Monday, April 22, 2013


This weekend held many fun things.  I will do another blog post that captures True's birthday party, which was the reason we headed up to NW Arkansas in the first place.  But, I wanted to write this post now, while it was still all very fresh.


Yesterday, we floated the Buffalo River.  We invited our dear friend Becci and took the girls.  And we would never do it again the way we did it yesterday.  Here's a high/low rundown.

High: Having Becci along.  We love her, and so do our girls (Lily's middle name is Rebecca after her), and it was great to have another set of adult hands along.


Low:  We tipped our entire boat within the first five minutes.  The water was frigidly cold, and that is a scary experience with young children.  The weather was chillier than we thought it would be, so after we got back into the boat, we were shivering.  The girls sat close together in between my legs to stay as warm as possible.


Low:  We lost a few things that floated away from us when we tipped.  Here's a list.
1) One of my Chacos
2) One of Bella's Keens
3) Two Sippy Cups
4) Bag of snacks, mostly including fruit
5) Becci's sunglasses
6) One paddle
7) One lifejacket


High:  We did recover a few things as we made our way downriver, including both sippy cups, a banana and the lifejacket.

High:  The Buffalo River is truly a gorgeous place to enjoy.  We go every fall, but this was John's first time to canoe it and my first time since college.  It is so pretty.


High:  Even though Lily was scared to get back into the boat after tipping, she was an absolute champ. She would tell Bella, "This is fun!  We don't need to be afraid.  The rocks are trying to tickle us.  We are okay.  We are okay."  I was so proud of her.  She was a great little encourager, and she channeled her anxiety in a really healthy way.

High:  We stopped for an early lunch (it was in our wet bag), and the sun came up, and we got warmed up and dry.  Once we got back in, Bella was comfortable enough to fall asleep.


High:  We had a great stretch where I actually commented, "This is why people do this river.  It is really gorgeous."  We were warm, dry and happy.


High:  Finding turtles sunning themselves on the rocks.  This is always a favorite for the girls.


Low:  Tipping over again about 30 minutes before the end of our run.  It is just plain scary and no fun to do this with young children.  We were all wearing our life jackets, and we were fine in the end, but it was insanely cold water and sitting on a rock as the water ran around me waiting for John to pick children off of my lap and carry them to safety was not great.

High:  God sent an incredibly kind kayaker to help us out of this situation.  He helped John get the girls out onto the shore and stood with them watching us as we waded across the thigh deep running water to get back to them.

Low:  A group of college students happened to hike up to us as we were trying to get a crying Bella back into the boat.  They stood and watched us, standing literally 10 feet away from us.  I wanted to yell at them to just "Go away!  Please stop watching our circus.  What are you doing here anyway?"

High:  Doing all of this with John.  At the end of this day, we were both able to look at one another and be thankful for the way the other responds in stressful circumstances.  That is a true blessing.

High:  God protected us in our ignorance.  Even though the adults all got a little banged up (our bruises are pretty ugly), the girls do not have a scratch on them.  They were even talking about how much fun they had in the boat and continued to say "Whee!" on the rapids as we finished out the trip.


Low:  We finally finished, and Lily said she needed to go to the bathroom.  Bella wanted to come, but had no shoes and wanted to be carried.  I carried her across a very large gravelly parking lot wearing only one shoe myself to a bathroom that Lily ended up deciding she wouldn't use.  The picture is fuzzy since my iPhone case was fogged up, but I am posting it anyways.


All in all, we learned a lot of lessons.  Mainly that we will wait until our children are good swimmers and can paddle themselves to do a river like this again.  I am so thankful that it turned out all right and that children are so very resilient.  And, I am thankful that Becci loves us like family and will keep loving us even though we subjected her to this experience.


As a funny aside, though I lost a shoe, my Diet Dr. Pepper and Smarties both came down the river in great shape.  As Becci put it, "God knows what we can handle."