My mom was the brains behind putting up the tent and my dad was the brains behind the nightly ghost stories. Oddly, every one of those ghost stories involved raccoons that would jump out of the bushes at people while my dad would grab at my brother and me and scare us to death.
We spent many an hour riding our bikes around the campground and floating on rafts on the calm water. Mom and Dad would spend hours playing Rook around the picnic table by the lantern light with whatever friends we brought to the lake with us. Those memories of camping are some of the happiest memories I have of my childhood. They are so innocent and pure and fun.
I always knew that when I had children of my own, I wanted camping to be a part of our lives. The idea of camping with babies never appealed to me, so we waited a few years to start this new tradition with our family. This Christmas we decided that our family was ready for a camping adventure. We were gifted a new tent and this weekend we tested it out for the first time! We tried to keep it close to home (camping on my dad's farm!) in case our kids weren't true outdoorsmen. Plus- I like to be close to a bathroom :-)
We packed up most everything that we own in the back of my van and headed out to the farm. Sadie took a friend with us and the four little kids were so excited they could hardly stand it. As we were packing up the car, the hubs remembered that we hadn't asked a neighbor to let our dog out for us. I'm not sure what came over me, but I said, "Just put her in the truck and we'll take her with us." (As a reminder, our dog, Emma, is a huge ball of stinky, mental illnesses. She is very, very sweet but is dumb as a rock.)
So two grown ups, four kids and one stinky dog headed for the country. We set up the tent, started the fire (okay- Papaw Johnny started the fire) and cooked some hot dogs.
|This tiny 22 pound little boy ate three hot dogs. Blows my mind.|
|Miles and my Mamaw Daisy|
|$10 to anyone who can find the kids in the forest|
|The beast loves the creek. This is what dog heaven must be like.|
Then it was time for the very best part of camping. S'MORES!
Then came bedtime. Hubby succeeded in scaring the children to death by telling them a story about a man who had his toes cut off by a bear trap and he roamed the woods looking for his lost toes. The kids were glued on his every word that he was making up as he went along. Sadie then decided that she wanted to tell a ghost story but couldn't come up with anything very scary to say.
Bless her heart- she tried, though. The kids got themselves all in a panic after ghost stories and thinking about severed toes, so we toned down the mood by reading a few chapters of Charlotte's Web by the glow of a flashlight. It was such a wonderful moment- reading one of my favorite childhood books curled up in the tent surrounding by darling little children. Pure bliss. The children all fell asleep right after the story and Kamron and I laid there next to each other and stared out the windows of the tent at the endless expanse of stars. I ruined the moment by having to pee. I have not tried to go to the bathroom in the great outdoors since I had an unfortunate accident involving me peeing all over my footed pajamas on a camping trip around age 10. I grabbed my flashlight and the roll of tp and headed out of the tent. I got out there, pulled down my shorts and just could not figure out what position to get it to avoid peeing on my shorts. So I figured I should just take them all the way off. As I stood there bare butted trying to hold the flashlight, my clothes, the toilet paper and keep my balance so I didn't fall in my puddle, I couldn't help but crack the heck up. I told Kamron that I couldn't figure out what to do and he so promptly reminded me that when I don't know what to do, I always just take my clothes off. We had a great laugh over it.
The littlest Terry was snoring like a 400 pound man and so we knew we wouldn't soon be able to go to bed. Tis the one drawback of all sleeping in the same small area. Kamron pulled out his iPod and put together a playlist that would put a Time Life 80's Power Ballads compilation to shame. We had such a great time laying side by side, each of us with one ear bud in listening to the same great songs. Holding hands in the dark, listening to classic Led Zeppelin with all the tiny ones sleeping soundly around us- ahhhh- all was right in the world.
Morning came all to early. Some people wake up happier than others...
Our first camping adventure was a HUGE success! It was such a great time of togetherness and memory making. We are excitedly counting down the days until our next big campout!