In August we attended our annual family camping trip. This was the 5th year (I think) that we all got together for a long weekend of walks, hiking, s'mores, campfires and hanging out. Abe's parents and my Mom and her husband, my Dad, my brother and his wife, Abe and I and the assorted family dogs have gathered in a few different locations to relax and enjoy the outdoors. The first 3 years we camped in Silver Falls Oregon, about 45 minutes East of Salem. It is a beautiful area with plenty of walks and hikes and fun areas for dogs to play and walk and of course their humans too! Last year we went (I honestly cannot remember where, I had a 4 month old!) somewhere in Washington. It was extremely hot and I had a very cranky 4 month old baby but we enjoyed ourselves nevertheless. This year we met at Fort Stevens State Park right outside of Astoria, Oregon. It is right on the coast with walking or biking trails close to the beach. It was quite fun as Aven had been walking for about 2 months and she got to see all of her family in one shot. It was a bit exhausting chasing after a 16 month old and trying to watch out for cars and kids on bikes, etc. The weather was much more temperate and we enjoyed reading lots of books and passing the baby around as well as many campfires, s'mores at noon while the baby slept and a new game called ring toss (?). One of the highlights for me was taking Aven to the beach for the first time.
I have to admit, as a parent, I often have several images of what I think something will look like in the "firsts" department. For Aven's first steps, I didn't imagine it would be mostly with my Mom while on a camping trip. I didn't get any movie or great pics, just memories. Aven's first bath was a screeching adventure when she was a little over a week old and many other things often turn out to be the antithesis of what you think they will be. That said, the first time at the beach started out much the same way. Aven started to almost cry when I set her down in the sand to play around. In retrospect, I understand why it might have felt a bit scary, the ground I set her down on moved around and felt completely different from "normal" ground....but her face tells this story as well. By the end of the time though, her mood and feelings had completely changed; she found another little girl with beach toys and buckets and Aven could barely be torn away.