A tent and a camping trip were the things that I wanted most this 32nd birthday of mine. Friday night we gave another attempt at camping with our kids. (Remember our first one? I had to drive home at midnight with Fern.) We were encouraged by several comments on the blog and our neighbors across the street to keep going, keep exposing them, keep trying. We did and it worked on the second time.
I'm in this little mental phase of life where I think the best things in life are not the easiest. I have a million examples for this, but let's go with the most obvious: exercise. Sure, it's easy to stay at home, watch TV, eat processed food, but that is not the best life. The best life is to exercise, which is never easy, and to take time and effort to prepare foods ourselves. I could stand on my soap box and go on and on about this, but I'll stick to camping. Camping is not easy. We went for one night only, but took enough stuff to make us look like we're moving. I packed the necessities: food, shelter, clothes. Also, I included the not-necessary-birthday-jazz things: candles, our favorite mugs, air mattress, and the list could go on...Mama likes her ambiance, even if she's camping.
We definitely had our hiccups of the trip, which I told to everyone. Everyone's reply was the same: things like that are going to happen every time. It was not if things were going to go awry, it was how we handled them. How did we handle them? We forged on.
Dinner at the campsite:
The kids (sortof) went to bed, I chased away a raccoon, and we went to bed. While Burl was excited about his sleeping bag, Fern would have no part in her blanket bed that we made her. She slept on the air mattress between John and me the whole night. She wanted our faces looking at each other, touching if possible. The.whole.night. Which made for the best, cutest, sweetest night of sleep and made for the roughest night of sleep as well. Fair trade.
Waking up in a tent is by far the best way to start a day. Morning hike for the boys. Coffee and snacks for the girls. It was magical. Since his farm is somewhat close, my dad came and met us at the campsite then took us to the breakfast buffet at the hotel at the park.
His shirt reads, "if it's got a name, it's a pet, if not, it's dinner. -Duck Dynasty"
We went down by the lake for a family picture, but the kids were eager to get going. Fern had no idea what was next, but Burl knew a big hike was coming his way.
Fern road in the backpack the whole time, except for looking at the falls. (Tallest waterfall east of the Rockies, yes sirree.) Burl hiked the entire time without complaining once. It was over 2 miles, and I think John was the most excited about this. Our little man did us proud that hike.
While I was optimistic that this was going to be a good trip, I still had concerns and wonders. It would have been easy to stay at home and do cake and ice cream with the kids or something else that was easy, but it felt good to take the effort and do something better, something more adventurous. While I'm not knocking a small party at home, and I think those are valuable and perfect as well, I'm just hoping to pass on some encouragement. I was encouraged to keep trying, not to make excuses, keep figuring out the routine, and I'm so glad that we did. We made some great memories, and it was all worth the effort.