Dela-WAY We Go!

I survived.

Survived what, you may ask.

I survived a three-day camping trip in a tent with three small children. And don't tell me I don't deserve a medal for THAT accomplishment.

Truthfully, I don't, because I had an amazing time. (As did the rest of my family.) For once, we were able to take a trip that accommodated everyone's wishes: I wanted to go to the beach and cross off a new state, Matt wanted to go camping, and the kids wanted to be able to play on playgrounds and eat hotdogs and s'mores. So we decided to go to the Delaware Seashore State Park to do a little tent camping at the beach.

We decided to leave on Saturday morning so that we wouldn't be rushing to get out the door on Friday night, and let me tell you, that was a GOOD choice. Do you know how much gear you need to take to a campsite?! I didn't, but I quickly found out. Without going into the full list (which is another post for another time, like tomorrow), we needed a tent, a tarp, sleeping bags, food, a hammer, a grill, pillows, blankets, clothes, towels, soaps, swimsuits, flashlights ... the list goes on. And on. And on. We barely had enough room for everything.

Things took a little longer than planned, so we didn't make it to our site until nearly 5pm on Saturday. Everyone was starving, but we couldn't do a thing until we had our tent set up. So while Matt and I tackled that task, we set up the girls in their camp chairs and fed them cheese and crackers.

Soon enough, we were kicking back in our camp chairs, drinking beer, and admiring our handiwork.

We lucked out on our timing, because as soon as we started getting the grill ready for dinner, the sun started to set.

Bedtime was ... hilarious. The older girls had their own sleeping bags, but since Petra's still a baby, we just had her wrapped up in a few blankets. That is, until she wiggled out of them and started flopping on her sisters. Matt and I were too tired to care, so we just let them play in the tent. We thought that they would eventually wear out and go to sleep, but after an hour, we were still treated to shrieks and giggles. The solution, it turned out, was to put Petra in her car seat, let her fall asleep, and transfer her to the tent.

The next morning, the kids got up with the sun. Therefore, we got up with the sun. And since we didn't know what time it was, thanks to a self-imposed cell-phone ban, we just decided to roll with it and go for a PJ Beach Walk.

We had a lovely breakfast of pancakes, made on my six-year-old, never-been-used camping cookware. (I know.) The kids were pretty much ready to drop then and there, but we forced them to go to the beach and play in the sand. FORCED them, I tell you!

By that time, everyone was sandy, hungry, and tired, so we shlepped the kids and all of our stuff back to our campsite for food, naps, and general relaxation.

When everyone was sufficiently relaxed and rested, we took a little side trip over to Cape Henlopen to hunt for pieces of eight. Yes, THOSE pieces of eight. Our neighbor told us that he's found some there before, and we couldn't give up the opportunity to search for old treasure. We didn't find any, but I did get a couple of cool pictures of Malia's footprints in the sand before we had to leave.

After our exhausting day in the sun, we managed to cook up a quick meal of hotdogs and cut veggies, burn a few marshmallows (in a good way), and drop into our sleeping bags.

The rest of the trip was uneventful--waking up, breaking camp, driving home. We were all ready to sleep in our own beds, but I can guarantee that we'll be pitching our tent somewhere else really soon. (No, not like that.)

What did you do over Labor Day weekend? Any fun stories?

All photos in this post are © Lynn Daue 2011.

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