Monday, May 2, 2011

Obsession - Camping

The Ferchaws went camping this past weekend. It was an adventure for sure.

Larry has never really camped before he met me. His idea of camping was staying at a Best Western.

I’ve been camping since I was a tiny baby but have no memories of tent camping. I’ve been in an RV across the country and back a couple times. With my parents, I saw 48 of the 50 states and many parts of Canada. I always loved it and want the same experiences for my own little dirtballs.

So last year, when my friend Arlene invited us to join her family tent camping, we nervously held our breath and jumped right in. We survived and enjoyed immersing ourselves in the great outdoors.

But this trip felt different. Alongside the rush to prepare for three days without Real Housewives, I had this nervous dialogue running through my head. Questions popped in and out while I made lists, cooked chili and packed underwear. I was scared of some of the answers.

But now that we have returned, I find that all is right with the world. Osama Bin Laden is dead and I have not one but two episodes of Housewives to watch on DVR! And I have some answers to those burning questions…

Can I go three days without showering? I can and I did and my hair will never be the same.

Will Larry still love me after not showering for three days? He does but I think all bets are off after day three.

If confronted with a snake, a spider or even a mosquito, will I really protect my children or will I run and save myself? Lucky for us all, this question was never put to the test.

I’ve always RV camped. Am I really a tent camper? I need to be honest here. On Night Two I wasn’t so sure. The temperature that night dipped into the 30s and I thought I was going to D-I-E. As I lie there awake, listening to the raccoons enjoy their Cheerio and Goldfish feast outside our tent, I wondered what the signs of hypothermia were. I considered checking into the Bates motel next to the campground but was afraid of rabid raccoons.

Have I packed my diet pills? I did but forgot to take them 80% of the time. But luckily the amount of work my body had to do to stay warm probably burned a lot of calories. I didn’t gain any weight.

Is my math sound? 1 diaper an hour x 24 hours x 3 days = We will no longer have room for my 5 pillows. I discovered that diapers can effectively double as pillows.

How much dirt can a child consume before you have crossed the line into child endangerment? Apparently, quite a lot. Lincoln’s dirt to food ratio was probably 1:1.

Is all this packing really worth the freakin’ trouble? YES! Despite the cold and the raccoon-snake-spider-mosquito-phobia, I loved seeing my family connect without televisions, phones or computers around. We went with a great group of friends who love to eat, play and laugh as much as we do. And we taught our kids how important these moments outdoors really are in life.

I love the Grass Stain Guru’s Play Bill of Rights and will soon make one of my own. Here is hers if you too would like to be inspired to get your kids outside:

I have the right to:
Unplug at least an hour a day and do something that makes me happy;
Walk barefoot and not care about how dirty my feet are;
Walk in the woods and forget everything and everyone and just enjoy the sounds of nature;
Giggle and clap my hands at the new crop of baby ducks each year, and generally act like a 5 year-old; and
Think that nothing tastes better than an orange popsicle eaten while sitting in the shade of a favorite tree on a hot summer day.

What it boils down to is this: I have the right to LIVE. To play, and laugh, and leave the dishes in the sink sometimes — and so do you.


January said...

Aw! What lovely pictures. My dad took us tent camping all the time as kids. He actually lived in a tent for 6 months when him and my Mom split....needless to say our week-ends with him were AWESOME. Such great memories to give your children. Love it and I'm glad you survived to blog about it. ;)

Michelle said...

January - I've been to Canada several times camping with my parents. It is absolutely gorgeous! How lucky you were to enjoy it growing up.

Arlene said...

Okay, so I'm a big sap and cried when I read this post.
You guys are a great family to share these
wonderful memories with! Just remember, "It's a lizard show Olivia, there's no dancing."

Michelle said...

Arlene - And to that I say "Wait a minute. I didn't order the string cheese!" We have so much fun with you guys.