Our plans for Stephen's birthday:
Jonathan take the day off work; sleep in; have something yummy for a late brunch; leave for Little Indian Creek Conservation area with Dad and Mom Smith between one and two o'clock.
What actually happened:
Jonathan took the day off work; we slept in; Jonathan got a much needed haircut. When he got in the shower, he discovered we didn't have any water. He spent the next several hours figuring out the problem (switch on the pump went bad) and fixing it. I spent the next several hours trying to put together our picnic supper without any water. Thanks to our beloved neighbors, things came together, just later than I had hoped. We finally left the house at around 4 o'clock.
And we proceeded to have a terrific time!
Some friends mentioned Little Indian Creek Conservation Area to us last year. We visited once last summer and thoroughly enjoyed it. The creek is crystal clear and is, for the most part, quite shallow. But there are areas where the water gets deeper so the kids can get some swimming practice. There are quite a few gravel bars, lots of trees, and turns in the creek, so multiple families can string out along the creek and each feel like they have a private space.
Since we arrived late in the day, it wasn't long until we had the whole area to ourselves, which was fun. Here are some shots of our frolics:
And the birthday boy in his new floatie suit (mostly):
About the time we started thinking about our picnic supper, it started sprinkling. As we discussed what we might do about our picnic supper, it progressed to raining. So we headed to the van, where the kids changed into dry clothes. By the time that project was finished, it had stopped raining. We decided to see what we would find driving further into the cons. area, because there were signs about camping only in specified spots. We thought perhaps we would find a nice place to picnic.
Something I learned about conservation areas vs. state parks in Missouri is that when cons. areas have camping spots, they're free. At least when they are "rustic" camping spots like at Little Indian Creek. There are several camping spots spread out near the gravel road that runs through the area, as well as a good-sized loop of camping spots around the "privies," which are actually composting toilets, something I found very cool. But my thing for composting toilets is a tale for another day, I suppose.
Back to the birthday story... we found a camping spot that still had some wood in its fire pit, and spread out our quilts and food while the guys built a fire. We had a lovely picnic!
And then we headed home for cake, ice cream, and presents (not necessarily in that order). Stephen loved all of his goodies. He was also very tired and didn't make it all the way through his cake before being carried off to bed. We were glad that we had him open presents first!
All in all, though the day ended up being much different than the one we had planned, it was a wonderful day. We all are so thankful to have this precious little boy in our family, and we thoroughly enjoyed celebrating his birthday.
And perhaps next year, I'll manage to post his birth story!