Okay, so it’s been like a week since I posted anything. I guess I’ve been a little preoccupied.

On Tuesday, or maybe it was Wednesday, my husband informed me that we were going camping for the ENTIRE weekend. He even took Friday off so that we would have three WHOLE days in the woods together!

CampingNow, BZ (before Z), my husband and I spent more time in the woods than we did at home. November, December, February, or August, it didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was that we had a warm fire, a dry place to sleep, plenty of good food, our fishing poles, mountain bikes, beer, a good book or two, and more beer.

Skip forward to present day, and it would be an understatement to say that things have changed.

I still love it, but it’s just not the same. Camping with Z is……….. interesting, to say the least.

Gone are the days of relaxing around the campfire and reading an entire book, or fishing for hours just for fun, or hitting the trail with our mountain bikes in search of the best lines.

It’s just different now, not bad, but different.

We’ve taken Z camping before, so at least I knew what to expect.

On Wednesday Dad loaded the camper, so of course, Z could barely control herself. She was absolutely beside herself with anticipation and excitement. “Go camping Momma, GO CAMPING!”

“Yes Baby, we’re going camping, but not for another two days.”

“GO CAMPING MOMMA! GO CAMPING!”

It didn’t take long for us to realize what a HUGE mistake we had just made.

NOTE TO SELF: Do not load the camper two days early! Save yourself the pain of listening to her scream for two days straight, and do it at the last possible minute!

Friday morning FINALLY came, and we headed out of town.

I was looking forward to it, and not just because I wanted the screaming to stop, but because I figured, she’s almost three now it should be easier than last year………..please God, let it be easier than last year.

Last year wasn’t horrible, but it was bad enough that I wasn’t eager to do it all over again. We only went camping three or four times if that, and every time was exhausting. She’d be so excited to go, then we’d get there, she’d wander around, play with all her toys, get bored, and want to go home, all within the first hour.

I decided that this year would be different!

The plan was to keep her so busy that she wouldn’t even think about home.

It also helped knowing that our friends would be joining us later with their two little kids. Although both kids were older than Z, I hoped that she would still have fun following them around, doing big kid stuff.

So we get there, make camp, and settle in. Z happily races around camp like a little tornado, destroying everything in her path. She plays with her toys, she blows some bubbles, she explores the camper, she follows the dogs around for a bit, gags when Mya (the dog) takes a crap, insists on burying it with her little shovel, and then gags again when she gets poop on it.

Things are going well, and she really seems to be enjoying herself. Then she informs me that it’s time to go for a walk. GREAT IDEA! Let’s go for walk….

What was supposed to be a nice relaxing stroll along the river bank, turned into 15 minutes of SHEER TERROR!

Z’s brakes don’t work so well, in fact, I’m not sure if they work at all. The banks of the river were super steep, and every time I looked down I visualized her tumbling down to the bottom, and splashing into the rushing water below….SHEER TERROR!

All she wanted to do was through rocks in the water, but every time she got close to the edge I would yank her back. Then she’d get pissed, pull away, and RUN!

So there I was chasing her down the river bank, screaming for her to stop, all the while she’s giggling, thinking she’s just discovered the world’s greatest game. Like I said, SHEER TERROR!

NOTE TO SELF: DO NOT take walks by the RIVER!

Meanwhile, back at camp, my husband has taken it upon himself to ensure that we have a very private camping experience. In other words, no immediate neighbors!

When I saw the unfamiliar truck and camper pull up, I knew exactly what he was doing. He began what can only be described as, make like the most annoying camp neighbor EVER!

We heard gun shots, one right after another. First the .22, then something bigger. Then I heard the dirt bike fire up, and then the 4 wheeler.

It only took about 10 minutes, then the unfamiliar truck and camper pulled back out on to the main road and disappeared in a matter of seconds!

I know, I know, it was rotten, but I have to admit, he played that one well.

When we finally returned to camp, the hot dogs were on. After we ate, Z helped Daddy organize the rocks around the campfire, then she helped him stack the firewood. It was AWESOME! I was actually relaxing!

