Roughin’ It

We went “camping” (in a yurt) in May and had a great time. I booked it a year in advance because the yurts book up super fast. I wanted to try camping in a tent, too, but kind of waited too long and everything (EVERYWHERE) was booked for most of the summer. I did manage to find one spot available to reserve: Camp Creek Campground up on Mount Hood.

Over the weekend we packed up the car and drove to the mountain to camp. In a tent. With a toddler. And a dog.

We had no idea what to expect. There were definitely some things against us: the recent wildfires = smoky conditions; due to fire hazards campfires were banned everywhere in Oregon; I was getting over a mild head cold (fun); we had no idea how Bella would react sleeping in a tent hearing everything outside; and it was supposed to rain on Sunday (of course). But…we decided to give it a go and try anyways. Besides, we were an hour from home so if it was absolutely terrible, we could always just go home.

Our camping gear needed some SERIOUS organizing and updating. I went through everything Friday morning and replaced it with some new stuff I got on Amazon:

New space-saving dog bowls

A collapsible space-saving bin for doing dishes

A new waterproof bag for storing sleeping bags

A sleeping bag for Logan,  and a new sleeping bag for me!

A first aid kit 

When we drove to the campground, we realized it was Hood to Coast! We saw tons of runners and several of the relay points. It was cool.

We got to the campground at the base of Mount Hood and found our spot, #6. It was towards the end of the right loop, right by a hike and the creek.

The campground is small, I think 25 sites or so, and they are spaced apart nicely so you aren’t right on top of your neighbor. It makes for a much nicer and quieter camping experience. Our spot was a decent size. Michael set up the tent while I unpacked stuff and kept Logan busy.

It was also nice that the road in the campground was pretty quiet.

I saw a few other sites that would be nice to check out next year.

Michael got us a new air mattress and I guess he splurged and got a 18 inch one! Wowza! It was pretty nice. A lot more comfortable than sleeping on the ground and it didn’t lose air like the thinner ones tend to do. After camp was set up we had some refreshments and then set out to explore a bit.

Then back to camp for dinner. Hot dogs and baked beans.

It was a real bummer we couldn’t have a campfire. I think that definitely changed the experience. 🙁 We didn’t have much to do by way of entertainment for the kiddo (no s’mores, campfire songs, etc) so it was a little harder to keep Logan occupied.

We ended up just going to bed when it got dark.

Soooo………Logan isn’t quite ready for a tent. He didn’t really understand it. He was scared at first and cried and then when we were all in there together to go to sleep he thought it was playtime. HOW do parents co-sleep??? I’ve never done it until now and it was hard.

Logan was jumping around in his sleeping bag, flopping around, hitting us, rolling over. Geeez. He thought jumping up and down was a good idea. Eventually I rolled over and ignored him and he finally laid down and went to sleep.

Overnight was ok. Logan slept really well all night. I was a little concerned about him being cold but whenever I woke up to check on him and put his blanket back on him, he’d throw it off in his sleep.

Our campsite was nice! We weren’t directly next to the creek but it was loud and we could hear it just fine. It was like magic for sleep. Who needs a sleep machine? The creek was peaceful and we all went right to sleep.

I woke up a few times in the night when it got really cold. I think it was 40 degrees or so overnight. We planned for it still was a little shocking, especially first thing in the morning. When Logan woke us up at dawn.

We ended up getting up at 6:30am or so because there was no keeping Logan quiet at this point. He was raring to go and I was worried he’d wake up other campers. That’s what I meant by, he’s not ready for tent camping. The yurt was perfect and I think that’s what we need to stick to for a few more years. Once he’s older and understands the etiquette of tent camping it will be fun.

So we got up at dawn and had breakfast. It was friggin’ cold! We all layers and hats on and it was still freezing. So we discussed our next move.

Rain was in the forecast for Saturday night and Sunday. We decided it would NOT be fun to wake up at dawn in the cold and pouring rain with a toddler and then pack up camp so we decided to just make our trip a one night event. It was the best decision.

I will say, Bella was AMAZING. She did SUCH a good job camping and staying at our campsite and sleeping in the tent. She was a little rock star.

After breakfast we sat in the car to try and warm up a bit (I was a little worried about how cold Logan was) and then we packed everything up and went for a “hike.”

