Did I tell you that we went camping again? No? Well, we did. And then we did it again. But now we're done for the year (only four weekends left) and our stuff is rolled up and waiting to be shipped halfway across the world.
A few weekends ago we went to a state park on the Shenandoah river. While not as beautiful in a mountain sense (I think that really the only place to camp is the mountains) as the National Forest a few miles away, it did have a lot more stinkbugs to crawl into our tent and scare Kathleen into a whimpering mess.
The trip was a reasonable success (nobody got hurt, it didn't rain), but we realized that camping is a lot more fun when you bring other adults that don't have children. Then you are somewhat distracted from having to take care of five children outside in a public place. And then the children can get distracted by the other adults and not swarm you while you're trying to roll up six different sleeping bags.
We also sorely missed the songstress/game leader/cheerful presence of my cousin's wife, especially when we were about a quarter mile into our four-mile hike and the only response I could think of when the inevitable whining started was 'quit whining because you're driving me crazy!' Also, when there are witnesses around, you're less likely to commit physical violence upon your whining/fighting/arguing/yelling/crying children. Just sayin'.
Last weekend we went camping again with my Aunt and Uncle. The plan was to try our luck on a first come, first serve camping spot in Shenandoah National Forest, which was evidently the plan of everyone else on the east coast because every single campground in the entire park was full by the time we got to them. So instead we drove the entire 105 miles of Skyline Drive before exiting the park and finding a commercial campground to sleep for the night. Not quite as atmospheric, but there was a playground.
We had a beautiful hike the next day, which was made even better by having two adults to take turns carrying Joseph when he decided (about twenty feet in) that hiking really wasn't his thing but being carried certainly is. I've realized that it's generally not the baby that causes problems on these outings, it's the two year-old.
The next time we go camping, it will be on another continent in a country where there is no such thing as a campground. While I'll certainly miss having running water and especially toilets, I do look forward to not having to camp next to anyone but the sheep. There's something to be said for being away from the rest of humanity when you have five children who occasionally fight and might sometimes have to be loudly reprimanded for it. Just sayin'.