This summer the Sanfords are getting out there. It is time to start tackling all the things we've wanted to do (or used to do) but thought would be too hard with little ones. The Big Guy, our youngest, is 3 now and we thought camping should be next on our list.
So off we ran this weekend to the state campground. Well "ran" doesn't quite describe it. I packed and prepped for two days for our one day adventure. Does this truck look like we're just going for one day?
Scott and I readily accept our limitations as parents. For example, we wilt under the amount of talking that three children do. And when you expose three kids to a totally new experience, you have to be prepared for a zillion questions. Very quickly, the number of questions became oppressive. "Are we there yet" was just the first of them. "Can we go to the river" "When can we have s'mores" "Are we going to cook our dinner on the fire" "Where am I going to sleep" "Why can't we play in the soot in the firepit" and on and on and on. I thought we were going to lose our minds. Our saving grace was that we were camping with friends and our girls were able to ride their bikes back and forth between the campsites while we got our campsite all set up. Once everything was set up, it seemed the question-train slowed and we had more time to answer the questions they did have. Then we tried to cook dinner over the fire.
Who thought it would be a good time to give three children poking instruments, a hot dog, and point them toward a fire? It was stressful. They had to get close enough to the fire to cook their hot dog, but not so close that they were falling into the fire. They have NO patience for actually waiting for the hot dog to cook. But what happens when you take their hot dog and try to cook it for them? Yowsa...lots of tears. Soon dinner was over...at least for them. I don't think Scott and I had even cooked our hotdogs when the girls were wondering what to do next. I think we threatened them with NO SMORES if they asked for some (again) before we finished our dinner.
The evening campfire was fun. We roasted marshmellows and made smores. It seemed like 8 pm turned into 10 pm before we knew it. It was time to break out the flashlights and take the kids down to the pit toilet for a bathroom break before laying down for the night. There is some thing so nostalgic for me about walking to the campground bathroom. It made me laugh; it is so not scary and I remember as a kid being frightened about every sound in the wood. We even had some german shepherds come up behind us on our walk to the bathroom and the kids couldn't see them until they were right behind them. I know that would have freaked me out as a child. It was fun to think of my younger self and what my parents (well, my dad anyway) must have gone through with me.
I really loved sleeping in the tent with my kids. The 5 of us were packed in there like sardines. It was great laying in the dark with them and listening to the raucous sounds of the campground. I loved hearing the kids ask "What was that" everytime an errant flashlight shone onto our tent. I giggled listening to Spunky Girl tell me her greatest fear was the river overflowing its banks and carrying us away. It was so great...and then we realized that our air mattress had a hole in it and our bums were hitting the ground. It wasn't long before both Scott and I were laying on the hard ground. We suffered until 2 am, united in our misery. Even that misery had a level of charm to it. Every contact point in my body hurt as I lay against the ground and yet the overall experience delighted me. It was almost as if it wouldn't have been camping if there wasn't some mishap involved.
Scott proved himself a hero when he began re-inflating the air mattress with his lung power at 2 am...with us still on top. I didn't believe he had enough hot air to lift our bodies off the ground, but he did and it was just enough time to get me back to sleep. By morning time I was in laying there in pain again, but I knew at that point I could solve the problem by getting my bum out of the sleep bag and starting breakfast...if I really wanted to.
It turns out that I didn't need to cook breakfast because our friend Lindsey cooked the whole thing. Bacon, eggs, coffee, water for hot chocolate...it was awesome. Apparently all that wasn't enough for the boys, though, 'cause they followed up breakfast with some early morning marshmellows. Lucky for me the kids were out on a bike ride and couldn't beg for some too.
We cut our camping trip a little bit short and left mid-afternoon on the 2nd day, but we had good reason! My sister gave birth to little Colin early Saturday morning and I wanted to go visit them all in the hospital. Of course, the little guy is as cute as a button!
All in all, camping was a success and we are looking forward to going again...but probably not til next summer. Can you believe it is only 28 days till school starts again? August is filling up and I don't think another trip to the woods will fit. I gotta start thinking about school shopping instead!