we did it! we made it home, all of us in one piece, with some little piece of our sanity in tact. woohoo!! we had our first family camping weekend this past weekend. after loading up the car (wow! i didn’t realize just how much room a camry has until we filled it to the brim with the “necessities” of camping) and then squeezed in 3 people, made a quick stop at longs for the forgotten items and finally headed out to ho’omaluhia (place of tranquility/peace). we knew that we were in for some rain ~ that was inevitable, ho’omaluhia is at the foot of the ko’olaus on the kaneohe side ~ but we were excited to finally break out our new tents and get away for short staycation. we had no idea if we were going to have friends hanging out with us, or if our new propane grill was going to work (which meant that we had no idea if the the ton of food that mama packed was going to be cooked, much less consumed).
it seems that a lot of my peeps are surprised to discover that i enjoy camping. i guess that surprise should make sense. i get that i’m a bit of a diva. i enjoy my coffee hot and fresh in the AM, i’m a HUGE believer in naps and lots of pillows on the bed (don’t you love that, panda?!?) and i like having wardrobe options at my fingertips so that what i’m wearing fits any mood that i may be in. but … surprise everyone!! this mama LOVES to camp!!! in fact, one of the sad parts about the dissolution of my last relationship was losing my (VERY expensive), well-researched, broken in camping gear to my ex. oh well! i’m over it. especially because that meant that my little family got to indulge in some new camping gear and create camping memories of our own. and let me tell you, that we did!!
we made it out to the campsite mid-morning and were fairly well set up just a bit after lunchtime. after gobbling down some yummy sammies (with the indulgence of white bread!) we started the difficult task of relaxing! seriously … getting this family to relax can sometimes be difficult … competing and busy schedules, lots of time spent with our minds on other things, restless sleep, crazy competing priorities … getting us settled in to relaxation mode can take a bit. but we made it! yep … within a couple hours, there were trees being explored, ducks being fed, books being read, naps being had. ended up having family time the rest of that day. mama tried to let food choices be whatever anyone wanted, there were marshmallows roasted on a fire that panda started and we both kept going for hours (yes peeps, us women know how to start a fire successfully!). it was bliss. and at the end of the day, after shortstack finally crashed for the night, panda and i got to sit fireside talking about everything and nothing and just enjoy being. for that night alone, the craziness of camping prep and execution was worth it!!
saturday morning came a bit too early for my liking … especially when we figured out that my coffee plan wasn’t going to work. okay, a short sidenote here ~ y’all know that i’m a coffee addict. so we planned specifically for that weakness. we ventured into unknown and scary territory and bought *$ (if you don’t know what this means, well, you’re not an addict. be proud!) instant coffee packets. i packed a pot to boil water in on our cool new propane grill. yeah ~ well, the best laid plans sometimes just don’t work. so, off panda had to go in search of coffee (i love that woman!) of course, when she got back, shortstack and i were taking a nap … heeheeeheeee …
so, we finally did really wake up … and friends started coming. it was a rainy day, but shortstack and his buddies managed to play hide and seek, fish in the lake (seriously – it was catch and release, no fish were harmed, i promise!) get their bodies caked with mud and other unthinkable messy stuff, eat like ravenous hyenas … by the end of the chaotic, fun day, panda and i were looking at each other in bafflement because we had acquired 4 other kids, another tent, made our way through a dozen hamburgers, 3 lbs of hot dogs, 4 bags of chips, 2 bags of marshmallows … yep, it was a blast!
after listening in on a hilarious game of truth or dare (with 5 kids in age range of 5 thru 12 … you’d be cracking up too!) and realizing that we were now the old peeps chaperoning camping trips, everyone was finally tucked into their tents playing flashlight chicken and trying to keep their giggles to a minimum … unfortunately, when the sun woke up, so did the kids …. i wasn’t a fan, but i was apparently overruled … so, up and starting the day (without coffee, mind you). breakfast for 5 hungry, growing kids is a crazy prospect … don’t know how parents of multiple kids do it! within a couple hours, the campsite was well on the way to being broken down and i was patiently (NOT) waiting for the coffee delivery that was coming with the first kid(s) pickup of the AM. coffee arrived ~ oops! i mean our friends arrived with coffee ~ to pick up their kids. somehow, these kids still had enough energy to run around like crazy. campsite was pretty well cleared by the time the first group left. by the time our other friends showed up to retrieve their daughter, only the pop-up tent still stood with munchies and random chaos. we chilled out a little more, let shortstack run like crazy and finally made the call to pack it up and call it a successful adventure!
getting everything back in the car and headed home was not as pretty or organized as when we headed out, but we made at. the little man was immediately thrown into the bathtub with the intention of scrubbing and soaking away the dirt and grime (seriously, a shower and a bath and there’s STILL residual mud on him), we unloaded the car and made temporary homes for a lot of little things, and finally found our way to cleanliness … each of us luxuriating under long, hot showers and lots of suds (did i mention that this little family of mine went showerless from friday through sunday?? yep! the beanie never left my head!).
all in all, it was an awesome weekend! we all had a blast and all were pleasantly exhausted at the end of the weekend. but now, it’s back to daily reality. my alarm went off at 5:10 this AM. it took A LOT of self motivation to get my a$$ out of bed and start our day … but we did it. we’re at school, at work and ready to get moving through the week. and at the end of each day, as long as my shortstack will give me a kiss and say “get some sleep, mama” then i know it was a good day! here’s to hoping that all of us have a blessed week … hopefully we’ll be able to all enjoy our daily adventures and remember to say thank you for the little moments of bliss when we crawl into our beds at night …