It seemed like a good idea in January - sitting by the river, making s'mores for the girls, sleeping in the family tent. It did not seem like a good idea when we were actually doing any of those activities - most specifically, to little Juliet. She loves all things soft, and she couldn't find anything soft at the campsite. Her favorite place to be was inside the tent - which at least protected her from tree stumps, uneven ledges, and pine sap. Noel did a little better, yelling at chipmunks to stay away from our food after they ate through the bag of bagels, hiking up the mountain on her own, and performing for us around the campfire.
The trip was two weeks ago, but Scott and I are just starting to talk about it. What we learned. What we will do different next time. The fact that we are talking about a next time is something of a miracle. It wasn't that bad (now that we're home, clean, showered, and Juliet isn't falling down every five seconds), it's just that it was so different from what we thought it would be. We were both imagining the lazy, relaxing camping trips that we had enjoyed pre-kids. Once again, we were afforded a full revelation of how life has changed with kids. Here's how: no lazy card games at the picnic table, constant bruises and 'ows', jammed sleeping bag zippers, dirty toes, squeezing Juliet in the sleeping bag between Scottie and me, the hardest quarter-mile hike I've ever been on, and the greatest drive down the canyon at the end of the trip. The girls threw their arms in the air, screaming and giggling and loving every turn of the drive. And suddenly, the camping trip was a success for our little ones.