Our camping weekend started out with us turning the mini van around twice because we realized we forgot so. much. stuff.  Have I mentioned I am NOT a champion packer? I always forget things and with all these small humans it is just too much for my last minute self. And truth be told Jason and I were irritated at each other and the kids (bc they are so freakin’ LOUD ALL THE TIME).   It struck me that this is the real story of family adventures sometimes most of the time.  We also forgot just how much work it is to pack up and set up our campsite and within the first 40 minutes we were there Abishai refused to walk with his sister and was wandering the camp site for 10 minutes before we found him. Ugh,. #fail. When we booked this trip we had no idea we would finalizing our adoption just a few days before so it was a week full of activity and emotions and our people (I have one zillion thank yous to write because YOU ALL are amazing). But after 2 days spent covered in sand, bug spray, dirt, and mud I can honestly say it was worth it. Laughing and adventuring together has made our family so much stronger, along with forgiveness and not taking ourselves too seriously (ummm, and coffee & wine).  

Family time is precious even if it is a struggle to make it happen.  It is worth fighting for amidst the busyness of life.  This trip was a special one. For the first time in 3 years we drove across state lines without ANY PERMISSION from DCFS (we cheered at the state crossing signs)!!! We encouraged one another to do things that at first seemed too much for us (dune jumping, mud pit walking, swimming to the sand bar to name a few) and it reminded us that family is a safe place where we overcome and cheer each other on.  We are Engstroms, for better and worse, but we are in this together.  We ended the weekend with a dinner out to celebrate Jason for Father’s Day and we each told him what we appreciate about his presence in our lives. It was a good reminder how much we love each other & need each other even if we annoy each other on the daily.  It is good to be in nature, avoid the daily distractions, and just be with family.  It was needed and I am grateful we made it happen.  And these images remind me how awesome adventuring together can be. 

We are going hard this summer & I want to remember these first days as an official family of 6. 
Happy adventures friends,

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