We had such a fun camping weekend! I used to camp a lot, Dave too to a lesser extent, but it was all motorcycle camping, often roving. Meaning, you're not in one place for more than one night, and spend the day travelling, so you tend to bug out early and arrive late, often setting up camp in the dark. You can carry a lot more on a motorcycle than on a bicycle or backpack, but it's still a far cry from car camping.
Still, my first experience car camping -- with kids -- was just great! We got incredibly lucky that our camping weekend coincided with a major heat wave. Along the coast, that meant that it was beautiful and not foggy and freezing, and we weren't in 100+ degree heat back home. Really, coastal beaches around here are famous for being cold, so this was a superb stroke of luck.
Most families shared one tent, and some tents were huge.
That legacy of motorcycle camping meant that I have two pretty small tents. The boys shared their own tent, and I got my own. Later, several people thought the separate-tent idea was great, though short of buying another tent, that's just what we had to do. It worked out great; even if I get a larger tent that I can stand in, I'd still put the boys in their own tent.
The moms who organized this trip did so, so much, it's just incredible. They arranged for the campsite, collected money and bought all the food, organized work details and basically took care of every last detail. Really hardworking ladies -- and husbands -- and I'm so grateful to them for having made this possible. Nice touch on the weather clairvoyance too.
There was a little fog Saturday morning, but it burned off quickly.
Julian at one of several portable tables, with other 2004-born kids.
I wish I got more "scene" photos, but, here's the main firepit where people gathered.
Hills attract kids immediately.
Some people brought tricycles too. Julian discovered too late that this little lowrider doesn't have brakes, and he fell hard on his helmetless head, resulting in a marble-sized bump on his head and a lot of crying. A helpful mom suggested a piece of candy to ease his pain; I declined. I can just see the kid-brain spinning that one: "hmm...! pain + crying = candy! hmm!!"
It took about half an hour to get past this bump problem, and the spot is still very sensitive. It's hard to enforce helmet-wearing for a little tricycle, but Julian's awful bump demonstrates why we should. (yes, that's Gabriel in the photo, but Julian's the one who bonked his head.)
A few enterprising Dads lined the kids up for a hike. Gabriel joined at the last minute, just as Julian bailed. They went all the way to the beach, which is a 100-foot drop (according to Gabriel), and the best part was a ride back up in a V8!
Before lunch, I took Julian to the beach while Gabriel was on the hike, and later went back to get Gabriel. I love beaches. I love the ocean, and it's a crying pity that I don't get to them more often, especially living so close to paradise.
A smattering of surfers had Julian very concerned. "What if the lifeguard drowns?"
The water here is still too cold and fast to do much body-surfing, as I did as a kid on the Atlantic beaches. But sand play is always a big attraction.
We went back to the campground for lunch, then back to the beach. I didn't think the boys would have two trips in them, but they did. The beach is closeby, but not really walking distance, so we drove.
Back on the beach, three other moms and I went for a walk, while Dads and other moms watched our offspring. I was one of three "a la carte" moms, cleverly phrased by Lance's single mom, but Gabriel was in good hands with this (shh, handsome) redheaded Dad commandeering an engineering project.
This Dad has taken his daughter (on his right) snow-camping in Yosemite, by himself, when she was three! They're serious campers, and I enjoyed talking to his wife on our walk.
Gabriel later tackled his own castle, a second one built behind a levee wall, after his first got washed away.
Other than the dead decapitated sea lion (not a sight you see on Atlantic beaches), it was a lovely walk.
Julian, unfortunately, didn't fare so well. Somehow during a frisbee game, some sand got in his eye. Several moms and myself couldn't get him to open his eye, and even a very impressive uniformed ranger couldn't persuade him either. The ranger had a bottle of eyewash stuff, and we did our best to flush out the sand, but Julian just couldn't tolerate opening his eye at all. We went back to the campsite and I sat him nearby, still clutching a cloth to his eye, while I started on dinner detail. Before long, he disappeared into his tent and went to sleep. Just as well.
As I was getting Gabriel to bed, Julian was just waking up, and he was wet. I got him cleaned up and pajama'd, then found some dinner for him with the help of yet even more helpful moms. He sat by the fire with the grownups, calmly eating dinner, listening to a Dad play guitar, and a few times took his hand off his eye. It was red and swollen, but at least he was able to open it. After he was done eating, he got up and said, "I'm going back to bed!" He'd been sleeping since 5pm, I was amazed! It had been quite a day for my little mishap magnet.
Julian's eye still looked a little swollen this morning, but he had it open and was looking around like normal. Thank goodness, because I was prepared to take him to Urgent Care if not.
Back to motorcycle-camping habits, I packed up quickly, got the boys breakfast and ready to go not-so-quickly, but we still left early enough to be home before 10am. My only regret is that the group photo of all the Moms and our 2004 "babies" happened while Julian was deep into a piece of cantaloupe and he refused to join me. Sniff.
Don't bring white shirts camping!
The only thing that marred this weekend for me was, of all things, a "minor" migraine headache. I was OK as long as I was moving around, but sitting and talking was hard.
When we got home, I was tired and in need of real sleep because of the headache, but was bracing myself to hear horror stories of Katrina torturing Dave all weekend. Not so! They did really well. She had her share of tantrums and opinions, but Dave said overall it was pretty quiet without the boys, and he appreciated the change. It was too hot on Saturday to go out much, but a nearby park has a little water feature and she enjoyed that.
The boys were happy to see Dad again, and they all like watching Sesame Street videos on the iPhone!
Katrina was adorable and funny today. It seems like she's made a huge leap in her language while we were gone! Dave said she's been telling him, "No way, dude!" in mock resistance.
She can finally climb up onto this chair, and this afternoon was having fun being silly on it. This is by no means a rare moment, but minute-for-minute, her tantrums are unfortunately more memorable. So this might seem like a very ordinary dull video to you, but to me, it's the most delightful thing to see her being charming and silly and happy.
Some of the best photos from the weekend are on other moms' cameras, so I'll have to update this post later. Laura told me she got a photo of the ranger ministering to Julian's eye, and Sonia got a photo of me and Julian. Me, in a photo? Horrors! I think I'll go single-handedly raise the air quality rating by taking my first shower since last Thursday. Not without some sadness rinsing out the salt spray from my hair.