When you take a man who would
throw some junk in a bag and sleep under a tarp with his head on a rock,
and a woman who thinks "roughing it" means no hot water,
and add 12 children between the ages of 3 and 15...
it could get ugly.
We prepared for the trip.
Paul went shopping for the food,
purchased an additional tent (making 3), and
gathered supplies from under the house and wherever they get stashed,
while I packed clothing, found swimsuits for everyone, decided on towels,
packed toiletries, and attempted to explain to some very confused Ethiopian children
that in America, sometimes people go sleep outside by a fire for fun.
We were finally packed and as prepared as we could be.
Paul had spoken with a lady at a relatively close campground who informed him
of all kinds of activities and amenities for the kids (pool and real toilets)...
so we drove to that park!
However, once we arrived we were flagged down by an older gentleman who
kindly informed us that they were
"all filled up".
Not. Even. Kidding.
I refrained from saying:
"WHAT? It's a park! With grass and dirt and trees! Did you run out of grass??
You mean to tell me there are no more dirt or rocks for us to sleep on?"
I ooze self control.
What does any rational parent do with a giant van full of children packed to the brim with camping supplies who is suddenly told there is no room in the proverbial inn?
Google "tent camping state park" and cross your fingers
while your husband says "I'm just going to drive this way till we find something."
We wound up at the Natchez Trace State Park.
plenty of space,
bugs rednecks trees,
and real flushing toilets.
So we set up camp.
You can't see the third tent... but it's there. Trust me.
Then we went to the lake/beach to swim.
I liked the lake/beach.
The bathroom was only like 25 yards from the grassy ledge where our towel city was founded.
Unlike our campsite which had oodles of shade and flat ground,
but was 100 yards from the potty.
We wore the kids out at the lake/beach:
The kids did cool stuff...
and less-cool stuff like putting out flames with their fingers.
Still get a shiver when I think about that "hey mom, watch what he can do!" moment.
We sat by this:
and ate approximately 46 smores.
Some of us had more fun than others...
But it was beautiful there!
One of these children appears to be "a morning person".
See if you can spot him:
And two of these three children are smooshed under the one having fun:
The first night we were there we COULD NOT SLEEP.
This group of couples pulled up at 10pm and announced
"this looks like a PERFECT spot!"
and proceeded to set up their camp (in the dark)
and then get drunk by the fire and laugh/snort/cackle until 3am.
There was about to be a scene.
It would have made the news.
I'm sure of that.
So, when my kids propelled themselves out of bed at 6am I wasn't saying
"shhh!! there are people sleeping!"
I was saying
"hey! Why don't you go play soccer over there by those cars and tents!"
And then I laughed when I saw our clothesline and wondered what kind of "perfect spot" they would think they had found when they woke up all hung over to see THIS:
That's right... you picked the PERFECT SPOT!
I think we had fun...the jury is still out.
But by the second morning
we were VERY ready to go home
where children can go potty without an escort and
we can all sleep on real mattresses without fear of
giant bugs or bats or snakes or
whatever other kinds of creepy crawly critters come out at night.
and this was my aftermath: