We took our first ever family camping trip. Well, almost. Steve and I went camping one other time for one night when Tryn was a baby, younger than Kye is right now. Then we braved one night with one kid. This time we braved two nights with three kids. So...the best way to tell is just to highlight some things.
* First, getting ready to go camping is a lot of work. Wow. I have always thought that getting kids ready to go somewhere for the weekend and just packing their clothing was a lot of work. Packing food for every meal, dishes, cookware, bedding, etc., now that is a lot of work.
* We went to Savannah Portage State Park and it was
beautiful. It's in the very heart of Minnesota, north of McGregor by 15
miles or so. It was amazing to be on lakes where there was not a house,
person, or boat in site. They also have this small hidden lake that you
can hike to that has a bog boardwalk trail. The ground of the forest
there was just thick deep moss that they built a boardwalk on top of so
that people can hike out there. We saw some super cool plants that I
have never seen before. It was awesome.
* Kyeson really loves to be comfortable and really doesn't like to be uncomfortable. This means that he likes to sleep in his bed and nowhere else. Not even in the car. He took a 30 minute nap on the way up to the campsite, which the trip was an awesome 2+ hour opportunity to nap that he did not use to his advantage. This also lead to a crazy bedtime in which we helped him fall asleep no less than 8 times. One time included Steve and Kye taking a midnight walk down to the lake, one time included trying to just let him cry for awhile, and ended with Steve rocking him to sleep at 2am. We got 4 hours of sleep the first night.
* Berlin loves to be outside. I mean, she loves it in a way that I haven't often seen a little kid love to be in the outdoors. When we take trail walks she runs most of the way, which is really great because she also has to stop and look at every other plant, flower, rock, or stick. If she walked it would take us forever to get anywhere. It's so fun to see her so happy though. She also learned how to climb trees near our campsite which she just thought was so awesome. This was a log she tried to climb while on a hike:
* I have more mosquito bites than I ever remember having in my life and I think I saw more bugs and spiders this last weekend than I have seen in years. So many bugs. There was a couple of times when I thought the kids might actually start going crazy and running around like banshees because they were so frustrated about the bug situation. There were also spiders in every toilet stall which made certain little girls very nervous. :) We went through three bottles of bug spray in 2 1/2 days. Ew.
* Trynie mainly just loves to swim. She also struggles with liking to be comfortable and not liking to be uncomfortable, but she really, really, really loves swimming so we made sure to do that every day.
* The second night after we successfully got all three kids to sleep at a reasonable hour, Steve and I walked down to a dock (that was within site of our campsite) and listened to frogs croaking and saw several shooting starts. It was perfect. It's amazing how many stars you can see when there are no lights around.
*The first night we had to pack up our campsite a little (put chairs in the van, take down all our clothes hanging to dry, etc.) because a thunderstorm rolled in as soon as it got dark. This was not a big deal as the sound of rain falling on my tent while I am sleeping is wonderful. However, since we had all our food in two plastic bins we left them out. Well, we heard some rustling in the middle of the night and in the morning we found the plastic bag that had once contained our marshmallows near the edge of our campsite. Who eats an ENTIRE bag of marshmallows? Yuck! The second night I put all the food in one bin, shoved it under the picnic table and placed a cooler on top of it so it was wedged under there. Somehow the darn animal (raccoon we are pretty sure) still pulled up the corner of the lid and pulled out a bag of cereal and demolished a bag of unopened tortilla chips. Grrrrr. Jerk.
* Oh, and speaking of food, Steve and I decided on this camping trip that we are officially foodies. We just really like to make and eat good food. We cooked all our food over the fire, which was super fun. Both mornings we made french press coffee (a must), pancakes, and then one morning we made bacon and the other morning we made eggs and ham. For dinner the first night we made chicken and veggie kabobs with roasted potatoes. Lunch was hot dogs. Dinner the second night was a fun recipe I found for campfire mac 'n cheese where we made the noodles in a pot over the fire and then put noodles, butter, milk, and a few different kinds of cheese into foil type pie pans and cooked that over the fire. Yum. It was really fun to make the food.
* It was super great to be away from technology. Although, I have to admit that we still didn't live without my phone. Since Kye was having such a hard time sleeping we had to use the noise/rainmaker app on my phone and place it right next to him while he was sleeping so that he would stop waking up at the slightest sounds. Since we were in view of the bathrooms I would take my phone over there during the day and plug it in for a few hours on the outside of the building and watch it from the campsite...all so we could have a sleeping baby at night. And, sadly, about half an hour into our trip I realized that I had totally forgotten my camera! So I also had to use my phone to take pictures. Worth it to not totally go without technology? Heck yes. Haha!! Thankfully, the one other place in the world besides his bed where Kyeson will fall asleep easily is this backpack that Steve carries him around in, so he did take a couple of naps in there.