This weekend was the annual Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian (REECA) camp, known around our house as “Russia camp”, which is run by Heritage Camp for Adoptive Families. This marked our third year at Russia camp, and the boys seem to get more and more into it each year. The camp provides an excellent opportunity for adoptive families to meet other families with children from similar backgrounds and situations. The boys have met several friends (including a few very close to home), and so have we.
It doesn’t hurt that the camp is conducted at the YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch facility in the mountains outside of Fraser, Colorado. It’s an easy getaway for us, and the scenery isn’t too shabby.
We did the standard roller skating on Friday night. The boys are both finally starting to be able to stand and even skate a little on their own. Evan even made a new friend when we skated over to this little girl and asked if she wanted to hold his hand. I didn’t know whether to be choked up or freaked out!
This year the boys were old enough to try the indoor archery range. Alex wasn’t quite ready to handle the bow, which was taller than he was, but Evan took to it like a natural. He even quit being goofy for the entire hour and really focused. You can see just from the couple of pictures that we took.
We tried fishing again, but alas, no fish. This time we tried live worms instead of just the salmon eggs. It was the classic scene where the boys get freaked out about holding the worm, but by the second or third time we baited the hook, they both got in there and got their hands dirty. Now if we could just get one to bite…
In some ways it’s hard to believe it’s only been two years since we became a family. Yet in watching the first movie on Sunday night together, I could still feel those butterflies from that day, worried so much that something was going to go wrong and we wouldn’t be able to bring the boys home with us.
There are several photos tucked into this post from Heritage Camp at the end of July to our family Gotcha picture Monday morning. And you can also see that I’m still not good at making posts since this text is not at the top…..
The boys are doing well in their new schools and don’t mind homework time now that the one not working with Mommy gets to play on the computer. As long as they don’t learn how to download apps themselves, we’re good….
We joined some friends and two other families at the Silver Dollar campground north of Turquoise Lake, just outside of Leadville for a two-night camping adventure. This was not only the boys first-ever camping experience, but it was also the first time that either Lara or I had “car camped” in 15 years. It was a learning experience for us all!
We crammed the car with all our gear early Friday afternoon and made the drive up to Leadville, which is at roughly 10,000 feet, with the hopes of escaping the record heat wave expected in Denver for the weekend. We were successful, although it was still in the mid-eighties, which is extremely hot at that altitude. Unfortunately, the weather predictions were a little off for the weekend, so we mostly had warm clothes for the boys. They ended up wearing the same shorts and t-shirts all three days. You can see just how dirty they are in some of the pictures.
The campground was surprisingly nice. The sites were fairly large, and tucked into some older pine trees, so you felt like you had a little bit of privacy. The amenities weren’t too luxurious, but at least there was a flushing toilet and drinking water available. We weren’t totally roughing it though. All of us had nice cushy air mattresses to sleep on inside our cavernous tent, and we dined on steak and BBQ chicken dinners from a shiny new Coleman camp stove.
The boys didn’t know quite what to think, but they were excited nonetheless. It took them a little while to figure out that there were still rules at the campsite. Once they got that down, we had a good old fashioned family camping weekend, complete with s’mores around the campfire. It didn’t occur to me that the boys had never seen a fire other than from a candle, let alone sleeping in a tent, or peeing in the woods!
I think the dirt was the star of the show. The camp sites were loaded with this fine, powdery black dust that coated and stuck to everything. In looking at the pictures of the boys, coal miners and chimney sweeps come to mind. They played with their trucks in the dirt, chased after bugs, and even spent a little time playing with the other kids.
They did alright sleeping in the tent. It helped that they were staying up almost 2 hours past their normal bedtime. With the long days this time of year, we had to wait until almost 9:00 just to get the fire started. Friday night they expressed a little concern over how dark it was when we put them to bed, but they cashed out after 15 minutes or so.
By Saturday night, they were exhausted. Alex crashed in Lara’s lap sitting around the fire. Even Evan said he was tired, and only complained mildly when we said it was bedtime. Sunday, they slept until 8:10. That’s easily an hour and a half later than normal. I guess exercise, excitement, and fresh air will do the trick.
Both boys were begging to go camping again on the ride home. We have another trip planned in 4 weeks. I think we’re all looking forward to it!
What can we possibly say to wrap up 2011. ‘Unforgettable’ is too casual of a word. It was a year that provided us the experience of a lifetime, and the joy of bringing two beautiful little boys into our lives. We thought we’d put together this little summary of the past year.
Just one word of caution… The video is a little over 13 minutes long. I apologize for the length, but that’s roughly how long 2011 seems to have lasted for us. If you’re like us, there will be a few refreshers of the year that was very much a blur. I hope you find it worth watching.
Also, since the adoption process is now complete, and we’ve had some time to settle in at home, I think this will be our final post under the “Adoption” heading, and we will move all of our future stories under “Family Updates.”
Happy New Year!
We spent New Year’s Eve with our friends Matt and Michelle, and their two girls, Nissa and Ali. It was a good old fashion New Year’s, with sledding, pizza, and plenty of play!