Last night we went camping. With the kids. And the dog. A few weeks ago Eric was talking about how much he loved camping as a kid and he'd like to get us into it. I'd never really camped much before, and obviously never with kids and a dog, but I'm up for trying anything once. So when family started asking Eric what he wanted for his birthday, he said "camping stuff." And that's how we found ourselves in possession of a tent, four sleeping bags, an air mattress, a camp stove, a camp organizer, two new camp chairs, and a few other small items of camping goodness-- all of them ready for us to pop their cherry, so to speak.
We stuck close to home-- a state park about an hour's drive from our house and only a few miles from the college where Eric and I met and we both did our undergraduate work (and later where I went to grad school). We figured this way, if things got bad, we could pack up camp and head home. I was surprised at how well things went. We arrived around 4:30pm and picked a campsite by the playground and not too far of a walk from the bathroom.
We set up camp.
Brennan smiled a lot.
Cate loved the tent and made herself right at home with her books once it was set up.
We made a fire and cooked hot dogs and bratts for dinner.
Then it was off for a walk. A stop at the camp store for ice cream was a necessity.
We skipped rocks in a creek that feeds into the lake and enjoyed a beautiful view.
We came back and made s'mores. Eric played guitar for us. The kids rolled around on the mattress. We all were in bed and mostly asleep by 10:00. Around 11pm, Eric and I awoke to a raccoon fight. Zoey, our dog, had knocked over her food earlier in the evening. Apparently there were some stray pieces of kibble on the ground that the raccoons did not want to share with one another. Luckily the kids slept through it and the dog didn't bark (she was in the tent with us).
A half hour later Brennan started to whimper because he was cold. It was only supposed to be in the low 60's last night, so all I packed were lightweight footed pajamas for him. But it actually ended up in the low 50's. He kept trying to curl himself up into a ball in his sleep (in his pack n' play), so I picked him up and put him in between Eric and I, where he settled down immediately, warmed up, and slept until 6am. Cate slept through all of that. Next time, I'll pack him fleece jammies since he's still too young to have blankets in there (risk of suffocation, not that his being on the mattress was totally safe, but it was the only option we had since he was cold).
At 4am, Cate had to pee. She had a little accident trying to get her shoes on and walk to the bathroom. We'll bring pull-ups next time, just in case. Brennan slept through all of that.
And when Brennan got up at 6 to nurse, Cate remained sleeping until just after 7. I was surprised we all got as much sleep as we did. I was anticipating an all-nighter.
We packed up camp after breakfast, Cate took one last swing in the early morning light, and we headed home for showers, baths, and naps. We learned a few lessons (about dog food and peeing at night with children and bringing fleece jammies for babies). But we're already plotting our next outing into the woods (which might be within the week). Gotta squeeze in the last little bit of summer fun before the official start of school in two weeks.