Then I noticed that Z was having trouble walking, which was a sure sign that nap time was upon us. So I quickly prepared her bed. Normally, I would’ve brought the Pack N’ Play, barricaded her inside, and then hid outside until the screaming stopped, but this year we decided to take our chances and have her sleep in a big girl bed. Needless to say, I was a tad bit nervous.

Luckily, it went well, fabulous in fact. She actually stayed in bed and slept for 2 full hours. AMAZING!!

That night the rest of our party showed up, including the two little kids. Z loved it! They played and played for the rest of the evening. When bedtime came, Z was so exhausted she barely made it through a book.

The next morning she woke up promptly at 6:30 am. Not too long after Z and I stepped outside, the other two kids joined us.

Unsure of how to entertain them all, I decided to keep them busy with small tasks. The first, was to fill in a few small holes around camp, one in particular that made me trip the night before while rushing into the woods for a pee break.

We began using our shovels to carry dirt from one spot to the next, that’s when Z spotted a worm.  “Look at this!” she said. She was so excited, and so were the other kids. So I decided to abandon our “hole filling” task and move on to something a bit more exciting, a WORM HUNT!

Sure enough, this task kept all three of them busy for at least 2 hours. It became a competition, who could find the most worms, and then, who could find the biggest worms. It was awesome! By the time the rest of the grown-ups joined us, I had finished almost an entire pot of coffee all by myself, the fire was burning hot, and all three kids were covered in mud from their heads to their feet. A mighty fine morning if you ask me.

NOTE TO SELF: I may not mind if my kid is covered in mud, but other parents do, especially if it’s before they’ve even had their first cup of coffee. Oops, my BAD!

Later on that afternoon, Z and I decided to go for another walk, in the opposite direction of the river of course. My husband had mentioned something about a very tame creek just around the corner. I thought it might be fun to tie some strings on to a couple small plastic boats and watch them float down the creek. Z thought it was a great idea! She’d seen Curious George do it a hundred times!

So, off we went. When we got there, I noticed that the creek was not quite as tame as I had imagined it would be. It wasn’t the depth that was the problem, but the current. It seemed to zip along pretty quick, but nevertheless we decided to toss a boat in and see how it went……..BIG MISTAKE!!!

As soon as the boat hit the current, the little string ripped completely off!

So while I’m flailing around, trying to catch the stupid $2 dollar boat, Z is screaming, “MY BOAT, MY BOAT!”

Me: “STAY THERE Z, I’LL GET IT!”

Z:  “MY BOAT, MY BOAT!!!!!”

Sure enough, in a complete panic, she launches herself off the bank, trying to catch her boat! Now she’s soaked, and covered in mud, and the stupid boat is still zipping down the creek.

I pull her out, make sure she’s okay, and take off running after the boat. The creek splits, I’m on the left side, the boat goes right, of course! So I take a running leap to cross the creek.

You know that saying, “white girls can’t jump”, well it’s true. I landed smack dab in the middle of the creek! When I tried to climb up the other side I lost my footing and slipped in the mud!

Great! Now I’m soaked and covered in mud too, I’ve lost sight of the stupid boat, and the kid is screaming bloody murder. Great idea MOM!

That’s when I realize, there’s a small damn at the end of the creek. Nothing could get past it, not even a small plastic boat. Sure enough, there it is, stacked up against the branches.

See, now that’s where better observational skills would’ve come in handy. Had I noticed the stupid damn, I would have handled the whole situation incredibly different. Z wouldn’t be soaked and covered in mud, and neither would I.

NOTE TO SELF: Work on my observational skills, get stronger string, and buy more boats, just in case.

On the plus side, once we got back to camp, changed and got cleaned up, we headed back over. This time the other kids came with us. Once Z and I realized that we wouldn’t actually lose the boats, it was an absolute blast. Even the grown-ups joined us. It was AWESOME!!

So, despite the fact that it rained off and on the entire weekend, and we woke up to snow Sunday morning, I’d say it was a BIG SUCCESS! Z had a blast, and I did too, which of course was a huge relief for Dad. I even felt more relaxed when we got home, another bonus.

NOTE TO SELF: Next time, I’ll pay more attention to the stupid weather lady!

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