Fourth of July weekend was fun times for me and my family. That is....if you like camping. Now I've always enjoyed camping but that was before I had to take a one and two year old on a camping trip with my husband and I.
That was the worst possible weekend of my life as a parent thus far and I should have considered leashes given the number of times I had to go running after my girls to keep them from harming themselves.
We went camping a bit west of where we live, by my aunt's camper, on a campground called Bark River Campground. It's a quaint place, enormous in size, you can actually ride a golf cart around it and it'll take you a bit to get back to your starting point.
They have a swimming pool, a rather large playground, a lodge where you can get pretty much whatever fried food you want. LOL They have fun games for all the kids and adults, alike. It's a great place. And my aunt's camper has all the amenities of home; flushing toilet, shower, hot running water, electricity, stove, microwave, pretty much everything and it has sleeping room for about nine or more people.
She has a small yard in front of her camper where she has a rather large fire pit, a couple of picnic tables, some chairs, a huge coniferous tree in the front yard, too. It's a beautiful little place.
In front of the trailer is a narrow paved road for everyone to get around on that goes basically anywhere you need to get to around the campground. And the little street gets pretty busy on a weekend like Fourth of July.
Do you think my girls would stay out of that damn road considering how many times I yelled at them not to?! Of course not!
I spent half my time flying out of my chair and running after them into the street so they wouldn't get run over by a golf cart. We even tried fencing the yard in a little bit with some rope and stakes but nooooo....no. Not my girls. They just went under/over/around them.
The rest of my day was spent keeping them out of the fire pit, off the front porch where they enjoyed racing back and forth and playing with the sliding glass door (I owe my aunt $20 for a new screen she had to buy because my girls destroyed the one that came with the camper) and basically keeping them as busy and occupied as possible so they wouldn't get into the street for the umpteenth time.
Then there was the tiring task of trying to get them to nap in a tent during the hot, bright daytime hours so they could stay up and watch fireworks...that never happened.
Who would have thought that bringing two toddlers camping would be such a chore!?
I knew it was going to be bad when we had to pack up half of our belongings into our van before we could even leave the house. My oldest with her blankets and pillows and my youngest needed her own blankets and pillows, then a pack n' play, sleeping bags, pillows and blankets for mom and dad, more clothing per child per two day stay than one would have thought you'd need but I ended up using all of them...add in food and beverages, two car seats, a rather large, green plastic wagon with attachable trailer for the girls to ride around in while mom and dad walk around the campground and you've got one packed minivan and two exhausted parents before the trip even started.
Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the camping trip with my girls and my husband very much but it didn't seem like much of a "mini-vacation" to me, as my husband so poignantly put it when he was trying to convince me to take the hour drive west of our home with our two toddlers.
All in all, it wasn't a bad trip. It was fun for us all, swimming in the pool, playing on the playground, walking around the campsite and petting all the dogs we came across. They loved to play outside in the open air all day and even enjoyed just sitting around the fire on mom and dad's laps when it started to get dark.
Would I do it all over again exactly the same way?
Honestly? Probably not. I would rethink sleeping arrangements, i.e. bring another pack n' play.
I would most definitely not stay two nights and I'm thinking about investing in a cot or two instead of the damned air mattress we have that only stays partially inflated throughout the night. So your ass end is on the hard ground and your feet and head are up in the air which in turn gives you the most uncomfortable crick in your neck and back.
I wouldn't do leashes, although the idea has crossed my mind several times in the last 2.5 years, especially since my girls are a lot faster than I am.
I wouldn't change much because the experience alone was good for all of us. It taught me a lot of things about myself and I'm pretty sure it taught my girls a lot of things about nature, mom's patience level and dad's tolerance for mom's bitchiness when things stop following the plan.
I found out my oldest is deathly afraid of heights, just like her mommy.
I found out my youngest loves the water and particularly enjoys being thrown into it, as long as someone is there to catch her.
I found out that most strangers think my girls are twins and are absolutely adorable even though they're about 11 months apart and look nothing like each other. LOL
I guess, in the end, I would do it again. It was a good experience for my girls and a great experience for me and dad. I'm just happy that at the end of the day, when all is said and done, I can honestly tell people that I have gone camping with my children and we all enjoyed ourselves, despite the few hiccups and setbacks and nuances.
But maybe next time I'll wait til they're three and four....and potty trained. LOL