At the bridge in the campground there is a trailhead for Still Creek Trail. It was easy and 1.5 miles and something Logan could do. So that’s what we did after breakfast.

It was a nice little hike along the creek and then the trail goes into the old growth forest and it’s really peaceful and pretty.

We eventually turned around and went back because we didn’t know if it was a loop or not and didn’t want to get stuck at the end having to turn around (and carry Logan back). So we hiked back and then loaded the car.

We got home for lunch, showers, and AMAZING naps. We ALL took a glorious nap. It was a lazy afternoon and just what we all needed!

 

Books #32

Get your reading list out! I have some good ones for you to add to your “to read” list. 😀

1 ) The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

This book was SO GOOD. Run out now and get it! It was a YA book but didn’t read like a YA book, it just read fast. I could not put it down.

The story is about a super religious family who are also reality stars. Think the Kardashians but religious. The father is a famous preacher and they have a crap-ton of kids. Essie is the youngest at 17. Her entire existence has been on the TV. It’s a very odd life.

Then Essie discovers she’s pregnant. Her mother, Celia, has a secret meeting with the show producers and they decide the best move is for Essie to get married. It will boost their ratings and hide the illicit pregnancy. Except Celia doesn’t realize that Essie is manipulating her mother as a way out of that life.

It is such a fascinating read and I loved it!

 

2 ) A Grown Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson

I was a bit on the fence at the start of this book but then it took off and was so good!

Ginny (“Big”)  is the matriarch of the family. She got pregnant at 15 and left her family and town with her baby, Liza, went back to school and got a job and tried her best to be a good mom. Liza then, at 15, gets pregnant, and has Mosey. She leaves town with the baby but returns two years later asking Big for help. She needs rehab and help with her baby. Big takes her in and they all live together. Liza gets sober, Mosey grows up.

Now Mosey is 15. Liza has had a stroke and Big is taking care of both of them. She decides to have a pool put in to help Liza rehab from her stroke. Except when they take down a tree and start to dig up the yard, bones of a baby are discovered. Who is it? Who buried it?

This book was so incredibly good. I absolutely LOVED the characters. Big and Liza were so real and you just LOVE them. It’s heartwarming how they take care of each other.

 

3 ) No One Tells You This by Glynnis MacNicol

“If the story doesn’t end with marriage or a child, what then?”

That’s the question in this memoir. Glynnis is a Canadian writer living in New York City. She’s had a somewhat successful career with some ups and down, but as she gets closer and closer to her 40th birthday, she starts to question the script that women are given. Meet a man, get married, have a baby.

At the same time as this, her mother is deteriorating from Parkinson’s and Dementia. She flies back to Toronto frequently to help her parents and her younger sister who has two kids and a baby on the way.

“…this definitely feels like an excellent time to make an exit. But now that the person exiting belonged to me, it didn’t feel that way at all. As it turned out, standing by death’s door, no matter how long you spend there with a person, no matter how comfortable you think you are with its presence, is a great deal different than having that person walk through it. [Loc 71]”

The stress and grief she feels about her mother failing and eventually dying might be hard for some to read, but it’s not the entire focus of the book. The book is about her experiences in her fortieth year trying to figure out what she wants, what she wants her life to look like and to come to peace with the expectations of society.

“I was thirty-nine, the age at which women made do with what they have, take the parts and construct them into something usable. [Loc 586]”

“I was certain that come the stroke of twelve my life would be cleaved in two, a before and an after: all that was good and interesting about me, that made me a person worthy of attention, considered by the world to be full of potential, would be stripped away, and whatever remained would be thrust, unrecognizable, into the void that awaited. [Loc 121]”

I could definitely relate to this book in a lot of ways. I’m almost 39 and I feel 40 looming. Even though I am married and have a toddler, part of me wonders if we will have another baby and then I start doing “the math” and realize we are “running out of time.”

“As thirty-seven became thirty-eight became thirty-nine the calculations became even more pressing and less feasible. Married next week, and pregnant the next morning? Time ticked on. Eventually there was no way to make the numbers add up. I couldn’t outrun my own clock. [Loc 199]”

The book is also about feminism and independence.

