Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer adventures begin...

We kicked off the summer by spending the first weekend camping and celebrating birthdays at Pocahontas State Park near Richmond.

To say that I was dreading this trip is an understatement!  I enjoy camping.  I enjoy being outside.  I enjoy being outside with the kids.  But the thought of packing up EVERYTHING for three days and eating, sleeping and sweating...well, yeah.  Not to mention that this particular state park has a water park that after seeing pictures of it caused me to literally lose sleep in anxious anticipation of trying to tackle it with 5 non-swimming littles.

I prepared all our meals ahead to avoid as much clean up and dish washing in a bucket as humanly possible.  All the clothes and swimmies and blankets and pots and booster seat and exersaucer and...were all gathered.  All the while trying to figure out how to contain and calm both mine and Mark's fears and quirks that are only magnified in new environments.  We both HATE dirty kids...so why do we think it's fun to do this I kept wondering.

But after 3 days of prepping and worrying the van and camper were filled to capacity with all the "necessities", 2 dogs, 5 clean kiddos, the daddy and one not so calm mommy.   But we were off on our adventure...

Baby's 1st Camping Adventure
We arrived by mid-afternoon on Friday just as a rainless thunderstorm came through.  Rainless was good in that we were able to set up and start playing, bad in that there was a lot of sweat and no swimming.

 The kids snacked and played and were so underfoot as we tried to get everything out and set up for a fun weekend together and with family.

And then off to the playground... 

 It took Finn about 15 minutes to figure out how to climb the "rock wall" but once he did there was no stopping him from going up and around and down the slide and up and around and down the slide and....  He is still at the age where curiosity far outweighs caution and makes me cringe with fear of injuries but he had SOOOOO much fun despite the heat and all that sweat!

 The pups (Cera and Diesel) waited quietly in the shade while their babies played.

Friday evening the park rangers host a welcome campfire with singing, s'mores and stories.  The kids had a great time and were thankfully very well behaved around the campfire.
 The good news about heat and playing and sweating is it makes very tired babies :)  So after s'mores at Uncle Mike and Aunt Leslie's campsite it was family shower (their bath facilities we comparatively fabulous!) and bed (at the early hour 11p!)

They woke up with the sun Saturday am and this mommy and daddy could not get them to the pool fast enough!  Thank goodness breakfast only had to be heated and Starbucks (I know that's not camping, but it keeps the mommy calm :) )was only 10 minutes away!

The plan for the weekend was simple exhaust kids :)  But the itinerary was basic; Saturday - pool, party, dinner and a thunderstorm thrown in.  Sunday - Mass, pool, back up, home...

THE POOL!  Eagerly anticipated by the kids, equally dreaded by the parents!  But they had so much fun!!!!  And two afternoons was plenty :)

Uncle Mike and Finn!  I'm not sure we could have handled this adventure without his help.
He LOVED  this slide too!
Mark and Eloise trying to create havoc
Bathing Beauty
Da' Boys
Waiting in the waiting pool for the bigger area to regulate its chlorine levels...

The end of our swimming time...
 This trip was planned to celebrate June birthdays and celebrate we did :)

Despite all the sweat, dirt, and stress the memories of this trip are full of happiness!  And there may even be a few scars to show for it...
Showing off her bandages from fun in the sun and swim crawling in shallow water!

 Home and in bed!  I think we might even go camping again one day :)

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