August 13, 2012

camping out

We spent a long weekend at Palisades-Kepler State Park this past weekend. We haven't been camping since Laithe was about 5 months old so it was high time. Guthrie was super excited about it and so was Laithe- until he found out we were going to sleep in a tent.

He asked at least twice a day to go home. Which is not entirely uncommon, but totally unwelcome when we're supposed to be having Funnest Family Weekend Ever.
Once we settled in they mostly did ok. Guthrie was a pretty good helper and I'm loving that she's old enough for me not to worry too much about where she is and what she's doing - and that she's pretty watchful of Laithe. This having two kids thing is so nice sometimes.

The drought we're having - which is pretty major right now and we've had a couple days of some on and off very welcome rain - meant that there was a burn ban so no campfires and that the river was super low. The park is situated right on the Cedar River, just a short walk from our campsite. Fishing poles were excitedly packed and used.

I think next summer they might even be ready for real hooks!
But truly, they were just as excited to fish for each other and whales and tuna and swordfish at our campsite in the grass. Which, I gotta admit was super nice!

Oh look, here's Laithe being a cranky butt, again. He's got some big owies healing up (he separated his frenulum on his top lip from the gums and yeah, it'd probably make me crabby too. I'm certain I wouldn't be as loud about it though.) And something about camping impacted his digestive system, which is always pleasant (and handy!) so I'm sure he had some extenuating circumstances. And then he ate some liquid Dr. Bronner's Peppermint soap. Which totally rocked his world. The entire campground smelled minty for like 40 minutes and our tent is still pretty fresh. I didn't see him do it so I'm not totally sure what was going on. My guess is that he was trying to outdo his sister somehow. He really showed her didn't he?

Should we take it personally that every time we camp whoever has the spot next to us moves? Seriously, every time. It's the kids I'm sure but for pete's sake! We're less obnoxious than the 20 year olds I promise!

On Saturday we ventured out to the Indian Creek Nature Center near Cedar Rapids. John found it on the internet and seriously, if you're anywhere near it you should go. Perfect for kiddos of all ages and a ton of cool prairie restoration stuff to see. Also some good hiking trails. The creek was low enough for the kids to wade across so we spent some time splashing around (which was on my bucket list for the summer) before our short hike. Laithe fell asleep on me in a sling and I surprisingly did ok hiking with him. Kid weighs 30 lbs and it was like being pregnant again I guess! Guthrie also got to find the pet rock she's been hunting for. One of a specific size "so it can travel." Portability is important I guess. 

It was super important that this trip go well for us - at least to me and John because we're leaving in 3 weeks for a 2 week trip to Yellowstone. Where we will be camping much if not all of the time. Our itinerary is somewhat up in the air as it depends on the weather and what all we want to see, but it's likely we'll spend a week in Yellowstone and then the second week either in the Tetons or Black Hills. Or who knows. No reservations have been made and since most people are done with summer vacation and many campgrounds are first come first served I am trying to set aside my over-planning self and just play it by ear.

I made little mental notes throughout the weekend, pack a tablecloth, more propane, less food, mixing bowl is a necessity, different more water resistant blankets, long sleeved shirts that actually fit Guthrie (she grew more than i anticipated!), oversee the kids' toy packing a little better- or better yet bring some busy bags and activities for rain and downtime when everyone is hungry and the stove won't light.

I'll write more about what I'm going to bring for the kids and how we'll theoretically survive the 36 hours in the car with everyone's sanity intact over the next couple of weeks. But for now, a super busy week before school starts next Monday!

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