ANNIVERSARY BACKYARD CAMPOUT

September 22, 2018 : Five years together on the same day we met

When I think of our Anniversary, this year and I know every one in the future, I think of our story. And our story isn’t just about Ran and I, it’s about all of our babes that came with each of us when we met… we are one big package. And as much as he is mine and I am his and we love each other dearly, we make sure to make the time for just us constantly through the year. So, to me, since our Anniversary lands on the same day that we met, it will always go back to chapter one, when the two of us met the four of them.

We were so happy to have it land on the weekend we had the kiddos so that we could celebrate together and this time we were about to do something that we’ve never done before as a family, just to make it a little more special.

First of all, we just have to say a HUGE bottom of our hearts THANK YOU to an absolutely wonderful person, Anthony Scavo, who gave a generous donation “To Owen and family, please do not put this amount in his fund, but please invest in something that you all can do as a family. You deserve it.” Without YOUR donation to our family, we would have NOT been able to celebrate in this way or be able to do this at this time. We are forever grateful and we will never know how to thank you, or others like you, who are making a difference in our lives, but most of all, in Owen’s Story and his journey of life.

Ran and I tossed the idea around only for a brief time before we knew what we would like to do with the donation toward our family. We had been talking a while about taking the kids camping and I just wanted them to be able to experience ‘being outdoors’ a lot more than we are used to. We are just busy as it is, and kiddos these days, as I’m sure most of you know, are completely okay with just staying inside on their technology. But in our house, we’re not and this was a way that we could encourage bonding and having some fun without those games or gadgets. Owen had his for a brief time at the beginning while we were setting up, but other than that, they were all put away and it. was. glooooorious.

We took O to the store alone a week or so before so that he could help us pick all the (basic) stuff out for our family night and help surprise the other kids. We found this gorgeous 12 person tent, sleeping bags for each of us, blow up mattresses, folding chairs (parents got rocking chairs! woot woot!) a cool fan and light combo that hangs in the tent, a lantern and everyone got their own flashlight.

We’re newbies here. But man, after shopping around for stuff, we are already excited to invest into this new hobby a little more… even if we do stay in the backyard!! Haha.

Haha, a little big for our car, Owen… maybe once we become “pro campers” we’ll get one of these!

Thumbs up to both carts filled and ready to checkout! This whole thing just makes me tear up that we were and are able to do this. Thank you again so much, Anthony, for allowing time to stop in it’s tracks this weekend and allow us for a moment to breathe, take a break outside of our minds and just ‘to be us’ again. It was so so nice.

When the day came, we told the kiddos the back story and how it was important for all of us to keep making sure that we plan quality time together (they know that that is always what we’ve been about in our house) and were quickly “ready to go!” The boys packed a bag with games to do, such as cards, memory game, checkers, some puzzles, coloring books, etc. Paisley had fun packing her (giant) weekender bag FULL of her and her doll’s matching camping accessories… which she ended up never even taking out of her bag a single time. #winning

Anyways, it was cute, this was so different for us, and everyone was just so excited. As I sit here typing this, I just remember the feeling in my heart, it was so darn happy for a constant 24 hour period.

The more we started setting up, the more everything slowed down for me. The kids laughter was in slow motion and loud, like in a movie. I took a moment to just stop putting things together to look around and quickly realized our setup looked EXACTLY like the one we had at our lake house where we got married. The yard lights were hung in the same place, the Jenga game was positioned in the same place as well as the bonfire, the tent was in the same place the lake house was, the two trees that our hammock hung from in our backyard was in the same place the two trees stood in which we got married between… I know I’m mushy. It was all just bittersweet.

It was a mini version of our day spent with the kids then and now and it was just a special memory.

Everything was put together and in place. “Time to party!”

The kids tested out their sleeping bags, haha. This was cute. Then we roasted hot dogs and Smores. At this point, I knew it was dark so I knew no one could see me creepin’ and loving on all of them. I told Ran SO many times how I wish I could just do this every single weekend. My heart was so incredibly FULL.

We thought we would try to get a picture together for being our day but this is the best we got and I’m okay with it hahaha. The hammock needed to be higher, we might as well had been sitting on the ground. We flipped over trying to sit together smiling for the camera like this – this shot was after we had been trying to get up and laughing so hard. This blurry photo was worth it to me.

[photo taken with love by Paisley]

[photo taken with love by Paisley]

[photos above taken with love by Dakota; photos below were taken the night of our wedding just for the memories of being in a different backyard with lights :) ]

[photos above taken with love by Dakota; photos below were taken the night of our wedding just for the memories of being in a different backyard with lights :) ]

Around the usual bedtime, the two littles started to get tired, so I tucked O in his sleeping bag and Paisley volunteered to go in and lay by him “so he didn’t have to be alone,” which to us also meant that she was tired and would fall asleep shortly after, haha. This was actually really nice because it gave Ran and I some bonding time with the older boys, which really never happens enough. We played a couple games of yard Jenga with them, laughed a lot, taught them how to play cards and just talked about life. It was so cute to hear O and Pais giggling in the tent once in a while before they fell asleep too.

[ photo above of Ran playing tonight at our backyard camp out; photo below of a flashback to me playing on our wedding night ]

[ photo above of Ran playing tonight at our backyard camp out; photo below of a flashback to me playing on our wedding night ]

We woke to the sun coming up, the birds were chirping, the cars started driving by and you could feel that crisp, ‘Sunday morning chill’ and dew in the air. It was just that perfect feeling of waking up from a priceless night and not wanting it to be over yet. Owen and I were the first ones awake (as per usual, haha) and just layed there chatting about his George, his picture of Daniel Tiger that he didn’t want to let go of within those 24 hours, and what we were going to do that day. We held hands, sang songs, and most of all, tried to work hard on our whispering skills so that the others could sleep just a few minutes longer. He was so cute wanting to “uh roll ober der and wake dem up nowww, mom?”

On a side note you guys, our tent is AMAZING and so big. The perfect fit for our big family. This can fit up to 12 people without the blowup mattresses in here, otherwise for size, we have three queen size mattresses here under our sleeping bags.

“There’s so much room for activities!!” Haha.

This post is dedicated to share our camp out story. But I want it to give you a little reminder…
A reminder that everything doesn’t have to be perfect to create the perfect memories, and you don’t even have to leave your own home to go on an adventure! Use what you have and make due most of the time. Because at the end of the day, they are just going to be grateful you are just doing fun things with them. It doesn’t matter where you go for that, as long as you are together. My heart is filled with joy and we already can’t wait to do it again and again and again. Thank you for everyone who supports us in any way, follows us and shares our story with others, you all mean the world to us. We wouldn’t have as much of the strength that we have at this time in our life without you.

Happy Anniversary to you, Ran. I love you and everything we’ve created together so far in this life, very much.
One year married, five years together and still a lifetime ahead of us with each other and our babes. xo