where he was.
I checked his pulse and it was slow and steady, about 80 bpm.  His respirations were normal and neither eye was dilated.  When we shined a light in his eye his pupil reflex was normal.  Michelle quickly put some essential oils on his temple to reduce the swelling and then she put a covered ice pack over the bruise.  Once Donovan had finally woke up he started crying mostly because he was so tired.  Since all of his vital signs seemed normal we decided to let him sleep on the couch so that we could check on him through the rest of the night.
Except for a headache he still seems to be doing just fine.  His head has a slight bruise over that right eye but that's about it.  If his headache persists then we'll have him checked out.  However, I think we need to rearrange the bunk beds to additional safety.  We don't need boys doing head dives onto the wood floor in the middle of the night.  It doesn't prove to be a restful night for us when they do.