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Labor Day 08

There is a family curse that makes women particularly fertile Labor Day weekend. This is made obvious by the eight birthdays my family has during the last week of May. We've joked that in order to prevent more birthday cake eating Memorial Day weekend, all couples should take separate vacations for Labor Day. In a pinch, existing children are excellent at preventing subsequent children. Feeling so bold with our inability to have any private time, we left suburbia for the (over developed resort-filled) wilds.

We had a fabulous weekend at Laurel Hill State Park. This was our first time out in our tent in two years (Claire didn't remember it, which makes sense since she was only 8mo old when last she slept in it), and we were pleased with how well-equipped we were. The first few times we went camping without the benefit of other family or a well-stocked cabin were a series of minor nuisances as we figured out what supplies we were lacking, or tried to remember how to use the Coleman stove. This time we felt like old pros, and our stress levels (at or near zero) reflected it.

When we left it was getting toasty out, but when we arrived at camp we found it cool, overcast, and damp from the morning's rain. We set up camp and entertained ourselves with fine literature. (Sudoku and coloring books)

We checked out the campground and the girls got to play at the playground. This, according to Anna, almost made up for the fact that Pap-pap wasn't there.

I don't know about the rest of summer, but by this time of year, it gets cold at night in the Laurel Highlands. We were cozy in our sleeping bags, and were made even cozier when Claire decided she was scared of the dark and wound up in bed with us.

The next morning I was really starting to wish I'd brought warmer foot-wear than flip-flops. The girls, of course, had a variety of footwear and clothing. I know what kids are like while camping and always over pack assuming they will fall in a creek/find a really big mud puddle/spill their beverage down their shirts/leak out of their diapers. (it was the later) Fortunately the sun came out in a big way. The sky was so beautiful I had to take a picture of it. This is a stupid picture, as it looks like a blue screen of death, but I love it. I live in Pittsburgh. Skies like this are as rare as hen's teeth.

So we went to the beach! I promised Anna we would go to a beach this year. I did not promise salt water. I had to convince my children that there are no crabs in the lake. They would not find sea shells. There are no sharks and no 'occodiles. Claire was in no danger of "falling into the ocean."

Anna is apparently practicing posing for the Sport's Illustrated swimsuit edition.

What you can't see in the above picture is that it was one of Claire's dozen attempts at getting the sand off her feet. She ran up the beach to our blanket, and was dismayed to find her feet all sandy. She ran back to the water, carefully washed them off, and ran back through the sand to the blanket, only to find them coated with sand again. Lather, rinse, repeat while cruel Mama laughed and laughed.

When we got back to camp the girls relaxed by doing something that I never got to do as a (deprived) camping child.

Camping is a perpetual struggle between being equipped enough for comfort without bringing a stupid amount of unnecessary crap with you. This point varies from person to person, sort of like a sleep number. Some people can be happy camping with little more than a tarp and a pocket knife. Some people are not at home with less than a toaster and a microwave. While I normally would scorn the addition of the DVD player, it bought me 30 minutes to cook dinner in peace without my children trying to ignite themselves with Coleman fuel and/or propane. I still reserve the right to look down on those who insist on plugging their children in for a trip to the bank.

I've always found it a downer for "go home" day to only involve eating, packing, and taking off, so we took a little hike this morning out an easy trail to the dam touted on the park's brochure. It did not disappoint.

We even managed a rare picture of the entire Unreserved clan together!

This has nothing to do with our trip, but I have to point out that I would totally believe the news media if they told me there was a hurricane in a given place even if they did NOT send some poor schlub out to stand in it. That is all.

Looks like you had a fabulous time with your family - great pics! I'm another new Burgh Mom. Look forward to meeting you at a future event.

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  • I'm Sarah
  • From Pittsburgh, United States
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