Monday, June 25, 2012

Camping with Toddlers! And others

We took the kids camping for the first time this weekend. We went to Killen's Pond state park in near Rehoboth, Delaware. John picked that area for a very specific reason. We went with some old friends and some new friends. There were eight kids in all, but eight adults, so we managed to maintain some order with man-on-man coverage. Somewhat.
The campsites were beautiful. There was plenty of shade and quiet and a really pretty meadow. It was a little inconvenient to the bathrooms, but it was worth it to not be near the RVs and their generators.
John and another dad, Jason, along with his two minions sons, Anthony and Ethan went down on Thursday to set up camp toddler-free. CJ's insistent,"I halp!" is cute, but potentially dangerous when putting up a tent. And God bless them because it was HOT! They were real troopers. When I showed up with our kids, other mom, Kirsten, and other toddler, Keira, on Friday, we dropped our stuff, looked around, and said, "Water park!"
Best. Idea. Ever.
  (courtesy of Domestic Deeds)

When we got back much cooler and happier, it stormed (shortly after the rest of our friends, the Layous and Aycocks, arrived and got their camps set up). Which is not the ideal camping fun unless it is breaking the gawd awful heat. Also it was awesome because it made this happen.
Fortunately, the rain stopped long enough to let us get dinner (kabobs over the fire thanks to John.) in and a quick round of s'mores before it started up again and drove us to our tents. Sleeping in a tent with toddlers does not involve much sleeping. It involves much rolling off of an air mattress and John eventually sleeping across the bottom of said mattress. Thank goodness I am short.
Fortunately, there were pancakes and bacon and coffee in the morning, thanks to the Deeds, followed by another trip to the water park where Leila spent her time running from one slide to another while CJ tormented sprayed victims friends with a play hose. After lunch we decided it was nap time. They were asleep before we got them to the car in the water park parking lot. Once back at camp we settled in for some actual camping. John entertained the children.

   (again, Deeds pictures, thanks Kirsten.)

While the Layous made us a delicious tortilla dinner. Camping is really mostly about the food.
We taught the kids basic camping skills that involve sticks and marshmallows .
I shall gloss over the epic tantrum CJ throw before finally falling asleep on Saturday and just say we were all so satisfyingly exhausted that tent sleeping was possible. Sunday we had another delightful breakfast, courtesy of the Aycocks followed by the not-so-fun packing, courtesy of John, but then a delightful lunch at Dogfish Head Brew Pub in Rehoboth before we all parted company. John and I took the kids for a quick trip to the beach before heading home. Leila, of course, ran straight into the waves, while CJ made John hold him for a couple of minutes before getting his toes wet. 
All in all the kids were a delight for most of the trip, and I think I can safely say that they had an excellent time. I see many a family and friends camping trip in our future.