Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Camping We Will Go

The alarm went off and I was up at 6:30 a.m. I made breakfast for the family and then finished packing Drew and I. It was a big day. This was the day we leave for his first camping trip.

It's been at least a month that he's know about it and every week or so I could see his excitement grow. This last week I saw the anticipation peak. It made me smile. I'm so happy to be able to share this experience with him. Scouting is such a great program for young men.

I would catch Drew telling all his friends proudly about how he won't be here this weekend -- that he was going camping.

He knew we had a new tent just for us (since he lost the tent poles for my good one, but we won't talk bout that!). He tried to help think of all the things he though we may need.

I went through our packing list once and then twice starting with the ground and working our way up: footprint, tent, bedding, pillows, liners, head-lamps, lantern, first-aid, water source, water container, toiletries, clothing, extra shoes...

There were only a couple of things I forgot that would have been nice to have but weren't needed.

We said our goodbyes and headed out. Sid Richardson -- HERE WE COME! We were on the road and he was so excited. I set the destination in the nav system so he could watch the mileage decrease and therefore wouldn't have to ask me repeatedly when we would be there. The nav system estimated our time of arrival and showed it on the screen. I think that little thing is a JEWEL for that feature alone!

We reached our destination and found another kiddo from our Den already set up.

The boys were so excited to be out and run and play and explore.

Getting kids out in nature, under the stars, learning to be independent -- yes, even at seven -- is so important!

Drew was such a trooper! He helped set up the footprint, the tent, the rain fly and helped finish out the inside. He got our chairs all ready, decided where to put this and that and we were all ready for the day.

Tent sweet tent.

After getting base camp set up, it was time to explore. We were at a great campsite. Not ONCE did I see poison ivy! That's rare!

So if there's nothing like poison ivy to find, just what did they find?


There's one in this mess of dried grass. See if you can see it.


I think in all they saw five scorpions, two snakes (in the wild) and a couple big spiders.

As soon as we arrived, Drew was asking for lunch so soon after setting up the tent, we ate our picnic lunch (Subway -- eat fresh). Then, at 1 o'clock we headed with the rest of our Pack to the day's activities at the Fall Festival.

First, we went to the area where they had more seasonal activities and it looked like a lot of fun -- see how happy he looks?

Happy camper

But, ultimately, we decided to go wait it out at the bb gun range. After he was instructed, he was able to enter the range and take aim. I let him wear my oh-so-very-stylish sunglasses because the shooting range's safety glasses were WAY scratched. I didn't think he'd be able to see worth a dern.

Hard to look tough in Kenneth Cole shades, but hey, it's a cute mug anyway!

Tough guy

He did pretty good for his first time out on the bb range and the important thing is that he had a great time.


Aiming his gun

Working with <span class=Rangemaster">

Stopped to pose for a picture by the archery range. His buddy, Philip, went there instead of the bb gun range. By attending this event, they both earned their respective belt-loops.

Tiger buds

Next, we headed back to the activity area where the Den carved pumpkins

Den 9's pumpkins

This is Drew's zombie vampire pumpkin

Zombie vampire
They held some of the snakes that they had out on display. Isn't the coloration of that snake beautiful? No, mama didn't hold it. I was there just to take pictures. Not that I wouldn't have, but it was really there for the boys.



The boys shot some spoon catapults (that's Drew and Evan)

Spoon catapulting

They also did some rock throwing target practice, bounced in a bounce house, played with a HUUUUUGE sling shot, a potato rocket, played ultimate Frisbee and just hung out. After a while, Drew was ready to go back to the campsite to just hang out for a bit. So we did...until suppertime -- or so we thought.

We were supposed to be on the first rotation for meals. Unfortunately, the truck bringing us dinner got a flat and was over an hour late. Cold chili dogs for dinner -- um, YUCK. What we've decided is NEVER AGAIN. We have capable and willing participants. In the future, we will cook for ourselves without a problem. We will eat well.

After dinner, we headed back to clean up a bit, explore some and grab some water and wait until the real festivities began -- the haunted hayride!

I could tell that Drew was a little apprehensive about the whole idea of something "haunted". He would pep talk himself in that he knew it was just pretend but then wanted to know what kinds of things he would see. I told him it wouldn't be scary, just sometimes creepy. It was for kids of all ages and so just to have fun with it.

While we waited in line, the boys took to the little area set up for photos before the hayride. And so, you know me... I followed with camera in hand.

The huge mess of a spiderweb!

This is his "scared" face.
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This is THEIR "scared" faces. I STINKY love this picture!
Den 9 antics

Drew kept acting up so we gave him THE CHAIR!
The Electric Chair

This is Drew, Evan and Evan's dad, Greg, on the hayride
On the hay ride

And here is me and my little man. Nice to see my face looking so much more thin.
Me and my Drew!

My happy haunted hayride hunnie!
Before the hayride

The hay ride DID have one part that was scary to me -- and YES -- I screamed! As we approached there was a huge shape of an over-sized figure that appeared to be too big to be a person. Its back was toward us. As we kept approaching, I realized there was NO WAY this could be a real person it had to be a decoy to something ELSE waiting in the wings to jump out at us. Why would I think that? This figure had to be at least seven feet tall and HUUUUUGE like muscular huge. We came upon it and as it was right in front of Drew and me, it turned and lunged at us and screamed. I grabbed Drew and pulled him back and screamed my head off in the process. I'm sure it was absolutely hilarious to the jerk in the costume! But, that's what his job was, right? Grrrrrrr...

I checked the Rangers score, the weather and realized that my phone was going dead and we had bad weather heading our way -- BAD. I was hoping for the best but we were prepared for the worst.

We circled our little chairs around a fire ring and roasted marshmallows and made smores. We all just chilled around for a bit and then extinguished the fire and made our way into the tent about 10:45 p.m. (entirely too late for this old broad!)

Oh, and the bad weather -- we wound up with a great lightning show off in the distance but not a single drop of rain.

Drew slept like a rock!

He woke up the next morning and whispered, "Mooooooom." (I was already awake.)

"Yes, Drew?"

"I think it's morning."

"Did the sun give it away?"

He laughed.

I asked, "Would you like to get up?"


"Ok, lets get dressed."

Breakfast was in an hour so the boys got dressed before Sunday service to just run around while the big folk started breaking down the easy parts of their campsites.

Here are Philip and Drew the morning after. The previous night he, Antonio, Philip and Evan were all in this tree with headlamps on turned to red. The strangest bunch of owls we ever did see.
The morning after

I couldn't have asked for a better weekend camping trip for Drew.

We started back out that morning for home only to discover a dead battery on the car and my telephone. Not the way I intended to begin the day...especially because I was hoping to see a friend of mine that lived in Bridgeport before we made our way home. However, the car with a tired Drew and a dead phone made it an easy decision to just make a b-line for the driveway back in Keller, Texas.

And now, I can't wait to go back! I LOVES ME SOME WILDERNESS!

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