Camp Grammapammapammapa

A.k.a. Clifty Falls 2015: the multifamily, multigenerational Memorial Day camping weekend with three sets of grandparents, although technically it can’t be Camp Grammapa if the intervening generation of parents is present. Still, camping rules are pretty lax to begin with: Everett had Cocoa Puffs for dinner and the twins had lollipops for breakfast. This year we reserved five campsites, three in the island and two across the street to the north. Thanks to all of the grandparents for making this weekend happen!
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
To join the camping trip this year we flew from Salt Lake to Louisville, Kentucky on Wednesday, May 20. This was the first of the last batch of flights during which the babies are lap children, and while the main motivation was to save money, we have been dreading it for some time. We got up around 6am, finished packing the car and were on the road to the airport by 6:30am as planned. By about 7:15 we had all 7 bags checked in by Skycap: two bags of carseats, one bag containing two pack-and-plays, two suitcases for Mom and children, one duffel bag for Chris and one 10-person tent. In the past we have never been able to checkin lap children at Skycap but apparently that has changed. They also seem to be more forgiving of luggage size – the tent was under the 50 lb limit but the dimensions were likely larger than allowed.

The flight was rough even under good circumstances. We tried to mitigate the chaos by giving each child an iDevice and a pair of headphones. Each baby got an iPod Touch and Everett got Chris’ old iPhone 4 (but without cell service). All devices were loaded up with movies and family pictures and kids music.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
This worked great for Everett and worked ok for the babies, but they didn’t seem to grasp that they had to avoid touching the screen to allow the movies to play. We had an extra seat on the leg from Salt Lake to Chicago so had a row of three seats for the kids to run around a bit. Then there was an hour delay in Chicago (on the plane – we didn’t switch planes) and we got into Louisville after 4pm. By 5:30 we were on the road to Cincinnati.

Thursday was spent running errands and getting some rest after the previous day of travel. Friday morning we packed the car for camping while the adults took turns keeping the babies occupied. Here is how the Play Doh activity went:
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
We recently bought a new tent for camping. It’s a Coleman 10 person tent that prominently advertises on the bag that it can be erected in 60 seconds.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
We found that this was true: it did take 60 seconds, plus 29 minutes for all of the other pre- and post-preparation, so it all depends on when you start and stop the timer. This is a three season tent with two doors and a soundproof divider in the middle. It provided plenty of room for the two pack-and-plays, a sleeping pad for Everett and an inflatable queen mattress for Chris and Melissa.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Camping: the babies are overwhelming. Partly because of this, and partly because of his age, Everett’s freedom has increased dramatically. He is officially an older kid now. He is off with them running around well after dark, and we must rely on collective parenting and intuition to detect if something is wrong. He was gone for long periods of time with Trinity, in radio contact, but we still didn’t know exactly where they were. He was also tending the fire with minimal supervision. There are lots of children throughout the campground and the pace of life is slow.

Friday night: we put the babies down around 7pm. Around 8:30 we realized that Teddy was still awake and crying, so we got him up and he had snacks and sat by the campfire with Grandaddy, and about an hour later we put him back down. He screamed so loudly that we woke Gwen up. Melissa tried going to sleep with them and by the time Chris came into the tent a short while later it was complete chaos: Melissa was exhausted and there were two toddlers on the loose. Chris played an episode of Jack’s Big Music Show for them and at around 10:30 we told Everett it was time for bed.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Finally at 11 everyone was quiet. In exchange for losing 4 hours of sleep at bedtime the children slept an extra hour until 8am. It was chilly at night, probably around 50 degrees, and everyone was cold when we woke up.

On Saturday Everett lost another tooth. Matt setup a hammock setup between two trees. The adults are too heavy for it, but the kids loved it, including the babies. By the second day the older kids realized that they could flip the hammock over and swing upside down like this:

After a few hours of this Everett walked up to Melissa and said “Mom, this just happened” and showed that he had a mouthful of blood. He fell out of the hammock face first and had lost his second front tooth. He was a little shocked but didn’t cry and was back to his normal self after a few minutes. Soon afterward the babies took a nap while Chris and Melissa and Everett went to the nature center to see the turtles and snakes. Afterward we drove to the trailhead at Oak Grove where Melissa and Everett hiked the tunnel (which is open for the first time this year after being closed for about a decade due to white nose syndrome among bats). Meanwhile, Chris hiked around it and met them at the south entrance.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Saturday night: we gave the babies a bath and them down around 7:30, and soon afterward sat down for adult dinner. The Barbers cooked Nancy’s Juicy Steak for dinner (named in honor of their former neighbor Nancy Westerhaus), which was delicious. After dinner we sat by the fire for a while until around 9:30 when Chris realized that Teddy was still awake and needed a diaper change. This also meant that Teddy got to stay up for the marshmallow fight (sorry Gwen!). He really got into it and even started throwing marshmallows at Dad.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Sunday morning: around 8am Teddy was standing up in his crib saying “Hi! Hi! Hi!” The rest of the day was spent listening to the Indy 500 on the radio and slowly packing the cars while also trying to entertain the babies. They didn’t take much of a nap and instead spent some time in the baby pool. Will Power came in second. This meant that the Butson family won $12 from the betting pool, which was just enough to treat the Barber-Butson family to ice cream at Dairy Queen in Versailles.

Signs that this was a successful camping weekend: everyone was safe and healthy; no weather calamities; the children were exhausted when we got home Sunday night. Everett fell asleep in the back of Gabby’s car on the way home and it was very difficult to rouse him, but after a few tries we got him to walk inside and shower and eat and we put him to bed.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

No comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by WordPress
Natural World RapidWeaver theme by ThemeFlood