Sunday, July 20, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday!

My husband and I place a high value on vacations. Our ideal vacations include hiking, camping and exploring our country's national parks. They don't fit the typical mold of a nice, relaxing vacation, particularly when you add a couple toddlers to the mix. I'll admit that adding children to the mix greatly shortens our hikes, diminishes the amount of sleep we get and results in a few more stressful moments. The way I look at it, though, is that we'd still lose sleep and have a few stressful moments if we were at home, so I'd much rather be exploring our country with them and sharing the new experiences with them.

What a gorgeous place to celebrate being 1!

That explains why the day before Teddy's first birthday we were driving to Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. It was a fairly long day of driving, and Teddy was beyond done with it. The problem was we still had a long hour left to get to our campground, which involved non-stop screaming regardless of our attempts to entertain him. By the time we got to the camp site, we were all a bit frazzled, except Teddy who was as happy as could be to be out the captivity of his carseat.

My husband and I went to bed stressed, not helped by the fact that Teddy was a bugger to get to sleep. Then he proceeded to spend much of the night awake and crying, keeping both of us awake. So when we awoke, far too early for our liking, on his birthday, we weren't exactly the most fond of him at that moment. To be honest, we were both wondering why things always had to be so hard with Teddy and why life couldn't be a bit easier. Don't get me wrong, we certainly expect some crying and stress when traveling more than 6,000 miles with a 1- and 3-year old, but we certainly felt the stress that day.

Oddly enough, after not sleeping all night, Teddy napped while we hiked.

Still, we only had so much time to explore that park, so that's what we did. We strapped both boys into our backpack carriers and headed down the only path to Crater Lake. It wasn't a secluded hike by any means, but we really enjoyed ourselves on the hike down knowing full well the hike back up was all uphill. When we got to the rocky lakeshore with the sun shining, our smiles became genuine and our laughter real as we splashed the boys with water and dunked their heads. We forgot about the lack of sleep and the struggles of the past day and simply enjoyed the moment. Although we couldn't take the boat tour to Wizard Island because our children were too young, that hike was absolutely what we needed.

When we got back to camp, Teddy surprised us while we were getting supper ready. We had left him in the tent to play (and keep him safely out of trouble). When we peered in to check on him, we discovered him sitting up. This was the first time ever that Teddy managed to get into a sitting position all by himself! What a milestone to hit on his first birthday.

Some gourmet spaghettios for birthday supper.

We rounded out the day with cake to celebrate his first birthday and went to bed exhausted but much happier than 24 hours earlier.

Cake face!