Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Back in October, we went camping overnight at a nearby lake. This is an artificial lake in a canyon that was created by putting dams along the Salt River. As such, the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. The pictures below do not do it justice.

That's Solomon in the red kayak across the lake

 Becky and Anna playing in the shallow water

 Stephen snoozing in the fresh outdoor air

 Dinner! These are the best!!

 Late October in Arizona - lol!

We went on a weeknight, so the lake was practically deserted. Our campsite was the only one that was occupied. Also, we camped at the very edge of the lake, where it narrows and becomes the Salt River again, going into the canyon. However, because there is a dam and another lake 17 miles upstream, there is really no waterflow on the river, making it very easy to kayak into the narrow canyon.  

I was able to get away for a good hour, kayaking down the river by myself, surrounded by nothing but steep canyon walls, desert vegetation, and local wildlife. It was absolutely fabulous! I realized that this was the first time in over a decade that I have been out in nature, away from any people or civilization, completely by myself. It was incredibly peaceful. (I have been kayaking, hiking, and camping other times, but never all by myself.)

Everyone but Miriam, Anna, Stephen, and I slept in the tent. I decided to rough it and just sleep under the stars on the shore. 

Ha! Did you believe that? Remember, I am not one to enjoy camping. Miriam, the babies, and I actually drove back home at night, where we slept in real beds. Got up early the next morning, made breakfast, and took it back to camp where we were attacked by our starving family.

My husband loves taking "reality shots". It's just not a trip unless someone is having a crying breakdown.

As we were driving back the next morning, we passed a little old store at the edge of an old mining town (yes, we have those!). We made a quick stop to buy bait for Isaac, who likes fishing. Out in front was a signpost that I thought was pretty cool, so I wanted to take a picture of Miriam in front of it. She isn't exactly a "morning person", and was reluctant to get out of the van and have me take her picture this early.

Me: Miriam, look at that cool sign! Let's get a picture of you in front of that.

Miriam: I don't want to.

Me: Come on! I want to take your picture.

Miriam: I don't want to.

Me: No, seriously, I want to take a picture of you in front of this sign. Come on!

Miriam: I don't want to.

At this point, the owner of the store, who looked old and leathery enough to date all the way back to the gold rush days, came over and barked at Miriam:

"You get out of the van right now and obey your mother! Go stand and let her take your picture!"

It sounded as if she disobeyed, his next step was going to be a paddle across her rear end, so she jumped out of the van, though still reluctantly. Can't you just see her enthusiasm?

Picture taken, I walked into the store for the bait. Says the old man: "Sorry about that. I'm just a hard #$% when it comes to kids obeying their parents." True, true! I actually was very thankful for his rebuking Miriam - it proves there was a day when it was expected of children to obey, right away, without putting up a fuss. It's easy to set low standards for our children when our society expects so little of them. 


It was a fabulous little getaway, and one I can't wait to repeat.


  1. Wow, looks like fun! What beautiful pictures! I'm really glad your family had a great experience (and that you were able to have some alone time kayaking on the river. :) That looks like a neat little store you stopped at, too (and good on that no-nonsense store owner). Have a great day.

  2. Love the pictures! And love the old man! I could use a few of him around the place! :)

  3. Super cool that you are eating those organic hot dogs....My family just recently discovered those.....they were the first hot dogs we've had in years because we hadn't seen legitimate organic ones before...great way to honor God by respecting His creation.....

  4. Maybe you should have asked Miriam to take your photo. She obviously didn't want hers taken. You'd have had a photo of the cool sign and everyone would have been happier. It wasn't a life and death situation, the store owner should not have said anything. He certainly didn't need to bark at her. She looks traumatized. I love taking photos, I do scrapbooking. If I asked my kids to stand someplace to take their photo and they didn't want to I didn't take the photo. That photo would have been just as meaningful if taken of just the sign. I must have done OK because one of my children is now a professional photographer.

    1. Elizabeth,

      My camera is an expensive (and heavy!) digital SLR that Miriam would not only be unable to take pictures with, but that she is not allowed to use because she could so easily break by accident.

      Even so, yes, she SHOULD have obeyed, "life and death situation" or not. Children do not have the luxury to sit and decide how serious their parents' command is before graciously obeying, if they feel so inclined. Children that do not obey the little things, do not obey the big, "life and death" ones, either. If we had to go through a process of debating and approving/disapproving everything we tell each of our children, we would be blue in the face every day before sunup.

      More than having a meaningful picture, it was important for her to learn to obey her mother, period. It is not for 5-year olds to logic and debate whether their parent is acting in their best interest.

    2. Although I am feeling slightly sorry for Miriam, i think it is great that the store owner supported you. Apparently there are still some people around with an "oldfashioned" worldview and not everything is lost. More and more people start to realize that todays methods of raising children terribly fail.

