Our camping trip ended up being a lot of fun. I was nervous about taking Ben camping, but despite the general lack of sleep, it turned out fine.
We arrived at the campsite around 2 p.m. last Friday, the same time as the Budges. Christopher had driven separately and was renting the boat, and would cross the lake to us. We set up camp and played on the “beach” for awhile. The kids had a great time. Christopher finally arrived and since only 7 people could fit on the boat, we split up into boys and girls. Christopher, Phil, Gavin, and three Budge boys (two sons and a nephew) went tubing first while the girls (and Ben) swam and chatted. Then, Sally and I got a turn on the boat with our babies (Ben and 2-year-old Clara) and Megan and Sophia (also 7).
The highlight of the entire trip was Megan tubing. The girl is a wild child, and Christopher said he drove her faster than anyone, including the Budge boys (ages 13, 12, and 9) and the adults.
We didn’t get nearly enough time with the boat, because we picked a campsite close to Atlanta, instead of close to the boat rental site. Next time, we’ll spend a lot more time on the boat. We bought three 50% off boat rental coupons.
Christopher took the four boys and headed back to the boat site. Phil built a fire, with the help of Megan and Sophia, and Sally pitched a tent for me (she is a Cub Scout leader, and I haven’t been camping since college).
We roasted hot dogs and the Budges made foil pack dinners. Ben went to sleep in a Pack n Play in the tent. We made Smores and ate a huge plastic container of Cheese Balls. When the sun started to set, Gavin said, “I’m tired, can I go to bed now?” We put Megan and Gavin to bed in our second tent and the adults sat around the fire and talked for a while, watching the lightning all around us, which fortunately, never came too close or brought any rain. It was peaceful.
The worst part of the trip happened later that night. We went to bed around 9:30 p.m., and fell asleep pretty quickly. Sometime after that a herd of people descended upon the very next campsite (20-30 feet away) and proceeded to party until four a.m. (according to Sally; I didn’t have my cell phone or a watch).
I woke up two or three times to rowdy laughter and phrases like, “Get me another beer, woman!” Amazingly, the kids slept soundly the entire time. I almost wanted Ben to wake up screaming so they would realize how rude they were being. At one point, I dreamed we went over there and told them off.
When Ben eventually woke up screaming, our boisterous neighbors were asleep. We tried to get him to lay down with us; he screamed. We gave him some milk and changed his diaper and put some pants on him. He had gotten cold, after being hot most of the night. Eventually, we put him in the Pack n Play and ignored him and he settled down.
About 30 minutes later, the sun came up. Ben stood up and started babbling. Time to get up! I put my clothes on and found my cell phone. It was 5:45.
As the sun came up, the rest of the children stirred and we started breakfast. Hopefully we made plenty of noise to bother the rabblerousers. The kids were generally pretty sleepy-eyed and quiet, though.
By about 8:30, we were breaking down camp and ready to go home. I arrived at home with Ben first, and we showered and were in bed just before Christopher arrived with Megan and Gavin.
Would I do it again? You bet. The boat part was fabulous, and there’s nothing like camping to force family togetherness. I’m sure as our children get older, we will do lots of camping. No TV, no computer. Just a tent, a fire, and making memories.