Graci is quite the girl. She loves to tease me. She will often act very stand-offish and act as though she couldn't care less about her old man. She loves to call me "Dude" instead of Dad. At other times she will show her love for me in various ways. She has become more and more willing to give hugs the longer she has been with us (seems like a reasonable thing). One way in which she has always shown me that she loves me is by wanting time. She loves to be read to, play games, whatever, as long as one of her parents is spending time with her. She is also very sensitive to other kids having more parent-child time than she does. So the father/son campouts I go on with the boys are sometimes difficult for her. (There are various reasons she can't come on some of our activities, the main one being that we sometimes go on serious hikes that would not work for her. We do try to involve her as often as possible.)
This summer, we decided to add a daddy-daughter campout to our schedule. A few weeks ago, Jesi, Graci and I went to a beautiful site in the Utah west desert. It is called Clover Spring Campground. It is very out of the way, and there was only one other group camping there that night. The girls were very helpful in getting camp set up. We got there just in time to set up our tent with some light left. Then we made a campfire and cooked hot dogs and s'mores for dinner. Our campsite was perfect. It was just the right size for the three of us. There was a beautiful little river running right by, so we were able to fall asleep to it's charming sound. Someone had built a rope swing from a tree right on our site. We all loved it! In the morning we were able to go on a little hike and see the spring. It is quite amazing to see so much water just coming up out of the ground.
Camping with the girls was quite a different experience than camping with the boys. For example...
Graci was fine with the dark...as long as I was with her. Right with her. As in, she wouldn't go in to the glorified outhouse by herself. Nor would she let me enter said outhouse by myself. Too scary outside in the dark. Fortunately, the outhouse was fairly large, and two of us could stand facing the other way while one poor soul used the facilities. The ginormous, crab-like spider clinging to the roof of the outhouse was certainly no help in this regard.
Jesi is very feminine. She is not afraid to get dirty or to have fun, but there is just an air of femininity to everything she does that puts a very different spin on the whole camping experience.
Here are a few quotes from the trip (these are separate quotes, not related to each other):
Jesi: "Look! I found a rock that was made from the world! You want to feel it? Now you know what the world feels like. Well, the top of the world."
Me: "Graci, do you know what plural means?"
Graci: "Yeah, it's dat thing dat a orchestra makes."
Graci: "Dat thing dat a orchestra makes!"
Me: "That thing that an orchestra makes?"
Graci: "No! Not orchestra--ostra! Dat thing dat is in da ocean. Like a shell, and it makes a round plural."
Me: "Oh...you mean an oyster that makes a pearl."
Jesi: "This is the bestest daddy date ever."
Graci (as we're putting away the tent): "Mommy call you a clean freak about tent!" (Thanks, Christi:)
Jesi: "Dad, you're the bestest dad ever. I wouldn't sell you for anything!"
Me: "Thanks, Jess."
Jesi (in all sincerity): "You're welcome!"
Jesi (watching me type some of these quotes into my Blackberry so I wouldn't forget them): "Who are you texting?" I had no idea she even knew what texting was! She's only seven, for crying out loud. Someone has got to slow down this whole growing up process. I like them where they are right now!
The girls on the way there:
Graci pretending she's asleep in the back seat:
Jesi, before she knows she's being photographed:
Jesi, after she knows:)
Enjoying the campfire:
The rope swing was a big hit:
Graci helps cook breakfast:
We take a short hike:
It was truly a delightful trip. The daddy-daughter campout will definitely become an annual tradition. I have awesome kids:)