A few months ago, a couple parents from our church’s playgroup decided to plan a weekend camping trip. Dates were picked. A location was picked. Reservations were made. Life went on.
Then it was time.
Five families. 10 adults. 10 kids. Three tents. Two cabins. One weekend.
Getting to the campsite was an adventure. Not knowing what to expect and forever the worrier, I packed for every situation my overactive brain could create. It still felt like I was forgetting something. We could barely fit the four of us in the car. It took longer than it should have to walk out the house and actually get on the road, but we made it to O’Connell’s Yogi Bear Park in Amboy, IL. It was Pirate’s Weekend and packed. There were tents everywhere. Annnnd, we had no service.
The girls TD1 played at the group campsite while T-Daddy and I unloaded the car. TD2 managed to give 10 adults several heart attacks within a 30-minute time span running back and forth between the campsite and our cabin. She had apparently memorized the route in the five seconds before her runaway streak began. This was gonna be a fun weekend.
We hung out around the fire for a couple hours before heading back to our cabin to call it a night. It seemed like forever before the TDs’ excitement came down to a level conducive to sleeping. I incorrectly assumed there would be two twin beds – TDs in one; T-Parents in the other. I packed two sets of twin sheets and two pillows. T-Daddy and I could share a pillow and the girls could share the other. We had two bunk beds with a full on the bottom and a twin on top. Each girl wanted their own twin bed and agreed to take turns with the blanket and pillow. T-Daddy and I used two twin-sized sheets to cover a full mattress and hoped for the best.
Every 30 seconds, my eyes jumped open and scanned the floor for one of the girls. Turns out, they were just wrestling with the wall and ceiling, not actually falling out the bed. At some point, they both got down and ended up in bed with T-Daddy and I. That was some great sleep. T-Daddy took TD2 to the community outhouse and they both moved to the top bunk when they got back. Somehow, I managed to get up before the rest of T4 and behave as a functioning adult.
T-Daddy tried to start a fire in our fire pit to cook bacon, but apparently we needed a bodybag’s worth of firewood to be able to do anything but inhale smoke. We ended up using the group’s fire before heading fishing.
The girls had a blast fishing. TD1 caught three fish and TD2 caught one. I have to say: 1. I never thought I’d touch a live fish. 2. Tryna yank a hook out a fish’s mouth seems like a new level of fish torture. I almost wanted to just learn how to gut and cook it rather than throw it back in the water. 3. I’m not sure how worried I should be that my daughters thoroughly enjoyed cutting worms in half and sinking a hook in them.
After fishing, we had lunch then went on the Heyride of Water Torture. We drove around the campgrounds while people pointed hoses and threw water balloons at us. Parents tried to shield and/or comfort their screaming kids. As I used my body to block TD2 from getting wet, I felt like Luke Cage…except for he’s bulletproof and I’m hardly waterproof.
The rest of the day pretty much consisted of the pool, watching the cardboard boat regatta, dinner and hanging out around the campfire. It was a fun and relaxing day, minus one unfortunate bathroom incident which may or may not involved me trying to get TD2 to rinse off in the shower. We walked in the shower and upon seeing a clump of hair over the drain, she immediately started screaming “No yucky! I don’t want to step in the yucky. Don’t put me in the yucky.” I held her up so that the water could run over her, but I’m not entirely convinced she didn’t walk away from that incident unscathed.
When it was time to retreat back to our cabin, the girls passed directly out. T-Daddy and I took the opportunity to have some quiet (after the camp-wide pool party ended), child-free time under the stars. Staring up at the sky, watching stars shoot across the vastness then disappear was mesmerizing.
The next morning, we packed up our cabin and met our group for breakfast. The kids played while the parents talked. Then everyone went their separate ways.
All in all, the camping trip was fun and I had a great time getting to know the other families better. Once I got over the initial shock of not having a signal, it was actually quite relaxing being disconnected. I don’t think I’ll ever be a public/shared bathroom person, but I enjoyed being outdoors. T4 will definitely go camping again.
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