Sunday, July 19, 2009

Faux Camp

I stumbled across something brilliant. Sometimes, some of the most profound or brilliant ideas happen by chance....or so it seems.

Each year we have an annual camping trip. Our once a year foray out into the "wilds" of Tahoe, with other families from our church. It is always a highlight of the kids summer, and has moved from a stress to be endured, to a go with it, yet hard weekend. (Preparing, packing, unpacking, setting up the tent, lack of sleep, middle of the night bathroom trips, dirt, dirt, everywhere, stuck in smore droppings, fear of bears and coyotes (in my head), packing again, unpacking, unfilthifying kids, loads of laundry.) There are great parts of the camping adventure, but often I find the down side (being single) often overshadows the up side. Never the less, I always go with my cheery face on (set like flint underneath).

This year was different.

We Faux Camped. Having just ended a week with three days in the hospital, surgery and not able to stand or walk long, I knew I just could not handle the down side of
camping. Just could not physically (let alone mentally) handle all the work of camping. So, sharing with the kids we could not go this year, I told them, if I felt up to the drive, we would go up just for Saturday and come home that night. Up and back. I would pack a cooler for lunch on the lakeside beach, sweatshirts for campfire and smores, and after the stickiness, a drive back home. A long day, but far less work, stress and I would get to sleep in my own bed. They agreed, having been so worried over momma in the hospital. (I threw in a couple sleeping bags, since one of our dear friends had offered the boys the chance to stay in their tent, while Mary and I came home. I had not told the kids that yet. )

I packed the minivan up the night before, and we were off in the am.
Pulling into a Tahoe restroom pit stop, worship tunes blazing on the cd player, (we saw the most humoungous dandilions), Taddy sniffed the pine scented, grinned ear to ear, "I love this smell!". I breathed deep...ME TOO!. It seemed to smell sweeter, knowing I was not sleeping in a tent that night, stumbling to the bathroom in the dark and getting confused as to the where-abouts of my tent on the way back.)

I texted ahead on my phone to our friends at the campsite to see if they were beachside yet....Nope! We had beat them. So we dropped by the camp, as families rounded up their beach supplies, got kids in suits, packed lunches and drinks...then within 45 minutes, we were all lakeside in the sand!

Hours of play (tons of sunscreen)... I had to text my mom and dad "N Tahoe 78 degrees, wish you were here!" It has been over 100 degrees more many days at home...

We had a blast. I even ventured into the water and then indulged my favorite beach pastime, sand-castle architect. Had our ice chest with fresh fruit, water, carrots, peanut butter sandwich. Hey THIS WAS FUN!!

After many hours of play and swimming and lounging around, great conversations with other momma's and lots of laughs with the kids....we rounded up the gear, headed back to camp, and changed into dry clothes for the traditional walk to the ice cream shop.

The camp ground we stay at has a wonderful ice cream shop with delicious, humoungous ice cream scoops. (Skipped the weight watcher points). My kids are vanilla kids, although Nick did venture into some "cookie dough". Momma's fav? Kona Coffee!! YUM!

A slow stroll back to the camp site for Taco dinner, and more playing as momma got to sit and clyhat. Mary played frisbee for at least two hours with the teenage kids, as Taddy and a little girl shifted between playing "horsies" and running "Oh she's chasing me!!!". Nick and two friends drew comic book characters until it grew so dark they had to do it by flashlight. Then they switched to telling spooky stories. Campfire, smores...with Mary cooking marshmellows for any who would take them. (Bless you Lori, for eating more than you probably wanted from my campfire chef, and for all your help and kind words.) Around 10 o'clock, I packed up a few of my friend Kristy's things, as she was so gracious to keep my boys overnight in a second tent with her oldest son, and bring them home. (You made their day, and mine too. So sweet of you, you'll never know how much it meant to me!) This was Taddy's first time of camping out without MOMMA!! (He was fine with it, I am just not ready for them to grow up!)

I hugged them both, Nightie night sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite....Dear Jesus Bless my boys, give them a good night's sleep, with happy dreams and good thoughts, in Jesus Name Amen.

And then Mary and I set down the hill for our drive home. Mary wanted to tell me a couple spooky stories on the drive, then she fell asleep, while I listened to a book on CD (Mark Buchanann's Your God is too Safe."

Home at 11:30, I tucked Mary into bed, washed off in the tub, used my own (clean, close, indoor) bathroom, and relaxed on my quilted bed. Thought of my boys, said another prayer and fell asleep..... ahhhhh.

This morning, I almost started to feel guilty, as I took a relaxing bubble bath before getting ready for church, imagine what this morning is usually like, the second morning tired, dirty, ready to be home, and yet still having to take down a tent and pack everything, covered with dirt, back into the mini-van.

After church, when Kristy and her boys and my boys arrived back home, I found out they had the added excitement of a bear visiting the camp, scrounging for food. The added authenticity of really camping.

So that, my friends, is faux camping. I feel like none of us missed anything. The boys got the tent adventure, we all got all the fun, and I am rested and not traumatized. I KNOW this blessing would not have been possible, without the offer from dear friends, to let my boys stay with them. Thank you thank you , Kristy. I owe you a girls night out to dinner! :)

So, I think this faux camping may be a thing to consider. There are cabins and even a small hotel at the camp grounds where we go. Next year, I think Momma and the girls may have to get a room for two nights, and bring a small three man tent for the boys....... We may have stumbled on to something brilliant!!!!

Kona Coffee

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