Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dogs, Dirt, and Deer- A Lesson In Camping With A Plethora of Small Children

Late yesterday afternoon we got back from our first camping trip as a family of five. Some people probably think it is insane that we took a five-month-old baby out camping, but the insanity was doubled by the fact that we also brought our two annoyingly annoying dogs with us, just so that that they could bark and/or howl at every person, dog, squirrel and leaf that walked or fluttered within several hundred yards of our campsite. Thankfully the Wife's sister came with us, so she could wrangle the kids, dogs, or whatever else might need wrangling, and the Wife and I could deal with the other ones. It was a crazy few days, but at least it was terribly cold at night, so each morning the kids were too busy shivering to actually get into trouble. They pretty much just huddled around the campfire, waiting for a hot breakfast and some hot chocolate to help them warm up.

When they weren't shivering, the two eldest kids, the Girl and the Boy, spent most of their time playing in the dirt around our campsite. If there's one thing that Wisconsin State Parks have, it's dirt, and our kids found most of it. They brought some newly acquired toy shovels and buckets, so they had plenty of reason to throw piles and piles of dirt around, most of which ended up on their clothes, their faces, and in their hair. An added bonus from being covered in dirt was that the dirt acted as a kind of protective crust, keeping most of the mosquitoes at bay. I think it also acted as a kind of insulator, since neither the Girl nor the Boy ever woke up with icicles hanging from their noses. I'm pretty sure I did, so maybe I should have rolled around in the dirt with them.
Dear deer, you made me want to take my kids camping again. You are truly an amazing animal!

The weekend craziness was interspersed with some wonderful moments, as well. One of the coolest happened when I took the Girl and the Boy for a quick drive from our campsite over to the lake where we were going to try our luck catching some bluegills. The fish weren't biting, but on our trip to the lake, which was only about a half mile or so, we saw no fewer than 16 deer browsing along the side of the road. The boy thought they were moose, but despite that incorrect biological fact we all thought it was really cool, and made the evening very memorable even though we got skunked at the lake. It's even made me excited to take our crazy kids camping again soon. Those must have been some impressive deer!

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