Monday, August 27, 2007

Adventures in Braunland

We arrived home Sunday night from our annual family vacation. Our trips always involve camping because we are the kind of people that don't mind getting stinky.

The worst part about camping road trips is that when you get home there is no throwing yourself down on the coach to take in the greatness of your home, nor is there the automatic pleasure of viewing all 4 of the big brother episodes you missed. There are no refreshing immediate showers. Instead you are forced to unpack the contents of your car and clean out all the empty cups in the backseat, crumpled up food wrappers, and start on the truckful of dirty laundry.

Even with the filthy aftermath of the trip it's worth it. There is nothing I love more then road trips. We get to stop at kitschy little spots and visit towns and cities that normally we never would. It's like a fun little glimpse into other people's lives.

The thing I love most of all about road trip are the books we read. The kids got to hear charlottes' web and we also read the life of Andrew Jackson. I finished a tree grows in Brooklyn and David Sedaris, me talk pretty one day. There is nothing better then books and the open road.

On day two of our trip, Aaron announced that all of our lives are increasingly more and more exciting due to the spontaneousness of him. I got a great big long chuckle out of that one. He went into a 30 minute rant about how incredibly spontaneous he is. All of this was said we'll he peered at a map planning out the quickest and safest way to the nearest grocery store to pick up some mustard for the 2nd out of four of our preplanned camping meals. All the while he had our trip itinerary folded up neatly in his back pocket. Oh he is so spontaneous! I mentioned that perhaps I was the spontaneous one and so began the first of many arguments that occur when trapped in a vehicle with 4 other people.

However, I will say that the 6 ½ hour hike we went on the morning after arriving at big basin national park was pretty spontaneous. The kids and I thought that we were taking a leisurely hike to some nearby waterfalls. Aaron was well aware that it would be a lonnnnnnnnnng hike. I should have been clued into this when I saw him filling up our backpack with about 8 bottles of water. I was under the impression that he was being overly cautious, making sure we had enough water in the rare case we got lost in the forest. That's the Aaron I know and love. The one that packs matches, band aids, and toilet paper in our back packs just in case not the spontanoues one who leads us on a 6 1/2 hour outing in the great outdoors.

For the first couple of hours of hiking things went smoothly. The boys pretended they were warriors off to save their kingdom from the forest people. When that got old we looked for fairy and troll houses at the foot of redwood trees. I am almost certain that Jacob really believes in forest fairies and trolls because he took the game much more seriously then the rest of us.

The novelty of these games soon wore out. By the third hour Jake would periodically announce in his oh so dramatic way "I think I might die." Or "my leg is going to fall off!" also every ten minutes or so he would collapse to the ground and roll himself up into a little ball while stating very seriously that he just could not go on.

I managed to curb some of the whining by convincing the boys that grizzly bears are attracted to sound of whining because it's a similar sound that their baby cubs make (little did I know that I would be paying for my bear reference days later)

Amelia was the toughest in the pack. She would run down the trail and point out butterflies while singing her rendition of the wheels on the bus, the ABC's, and old McDonald. We rarely carried her. Mostly she wanted to walk. I think she had a ton of fun and I am really impressed at her ability to behave like the energizer bunny.

Andrew did a lot of complaining and belly aching but got over it when I told him he could be the leader of the Braun army. He loves power! In the end we survived and made our way safely back to our campsite. The kids fell asleep at 8 immediately after they got into there sleeping bags.

On the last night of our camping trip Andrew woke up in the middle of the night convinced that there was a bear outside his tent getting ready to eat him. I have to admit that I was slightly terrified, especially when I could not find our flash light and had to stumble around in the dark to try to soothe him. I think that at times I have similar fears as a child so it's almost riducoulus that I am in charge of three little people who need me when they are frightened. I managed to calm him down by convincing him that bears cannot open zippers to get inside tents. He soon fell asleep but I stayed up long after convinced that every little noise was a bear.