The Tovsky Tribe

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Camping, Biking, and Poison Ivy

Chase and Ryder had the very fortunate opportunity to go camping with Ethan and his grandfather, lovingly known as G.P.  The Van Aken's are a very outdoorsy family; biking, hiking, kayaking, camping, it is all a part of their normal, everyday lives.  I love all of those things and wish they were a part of my everyday life but that is certainly now how neither Todd nor I were brought up.  But, we are more than thrilled to get to experience these things, and more so, allow the boys to do them, with our very dear friends.  So, when this opportunity came about, for Chase and Ryder to camp- for the first time- with Ethan and G.P., everyone was very excited.

I do not consider myself nor Todd to be helicopter parents by any means and I believe we give them a decent amount of rope.  I feel strongly that kids need real life experiences in order to learn.  With that being said, however, it took a big gulp of "holy shit" for me to be at ease with the fact that they were going away for 4 days, camping for the first time, with a grandfather who doesn't know them too well, to "about 50 miles North of Harrisburg" without a cell phone to check in with.  Even with the big gulp I was never fully at ease but since I trust Jenn fully with our kids and she trusts G.P. I relaxed and was just simply excited for them.  And, off they went. With a long list of medicine dosings (for Ryder, mostly) in hand and cooler full of easy to prepare food they set off on August 8th for what would become the second of their 10th year of life memories (the first being the birthday bash) and their first parentless journey.

We got lucky because Bryce's phone was left home since he was at overnight camp so the boys took his phone with the strict instructions of using it to text us and call us each night and to send us the occasional selfie.

We did hear from them each night and all 3 boys sounded great each time.  Though the phone calls were brief and not very detailed (We went fishing.  We took a bike ride!) they all sounded happy, healthy, and like they were having the best of times, the way best friends should. They even told Turner they missed him and he should come next time, which made him so very happy (and, me too!) Jenn and I were thrilled.  We also received what Jenn and I consider to be the best selfie ever of the 3 smiling boys.

Wednesday night, their last night away, we got a call as always, an "I love you," and a "we will see you tomorrow" before hanging up.  But, after the call I received a text of a photo of Chase's bare tush, with the words, Chase has poison ivy on his butt.  After they sent it,the phone died, so they never answered my question of "Is this real or are you boys just sending me a full moon?"

Turns out, it was real.  When Chase got home I learned he took nature by storm and used leaves for all sorts of things; including a poison ivy leaf to wipe with.  The poor kid had a poison ivy outbreak in hard to reach places that caused him some good discomfort but was also quite funny.  I mean, how could you not laugh at that?  Even Dr. Abir found it amusing.  Chase was a sport about it.  He knew it was funny even though he couldn't stop itching.  And, now that it is healing nicely, we are all having a pretty good laugh.

Their stories of their time away  were about biking, including some reckless downhill off-roading that had Chase falling off his bike and faceplanting (luckily not into a patch of poison ivy) and Ryder nearly falling off a cliff, both of which were the highlight of Ethan's trip. There were stories about catching lots fish, including Ryder's 16inch fish which was the highlight of his trip (and the new fishing rod that G.P. bought him.) And, the cats that nearly lost one of their nine lives by crossing through the boys' reckless bike path.  And,of course, stories about taking dumps outside.  They made fire and roasted food; they made their own lunches (it's a miracle) and they stayed up late in their very own tent (G.P. had his own tent next to theirs) telling stories and laughing uncontrollably.  I would say that is one successful camping trip.

Thank you so much to G.P. and all of the Van Aken's for their kindness.

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