This past weekend, we went with some of our best friends to a nice lake a couple hours' drive from where we live. We planned it at the beginning of the week and found ourselves cramming to get ready on Thursday and Friday. Cramming always means packing/buying more than what you need to do in a last-minute effort not to forget anything ... Then what happens? You forget something really necessary!
So, the night before our trip my girlfriend and I made our lists and went shopping, were out really late but got lots done. Who knew that camping for the first time as adults with children would be so much work to get ready for??? (All of our families camped when we were younger, we just hadn't been as adults with our own little ones).
Friday, I found myself running around purchasing last minute things we HAD to have and ended up tossing things into boxes thinking, 'I can sort that out later once we get to the lake, but at least I will have it'. We ended up leaving 2 hours later than we anticipated and had to stop to eat as a group so we finally pulled into our reserved campsite at 10:05pm. Then we had to pitch tents and make a homestead in the dark from all of our stuff we had tossed into the van to 'sort out LATER'! ACK!
Of course I purchased, but forgot to put on my list a very important item ... the coffee percolator! That set the tone for the next few hours for me and I was in a really bad mood towards myself and I managed to make everyone else in my family grumpy in the process. Once I let that go (and apologized profusely), we had a really good time!
We ended up having everything we really needed except the coffee maker and salt and pepper.
Got some great ideas of what we brought that was really not needed ... board games, extra shoes (we took like three pairs each!) Got some good ideas of how to pare stuff down. We don't need to take as many snacks and food for just a weekend! I brought a whole gallon of milk! We almost don't drink that in a whole week. Not sure why I was thinking we would use all that with an endless supply of juice-boxes and kool-aid, the kids would drink so much milk! LOL!
I also brought 500 paper plates, napkins and forks. Guess I thought we should supply the north side of the lake!
Once I got my boxes of supplies in order, I noticed that I could tell someone where to find something instead of ME digging through stuff endlessly. That helped a lot because the first night and morning we were there, it felt as if that was all I was doing.
So, overall, I think the trip was a great success! We came home with all the kids and only minor scrapes and one fire-ant bite. We slept under the stars and a beautiful, bright moon. We saw a shooting star Friday night. It was a tad windy, but kept the heat bearable and we didn't have to use bug repellent at all!
I loved cooking outside on the campfire and being "unplugged" for a while.
I caught myself wondering what time it was on Saturday ... I decided to give that up and just enjoy the day, knowing we would eat when we were hungry and go to sleep when we were tired. Ahhhhhh, much more enjoyable than watching a clock.
It was fun watching our kids camp for the first time. The first night and morning, they were a little confused, just like us, still trying to figure out what camping was all about. They were relentless that first night with requests as we were trying to sort out where that bag of tent stakes went to! On Saturday night, they were so tired from a full day of camping, boating (thanks to another great friend), swimming and total fun, they ASKED to go to bed and were asleep when I got back to the tent while bringing them the night-time token "drink of water"! LOL!
By Sunday, they were acclimated and played the entire morning on their own, thinking up games and entertaining themselves with piles of dirt and discovering bugs. (See note about the fire-ant bite above!)
I was excited we actually made the decision to go camping. In year's past we would have been so overwhelmed by the whole thing we wouldn't have gone. Once we get even more organized, we will be able to "do" a lot more enjoyable things!
Well, now that we we had a chance to nap (and plug back into the Internet) we're gonna unload the van and get stuff put away and some things organized for next time. We brainstormed all the way home about how plan better for the next trip so we will be able to stress less about the "stuff" and have more time to play!