A couple of weeks ago, we decided rather last-minute-ish to head to Orange Beach for a few nights. J had a conference Sunday - Wednesday, so we thought it would be "fun" to take the boys down on Saturday to spend the day on the beach, camp out that night and then head to the resort on Sunday to spend the night, and then the boys and I would come home on Monday. In the heat of the moment, I seem to have forgotten one VERY important thing we learned at our marriage conference a few months ago: go ahead and call family camping trips what they are: planned disasters that you'll enjoy laughing at (later) for years to come.
I think this trip qualifies.
We weren't even out of town yet, and we realized several things:
1. Two year olds can take Zyrtec (allergies show no mercy).
2. The DMV does NOT send reminders about licenses expiring (don't worry, I discovered Jason's September - LAST September, 8th to be exact - expiration date before the law could get involved.) Jason was the proud winner of a weekend chauffeur (which is code for, "I had to drive all weekend").
3. While Dramamine can be dissolved in juice, you canNOT make a 2-year old drink said juice.
4. It's possible to squeeze a 4-hour car ride into 6.
And a few other highlights:
1. Will hates camping. Either that, or he hates having thrush, which, unbeknownst to me, he had. As the old adage goes, "hindsight is 20/20." Usually to keep him from crying in the night, I just have to nurse him...and every time I tried while camping, he just screamed louder. I took him to the doctor the following Tuesday (I was sure the screaming was due to an ear infection) and was enlightened to the truth...which, of course, explained everything.
2. Be nice to everyone. In one 1-hour period, we helped jump-start a car, lent a diaper, had someone get Jack's fishing pole cut out of the wrapping, and ran into my old supervisor from Surfside Water Park...who lives in California now but happened to be parking at the same public beach access as us - he was there for pictures for his sister's wedding. What are the odds?! Oh, and to make the story even better, his name is Chuck Berry. Seriously. Awesome.
3. Two year olds might refuse to carry their own shoes and sippy cups, but when sand toys and fishing poles are involved, their arms are more than capable and willing.
4. Restaurants serve you faster when you have 2 fussy babies along.
5. Sippy cups dropped from the 5th floor balcony that land in the top of a palm tree CAN be retrieved, provided that you have the proper pool equipment.
6. Given a determined (and exhausted) mommy (and a 2-year old who drank the juice with dramamine), a car ride that took 6 hours 2 days previous can, indeed, be done in 4 hours.
And lessons learned from 2 camping attempts:
I will NOT go camping with my children until they are all over the age of 2, sleeping soundly through the night for at least 1 year, and all in good health. The outside evening temperature must above 55 but below 73, with less than a 40% chance of rain. Having friends along and a cool breeze would be nice, but are negotiable. Neighboring tents (and their dogs) must be a minimum of 50 yards away, and there must be a nearby hotel that is reasonably priced and not at 100% capacity at time of camping attempt.