Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Let's Go Camping

With both of my older two kids in Scouts, getting the opportunity to go camping has been put on the back-burner. It seems like every time we think we have an opportunity to hit the road for some family fun, a scouting event (usually boy scouts) pops up. We can say no, but the events help Loren earn a belt loop or patch of some sort, so we feel bad and end up cancelling our trip. However, it just so happened, that this past weekend, no scouting event was scheduled. We took advantage of the freedom and went out to Idyllwild, here in SoCal. I booked our reservation through our membership company on Friday afternoon. Now mind you, you can only book it M-F from 8am-4pm, that's it. Well, I got our reservation booked at 3:58 pm on Friday afternoon. That's cutting it close.

Friday evening we spent running errands to pick up some last minute items that we would want to take camping with us, ie. diapers and formula. You know, necessities. Saturday, we pulled the 5th Wheel out and started loading all our clothing, food and other necessities. I even prepped Fried Rice for the trip, we had left over rice so what the heck.

Sunday was our check in day, so we hit the road at about 12:00 noon. It had been 3 months since we last took our rig out, so Les and I were trying to go through our mental checklist of what needed to be done. Safety cord on hitch attached, check. Food, clothing, diapers packed, check. All 4 kids in the truck, 1,2,3, and 4, check. Gasoline, check, oh but it's kind of low. I hope we can make it. Okay, I think we're set. On the road again... We get on the 15, usual traffic, nothing to really speak of. We get on the 60, and now it's slow moving even before we hit the 215. It seems some friggin genius decided it would be a good idea to do repairs on the freeway the week of Thanksgiving. The 60 was down to 2 lanes for most of the drive out, crap. What should have taken maybe an hour and a half to drive took a little of two hours. Once we hit Banning, we got off the freeway to head to our destination, Silent Valley Club. The road up the hill is very curvy, not a big deal for me, but I should mention, everyone else in the car gets carsick. Oh goody! Langdon fell asleep so that took care of that. The older two were complaining of getting dizzy, "look out the front window" we told them, "focus on something far away". It helped, we had to just keep reminding them because they kept finding things down below to look at.

We arrive at Silent Valley about 2:30, the ranger can't find our reservation. Luckily, I happen to write down our reservation number and gave it to the ranger. Apparently, our membership company didn't fax the reservation list to the administration office at Silent Valley, but they let us in anyway. Woo hoo! We were here 3 months ago (our last trip out) and we had parked right at the kids playground area. We literally had a slot that backed up to the playground. This play area has two entrances, both with gates to lock the little kids (aka Langdon) in. The spot we used last time was occupied, darn, so we took the one to the left, it still allowed us to back up to the playground. It was just next to a high traffic path, to the playground of course! We let the kids loose to play while we set up camp. (It's so much easier that way.)

Normally, once camp is set, I stay inside with the baby feeding him and giving him naps. Because of this, Les usually has to stay outside with the other 3 kids trying to keep them busy. Not this time. Leland started getting tired and I was bringing him in for his nap, but Les offered to take care of him and I stayed out with the others. Lindsay and Loren were already in full swing playing with all the other kids in the playground, so I took Langdon down to the Tennis Courts. (He just loves hitting his racket on the ground.) I just bounced the ball off the back fence for him to catch. He loved it when his racket made contact, because then he thought he really was "playing" tennis! Sometimes, I hit the ball a bit hard so that he would run after it. Remember, he's two and full of energy (read "Let's Go Shopping"). We played for about an hour and then the older two plus a girl named Alissa arrived wanting to play too. I had them go get the other rackets and we all "played" tennis. It was fun, Alissa had an arm on her so I hit all her balls, versus when Loren hit the ball, Lindsay would get those. Sometimes, we would just hit the ball towards Langdon to keep him included in the fun. Boy did those kids run a lot, so did I. Eventually, Lindsay and Loren couldn't stop bickering about whose ball it was, Langdon was getting ultra-cranky, and Alissa's dad had come to take her back to their campsite, so we all departed.

