The MalleyCats

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(2011) In which we go camping, Part II

I need to start this blog by saying I'm sorry it took so long to get around to Part II of this camping trip. I'm sure you were just on the edge of your seats! The last few weeks have been less than stellar ones for my body. I managed to get giardia (yes, giardia) and then completely throw my back out thanks to the baby taking up residence on top of my spine making walking, sitting or moving in general excruciating. But, I'm past the worst of it and am looking forward to having a fully functioning body again....someday....

And now back to the exciting tale of camping Malleycats style:

So it's dark and raining and we have to put up two tents and get a campsite ready after what's been a really long and rotten day. Luckily Seth and Chanel know what they're doing and got the tents up quickly while I unloaded the car and got other things taken care of. After getting settled in for the night I lay there listening to the sounds of nature. And the sounds of the people the next campsite over. And I came to two conclusions: First, there is some kind of bug or animal out there that makes a squeak that sounds exactly like someone jumping on a rusty trampoline right next to your head. All. Night. Long. And secondly, that apparently people stay up reeeeeallly late when they're camping, and my guess is that they are drinking while doing it because the volume of their voices got louder as the hours passed. The combination of these two things kept me up until after 1 am, when I finally fell asleep....only to wake up an hour later having to go to the bathroom, stat! As a pregnant lady, time is not on your side when it comes to bladder control. There is a very finite window of time in which one can safely get to a bathroom before one's bladder decides, "ready or not, here I come!" Luckily our campsite wasn't too far from the bathrooms, so I managed to shuffle there quickly. When I finally fell back asleep, it felt like I had been asleep approximately 11 minutes total before the kids woke up with the first sunlight and were ready to go. So far the score of camping was at a -28.

The scenery really was beautiful. Not beautiful, however, is that picture of me stirring pancake mix in a bucket. We forgot a bowl, so this is me making due with what we had. Luckily no actual sand had been in that sand bucket yet....so our pancakes were grit free. Plus 7 for camping.

Once breakfast was cleaned up we got ready to head for the beach. It was the most perfect day ever. Talk about the calm after the storm...

This is what the dunes looked like when we arrived. Not a soul in sight, and the most glorious day ever. It was (and I borrow this phrase with all the respect it deserves) AMAZEBALLS.

Since Eloise had a cast on, we had to MacGruber something so she could have fun at the beach, too. Because nothing says fun like sand all up in your cast, right!? So we used the tools at our disposal: A garbage bag and duct tape. Pretty soon we had this....

It did exactly what we needed it to. She didn't miss a beat. You know who else didn't miss a beat? Penny the wonder-dog. It was so much fun having her along for this trip. She had such a blast playing in the water.

Seth discovered he could run down the dunes at full speed and jump over a clump of trees. I was impressed with that, but when Bennett decided to join in I was blown away! Bennett is often referred to as Seth's "Mini-Me", and I think it's pretty obvious why.

One of the most random parts of the day was visiting the French fur traders reenactment camp down the beach. There are people whose actual job is to dress up like french fur traders and then tell you about it. Prior to reading that last sentence, when was the last time you actual realized french fur traders were a group of people you should be aware of? Yeah, me too.

Also, did you know French fur traders wore loin cloths? I'm pretty sure that was a well-kept secret for a reason. These guys were rockin' it. Seth was alarmed at the number of pictures I took of these men in loin cloths, but in my defense--when else am I ever going to get a picture of that?!

After a most excellent morning at the beach, followed by a rad lunch of walking chili-dogs (take a little bag of fritos, pour warm chili, cut-up hotdogs, cheese and sour cream on top, then stir and then eat) Camping was up about 30 points, making it all worthwhile in my opinion. That afternoon Seth put up a hammock (cuz, yeah...that's how he rolls) which quickly became the hot spot.

Another hot spot for Oliver was this pile of dirt

45 minutes of straight entertainment. Makes you wonder why I bother buying toys of any kind. More dirt, less toys I say.

One of the highlights of the camping trip for me was when we were tucked in at night I would read Harry Potter to the kids until they fell asleep. We brought it out by the campfire as well, and managed to get through about half the book that weekend.

After learning my lesson the night before about how the sounds of nature and me sleeping don't really mix, I took two sleeping pills before going to bed the 2nd night. I slept like a dream. And funny enough, Seth laid awake all night listening to all the things I complained about like the trampoline-jumping bug and drunk people a few campsites over. He cursed me for bringing it to his attention in the first place to which I said, "You're welcome", and then promptly rolled over and went back to sleep. At some point in the wee hours of the morning I woke up to the sound of something banging around the campsite. Penny the wonder-dog couldn't be bothered with actual wildlife, so I poked Seth and informed him he needed to go investigate. When he got out of the tent there were a little gang of racoons that just stared at him like, "Yeah I'm eating hot chocolate out of the can, what are you gonna do about it?" Once all remnants of food (we thought stuff in a can was safe) were safely packed back in the car, we went back to sleep for like 4 minutes until the sun rose, and along with it, the kids.

Day two brought more fun at the beach which looked like this

Now let's talk camp food: Aside from pancakes made in a bucket and frito-bags-of-tastiness, the other high points included lil' smokies (who knew?!), and Seth's peach cobbler. You know what's not tasty? Foil dinners. They are dumb. I hereby swear I will never make another foil dinner as long as I live.

Packing up camp is for sure the worst part of the whole thing. The amount of smoky, sandy and otherwise disgusting towels, blankets and clothing was kind of amazing. Making it all fit in the car again is kind of annoying. The thought of taking all that stuff home again is kind of overwhelming. Thankfully Chanel had the bright idea to stop at a laundromat and wash everything there, saving 8 loads of disgustingness from ever coming in the door of our house.

So in the end though our story may resemble "Green Acres" more than "Man Vs. Wild", I have to admit that I had a lot of fun camping, and though it's a LOT of work, it may just be worth it.

Seth Malley