Daniel and I hiked the Garden of the Gods last year for the first time on our anniversary. It was a very different experience from this year when we took all the kids. I'd say it was actually more fun. It was very hot out, but a lot of the trails were shaded by tall trees, so it wasn't unbearable. The kids climbed on every rock they could find and Katie jumped off of everything she could find. We passed horse back riders and joggers, but mostly it felt like we were alone. I took so many photos of wide open spaces, gorgeous blue sky above and strange rock formations. The kids started competing to get into unique locations on the rocks and trees and trail so that I would take their picture. I heard endless yells of, "Mommy! Look at me!" and had my heart in my throat most of the time fearing that someone was going to fall.
Daniel was in his element, loving every minute of it, and even helping Katie climb onto the tallest rocks since she was determined to get up anything the kids could get up on. We got lots of incredulous looks from parents who passed us with just one or two kids and already looked frazzled and exhausted. I just laugh when I see that, because there's something about being part of this big group that just invigorates us. It makes it all more fun. And it's hard for any one person to whine or complain when they see 7 other kids all toughing it out. The photos came out great. After I finished the scrapbook pages in our foster daughters' album, I let them take the whole thing to a visit to show their family. Their uncle seemed amazed at all the activities they've done and trips they've taken in the five months they've been here. But to us, it just seems like normal life.