I have not been camping in about 4 years. I thought about going last year but couldn't find a weekend to go. I was also very nervous about taking the children by myself. Jacob went camping with me and some of my friends when he was 1 but Matthew has never gone. This year I have weekends off work so I really didn't have an excuse not to go.
The kids and I had a great time. Matthew was a little overexcited the first night which led to only about 6 hours of sleep and a very overly tired kid today. The good news is that tired and bad days for Matthew are nothing like they were even just 6 months ago so things went pretty well.
Matthew and Jacob slept really well in the tent last night and even Friday night after they calmed down enough to go to sleep. They even slept until almost 8 this morning which is really unheard of in our house. There were two pretty big storms that rolled through last night and Matthew slept through both of them. Jacob woke up a little but quickly went back to sleep after being reassured that everything was okay. I got a little nervous at one point and considered moving us to the shelter but I checked the radar on my blackberry and saw the storm was almost past.
The best part of the weekend was really just having fun with some amazing people from church. There were 8 kids there ranging from 6 months to almost 6 years old. The kids played together very well and Jacob was a great help with the younger children. Matthew is really good with babies and prides himself in always being gentle with them. He was gentle with the younger kids this weekend as well. All of the kids (except the baby) enjoyed swimming in the lake and jumping off the pier.
I enjoyed a weekend outside without TV. We don't watch much TV but we also don't just stop and enjoy nature very often either. It was amazing watching the kids explore nature. Matthew wouldn't go to sleep last night until he got a chance to say good night to the daddy longlegs spiders by the bathroom. He said they were his new friends. Jacob loved the huge and beautiful spider webs that can only be found in the woods. The kids also found a very large and wooly caterpillar which Matthew really wanted to keep. With a very sad face, he returned the caterpillar to a nearby tree after we talked about how the caterpillar would die if he kept it and it probably really missed it's family.
Now that the fun part of camping is done the not so fun part begins. The very tired kids are in bed early tonight. The van is mostly unpacked except a few odds and ends. The clothes are being washed and the tarp is drying. The tent finished drying out this afternoon and is now resting in the garage. I will set it up and clean it out later this week so it is ready to go next weekend.
Yes, I said next weekend. This weekend was camping with friends from church. Next weekend is Ethiopian American culture camp where I hope we meet new friends and have a great time. This weekend we cooked over an open campfire. Next weekend the food will be prepared for us, our days very busy and the tent really only used for sleeping. It will be a great time even if it isn't very relaxing. Hopefully, we will be able to go camping one or two more times this year. I would love to take the kids some weekend this fall when it is a little cooler but still a lot of fun.