We are back from our first ever family camping trip. I finally felt like the kids were old enough to give it a try. So we packed our SUV to the brim with stuff and grabbed the kids and dogs. The plan was to camp Friday and Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend and come home Sunday. I sat in the back squished between the girls car seats with a dog on my lap the whole way, just to be referee in between my two kids who tend to fight during long car rides. I was SO hoping Ryen would take a nap, especially since she woke up at 5:30am, but NO. She didn't.
We left around 11:15am and arrived at Sharp Creek campground in Payson 2 hours later.
The area is beautiful, and the temperatures were fantastic. mid 80's and no humidity as usual :)
We were the first ones there so we just waited a bit for our neighbors to start showing up.
One by one our friends started to arrive. :) My neighbors Yolanda and Britto were kind enough to let us borrow tents, sleeping bags, etc and ALSO bring them up for us in their Trailer. So while we waited for them to arrive we set up camp chairs and went hunting for sticks for our fire later.
When our tent was there we started to get everything set up and soon we had babies who were dying to lounge and try it out. :) Our tent was too small to fit all of us so Jimmy and the dogs had to set up a different tent next to us.
Our doggies were loving being able to explore the wild and be off leash!
And wouldn't you know it, it wasn't long before Ella was complaining she was bored. ha ha. I said "Ella go play with your friends" she says "But there is nothing to play with and nothing to play on". I told her "Go do whatever kids do in the wilderness. Go look for rocks or bugs or something" She just laughed. It didn't take long before she was doing just that and having a blast, but she did need to get used to how slow time goes by when you are camping and don't have access to toys or TV. ;)
We couldn't wait for it to get dark so we could light our campfire!
And roast Marshmallows... (she just liked holding it- wouldn't eat it)
And of course make smores!!
Ella loved playing so late into the night cause she normally has such an early bedtime. I don't have a ton of pictures of her cause she was always taking off somewhere with friends playing.
Ryen was a little shy at times...
Until she met this guy and kept climbing in his lap and asking him to sing her songs, it was so cute! His daughters are older so I think he liked playing with her :)
Ryen was obsessed with this flashlight and cried anytime someone took it away.
Later, her and Colin had fun climbing into the dog's crate to cuddle with them :)
I know it has been a long day when I'm sitting by the fire and Ella comes up to me and says "Mommy, can we go to bed now?" So me and the girls went to sleep in our tent for our first night. It was... eventful. (sigh). The kids were so tired they fell asleep fairly easily around 10pm. They woke up around 12:00am cause they had to go potty and it took awhile for us to all fall asleep again cause some campers were still up having fun. Luckily they were tired enough to fall back to sleep in a short period of time and thankfully I had remembered to pack some ear plugs :) The rest of our evening was not so peaceful. If one wasn't waking up crying the other one was. "I'm cold" "I want a new blankie" "I want Daddy" "I want my bed" "I don't want to be in a tent anymore" etc, etc. all night long. Ryen asked at like 5am if she could wake up for the day. I told her no and she pitched a fit. I told I wouldn't take her fishing today unless she laid next to me quietly for a while. She said ok and thankfully she fell back to sleep, til about 6:30am. What woke us up was my dog howling and she sounded like she was far away. Then I hear Jimmy in the tent next to me say "Shit, Cali got out again". I was like "What"?! Apparently I have the only dogs around who know how to unzip a tent by slithering under it till it gives way. Awesome! But thankfully I have Beagles who know how good they have it, and have no desire to run away, or else I would be one sad Momma today :)
We started off the morning just having the neighbors come down one by one as they were all waking up. We all discussed how we slept the night before. Lots of us slept awful and many of us were looking for COFFEE!! My girls said they did not want to camp in the tent another night, and we told them that was ok and that we would spend the day with our friends and then go home later on. For now though, we ate some breakfast :)
The kids decided shortly after breakfast they wanted to head down to this really pretty creek.
So off we went (many of us still in our jammies) for some exploring. It was about a quarter mile downhill hike to the creek and poor little Ryen was the slow poke of the bunch. But she made it.
Awww... look how cute they are :)
The girls loved rock hopping, splashing through the creek in their sneakers, and skipping rocks together.
Ella even used my camera to take a photo of me and my friends.
Then we headed up to the campsite again for some lunch, to change our clothes and to rest up. The kids had so much fun at the creek they decided they wanted to stay another night. We were hoping they would want to stay so we were glad about that. So when we headed up to the campsite again to play for a bit, I was hoping Ryen would nap in the tent, but once again... no go. (sigh) So instead we hung around and played for awhile at camp. Some of the ladies played cards and the guys shot cans with a bibi gun.
Then the kids wanted to go back down to the creek to use the fishing poles we borrowed from some friends. All the kids were focused so hard on finding these crawfish.
Check them out with their buckets, cups and nets. They caught a TON! I think they cleared out the entire creek!
We played down their for a long time. The girls went "fishing" for the first time. And since there was no fish in this creek, it was nice that our poles had fake fishies attached already (which they named Disney and Glitter). The LOVED it! I was shocked at how fast Ryen picked it up and was able to use the pole all by herself to cast and reel in.
Jimmy and I got some turns with the fishing pole too. Mandy loved chasing the fish around with her friend Badger. It was really fun.
When Ryen had enough I carried her up to camp and she fell asleep on me and napped in my arms for 45 minutes. :) Just in time to wake up super cranky!! Can't really blame her! She was WAY short on sleep. Ella was starting to get super cranky too. I could tell she was hitting a wall and real tired also (she walked more than 3 miles round trip that day). She was starting to have meltdowns over little things. We were in for a rough night. And even though it had been breezy all day around camp which was actually refreshing, the wind really started to pick up and was blowing stuff all over the place. Ryen was already crying that the wind was scaring her and Ella was already crying she was cold and it wasn't even 4:30pm yet. It was only going to get worse when the sun went down and sleeping in the tent tonight might have been even colder, noisier and scarier for them with the wind whipping through all night. So we asked them again if they still wanted to stay and they both said they wanted to sleep at home. So Jimmy and I had a mad dash to break down the tents and sleeping bags etc and pack everything up so we could get on the road before the sun went down. There are some mountainous curvy roads we had to take to get home and didn't want to take them in the dark. Ella was asleep within 30 minutes of hitting the road and slept the entire way home. Ryen was a pain in the ass the entire way home and deliberately testing me and pushing every button I have. :/ But when we got home they both went right to bed. :)
No one had more fun camping then Mandy!!! And since it was her Birthday weekend we were so glad she loved it so much. She turned 8 the day before we left, but she was like a little puppy again splashing through the creek and chasing after the fish that were attached to our fishing poles. She even got it in her mouth a bunch of times. :)
Even Cali had a good time exploring and then just lounging watching the action (she doesn't like water)
Overall we had a real good time. It was relaxing and peaceful just being outside and kicking back.
We enjoyed it and will go back next year too. In the meantime we picked up a lot of tricks and tips and a better understanding of what we need to buy, bring, pack, how to pack everything etc. Jimmy came up with a plan to go camping with the girls in the backyard a few times this Fall and next Spring to help them get used to sleeping outside in tents and having to hear noises etc. in order to get them ready for the next trip. We were especially happy that our dogs did so well, and that they loved camping! When we asked the girls if they had a good time they screamed "YES!!!" and they said they want to go camping again too. :)