Family Camping

Before we had kids, I used to day dream about how fun having kids would be. I would think about all  of the life experiences we would share with them. When I was day dreaming about all of these fun family adventures, I was totally naive to the full-blown, unpredictable insanity of life with small children. But slowly, the boys are gaining independence and we are finally able to start having the grand adventures I dreamed of. The last few days we spent camping out in the cherokee national forest and it was magic.

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I got to watch my baby stuff his cheeks full of wild blackberries while gleefully grinning as the berry juice made streaks in his dirt covered cheeks. I heard fishing stories from my toddler as he went on and on about his adventures with daddy. I watched my boys cackle with delight as they chased each other around the tent. Basically, it was everything I hoped parenting would be. Getting to play while showing the kids new things. And in the evenings Jason and I stayed up late sitting around the fire talking about a bit of everything.  No, I'm not saying parenting is all fun and games. In the few short years I've been doing it, it has also proven to be the most difficult job I've ever had.

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Admittedly, going camping with a one year old and an almost three year old, may sound like a suicide mission. But, call me crazy, it was what I wanted to do for my birthday. I wanted to run away with my family. And fortunately, it turned out perfect. Surprisingly perfect. So great, we decided to stay an extra night! I know, crazy. The kids did great. It was pure bliss. Just uninterrupted time with my family and nature. No cell phones, no Internet, no TV. There is no way possible to capture all of the sweet, beautiful moments of this trip, but I can hit the highlights with photos.


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We borrowed a friend's huge tent and it was awesome (Thanks Ben and Cassie)!  We definitely have to  invest in a tent similar this one.   The space was a huge plus with little kids.  And yes, we took an air mattress.  I've crossed the age threshold where I am no longer interested in sleeping on the ground.   We didn't really do barebones camping (even though Jason totally could).  We were in a campground with a nice bath house.  We didn't have electricity or water at our campsite, but they were close by.  It was just rustic enough.

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We even took the dog!  We have the world's sweetest dog and she has totally gotten the shaft since the boys came along.  She just seemed so happy to be included.

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Alex just sat in the field singing while we picked wild blackberries.  Jason got the cutest video.  He just bobbed his head up and down while he sang a melody full of made up words and sounds, perfectly content.

And last, perhaps my favorite moment. Henry had started talking in his sleep. I can't always understand him, but I've noticed him doing it from time to time during his naps. On our second night, he called out in his sleep "daddy, I got one. I got a fish." The idea of him dreaming about fishing with daddy was a priceless memory. Only seconded by waking up in the morning with all my boys (Jason, Henry and Alex) all snuggled around me sleeping. It actually got pretty cold the last night in the mountains. They all woke up giggling. It was the best way to start my year. Here is to turning 31!

Ps. Because I have no issue making fun of myself . . . . .

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Alex loves to sit on our shoulders.  He also likes to squeeze the fire out of your cheeks.  This wasn't posed.  I was actually yelling because of the pain of tiny baby nails digging into my face. Ouch! But, at least we was enjoying himself.