Before I get into my peace-love-happiness chant about our great our time in the woods was, I don't want to forget two poignant stories:
First, there was a night that Burl stayed up a little later than the rest of the kids. He sat with the adults, poking the fire with a stick (his new favorite camping activity). He said something along the lines of, "I love it here. I wish we could live here and this could be our house." Cue Mama patting herself on the back for giving her kids the real kind of experience. Then he added, "all we need is our TV and I could sit by the fire and watch movies."
The next morning, I was in the fallen trees near our campsite with the boys. The kids have named it their clubhouse. Ridge was picking off bark on one of the trees, and I had another prideful moment. I thought, "see. Kids don't need a lot of STUFF. Ridge is perfectly content playing with bark!" He sat down in a pile of leaves and played with wood-sy stuff. Then, he picked up a big chunk of bark and put it to his ear and said "ello" like it was a iPhone.
While we like being outside and most of our best memories happen there, we can't call ourselves outdoorsy. That label is beyond us, because we like Netflix, iPhones, disposable diapers, and regular bathing. For this weekend, we gave up most of those and had another fun time.
I planned this trip one day longer than we usually do and it still wasn't long enough for Burl and Fern, who went four days without going indoors. Ridge and I skipped the first day, because I'm 6 months pregnant and I played that card. On Friday, we joined John and the big kids and another sweet family came with us too!
This is our second time camping with friends, and I don't think we will ever go back! When I tell older adults about these camping trips, I get knowing smiles and "Oh man! Some of our best family memories are camping with friends!" That's all the fuel I need to my mom-fire to put in the work to pull these weekends off.
Our kids got along amazingly! These are our "we should get together more often friends" but we usually don't make it happen. Watching our kids together was so sweet-the girls would sneak off to the tent for "private drawing time" and we could find the boys in the hammocks laughing about poop jokes or climbing trees in their faux clubhouse.
Ridge cautiously roamed the campsite and thankfully had a healthy respect for the fire ring. Praise Jesus for one son who is aware of his surroundings.
My mom asked what exactly we did on these trips for the whole weekend. Anyone who camps knows that it's a lot of campsite tinkering for adults and kids alike. There's sitting around the fire trading stories, campsite nesting, exploring the campground, and of course, HIKING!
The last day, we met my dad at the inn restaurant as usual, looking tired and dirty. We told him about the deer that ran past our campsite, about Fern falling and hitting her head, about how great our other friends were, about the hammocks, and about poking the fire.
When we got home, we were exhausted and eager for showers, but we were happy. John and I were talking about the weekend as we went to bed-the weekends often feel too short when we're at home. It's different when we're camping. They feel long and full, like we really had a good, extended time together, so we did what we always do. We started planning the next one...