Exploring state parks by foot, leisurly swims in fresh water rivers, making friends with our camping neighbors and chatting while the kids play together. Watching my sweet hubby bait hooks and show kids how to cast their fishing poles. Roasting marshmallows over the fire and enjoying the memories being made of sticky kids with chocolate smore faces. Relaxing conversation with my soul mate by the fire when the kids fall asleep in the tent.
Ummm, yah, our camping experience was a little different than my expectations.
A spur of the moment decision to go camping with five kids and a dog might not be the best idea. And while I like to plan things to every detail sometimes, I also like to just do things without thinking about it too hard. And so we started out on our first camping trip in our new home.
After cleaning dog vomit out of my trunk from our carsick dog, we realized that we were the only tent in the camping area. We were surrounded by RVs, which we'd rather not be, but actually wasn't too bad since all the camp spots were surrounded with a little privacy row of trees and brush.
We went on a weeknight, so there were no other kids around and I'm sure that all of the guests where we were were thrilled with our loud kids (okay, and adults) yelling at our dog who was freaking out about constantly wrapping his 30 foot leash around everything in the area. I'm sure they were relieved that we only stayed one night.
After we set our tent up, we walked along the hiking trail, looking for alligators in the alligator lake, and we decided to put off swimming until the next day since the camp ranger said while they had never had a problem with alligators in the swimming area of the river, dusk is the most likely time for them to show up.
We cut our hike short because we were all getting bit by mosquitoes and we had left the spray back at the campsite but it was still a nice, quiet walk.
We roasted hotdogs for dinner and marshmallows for smores. It's a bit tricky, roasting marshmallows with five kids. They were much more interested in roasting the marshmallows than eating them, except for Anna, who kept swiping the marshmallows out of the bag, her timing perfect for when Chris and I were both loading someone's stick with marshmallows, blowing out marshmallows that were on fire, or squishing crispy marshmallows between graham crackers and chocolate bars.
We brought the playpen for Anna to sleep in. She's still in a crib at home and while it took a lot of space in the tent, we didn't think she'd sleep without it. Well, she screamed when we put her in it, so we took her out and put her on the air mattress to see if she'd fall asleep with Leah. After who-knows-how-many marshmallows, she was not anywhere near falling asleep. We pretty much gave that idea up and the boys said they wanted to go in and get ready for bed, so all five kids ended up in the tent, and I'll just say it wasvery loud and very funny, watching their shadows jumping around, trying to find the perfect spot to sleep, but really, all they planned to do was to be crazy with the girls. Chris and I let them have a few minutes of going crazy before we tried to get them to calm down.
Yah, that didn't work.
Add to that that the temperature was still in the 80s, and I decided that I'd had enough fun, packed the girls and the dog into my car (we had brought two cars for just this reason), and we headed home.
So call me a camping snob.
We did have fun while we were there, and I'm glad we went. Chris and the boys had a good time sleeping in the tent and I think they went for a little hike in the morning and then came home.
I hate that it sounds like I'm complaining about the whole trip. It was a nice memory to make, and we plan on trying again sometime later this fall at a different camp area. But I'm sure we'll take two cars again, just in case. :o)