I had the song "I'm leaving...on..a..jet plane" stuck in my head on Thursday. We were heading off on our camping adventure with the family. I had officially been a good girl and had plenty of energy to use.
...In my head I am seeing myself fist pump and yell, "Yes!"...
I think we packed better then normal. It looked like we had an incredible amount of boxes for this trip, but it all seemed to fit in it's perfect spot. I am always amazed at how much you have to pack for a kiddo. We started camping with my daughter at two months old. The amount of things needed to camp with a baby is astounding. Every summer I think it will get better because she's a year older. And every summer I am disillusioned all over again! Extra clothes in case some get dirty...check. Hair stuff...check. Bedding and night-night animals...check. Toys...check. Toys...check. Toys...check. You get the picture! This time there was actually space left in the back of our vehicle. I think we're getting better at this packing with a kid, despite all of "L's" stuff!
There was a lot of camp fire making. "L" had apparently decided that this was the summer that she would master starting a campfire. (Not that we would ever let a three year old do that!) So she spent lots of time picking up kindling. And spent quite a bit of time following my Dad around, since he has deemed himself "official fire starter". And we can't forget the sparklers around the fire!
We also spent a lot of time roasting hot dogs and eating. That's the whole point of camping right?? We had friends come to visit us on Saturday, who also have a three year old girl. We took them down to the lake to swim. The girls had a blast in the sand. My Dad made sand castles with them. So we actually got to relax in the lake for awhile! It was fantastic. The sun wasn't too bad. Just hot enough to keep us warm in the cold lake water. A rain storm came in while we were there. It was beautiful to watch the rain bounce into the lake and the fog roll along the mountains. I think it's a memory that I'll always have.
Some time was set aside for fishing. My daughter has her own rod. Pink, of course, with Barbie on it. Classic. I think she likes the idea of fishing more then actually doing it. In her eyes, she can't touch the bait because it's slimy. It's boring to wait for a bite. And the fish just freak her out, staring at her all the time! We did manage to let her catch two fish before she was just done with it.
Of course I can't forget all the time that we wasted away in our hammock and swing that my Dad hung for us. "L" even managed to convince my Mom, who is currently on crutches, to push her on the swing for awhile. She's a wiley one, that girl of mine! Many songs were sung and made up in the hammock this weekend.
We have been camping at the same state park as a family since I was two years old. Every summer of my life has been spent at this park. It's come to be a special place to me. I long to be running around this camp ground, while I am wading through the slushy snow in winter. I feel like I am coming "home" when we are on our way there. So every time we go we have to make a stop at the same restaurant. It's the sort of place that you would find in a movie celebrating small town country life. When you open the door, all you hear is the creak of the seats. That's the noise made as all the "townsfolk" turn to stare at the strangers that have invaded their restaurant. There's still classic country played over the place's speakers. There's enough plaid, ratty tees, and trucker hats to cover the state of Pennsylvania! The thing that makes it all redeemable, for me, is the food. You wouldn't expect it, but they have the best hamburgers and it would be hard to find much better than their fried fish. The thing that makes it redeemable for my daughter is the company. We have found out that Santa Claus, apparently, has a vacation home in that area. Every time we go for dinner he's there with his curling white beard and twinkling eyes. He pulls "L" up into his lap and they have conversations. He poses for pictures with her. (I think we'll be able to make a chronological time table some day with the Santa pictures alone, from every summer!) And he always makes sure to wave her way. It's all she talks about for the rest of dinner and the rides back up the mountain to our campsite. He just MAKES the trip to the restaurant for her!
Despite all of the fun times we had my favorite moment had to be Sunday morning. "L" and I had shared the bed that night. That's a treat in itself for her since we only share a bed on vacations. I think if she had her way she'd sleep right in between my husband and I. She's stick her head on my belly and her feet would wind themselves around her Daddy's legs. Anyway...she had woken up Sunday morning with this perfect little smile on her face. It wasn't filtered or influenced by anything. There was no ulterior motive behind it. (You know how three years old are! Ha!) It was just pure sunshine bottled up in her adorable little package. That MADE my trip!
So I had a fabulous weekend at my second home with my family. I am looking forward to getting back there this summer. Til then I will have to be content with the pictures...