Yep, I survived camping for 8 days with the kids and no Jason. Did the kids have a blast? Yes! Was it a lot of work? Yep. Was there incessant whining and crying (by the kids, not me)? Yep. Did I want to pull my hair out and run screaming into the woods never to be seen again? A couple of times. But all in all, it was a great trip.
We were supposed to leave on Thursday, but my parents’ motor home’s air conditioning wasn’t working and so they needed to get it fixed. We ended up leaving on Friday morning around 3.
But we got smart this year…instead of waking up all of the kids and putting them in the motor home when we were ready to go, we let all the kids sleep in the motor home so all my dad had to do was get in and drive. No cranky kids, and the kids all slept until 8-ish, when we got out to have breakfast before starting up the mountain. And by the time we started up the mountain, they were all excited and on their best behavior.
As soon as we got there, it seemed that the kids were automatically dirty. And they stayed that way all week. I started calling Mia “Pig Pen” and it Lila was like a dirt magnet. I was told that this is proof that the kids all had fun. I remember being dirty like that when I was little and not caring. They didn’t either.
The first couple of days it was HOT. 90+ degrees. We spent a lot of time at the river, the kids splashing around and building sand castles and the adults counting kids. In my delusional state that I might actually get some reading time in, I packed my Kindle. It never got opened once, though I did spend lots of time talking with my aunts and cousins about books we’ve read and want to read. Thank goodness for Goodreads.com!
The kids ran around with their cousins, went fishing, played poker, ate a lot of Otter Pops, colored, collected pine cones, constantly asked for snacks, dug in the dirt, had fun moving from campsite to campsite (my aunt counted that there were 50 of us in total), and did a lot of fighting with each other.
Nights consisted of dinner, then sitting around the campfire talking. We only had one night of campfire songs, and the girls finally tasted their first smores. My night ended with the girls asleep on my lap, and Ethan falling asleep in the chair next to me. I ended up staying up way later than normal to get some adult time away from the kids, and it was fun to hang out with my cousins. Fortunately, the kids slept better in the tent than they ever have at home…they all slept through the night until 7:30 or 8 in the morning. Neither of these things ever happen at home.
One thing that drove me nuts was the amount of time I spent in the bathroom. I swear Ethan would have to go and the girls would say they didn’t, so I would walk Ethan all the way to the restrooms only to come back and have the girls need to go. And then I’d get back and Ethan would have to poop. I probably spent a good portion of my time travelling to and from the bathroom and in the bathroom. Or so it seemed.
The kids got to see a deer and lots of squirrels, but no bears. My sister’s kids got to see one and so did my dad. I was bummed that I didn’t, until the morning we were leaving. As we drove out, I got to see a bear eating in between some trees. Nobody believes me though because I was the only one to see it. It’s kind of a running joke that if you are the only one to see a bear that it doesn’t count because nobody can back up your claim. But I did see it!
The fun that the kids had made the whole trip worth it. A week with no TV or other technology forced them to “go find something to do”, and they did. That got to see and spend time with family they rarely see. I already can’t wait to go again next year – and next year Jason is definitely going with us.
Now I’m off to tackle the mountains of laundry I still need to do…who wants to help?