So, when I was little I remember going camping with my family almost every summer. I even remember one year when my dad took all the kids by himself because my mom was either very pregnant or just had a baby. That was an odd camping trip. We wore shorts and tank tops to sleep. Maybe we were at the Sand Dunes or something – I really don’t remember and I am totally digressing here.
Anyway, so as we got older we tried to go at least once as a whole big family. We managed that for a number of years, but then as it goes with everything – life got in the way.
I wasn’t going to let that stop us. I’ve told Eric that I want to go camping at least once every summer. Well this year we ended up going TWICE within 3 weeks and Eric and the boys will be headed out this weekend again for Fathers and Sons!
Our first trip was what is becoming an annual trip with our family friends, the Wards. We branched out a little bit this year and invited another family to come with us – the Wildings. I haven’t had much interaction with the Wildings, but Eric does stuff with the Dad all the time. The kids are all about the same age as well.
The W’s headed out Thursday afternoon, July 27, but we had to wait until Eric got home from work as he didn’t have a whole lot of time off. He did leave work around 3, but he had to stop at the store for our groceries while I finished getting everyone/everything packed up.
We got out of the house around 6 and it was about an hour drive to the campground. We were met by the W’s and they all helped us out to get all set up and situated. We had a quick dinner of hot dogs and by this time it was about 10. I decided I was shot for the night and headed to bed with the kids.
One by one the kids drifted off to sleep, all except Ailey. Ailey didn’t want to go to sleep. I finally got her to sleep by about midnight and Eric finally came to the tent around 1:00. He was a good ‘neighbor’ and stayed up visiting.
We all slept pretty well and woke up well and revived in the morning. We took our time in the morning having breakfast and around 1:00 we decided to head to the lake. The kids had an awesome time playing around in the water and our friends had rented a canoe that I think everyone but me took a ride on.
We had a late lunch by the lake and then it started sprinkling, so we decided we better head back to the campsite as the other families had things to get ready for dinner. The kids then had fun playing around and goofing off. The men headed off to their ‘Man Cave Tent’ for a few rounds of the Magic card game. The wives were trying to visit and take care of babies. Ailey kept running to the road, so I spent that time running around chasing her.
Around 7:00 or so, Heather Ward decided she’d take a few of the kids and the dogs for a walk around the lake. This is when we discover that the 3 littlest mobile boys are missing. One from each family. That was two 4 year olds missing and my little 3 year old. Heather decided to still take the other kids and look around the lake and along the way for the little guys. Yvonne Wilding took out on foot walking around the campground searching. I stayed at the campground watching Ailey and one of the Wilding’s kids who chose not to go for the walk. Yvonne came back and hadn’t found them.
Both Yvonne and I then headed down to the guys to ask them for their help and to explain what’s going on. The guys IMMEDIATELY stop what they are doing and Eric told me his heart kind of stopped as well. It was getting dark and was going to get cold. Nate had taken his shoes off and didn’t have a jacket on yet either.
Doug Ward heads off walking around the campground. Eric and Anthony Wilding take off in Wildings van driving around each loop in the campground. Doug comes back and couldn’t find the boys, Eric and Anthony get back and haven’t had any luck either. I tell them to maybe check around the lake in case Heather found them.
In the meantime Yvonne had gone down to the lake and wasn’t able to find Heather nor the boys. They then decided that Yvonne will take one half of the lake and Eric will trek the other half. I was stuck back at the campsite not sure what was going on, but waiting on pins and needles.
A bit later I see Eric getting pulled by Wilding’s dog, carrying Nate and I think he even had Flower in another hand. He was quite talented getting all three of those back to us. So yes, the boys were found and they were safe. They were actually found before Heather even left the campsite and she told one of the older kids to come back and tell us they had them, but it was Shaylyn and she just yelled, “We found them! They were at the bathroom!”
I had heard that, but didn’t know it came from her. The campsite was full so it could’ve came from any kid in that area. Thankfully everyone was safe and it turned out well, but it was certainly a very scary time.
We then all had our individual dinners and got the kids to bed. Nate had fallen asleep on the picnic table because he was so tired from his adventures and the other kids had no problem going to sleep on their own.
The adults and a few of the babies (yes, Ailey) sat around the campfire visiting. The Wildings taught us a fun song that Ailey actually ended up loving the chorus so much that it put her to sleep. I just had to whisper “Ooh la la, Ooh la la, Ooh la” and she was out! We then played a fun game and just had fun being the adults for awhile. We called it a night around 1.
I woke up the next morning not feeling great and just wanted to get out of there, but Eric had other plans and played Magic most of the morning. Yes, I’ll admit I got a little ornery. We got everything packed up around 1:00, decided we’d better get some group pics before we left and we all departed and called it good.
It was a fun weekend and I felt bad I was in such a bad mood most of the time. Not sure what was going on with me, but nothing I can do about it now.
Two weekends later, August 5 and 6, Eric had a work retreat campout. We debated about going all week. Even the day before we weren’t sure we were going to be going as Eric wasn’t feeling well. Our tent’s zipper had broken at the previous campout so we’d have to borrow a tent from Eric’s parents which he wasn’t sure he wanted to do either.
Well the Friday came and Eric decided he really wanted to go. He had a work buddy that had reserved a spot who said that we could use it and Eric felt bad if we didn’t.
So we got all packed up and were out of the house by about 1:00. Again it was a short travel time to the mountain and we found the campsite fairly easily – but we so were NOT impressed with it. It was right next to a river (NOT GOOD FOR LITTLE KIDS – EVEN THOUGH I REALLY LIKE BEING BY RIVERS) and the only place for a tent was extremely rocky
We were supposed to be sharing the spot with Eric’s buddy at work, but he didn’t seem to be there. So we walked up to where we saw others from his work and found his buddy. This guy had decided to just bunk with someone else and so he allowed us to just use his reserved campsite. Talk about an awesome guy.
We went back to the campsite to set up camp. It took Eric FOREVER to figure out his Dad’s tent and it was so hot that it was a lot of work. The kids were ornery and crazy and we were all pretty miserable. I had planned to have hot dogs for lunch, but Eric didn’t feel like making a fire in 100* weather, so we opted for some healthy snacks since a good group dinner was only in 2 hours.
After eating we just sat and visited. It was so nice. Lex and Shaylyn went to go ‘take a nap’ in the tent, Tanis fell asleep in the camp chair and Ailey and Nate loved playing together in the dirt. Sometimes the slow in life is nice.
At 6:00 we went up to the group dinner and I finally got to meet all these people Eric works with. There are some interesting people, but some also very nice people and they were all very kind and good with our kids. One of the people Eric works with had a few little games set up like bean bag toss and a horseshoe type game with metal rings – they also had marshmallow guns.
Dinner was extremely yummy and there are some very talented people when it comes to cooking while camping. Eric and I had fun visiting with a few of his coworkers while the kids had fun whooping on a 40 year old kid with the marshmallow guns. It was a good night for us all. We headed back to our own campsite for S’mores and some family fun.
Well Eric decided to invite a coworker whose campsite was next to ours, who let us borrow A BUNCH of wood, come sit with us. I was a little annoyed, but it was still fun to visit with these people and they were so nice. They had an RV and invited the kids to come watch a movie. The kids all ran over, except for Ailey and I think Tanis.
When I got tired I went into the tent with Ailey and Eric went to get the kids. He was gone for quite awhile and I actually started dozing off. He came back and we got all the kids situated and got ready for sleep. Eric and I DID NOT sleep that night. There were rocks EVERYWHERE and Ailey and Nate took turns not wanting to sleep. It definitely was not the best campsite for a tent.
We woke up in the morning and decided to forego the work breakfast. We just packed up and decided to go for breakfast at IHOP. It was a good choice, except that we left Flower in the car with the windows rolled down enough for her to get air, but not enough for someone to break in.
However, we offended some person cause we came back out to the car to a note telling us that we were horrible dog owners and that we needed to roll the windows down more and we shouldn’t have left our dog in the car while we ate a bunch of crap. And they were going to call Animal Services on us.
Okay, so maybe we shouldn’t have left Flower in the car – but we weren’t gone for longer than an hour and she was perfectly fine when we came back to the car. We tried to ignore the note and for the most part we did, but it did make me feel bad. That person used some very mean words and it made us feel awful.
Anyway, so those were our wonderful camping trips. Maybe next year we’ll actually have a good experience when we go. 😉