A breath of fresh air
My sister-in-law, Margaret, has a family ranch in Joe's Valley. I've been hearing about it for years and was so excited when she invited our family to stay there for the reunion. It is the stuff childhood dreams are made of. Completely unplugged and an idyllic setting for fort building, river wading, critter catching and imaginations running wild. Made only better by sharing it with cousins. We were sad that Tyson and his family weren't able to make it to this part of the reunion since he was starting his dental rotation, but the rest of us made some memories that will last a lifetime.
We couldn't have planned it any better to have our group of girls born together then our big group of boys. Everybody has a best friend and it is pure magic watching those friendships grow over the years. It was also pure entertainment watching these girls trying to get the paddle boat out of the shallows. It ended with Kylie in her underwear and Jayci excitedly announcing, "this is exactly why I always wear spandex under my jeans!" as she peeled hers off. Way to prepare for the unexpected, Jayci.
That moody overcast sky was the perfect back drop. I wasn't too heart broken about missing the heat wave going on back in the desert right about now.
Tyler's dog, Cub, was the camp mascot. The only way to make this boy heaven even better is to add a dog.
If they weren't building forts, they were at the river building dams, playing in the mud and floating down the river on logs.
That water was ice cold, definitely not for the faint of heart or the Arizona bred kids. Of course Jayden and Ryder couldn't pass up a good dare and had to earn their man card by going all the way under.
Jayden got what he bargained for when he kept trying to push Tyler in.
I couldn't get enough of these beautiful wild daisies. Which are apparently toxic for the soil and are in the process of getting removed (where's the cry face emoji when you need it??). I just wanted to gather a whole bunch to bring home and put on my kitchen table.
Then we took the paddle boat for a spin. Literally. I was peddaling and he was steering us in a circle. We stayed out there until the rain brought us in. I loved our time together and his little conversations.
Campfires and the conversations around them always make for the best memories. I loved having us all together sharing stories of when we were growing up. It was fun having Kylie and Jayden old enough to sit in on the stories too. I really missed having Jason here since he had to fly home early for work, but I felt like I had such good bonding moments with the kids. From Kylie sitting on my lap at the campfire, to sharing a bed and midnight cuddles with Maddox and Ryder, to caring for Jayden the way only a mother can when he got stung by a wasp.
These next photos capture summer perfectly. Sun shining on shirtless boys wading in water while the long grass blows in the gentle breeze. Buttery golden summer perfection.
They loved catching these little critters that they thought were shrimps. I loved the way Ryder would call them "shwimps" but he got so mad at me when I commented about it, saying "I don't call them shwimps, I call them.....hmm....shwimps" with this confused look on his face. You could just see the wheels turning in his brain trying to figure out how to make it come out the way he is thinking it in his head. I love this age and love their little words.
It drizzled off and on while we were there so we weren't too concerned to see rain streaking the windows while we sat around the table inside playing card games. Then the wind started picking up, lightning started striking and the rain started pelting down harder and we realized the little boys were up on the hill working on their forts. I threw on my hoodie and ran through the pouring rain expecting to find them crying in fear. Instead we found them all smiles sitting inside their forts for shelter. Maddox was just beaming with excitement for the chance to put his shelter to use.