Our Niagara vacation

Aarick wants to thank you all for your very kind words. I told him (too late) not to let them go to his head. Thanks for speaking directly to him in your replies; you made his day, and mine!

Last week, our family enjoyed a three-day camping trip to Niagara Falls.

During the whole time I was preparing, I was grousing in my head: I cannot beLIEVE we do this for FUN. This is SO MUCH WORK and we haven’t even STARTED yet.

You can do the math yourself: eight people + one dog + two tents + cooking all our own food + preparing for hot or cold weather = one impressive and daunting list of stuff to pack. The bedding alone…! And we travel in a minivan! But my dad loaned us his back rack for our hitch, and all of my grumbling was forgotten once we were on the road.

Then the kids took over that department for me.

Just kidding.

Once in a while we have a family vacation that really works, and this was one of them: a little slice of heaven in our summer.

Our mornings started with small people greeting the day through the tent flap. Hello, world.

We hadn’t visited Niagara Falls since our big boys were small; we found it everything amazing, all over again. We rode the Maid of the Mist into the downpour of spray, while the children laughed or grew sober or danced or snuggled against us, according to their different temperaments. Sheer delight!

I love how camping frees us to do nothing but spend time together, cooking good food over a fire, sitting around, throwing stones into a lake.

Ryan and I team-cooked our food. Shown here are his grilled chicken breasts and my Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella and basil. I don’t know why food tastes so much better when you’re outdoors: exhausted and dirty and half roasted yourself.

We found sea glass along Lake Ontario.

And we spent a lot of time snuggling our new puppy, a purebred Shih Tzu named Skye. I worked hard to save my babysitting money and cake-baking money and every other money I could earn, because I wanted to pay for her myself – and just when I had enough, she fell into our laps. She is a dream come true for me, and very sweet.

The rest of the time, we just breathed.

I didn’t want to come back home again, until I got here. And then that too was sweet.

(Mixed with a boatload of stressors.)

In other words, things are back to normal at the Zooks.

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Priscilla F.
6 years ago

Brave mama! Glad you had a sweet time though. Every time I pack us up for a trip to see family, I inwardly (and unfortunately sometimes outwardly) gripe about how this is JUST NOT WORTH THE EFFORT! And a sister-in-law told me she mentally figures in her mind while prepping for a trip “3 days away? Means 3 days of prepping and 3 days of recuperating, which combined with the vacation (vacation?!) equals 9 days of time in which mostly nothing else will be accomplished.” I shouldn’t complain; I have the luxury of a 15 passenger van for the 8 of us. Helps immensely, especially with little people for whom you must occasionally pack hearth and home. And it looks like you were able to take the extra kiddos with you… does that entail lots of paperwork?

6 years ago

Thou almost persuadest me to consider suggesting to the former chief in the house that maybe we should try camping. Keep speaking! Maybe thou will make me brave. ?

6 years ago
Reply to  Shari Zook

I thought Wendy must have some kind of “Chief / Not The Chief” thing going on! ?

I am married to a non camping kind of man, so of course I always think other’s camping adventures look so amazing. You know, grass on the other side of the fence type a thing…

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