Monday, August 30, 2010

our first camping trip, a few lessons learned included


this past weekend jamie and i took the kids to fairy stone state park in stuart, virginia, for a first time camping trip. it was fun. i really enjoyed the camping part, just not the kids part. i learned a great deal though and i thought i would share my lessons with you. first, don't take kids or specifically my kids. they are non-listening, sprinting, yelling, spitting, arguing, hair pulling brats and that is just travis. my kids were so unruly it it was sad. they took our camping trip from an ten to a two on the drive up! they yelled and fought the whole four and a half hours in the car. i can not remember how many times we pulled over to rebuckle seat belts, pass out threats of corporal punishment and "i will turn this truck around". it was crazy. once we got there, it didn't get much better....

looks cute, huh? looks can be deceiving....


we were lucky and got the campsite number one which was excellent. there were no campers to the right, of course, and we were about fifty yards to site number two. it work out great for the other campers, our hoodlums would not be disturbing them or riffling through their belongs. i guess that is another lesson i learned, the farther away from fellow campers, the better for all of us, the campground, the state of virginia. 

our hillbilly camp all ready to go....

another lesson learned ,just because it is august, don't think you won't get cold at night. jamie and myself froze, huddling under two beach towels. the kids, they were fine in their sleeping bags and a comforter. also, it is pretty much a given that in any direction, give or take fifteen miles or so, there will be a walmart, where you can purchase two more sleeping bags.



caroline or pyro, as we like to call her, was obsessed with burning the end of her marshmallow stick, then putting it out and doing it again, over and over and over. travis, too, but he had a tendency to put it out on his sister's leg, so after that occurred a coupla times i javelin it out into the woods.

we did the required hot dogs and s'mores the first night.



travis with his s'more, it was only one bite and he was over it. thank goodness bedtime came next. he had run the campsite, tripped, burnt sticks and his sister so he pretty much crashed and burned himself. ptl.



morning came slowly....i was cold and mother nature was loud....


the next morning we went to go hunt fairy stones. it started out innocent enough....


notice travis' step, that turned into a jog, then a sprint! he was off and out of sight within seconds. i was dialing search and rescue on my phone, well if i could have gotten a signal. caroline took off to catch him and he stopped long enough to pick up fistfuls of gravel to pelt her. she's screaming, so jamie takes over the chase, only to catch up with travis as he trips over a tree root, so after a few choice words and tears we are all back in the truck and off. it was all said and done under five minutes. it is going to be a fun day. i can feel it.



back to the park to explore....




on to paddle boating....caroline is so excited and peddles furiously and get us out in the middle of the lake....
and craps out on me. she starts complaining about being hot and tired. i knew it. we have the boat for an hour and last maybe twenty minutes. i peddle us back into the dock with her occasionally burst of energetic help. i go to get out of the paddle boat and ask her to give me a hand. she jerks me so hard without warning, i land face first in the gravel. i am sure it was a lovely site for all to see, my life jacketed big butt getting up on all fours with bloody knees. i was not happy. yep, it is a great day. oh well, on to the next adventure. did i mentioned that we walked to the beach front from the campsite, about mile and half up and down the foothills. i now had to get back to the campsite, hot, tired and wounded. greaaaat.



we took our time going back, i had no choice. i was hurting.


pretty things to look at along the way....


required "look i am in a tree" picture....

after we get back from our hike we take a break and grab lunch...we then attempt to take the kids fishing. fairy stone park does not have a large bank fishing area and what they did have was already swarming with little kids, so we opted to let them swim instead. fairy stone park does have a wonderful lake setup for kids and adults, just beautiful.....




the kids had fun. caroline immediately made friends with a set of twin girls from new kent county, which is not far from our home. she had a blast. travis, what can i say? he would just not listen and kept creeping out into deep water. i had his life jacket, but didn't put it on him because i was afraid it would give him too much confidence and even more defiance. he had fun regardless. jamie and i did, too. time to go back to camp and get ready for dinner. thank goodness we drove down this time, 'cause my knee was really hurting.

that is the best part of the trip....



dinner! oh, another lesson learned, pie irons!!! they are fantastic!!! i brought fixin's for pizza and quesadillas. they were delicious. the pizzas were the best. jamie and the kids ate and ate, all was good.


now a little after dinner entertainment and no it was not campfire songs. it was a movie and popcorn. there was an electrical hookup at our campsite, so i had brought the laptop. it was a smart idea, but i burnt the jiffy pop over the campfire, not so smart. oh, and glo sticks, another smart move, but only one pack, not so smart. the lesson, buy multiple packs from the dollar store next trip, so each child has a ton and won't whine. also, glo sticks are great entertainment in the tent when the five year old is not into the movie. they help him fall asleep. ptl.

we enjoyed the movie, popcornless, and then called it a night. next morning we were packed and on the way back home by eight a.m. we separated the kids, me in the back with travis and caroline up front with dad, all was well, mostly.

i learned a lot of little things about camping and myself. i want a cot. air mattresses are not good, especially if they have a slow leak. i want a real toiletry bag, not a plastic shopping bag from the h&m store to haul back and forth from the bath house. i want a real kettle for the campfire, not a stainless handled mixing bowl. i want a broom to keep the sand out of the tent. i want, i want....i want to go camping again. it was a fantastic time despite all the mishaps, fussing and craziness. i want to do it again and i want to do it with my kids. it was the best. we have laughed about it all already and the kids, individually, have told me what a good time they had. travis told me just today that he wanted to go back to "site one", me too. i might need professional help. enjoy.

5 comments:

April said...

You are making memories, babe!!

Elle said...

Thank you for reminding me why I don't go camping. And this line?

"i was cold and mother nature was loud...."

Funniest thing ever! All in all, I'm glad you had a good time!

Cheryl said...

LOL love it, I kinda miss camping too! but we gave away all our camping gear years ago!

Pam said...

Great post... I am cracking up! We love camping and go all the time... there's just something so amazing being out in nature. It sure helps when the kids don't fight every second of the day!

Amy said...

I LOVED your blog!! I just came back from my first tent camping trip and I just laughed soooo hard at your story!! Ya gotta love the kids, right?