We went camping over the weekend. Yep, it’s true. We haven’t been camping in years. But our kids are getting to such great ages for it (or so I thought) and I’ve been totally wanting to take them to see this great place called Slide Rock up near the red rock mountains where there’s a naturally made water slide right in a shallow river bed. I gave Dave the business about these great family memories we would make, etc. so he was a great sport, did all the shopping, helped load up the car and we were off along with my great brother Josh. Let me tell you, we learned a few new rules we will strictly adhere to for next time (don’t worry honey, not any time too soon). Ok, here they are:
1) Don’t leave your home at the perfect timing to hit rush hour traffic to get out of the city. This will result in A) a grumpy husband who has to drive in the horrible stop-and-go mess (ok, he wasn’t that bad, but man I sure was glad I wasn’t driving), B) a very sad baby who screams in her car seat furthering the amount of grumpiness in the car, and C) an extremely late arrival into camp.
2) Don’t arrive at your packed camp site with five kids at 9:45 at night. I’m sure the other campers already asleep were so excited to have us join them! If you do arrive that late, at least know how the heck to set up your tent so you can do it in the pitch dark with the small aid of a three-year-old waving a flashlight around in your eyes trying to “help out.”
3) Don’t choose a camp site infested with skunks who are not afraid to walk right up to humans. This will inevitably result in at least a couple of your daughters hyperventilating in their dreams about skunks out to get them, and will keep you up most of the night.
4) Don’t forget to bring skewers to roast your marshmallows for s’mores, especially after you have talked the whole trip about how delicious those s’mores will be. This will result in having to walk up to numerous neighboring campers trying to scavenge some sticks from them as they’re trying to head to bed.
5) Don’t let your baby drink a ton of water on the way to camp (while trying to appease her in the rush hour traffic). This will result in devastated screaming in the middle of the night since she is completely soaked through all her layers of warm clothing. This will further result in more and more screaming as you try to change her while she’s trying to figure out where in the heck she is. Again, the neighbors with nothing but their thin tents to protect them from the noise may not appreciate you.
6) Make sure you remember where you put your flashlight when you go to sleep so that you can see where you’re going to dodge the skunks when you try to go help your baby in the middle of the night. (Lucy slept in her pack-and-play in the car right by the tent.)
7) Don’t sleep with your baby on an air mattress after you’ve calmed her down if you’re nervous she’ll wake up again and wake everyone around her again. This will result in a very cranked neck from trying to stay in the same position hour after hour so as not to wake her while you’re wide awake listening to the skunks rummaging through your camping neighbor’s trash. (Although I must say it’s very fun to sleep with a baby cuddling in next to you…hearing her soft breathing in your ear…but enough, I’m talking about the bad stuff right now!)
8) If you’re really excited about going to a specific place that involves getting wet and swimming, check the weather report before you go. The experience may not be quite as you pictured it with pouring sheets of rain.
Ok, after having listed all the bad stuff, I have to say, this trip was awesome and yes, it is already a great family memory. (the bad stuff becomes the great, funny stuff pretty quickly) You have to have some crazy stuff go on to really appreciate the better stuff, right? It was so beautiful to wake up and see that gorgeous place we had tried to make ourselves at home in in the dark. We were surrounded by pine trees and the air was so refreshingly cool.
We got to have breakfast and a second helping of s’mores before the rain clouds moved back in again. Since we were getting soaked anyway, our trip to Slide Rock after breakfast was chilly, but fine, and hey, no crowds. I think the rain made the colors come out more which you can’t really tell from the pictures. It was gorgeous and Josh and I were loving life with our cameras strapped around our necks…clicking away at everything in sight.
Here are the “do’s”:
1) Bring your experienced camping brother with you who is also adored by your children.
explored for a little bit in between rain bursts.
3) Let your kids’ imagination run wild. The kids found their own “secret clubhouse” across the creek and begged to stay another night so they could further explore. In the tiny bit of dry time we had they came up with not only the “clubhouse” but also the “log mansion” the “magical stairway” and a variety of other imaginative places they wished they could spend more time in.
Notice the “do” list is much shorter than the “don’t” one. Maybe we’ll be able to reverse that next time…or will we want to?? I’m kind of liking the “don’ts” now that we’re far enough removed from them.