We got a later start than I expected. Much later. I got home from school at 2:30, figured we'd pack and throw our stuff in the car and hit the open road by, say, 3:30. What I didn't count on was that packing for a campout requires roughly 200 more items than packing for a hotel trip. I consider myself something of a packing expert (for my family, at least.) I had trial packing runs before our trip to Europe. If anything, I tend to overpack rather than underpack. Not so this time. In fact, it is likely that I have dangerously underpacked, even though our minivan was so full it was bulging like a cartoon drawing of a stuffed minivan would be.
The problem with camping is that you need to pack a duplicate of every single useful item in your house including, but not limited to, furniture, bedding, kitchen appliances, and the entertainment center. Random items that aren't useful in regular life become essential. Take, for instance, matches. I use them six times a year, to light birthday candles. Our family could conceivably survive just fine on a single matchbook for the entire year. In contrast, Brad used a match for every man, woman, and child in Utah trying to light our campfire tonight.
The campfire, by the way, was a heroic moment for Brad. Considering the last time I was involved with campfire-making was when I went to Girl's Camp in 1992, we called upon our current Scouter to get our fire going. He built a nice stack of kindling and lit it, but it went out. The next match too. And on, I won't get into the tedious details here. At some point, he gave up, but I could see there were some decent embers underneath the whole thing. Using the elite campfire-making skills I learned watching Survivor, I blew on the pile of smoldering sticks. After about a minute of blowing, the whole stack exploded into flames! The kids started cheering and Brad went back to work, piling more wood in a careful array. I was so happy he could have his moment. If we could have, we would have put him on our shoulders and marched him around the campground, we were so proud of him.
I'm excited about the trip so far, but considering that it's 10:48 p.m. right now and three of the four kids are still awake (and complaining about the snoring of the fourth) I'm apprehensive. Bad sleep is never a good thing in our family. Here are some memorable moments so far:
What's your favorite thing so far?
Zack: Playing the wii.
Me: I meant camping.
Zack: Oh, then, the playground.
Noah walks out in pajama pants and no shirt. He is a younger version of Axl from "The Middle" - the teenage boy who wears just his boxers all day long. I said, "Noah, I told you to pack WARM pajamas." Noah, pointing to his pants: "These ARE warm."
3 gnats orbiting my head at the playground
1 anonymous possible bug that fell out of a tree and hit Ryan on the head
Things I've Forgotten To Bring:
Cold cereal (Did not forget the milk, bowls, spoon)