I have so many wonderful memories from the weekend. It was our first time camping with the kids, at least camping in one spot for any length of time. Last year, we rented an RV and traveled to a wedding in North Carolina, camping along the way. But we had a 2 night respite in a hotel to break up the trip and enjoy the wedding. This was a bit different. It was simpler in some respects because we weren't constantly packing/unpacking, changing seats into beds and back again so we could hit the road. And yet, it was challenging at times too, trying to keep the kids entertained and ease them into the notion that doing "nothing" can be enjoyable too. We played our share of bean bags, roasted plenty of "mallows", canoed, spent afternoons at the beach, went for nature hikes, and of course just thoroughly enjoyed being outdoors despite the 90 degree temps.
My brother was kind enough to loan us his camper, which sleeps 9. We packed along a tent, which the 3 oldest were happy to claim as their own, so everyone had a spot. The first night was a bit tricky, getting everyone to settle down to sleep, but by the second day, it felt like old hat. My parents stopped out to celebrate Frank & Rose's birthday on Saturday evening. The kids could have stayed up all night listening to their Grandma tell stories around the campfire. On Sunday, I could hear Emma repeating the stories over and over in the tent to the little ones who were asleep for the stories the night before. Too cute.
I'm still struggling to figure out how something could be so incredibly relaxing one moment and hectic/stressful the next, but overall it was wonderful. I enjoyed cooking over an open fire each night, and everyone agreed the food tasted better than grilled, hands-down. We went an entire weekend without television, Nintendo DS, computer, even phone. (I had the cell with us, but it stayed plugged in, charging in the camper for use if necessary.) Amazingly, none of us missed any of it. I would love to have a camper of our own one day to take advantage of more days at the lake with the kids, who haven't stopped sharing stories about their weekend. Surely these are memories to last a lifetime.
Rosie, showing off her birthday "princess" gifts. (This was certainly not part of my minimalist packing.)
John and I sitting for a few moments around the fire. Supper's nearly ready.