Being Sunday, but not wanting to get back into the car to drive to church, we felt it appropriate to spend the day as a family. Building relationships. First on our list of must-do’s is hiking. Hiking in the mountains beats just about any activity in my book. The hotel receptionist tried to sell us a map of the area hiking trails for $7, but after a quick glance, we quickly saw that we could drive up pretty much any little mountain road and we would find a hiking trail. We started from the hotel. Only a few hundred meter up the road, we got tired of walking on pavement and decided to drive the car up as far as possible. That turned out to be the best decision of the day.
Our car joined 5 or 6 other car on the side of the road, where a few signs steered hikers into the woods up the mountain. We took our sweet time, looking for elk horns, at huge mushrooms, and picking berries. At first we just saw raspberries, and they were hard to get to, and few and far between. But it seemed that the higher we went, the bigger the bushes and the better the berries. The blueberry bushes also started getting more plentiful and big. Luckily we had brought a little bag of grapes, so after we’d all had our fill, we started collecting them. It’s amazing just how many berries need to be picked to make up any substantial amount. We kept making our way up the mountain, getting passed by a few other families, and genuinely enjoyed our time together. There was hardly any bickering (with the few exceptions when one child found an especially good bush and another tried to join in picking it)
We were all pretty exhausted by the time we got back to the apartment, but somehow the kids mustered enough energy to play some Uno and go swimming. Joe was sweet enough to guide them in these activities and let me take a nap. We have a little kitchen, so we can save a substantial amount of money by cooking our own food. Of course it’s all very basic, so we’ve had to improvise a bit on a few things.
There’s no washing machine anywhere in this resort, town, until the next town over. So we are doing our laundry like the “olden days”, in a tub of water. Which just happens to be the shower. We all take turns agitating it.
Dishwasher. This might not be considered improvisation, but my kids have never had to do dishes. We’ve always had a dishwasher, even on vacation. So we are doing dishes like the “olden days”, although I explained that this is the way it was done by most people when I was a kid, and still by most people all around the world today. They thought it was pretty cool. The first day….
And finally, the internet. This is the hardest and best thing not to have. I love my internet, and don’t think I can live without it for extended periods of time, but it’s nice to spend time doing other things. Things that easily go by the waste side. Like playing games. Reading books. Telling stories. And building club houses. At first I was a bit apprehensive about the lack of internet, and wii, and TV, but after a few days without it, I can already see the benefits for my kids. They still argue, but we’re there more to catch it early, and to help them correct behavior in the early stages. They actually complain about boredom less. And they are learning to play WITH each other, and keep each other company.
I’ve always enjoyed playing games, and grew up in a family where game playing was a regular occurance. But Joe came from a family that either hates games, and they just never played them. So Joe’s not a big fan. But I’m starting to see him enjoying himself while playing with our little family. And that makes me happy. It teaches the kids sportsmanship, and stimulates their brains.