I asked Jim if he would be willing to put together a special guest post for me this week recounting Abigail’s very first camping experience. Since I wasn’t there(I was busy shopping, going to Starbucks, and binge watching Netflix) I didn’t want to spend the entire post saying, “AND THEN Jim told me….” So I thought it would be fun to get the story straight from the source! Enjoy!
I took Abigail camping for her first time this weekend, though it was with great fear and trembling. The forecast was calling for thunderstorms on Fridaynight and a 100% chance of rainon Saturday, so trust me when I say that I was not incredibly excited about sleeping outside. However, this was the church camping trip and likely the last chance we would get for a while, so we packed up the (awesome) van and headed for Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
(As Abigail stated earlier in the week, we’re not going camping in the WOODS. We’re going to ARKANSAS)
One of Abigail’s favorite things about our recent ski trip to Colorado was stopping at Old McDonald’s and playing in the playplace, so I had scoured Google Maps for a possible dinner site on our way to the campground and found the perfect place. Much to our dismay, this McDonald’s had renovated since the last time the Google Maps truck came through and they had taken out their play place. Tears were shed. The happy meal helped a little though.
Also, how is it possible that the moment you cross the Arkansas border the road shrinks in size, a cliff appears on your right, and the 6% grade is only slowed by the presence of hairpin curves?
Anyway, we made it to the campground and Mr. Aaron and I set up the tent. Abigail had big plans to set up the tent with me, but being in the woods with her best little friend proved too much fun to worry about tents. We kept track of them by their shrieks and screams, and when they would occasionally come over to show us their new collection of snails.
We checked out the lake, hiked in the woods, roasted marshmallows, had delicious hot cider, and then got ready for bed. Abigail was not impressed by the port-a-potty, which she said “smells awful. It smells terrrrrible!”
I’m not sure if this is ridiculous or awesome, but next came Abigail’s (and my) favorite part of our camping experience: we watched Sleeping Beauty in our tent. She had never seen it before, and it’s one of my favorite Disney movies (Tchaikovsky’s music + strong Gospel allegory for the win!) so I was super excited to watch it with her. Her face was priceless to watch, smiles, laughs, worry, and almost giddy excitement and joy when Prince Phillip finally saved the day. Tons of fun for Daddy.
We snuggled up and went to bed. Abigail is a cover stealer.
On Saturday, we had coffee (must have), sausage , eggs, raspberries, and donuts. I must admit, I brought my coffee pot and a big electric griddle to pull this off. Based on Courtney’s level of outdoors-iness, I don’t anticipate a lot of camping in the Spena family future, so I wasn’t about to go buy a propane camp stove or anything like that. But you know what, with enough extension cords and splitters you can pretty much set up your whole kitchen on a picnic table.
After breakfast it rained so we sat under a canopy and played Old Maid, Go Fish, and Uno (which Abigail called “Bruno” for most of the game). The rain let up after about 30-45 minutes so we went on a hike, checked out a cool old bridge, climbed around on rocks, and burned as much little girl energy as we could. The girls helped re-start the campfire and we cooked up some hot dogs. As we sat in our lawn chairs munching Cheetos, Abigail informed me that she was ready to go home. I could tell she was exhausted. She was having fun and being sweet, but this kiddo wasn’t going to make it much past lunch, let along all the way to 5pm (our originally planned departure time). I had already packed things up before the rain, so we said goodbye and hopped in the car. We used the actual restroom up near the campground office on the way out, which prompted Abigail to declare “this bathroom smells wonderful!!”
She was asleep before we reached the Missouri state line, and I left her in her car seat with the windows down asleep in the driveway for about 30 minutes after we got home (don’t worry, I was standing in the garage painting a crib).
She’s been telling people ever since that “We went camping and we watched Sleeping Beauty!” so I guess it was a success.
Have you ever taken your kids camping? How did it go?