Thursday, September 9, 2010

Brave...crazy...or a good balance of the two?

This past weekend we decided to take the kids camping...yes, camping - in a tent, for an entire weekend, 5 hours from home, with a (almost completely potty trained) 2 year old and a 4 1/2 month old. Like the title asks, "brave...crazy...or a good balance of the two?"

After packing the car to the point that absolutely nothing else would go in it,
 we set out early (4:30 a.m.) on Saturday for DeGray Lake State Park in Arkansas. After a quick breakfast we set up camp - Camden loved helping to pitch the tent and get out all the supplies.
We spent the weekend at the lake, at the playground, taking walks and playing football/baseball/soccer or whatever was Camden's sport of choice at that moment.

Alison was her usually compliant self - just hung out in her Bumbo at the picnic table with us or lounged in her swing while we sat in our camping chairs.

We had a wonderful time - Camden thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. From sleeping in a tent...

to making and eating s'mores...

to playing in the lake with Daddy...

there were only a few times when we heard any whines of protest from him...and that was usually because it was time to stop whatever super-fun thing he was currently doing to move on to something else.

The weather couldn't have been better - low 90s during the day (and our site was completely shaded) and just cool enough at night to need a blanket over you.The bugs were actually at a minimum too...which definitely makes for a more enjoyable evening outside.

I have two "memorable moments" from our trip - the first was having Camden wake up next to me both mornings around 6 a.m. and quietly ask if he could snuggle between me and Ryan until it was "wake up time". I've decided that my firm stand on "absolutely no co-sleeping" doesn't apply when you're all in a tent together in the first place. :o) My second...and probably my favorite...came Sunday night when I took Camden out into a clearing in the trees so that he could look up and see the thousands of stars above us and hearing him gasp and say, "ooooo, somebody put sprinkles on it!" - I'm certain I will never forget that reaction.

I think we've decided we could make this an annual Labor Day activity for our family - although we may have to take next year off...I'm not too sure how I feel about taking a "crawler" camping for the weekend. But I'm certain to make a point of getting my two "city kids" into the great outdoors as often as I possibly can.

I do want to share a quick word of thanks to my mom and dad - although I have been known to give you grief about all the camping trips you "made us endure" and how I was jealous of all the cool things we could have been doing if we'd stayed at The Sea Mist, I am actually glad that you took the time to instill in us an appreciation for the great outdoors. I love that I know how to setup and light a lantern, how to roll a tent back up so that it fits back in the bag...on the first try, and exactly how to roast a marshmallow to make a perfect s'more. I know that staying in a hotel would have probably been more of a "vacation" for you (b/c if I learned anything with this weekend trip, it's that camping with kids is not really a vacation for the parents)...but would we still be talking about just sitting in the mall so that we could be in the air conditioning or packing up everything we owned in the middle of the night in the pouring down rain and heading home because we finally decided that a tent was not really the best place to be when Hurricane Hugo made landfall if we'd stayed at The Sea Mist? :o)