Sunday, November 7, 2010

Camping --just the five of us


That's where the Ellis family was on Friday night.

We packed [little of] the essential camping gear right before heading to Abilene State Park. On the way out of town stopping to pick up 8 or so small pieces of firewood.

I drug my feet Friday, in no hurry to load the van, not realizing the thirty-four hundred items needed to "rough it" for one night. Even after loading up the van --to the brim, it was amazing the items we needed yet we did not have. We arrived at the camp site about 15 minutes before the darkness. The moon, however, never showed up.

It's actually pretty cool camping during a new moon (moon not visible). The stars are so bright. What is not very cool or very bright is forgetting your flashlights.

All of them.

We are loser parents and decided to sort of intentionally not bring the bag Jack excitedly packed with his toys and magnifying glass and bug home and... his flashlight. In Mike's defense, he asked me if it needed to be packed. I looked over at the loaded up van and said, "Naw. We could leave it here."

That's what I get for being a jerk. Now we can't even confiscate his flashlight.

Let me tell you: lesson learned.

We planned on using the propane powered cook top to reheat chili for supper. We failed to test out the cook top beforehand and couldn't figure out how it worked.

No big deal.

We'll just heat it up on the... hmm... the fire... Time to get on that I suppose.

It was 7:00 and the children were hungry. Ty hadn't gotten his nap. By the time we finally got dinner to the kids Ty was too tired to make sense. He didn't want to eat his supper and he was cold. He just wanted a marshmallow.

We talked him into eating 5 bites of his chili so he could qualify for dessert. We hated for him to miss the s'mores, we were only staying one night so it was now or never.

Another essential I forgot was cooking utensils.

All of them... EXCEPT for 6 flimsy plastic spoons.

I was a little worried by the thought of cooking chili over the open flame and seeing my spoon melt into our dinner. But that didn't happen. The spoons even held up through the bacon frying and egg scrambling of the next morning.

We slept well although I woke up many times during the night, checking on the kids, making sure they were warm enough. They were, at least through the night. By far the worst part of camping is waking up in the cold and having to leave your warm sleeping bag. Mike was a hero and got up early to start the fire.

I dressed the boys, who refused to wear their coats and then started making breakfast.

It was a constant game of "scoot the chair forward, scoot the chair backwards" as we tried to keep Ty's forehead from getting too hot and his rear from getting too cold. Poor kid. He has no fat on him. He loved the hot chocolate I made for him and I think that is what pulled him out of the whines.

We decided not to bring Austin's extrasaucer... so his spot was either in his car seat or lying on a quilt. He was a trooper and didn't seem to mind either.

The eight pieces of firewood didn't last but a couple hours. Mike was constantly hunting for firewood. He had to keep the family warm.

The boys went out with Mike on several quests for firewood. It was really fun for me to see the two little guys running to keep up with their dad, excited about exploring with him.

Austin's first nap of the day was when it was still very cold outside. I wrapped him up in a sleeping bag and it was about 30 seconds before he was out.

Jack and Ty climbed a mountain. It was then that I discovered Jack had worn his Sunday shoes camping. Awesome. Those were supposed to last through three kids at least. Stride Rite came though again for me and as I examined them upon returning home, found not a single scratch on the leather. wow.

Austin hanging with me in the pop up.

Climbing trees. One of my favorite memories of my childhood. Actually, I have TONS of memories of climbing trees, and they are all good.

I think Jack's will be as well.

So did we have fun?
Despite all the rough conditions, we did have fun. Besides, if it isn't rough, is it really camping?


Anonymous said...

I loved this post

Anonymous said...

very entertaining post! thanks for keeping camping real. i especially liked the tree used as firewood. good way to keep the boys from running around the fire pit i guess.
have you told them the cautionary tale of "the boy who fell in the fire" from our childhood? that memory will be with me til i die.
(for those of you who don't know, it ended well)