We survived. I can't believe we took the girls camping, survived and actually enjoyed it.
We told ourselves that things didn't need to be perfect, and that this little excursion was a learning experience on everyone's part. While Michael and I used to camp a lot before we had kids, we have never (successfully) attempted to do so since Abby was born.
A lot of stuff we did were firsts for Rachael, such as going to the beach, but she had tons of fun. We really pushed Abby out of her comfort zone the past couple of days, but in the end she did great. The walks to the park, the beach and the Raffi CD's on her own personal discman helped a lot. We even had pretty good nights, even after the raccoons visited us at 2 a.m. and the howling coyotes at 3.
We took away some valuable lessons from this experience:
1. Wear slip on shoes. Laces, tent zippers and trying to carry a squirmy baby is not a good combination.
2. Don't try to apply sunscreen to your own back. You will miss large swaths of tender, white flesh. Which is now red and incredibly painful.
3. The baby is actually pretty happy being bungee-corded to a camp chair. Go figure.
4. The baby that will eat nothing will eat large fistfuls of sand. Go figure.
5. Three-year-olds have no qualms about eating a potato chip that has been ground into the dirt. Several times over.
6. Bring lots and lots of bug spray.
7. It's pretty funny when you see a dog riding around the campground in a bike trailer that's nicer than the one you put your human children in.
8. Don't go for long walks in the forest with the baby, no flashlight, no whistle and no map at dusk.
9. Don't. Freak. Out. It's. Only. A. Spider.
10. Did I mention that slip-on shoes are of vital importance?
I dutifully took pictures and will post them tomorrow or the day after after I've had some sleep in my own comfy bed.