We've talked about tent camping for a long time....but I guess not really seriously until now. I figured I couldn't do it because I'm not a good sleeper and I need my sleep. I need my sleep. Know what I'm sayin? And confession....I need the sound of a fan to be able to fall asleep. So that doesn't work in the great outdoors! Also, I need my pillow, plus two more...one to hug and one to wedge between my knees. But I could at least bring those. The fan was the real issue. When my sister, Angie, texted me pictures from her families camping trip at Victoria Bryant State Park, complete with a platform to pitch the tent under, running water, electricity, a picnic table, a fire pit....I thought...now that's something we might could do!
It was fun seeing the boys, big and small, in their "happy" place! Nothing like swinging an ax for a man....brings out the boy in them :)
My sister kindly offered to come with her family and camp with us....it's always good to be with family. And she taught me how to cook in cast iron over the fire....I actually got used to being around all that smoke! Cooking over the campfire was one of my favorite parts of the experience.
I brought him blocks to play with in the dirt and build with...but mostly he just tootled around kicking the dirt or gravel and pushing cars around. I had a hard time relaxing around the campsite unless he was strapped in his seat---for fear he would stumble into the fire pit---we always had a fire going. But really he did great.
We talked about bears in the woods, although I don't think there probably were any, but he thought there were. His cousin has on a bear hat and was pretending to be a bear....
It was so cute watching him run from her screaming "BEAR!!!!!!!!"
We went on a hike in the morning....which was good to shake off the waves of the "I'm so sleepy" feeling...even with not one, not two, but THREE fans going (one was a heater which would turn on and off throughout the night) I still couldn't sleep well. There was no drowning out the sounds of the cricket, nor the drone of vehicles passing on a nearby highway (not cool...didn't realize we were so close to a highway!) I realize now that when you go camping your happy to get some sleep. But watching the kids have SO Much fun...hearing Micah say on the first night "I could do this over and over and over again" and Samuel, my five year old ask, "When can we go camping again?" made the sleep deprivation so worth it!
There was a natural water slide in the river that the kids had fun sliding down. :) Steve and I traded off watching Jacob like a hawk around the water and Samuel and Benjamin actually did really well not running on the slippery rocks! This scenario....water of varying depths, slippery rocks, natural water slides, would normally leave me feeling incredibly anxious with little kids...but somehow it really was fine. Prayers were definitely lifted up!
It was so fun seeing Micah build a make-shift raft with logs and giving people rides on it. Here's some other things I want to remember....(my memory stinks....hence why I'm writing this post now. One day I WILL print my blog!)
*Samuel crawling into my very deflated twin air mattress this morning around 6 in the morning and laying there together for the next hour or so...watching the tent go from pitch black to light and hearing the birds start singing signaling morning had (finally) broken.
*Sleeping, all SEVEN of us in one tent....bodies everywhere! :)
*Watching my sister cook over the open fire, face reddened from the heat, but not complaining one bit.
*Sitting with the older boys around the picnic table after getting the younger boys to bed and playing checkers with Micah. He creamed me. Later looking through a really fun art book with him, dog earring the projects we want to complete at home....then looking through a book of games because I want to play more games with them and reading about how to actually play simple games like Dominoes and Marbles.
All in all....it was REALLY FUN! We are already thinking about where to go next! And next time...I'm going to try sleeping pills. (Definitely will make sure they are ones that don't make me sleepy the next day too! I'll have to do some experimenting beforehand)