“Not every encounter needed to be the first step in a permanent decision. Men, it occured to me, perhaps for the first time in my life, did not need to be a goal. [Loc 1254]”

The book is beautiful to read. The experiences she has are fascinating and the fact that she takes control of her life is very empowering.

“Every woman I knew seemed to think she was failing in some way, had been raised to believe she was lacking, and was certain someone else was doing it better. Had been told never to trust her instincts. [Loc 2957]”

I enjoyed this book a lot and I think a lot of women would relate to her stories.

4 ) The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Excellent story! Riveting and creepy. There was a gothic theme, supernatural creepiness, with a murder mystery and really good character development.

Fiona is a journalist in a small town in Vermont. Twenty years ago her older sister was brutally murdered by her boyfriend, who is now in prison. But Fiona just can’t let it go and she’s kind of obsessed with where her sister’s body was found — the grounds of Idlewild Hall.

In the 1950’s, Idlewild Hall was a girls boarding school where the “troublemakers” were sent. The girls who were illegitimate offspring, the ones that had no family, or mental illness. Shipped away to the creepy school that definitely has ghosts.

The two stories are intertwined and it was so unexpected and interesting and I really didn’t want the story to end!

5 ) The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger

This was a well-written, fast-paced book that could have been “ripped from the headlines.”

Annabel Lerner’s husband is a banker for a Swiss Bank when his plane mysteriously crashes and she’s informed he’s dead. But there’s no body. And now she’s left behind in Geneva, looking for answers and realizing she’s not sure who she can trust.

Marina is a journalist engaged to Grant, son of one of the most powerful men in America who is going to run for president. She uncovers a story so big she can’t sit on it. A story that will have the answers Annabel is looking for.

Very solid thriller. Good story and I could not put it down!

 

6 ) The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie

Holy smokes! This book was so good! I could not stop reading it!

There is a horrific explosion in a building in downtown Chicago. Over 500 people were killed. One of them was Cecily’s husband. She is now a widow with two teenage kids and her best friend was also killed in the explosion.

A year later, Cecily is trying to put her life back together, at the same time participating in a documentary film about the explosion and aftermath. She now regrets participating because she can’t escape the tragedy. At the same time, there are two other women who were touched by the explosion and the struggling with the aftermath. The secrets the three of these women are keeping are pretty mind-blowing.

The story was addicting, horrifying and had so many twists and turns. So good!

 

7 ) The Intermission by Elyssa Friedland

Cass and Jonathan have been married for 5 years. Cass has had a rough year–a miscarriage and her mentor and boss died. Suddenly she is jobless (by choice) and noticing things about her husband that are grating. Feeling unsatisfied with her life, she decides that they will take an “intermission” from their marriage for 6 months and decide if, in fact, they still belong together.

“It felt to her like the absence of intimacy was a third person in the room with them, hovering just out of reach. [pg 53]”

“Until that point, she’d viewed their marriage like a car moving along a highway–some patches were rough, others were smooth sailing, but still they forged onward with a definitive destination in mind. Driving forward as if getting off at any random exit and ditching the car was out of the question. Until, suddenly, it wasn’t. And she was all the way in California, a detour if there ever was one. [pg 112]”

Cass moves from New York City to Hollywood and gets a cushy job that is inspiring and exciting. They share “custody” of their dog in monthly increments where one of them flies back and forth to pass off the dog to the other.

This is a time of reflection for both of them. They both have secrets from each other, some bigger than others. What will happen after 6 months? Will they find their way back to each other? Realize the grass isn’t greener? Or discover things about themselves and each other that reveal they aren’t a good match?

The chapters alternate between Cass and Jonathan’s different perspectives. And with each chapter, you see the story from the other point of view and you start to side with one of the couple over the other…then it flips. I found myself disliking Cass quite a bit, but on one hand I kind of understood where she was coming from. Both characters were flawed and someone unlikable but at the same time, I liked their story. It’s complicated! Like marriage.

“She knew what it felt like when a relationship had substance. It was like a weight you could in your hand, and this wasn’t it. [pg 332]”

This is a book about marriage and self-discovery. It was a character study, so not quite a “page turner” until you get towards the end, then I couldn’t put it down. I had to find out the ending!

Happy Reading!

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