Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Camping Failure 101 and other Weekend Highlights

We finally did it by golly...
even if we only lasted about 12 hours!
We went camping together as a WHOLE Family last weekend.

Luke only has one weekend off a month and the last 2 months he's been gone on that weekend.
And, you can't take the whole family camping when the whole family isn't there.
So, we have all been waiting patiently (and sometimes impatiently) for daddy to be home on a weekend so we could use the tent we'd bought this summer.

We had planned on going to this beautiful spot about 2 hours away, but by the time he and I both finished work, had the van all loaded, goats milked, puppies locked up, etc... etc... we decided to just go to a place 30 minutes from home.
No one likes setting up tents in the dark with 4 hungry kids waiting 2 hours past dinnertime for me to cook dinner over an open fire.
No One.
We decided not to push the issue.
Little did we realize just how cold it would get.
Little did we realize that if your sleeping and tent gear is marked for 45 degrees that you really should not try pushing that mark when the night lows hit the upper 20s.
Blessedly, I had brought pads and an extra sleeping bag to sleep on and a huge down quilt that covered at least 3 of us 6, but that left the other 3 of us freezing....
At about midnight when Precious Jewel climbed uncontrollably shivering into my bag (a cocoon-style bag that is NOT meant for 4 pairs of feet), I began to think that it might be worth waking everyone up and packing up all gear to drive home.
Within 20 more minutes, Good Lookin' crawled shivering into the bag with Luke.
We began discussing out-loud if it was worth staying and getting no sleep or leaving and risking kids thinking they'd had a nap and still getting no sleep.
The 2 hot-pocket sleeper boys snored on and the 2 skinny cold sleepers smashed up nuxt to us stopped shivering (we decided to stay).
Needless to say, I also forgot flashlights of any kind.
Who forgets flashlights when camping?!
That is the funnest part of camping...telling stories in the tent at dark with a flashlight in your face!
This also became an issue when child #2 wakes up to use the bathroom...in the cold...in the dark.
The bathroom....a dark outhouse-type building that is unlit and a full 100 yards away.
I'd also forgotten toilet paper.
Also not a good score for camping record keeping.

We did SURVIVE the night and before dawn broke over the misty hills (cue dramatic music now), Luke was up and building a fire, so there would be at least a little bit of warmth for the kids to crawl out too.

In spite of the cold, it was pretty.
Really pretty.
I had anticipated a morning of hiking and taking hundreds of gorgeous pictures of the beautiful fall that has exploded here.

I settled for a 20 foot walk to the lake for some pre-sunlit pictures of the mist rising off the lake before Luke's call to pack 'em up and move them out came.

We were going home where we could warm cold little bodies (and big ones), take hot showers and drink hot chocolate (since I had brought the hot chocolate but neglected to pack the kettle).
Next time, I'll make my usual packing list DAYS in advance...weeks even!

That, and we told the kids no more camping trips until next June when we're sure to have a night that is at least 45 degrees.

Amazingly, (the troopers that they are) the kids said they had a great time and didn't protest when we told them they could hike in our own woods...after the sun warmed up the day and we'd all thawed out.

And, it always helps to bribe them with the promised S'mores by taking off the grate to our fireplace for them to roast marshmallows in.
Did I mention that it's a gas fireplace?
There is no real coals and they lit every marshmallow on fire....over the living room carpet?
Deep Breaths.
I have chills just thinking about it.

But, they were happy and so were we.

The next day of our wonderful weekend with daddy, we finally gutted...

...and carved the pumpkins that had been bought a month previous.

It may have been the day before Halloween but you can't do the annual pumpkin carving without the Master Carver to carve!

I must say, he did a pretty good job of fulfilling each kids wish.

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