When I later asked Frog Prince, on the ride home, what his favourite part about the camping trip was, he told me it was 'The Rope Swing'. Now there is quite a story to go with the rope swing, but I will try to keep it short. FP has recently been very in love with the movie "Bridge To Terrabithia" in which the two main characters can only get to their magical kingdom by swinging over the river on a rope swing. I will leave it at that, in case you want to watch it. Anyway, the kids have lived this movie non stop since they first watched it, and everything revolves around Terrabithia these days. So that being explained, back to the camping trip. We get out of the car and Frog Prince and his friend run off to explore, and come back telling me they've discovered a rope swing. From then on it was all I could do to pull Frog Prince away from it. It was, after all, a real rope swing like the one he'd been imagining for weeks, each time he'd find something in the house to tie to his bed! I was very inclined to let him stay there all day too; he was playing tougher and more bravely than I can ever recall. He'd fall, and instead of crying and running to me, get right back up and go again ( a first for him!) It even evolved into him swing as high as he could-- which don't worry, isn't very high for a 4 yr old-- and then throwing himself off when he got to the highest point and rolling to the ground. I was really proud of him!!
Look how happy that boy is with his fire
Eventually the hot dogs and other dinner items were pulled out and I even managed to pull Frog Prince away from the swing to eat. They were both so tickled by the idea of roasting their hot dogs over the fire, and I wish I'd managed to get pictures of that, sadly though I had to keep an eye on them to make certain the sticks didn't end up in the fire. With the s'mores as dessert they ate in record time (completely gone was the Sheepie of that mornings breakfast incident!) and they roasted their marshmallows for s'mores. By this point almost everyone was there for the camping trip and the fire was swarming with little kids and their sticky goodness!
The rest of the night was basically the same as most camping trips. The boys ran around with all of their friends, and I tended to Boy and talked with the other families. My sister in law brought grow sticks for all the kids, so even after it was dark they continued to run through the camp grounds and field because we could all just look for our kids coloured glow stick. They had a blast.
Boy seemed pretty ambivalent to the entire thing. He spent most of the time attached to my back, and even went so far as to fall asleep there. It likely would have been for the night, but I didn't have the brains enough to unstrap him and take him to the tent. But really he did amazing. I detached his bassinet from it's base and brought it along so I could lay to sleep in it, in the tent. Since it is something he's used to sleeping in (he's still small enough at 5 mos. to sleep it in, and takes many naps there) and since it gave him a nice soft place to sleep, he slept just like at home.
Some time around 9:30-10pm Sheepie finally said he wanted to go to bed, so I took him to the tent and laid him down. It was so cute, because when my friend and I brought Frog Prince and Boy back to my tent so that we could all go to sleep, Sheepie was still wide away and was using his glow sticks to do shadow dances in the tent.
The next morning everyone got up and ate breakfast together as a ward. Then it was time for, The Pioneer Club! This is something all the kids look forward to each year. One of the men in our ward has always done this with his family, and has kindly shared the tradition with all the kids in our ward, and they love it. The entire club is just marching everyone down to whatever body of water he can find, making them do some silly imitation of a Maori war chant, and then they all take turns having him turn them upside down and dunking their head in the (normally freezing cold, since we live in Oregon) water. Thats it! And they love it! I guess in his own family it's evolved into jumping entirely into the water, and his kids joke about how one day he's going to have cardiac arrest from jumping into such cold water, but I think it's very fun to watch all the kids get so into it.
The ever fearless Sheepie at his first initiation into the club
Frog Prince wanted to do it, but wanted me to be the one to dip him.
The rest of the ward then stayed on to do a fire wood cutting project, but since there was really no way to watch my kiddlets and do this, it was time for us to say good bye. They were ready to go home anyway. Even at that we didn't go home.
I spent the rest of the day over at my in laws house helping my father in law turn some trees that had fallen in the yard into fire wood. It was long and hot, and gruelling, but I am pretty sure they will not have to cut more fire wood for a REALLY long time. They boys even got in on the action. I will post picture of that with Sundays post, since this one is long enough and we have to leave for church now.
So is, I can officially say I survived camping alone with three kids. I have to give a HUGE thanks though to the man who does the Pioneer club, and his wife (aka the apple lady for those who read my newsletters) because with out them I think I'd not have been able to do it. They all but put up our camp site for us, and quite literally took it down for me, while I was handling three crying boys. Add that to their non stop patience for my kids and they are some of the most kind and saintly people I've ever known. Thank you Apple family!!!! (and thus they shall hence forth be referred to as.)