Monday, December 15, 2014

Labor Day Weekend

Way back in the Spring (some time-ish around there...) Grandma Sun told Ellie about how that summer her and Papa would take Ellie fishing.  We heard about how Ellie was going to fish with Grandma and Papa periodically for months.  And then summer came.  And summer was slipping away, without a fishing trip.  So I made a call to Grandma and Papa and we decided that Labor Day Weekend we would go to a campsite they frequent called Little Diamond up by Newport, WA where they stock their lake so Ellie could go fishing with them.

So, August 29th we packed up the Durango and drove out to Little Diamond.  We got there for dinner in Grandma and Papa's trailer and thankfully they had already set up a giant tent for us.  Here is where we get to be extra grateful for my generous parents.  Kerry had found a giant three room tent at a yardsale with lots of extras for $25.  They lent it out a few times, and then brought it for us to use on this trip.  We had been using the tent my three sisters and I grew up camping in which had a divider and worked great, still fitting four sleeping bags and a pack-n-play, but not much else.  It was so nice to have space for clothes, to split up the baby napping from the big girls, and to have room to get dressed and move.  And then the last day of the trip my folks just gave us the tent, saying they knew our family would only grow, and would we please bring back the small one when we could.  Seriously, Steve and I were both blessed with such amazingly generous families and we continue to be blessed by our loved ones.  We are so grateful.

Anyway, back to our trip.  Saturday morning we woke up and had decent weather so we went for a walk with the girls.  I thought we'd only go a little ways down to the pond at first, but Daddy had different ideas.  The girls did so well considering we hiked the whole way around the little lake they have there.  A week or two before, there had been terrible wind storms that had knocked over a lot of trees, so we had to kind of find our own way at times instead of using an established path like they usually have there.  Here was Papa helping Ellie in a tough spot.  Mckayla was carried much of the time.
 Just one of the many beautiful views walking around the lake there.
 These little bullfrogs can be spotted all around the lake if you look hard enough.

After our walk we headed back to camp where the girls loved watching Grandma leave treats out for the numerous chipmunks that live at the campground.  Word spread, and by the end of the trip Grandma's pile of sunflower seeds would have 4-6 chipmunks in our campsite at a time.

After lunch and naps it was time to head out for the main event - fishing!  Where it was the end of the season and a holiday weekend the fishing was free, which was nice.  Here was our whole group - minus the photographer.  Papa got started and then...
 It was Ellie's turn!  She learned quickly that fishing is hard work.  She frustrated Papa more than a few times with her constant waving of the pole and reeling - not much good for catching anything.
 Mckayla enjoyed exploring the nearby grass, dirt, and rocks.  Eventually Ellie joined her and they enjoyed playing in the rocks and getting yelled at for throwing rocks where we were trying to catch fish.
 But, Papa did eventually catch a prize-winning fish!  This was about the size of all our catches that weekend, so needless to say they were all released back into the lake.  Ellie enjoyed doing that part.
 The girls started getting tired after fishing and walking around and playing on the playground with Daddy, so the adults took over the fishing completely till we headed back for dinner.  The adults ended up basically doing all the fishing while the girls waited to enjoy seeing and ultimately releasing the fish for the rest of the weekend.  I think between the four of us we caught 10-12 little fish.

 The next day was a little cloudy and threatened some rain, but we took advantage of the time we had.  The girls enjoyed playing on the swings some.  Ellie will sit on a swing now if she is in control and nobody pushes her.  Mckayla will swing forever.
 On any type of swing.  She also loves wearing her glasses whenever possible.
 Later that day we figured it was our last chance so we went and rented this little flat-bottomed metal fishing boat to take the girls out on the lake.  Here were all us Bennett girls.
 The big girls had a blast "helping row" with Daddy.
 And boy did Daddy get to row.  It was windy and the lake had whole patches that were covered in lilypads where we could see our path through the muck.  Daddy loves his girls though, so he rowed around that whole lake for the entire hour and then we headed back to dock just as it started to sprinkle on us.

Later that night we all got a bit more fishing in.  Here Ellie holding another of Papa's giant fish before tossing him back in the lake.
 This gentleman was bottom-fishing (we were using bobbers) off the dock and was catching a bunch of little fish while we were there.  He eventually stopped when he caught too many catfish and didn't want to deal with them, but until then he let Ellie come release all his fish.
 He said he was so impressed that she wasn't afraid or grossed out by them at all.  Nope, she was our designated fish-releaser, and she loved every moment of it.
So thanks Grandma Sun and Papa Rose.  Thanks for a wonderful tent we look forward to using as our family grows.  Thanks for a fun weekend at the lake camping.  And thanks for keeping your promise to our girl so she could enjoy holding tiny slippery fish as she threw the poor buggers back in the water over and over.  It was a lot of fun.

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