    3. If it is not for a child to debate whether the parent is acting in their best interest, then it should be assumed that everything you ask of them IS done with their best interests at heart, as they have no right/reason to say otherwise.

      In what way was forcing a tired, unhappy child out of the van to pose for a photo that could have been taken just as easily with another person in the frame, or no one at all, in her best interests?

    4. Try explaining the reason behind tasks to your children for a day, you'd be surprised how much more willing and obedient they are when they understand things.

      I explain things fully to my children, and to give them the right to say no within reason, in turn raising self aware, thoughtful, conscientious little beings who are aware of their own feelings and needs, as well as other peoples' and are thoughtful, gentle and generous. When a child's needs are respected, they go along easily and happily with whatever is going on, and when something unpleasant is explained, it rarely meets resistance in the future.

      They also understand the importance of certain tasks when I explain why they must be done, and as a result the tasks are done properly, and often unprompted, compared to my blind obedience raised childhood, where I never understood why I should be doing the task and resented my parents for getting me to do it. A simple change of tone is all it takes for me to get immediate response without discussion and without strangers needing to intervene.

      Giving your children explanations and choice does not leave you blue in the face before sun up. It makes them aware, thoughtful and educated, sure it takes a bit longer, but I am willing to spend the time, but then, I guess that is the 'luxury' of choosing to have a small family where each child gets several hours of one on one time each day.

    5. I agree that an expensive digital SLR camera shouldn't be used by a child. I still think she shouldn't have had to have her photo taken. My 5 y.o. grandson is a model for Target. It is a very good paying gig and he never minds having his photo taken. His 2 y.o. brother gets calls from Target to be in ads. His Dad takes him but he says no, he doesn't want his pictures taken. What would be the result of telling him he had to? He'd be crying and upset, his Dad would be frustrated, and the photographer wouldn't be happy. One of these days he'll want to do it.

      When children are raised to blindly obey adults they can end up victims of pedophiles. I know a mother in my old neighborhood who prostituted her minor developmentally delayed daughter. Her daughter obeyed her, it was how she had been raised. She was afraid of her mother. There is a balance that we as parents have to strive for. I didn't want my children to blindly obey what other adults told them. I think the storekeeper overstepped his role in ordering Miriam to obey you. I understand she should have obeyed you but she's not a morning person, she didn't want her photo taken. She does have rights as a child to have her own feelings. So, in the end you got what you wanted, a photo of Miriam by the sign. It's not a good photo of her, she's wearing her displeasure on her face. The sign is cool, it didn't need a human in it to be a good photo.

      The place you visited looks like a great place to visit. Maybe some day I will get out there.

    6. I do not teach our children blind obedience to us as parents. I often tell them that if my husband or I ever tell them to do something that is a sin (for example, tell a lie to help us out, etc.), they have every right to disobey us and obey the higher authority, God. However, as they will tell you, we have never once told any one of them to do such a thing. "Children, obey your parents" is in the Bible, plain and simple. I am not smarter than God.

      Even so, we often do change our minds if our kids raise a legitimate objection - once. But if we don't, and insist on our way, they just have to obey.

      Nor do we teach blind obedience to adults. Which is really a non-issue anyway, since our children are never left in the care of other adults, so they don't have to make judgement calls on whether or not said adult is abusive or not. And since neither my husband nor I is a pedophile, we know they are safe with us.

      In the end, I got what I wanted more than the photo - a child who was reminded that there are other people in the world beside her.

      We'll have to agree to disagree on this one. BTW, I will be the first to tell you that I make many parenting mistakes, as every parent does. If you wanted to take the time and comment on them all, you could make a full-time job out of it. I am not claiming to be supermom. If I were, my daughter would hardly be publicly reprimanded by a stranger. The post was about camping. I threw the Miriam anecdote in because this blog is a family journal for "the good, the bad, and the ugly".

  5. I actually WAS fooled at first in thinking you guys slept outside under the stars and was wondering how you managed that without some of the icky creeping creatures of AZ (like scorpians!) attacking you in your sleep. LOL.

    Where do you buy those organic hotdogs? My kids would love them, but I've never seen them before (I live in WA so am thinking I'm not looking hard enough?).

    Did she get a paddle for disobeying? Defiance like that gets under my skin with my kids, but we don't paddle at our house. I hate having my photo taken so I understand her 5yo "logic" on it, I guess.

  6. We get the hot dogs through

  7. I am so sick of the mommy judging. These children are obviously well taken care of but if everyone doesn't do everything just like everyone else then you are obviously doing it wrong. Judgers take care of your own kids and let everyone else take care of theirs. There is nothing wrong with Zsuzsanna making Miriam get her picture taken, she was not harmed in any way.

  8. Fantastic post, you've really captured the kids at their best, it certainly looks like they're enjoying the trip!


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