While we were all out, Leland slept and Les got some work done. Yay! Leland had just woken up so I took over. Les was going to cook the fried rice while I showered the kids. That's not exactly what happened next. While I changed Leland's diaper, Lindsay was in the bathroom disrobing and Langdon came in and turned the shower knobs, Lindsay tried to fix the problem, but somehow broke the knob off the wall and water was spewing like a geyser! Like lightning, Les ran in to stop the geyser, Lindsay took over watching the three boys, and I threw on my shoes and ran outside to stop the water at the source. Whew! It took awhile, but Les fixed the knob and we got the water running again. We decided to get dinner going again and get the kids showered. Well that didn't last long. I went to throw something away in the trash just below the bathroom and BANG! The hot water knob on the sink blew off and once again water shoots up like a geyser hitting the ceiling. Once again, I run out to turn off the water at the source while Les works on stopping the blow out. Les ends up jimmy-rigging the knob (it's cracked from when Lindsay broke it from a previous trip) with several layers of tape. This ends up solving the problem for now, but we will have to definitely take it in to the shop to get it professionally repaired. (Did I mention we have a Weekend Warrior, now bankrupt!) Anyway, the rest of the night went off without a hitch.

We had surprised the kids with a new movie, Wall-E. After everyone finished dinner and showered, we turned it on. The kids were happy, except Langdon, who was constantly told to stay still so the rest of us could watch it. Eventually, Langdon fell asleep, and we all enjoyed the rest of the movie in peace. Aaahh! Once the movie ended, everyone crashed. The kids were snoring in a matter of minutes, remember, I made them run around the tennis courts earlier. I went to bed, I was sleeping with Leland in the main bed. Les eventually went to bed in the bottom bunk, with Langdon, who moves constantly-even in his sleep. Sleep for me sucked. Leland is actively teething and can't stay asleep. He moved all over the bed, crawling in his sleep. Almost off the bed at one time, even with the bed-rail on. Then, he decided that 6am was a good time to awaken, for the day! Ugh! Les apparently had a rough time sleeping too. Langdon kept falling through the bed and back ramp. There's a 4 inch or so gap between the bed and ramp, and Langdon kept going through. Les had to keep picking him back up about every 30 minutes.

A new day starts. Monday starts with no big deal. Les makes breakfast for the family. The kids get dressed and they all go play in the playground area. Aaahhh... The day went well. The kids played tennis, built a fort with other boys up in the hill area just across the creek, and the little boys took their naps together. Aahh again... When it was time for dinner, the next door campers decided to invite our older two over for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, and we let them. Les and I had dinner with the two little ones and it was actually quite relaxing. Eventually, the older kids came back, we got everyone showered. Once we were all clean, we opened yet another movie.... Kung Fu Panda. Les and the kids had already seen it in the theaters, but I had stayed home since I had just had the baby recently and it's not easy to keep Langdon still that long. I really enjoyed the movie, but I'm no critic. It was really cute. Again, Langdon eventually fell asleep during the movie, so we finally had a chance to enjoy it. Bedtime once again, wow were we all pooped. This time though, both Leland and Langdon slept a lot better, which in turn means so did Les and I.

Tuesday and Leland is up at 6am yet again. I tried putting him back to sleep, but that was not on his agenda. I fed him and burped him. Once he was satisfied, he started chatting away which woke Langdon up, which means everyone was going to get up too. There is nothing quiet about Langdon, NOTHING! Les makes breakfast for everyone then the kids get dressed to play outside. Just as they get out there, it starts raining. Les and I panic, he throws on his clothes, we were enjoying our coffee, and he runs out to start packing things up. I quickly get dressed and start cleaning up the interior of the rig, all the while, Leland is crying because he's tired and wants his morning nap. I keep Langdon quiet with the movie Wall-E. Lindsay helps from time to time with Leland so I can hurry. We finally get everything done and the rain subsides, but we decide to head home anyway because Les has a conference call to jump on at 1:30.

Our drive home was fine. There was a point on the 60 where some blue-hair jumped in front of us at an on-ramp, instead of waiting to get in behind us-there was no one back there. We had to slam on our brakes, which wouldn't have been a big deal, except that the older two were in the 5th wheel playing PS2. Luckily, they were okay, except that a soda that was open had spilled. Other than that, we got home safely and unloaded the rig quickly. Les was able to get on his call in time. Yay!

Camping with the kids CAN be enjoyable, but it's definitely never boring. When kids become part of the equation, you never know what's going to happen. Look out they bring adventure with them wherever they go.

No comments: