The boys and I read a super cute book the other day called “Lucille Camps In”. The story is about a little pig who has to stay home with her momma while her papa and older brothers get to go camping.

At first she has a bad attitude, but then she decides to have her own camping experience with items from her bedroom. She traipses down the stairs with a blanket, a flashlight, and a few other camping accessories and her momma helps set up the living room as their “tent”. They even roast marshmallows over a fire in the fireplace and have a camper’s breakfast the next morning.

My parents, my brother and his family, and other families from my dad’s church are camping this weekend up in Oregon. Our summer plans didn’t allow for me and my family to participate. Still, I had high hopes earlier this summer that we could squeeze in a short camping trip somewhere.

Once again reason took over and I decided we were already over-extended in our finances, our energy, and our sanity, so a camping weekend was out. However, I really want my boys to have that camping experience…someday. I know it will be stressful the first few times, especially since Hubs and I haven’t done much camping ourselves in the past decade or so.

This weekend was a chance for us to take a collective breath after the crazy schedule of the previous week and the gearing up for our big trip to the mid-West coming up. A spontaneous bug rose up within me yesterday as we were all having lunch in the backyard together and I said, “Let’s go camping tonight!” The boys got real excited about it and I was quite thankful that Hubs was willing to go along with my moment-by-moment plan.

After naps, Hubs and the boys set up our tent.

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We had a delicious dinner of beef stroganoff, thanks to Hubs. That’s pretty much the only meal he actually cooks in the kitchen and it is de.lish.us.

If you want your kids to get ready for bed faster than a bolt of lightening, simply tell them that you’ll be roasting marshmallows once they are completely ready for bed. Try it sometime!

After dinner, I pulled out the marshmallows. This is where my plans started to fizzle. I thought we could simply use Hubs hibachi we had stored with all of our other camping gear (yes, we have camping gear thanks to the generous gift givers at our wedding!). Unfortunately, a hibachi uses charcoal. Hubs’ grill is a gas grill. No charcoal stored anywhere. Then I suggested we just fire up the gas fireplace…only it hadn’t been cleaned out since last winters’ use of a fire log. This was my next suggestion.

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While we were trying to get the fluffy sugar to actually start to brown, the thought of using a tea light came to mind, but at that point I had resolved to myself that we were sticking with the plan, vanilla-flavored-mallows and all!! D did not seem to mind.

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L didn’t waste any time. He could have cared less about roasting those tasty morsels.

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Once they both had a good teeth brushing, it was time for books in the tent! I pulled out nearly all the library books we had, knowing the sun was not going down for another 90 minutes or so at that point.

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Then the games really began.

They did alright reading for awhile. Hubs gathered up his stuff to park it in there for the night, while both of us were hoping the boys would knock off by 9pm and we could still salvage an hour or so together.

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Once it got closer to 9:00 and the sun was thankfully setting, I tried all of my gentle motherly techniques to try and convince them that it really was bedtime, even though you could hear people talking in their backyards, the traffic from the highway, the dogs barking, the bazillion crickets waking up.

*sigh*

I did not account for the fact that when you camp in the actual woods, you don’t have a lot of excess “people noise” to deal with.

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I think it was around 10pm when L finally decided to stop wanting to go to his bed, then wanting to be back in the tent, then his bed, then the tent…and he mercifully fell asleep.

Hubs came in and left D out there awake, reading books by the light of the electric camping lantern. Hubs got himself ready for bed, said goodnight and by 10:30pm, I saw the lantern light go out and all was quiet. At least for me.

L, like clockwork, woke up crying (loudly) at 3:30am; Hubs quickly brought him into the house.

At that point, I could read the expression on Hubs’ face. It was something like,

“Who’s bright idea was this, anyways?!?”

Thankfully everyone fell back to sleep and it was nearly 7am when life jumped back to normal. Hubs said he actually slept pretty good. D said he was cold most of the night, even with 3 blankets on him.

It was a good test run and it only confirmed our plans that a real camping trip probably won’t be happening for at least another year. Or at least until L decides to stop screaming half-way through the night!

I’m still a believer in having spontaneous adventures as a family. I wonder what we’ll be doing next?

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