There are suitcases piled in the living room, and bags of food, paper plates and marshmallow sticks lining my counters. It sort of looks like a bomb just went off in our house, but actually... we just got home from three days of camping. It was only ten minutes outside of town, and wasn't "real" camping- just a cabin and our pop-up trailer at the KOA. But with Daddy and your older brother and sister working, it's the easiest way to squeeze in a vacation for all of us during the summer. Over the years we've developed a pretty decent system for getting packed and unloading at the campsite, and thankfully you are very good at going with the flow.
You were a happy little camper the whole time, playing on a blanket in the sun and taking your afternoon naps in the cool of the cabin. You ate bite-sized pieces of whatever we ate- burgers, sandwiches, bacon-egg-and-cheese biscuits and s'mores. And lots of ritz crackers. And grass. And dirt.
That tell-tale sign of putting everything in your mouth had me checking your gums for any red swollen bumps..sure enough you're working on not one but two molars on the bottom, and a top tooth right in the front. Thank God for tylenol, because for the most part it kept teething troubles at bay.
You did have that annoying nasal drip that so often accompanies teething, and you're a little drama queen when it comes to having your nose wiped. Complete and utter meltdowns every.single.time.
I don't know why the grass was so fascinating to you, but you just kept ripping out handfuls and either sticking it in your mouth or throwing it down and starting over again. You would stare at each handful like you'd never seen anything so mesmerizing. I brought your favorite toys, but I'm pretty sure you would have been totally satisfied to just sit and play with the dirt and grass.
Well, maybe not.
Your brothers and sisters must have walked up the gravel road twenty times a day to the little KOA general store. Lily, honestly- you would think we never stepped foot in a store before, the way your siblings talk about this little place that makes a fortune off of ill-prepared campers who forgot toothpaste or plastic cups or ran out of milk (not that we would know). For some reason it has all the allure of a department store at Christmas time- and I'm pretty sure they see dollar signs when our family pulls into the parking lot. I lost count of how many items your brothers and sisters purchased in three short days...Izzies drinks, popsicles, candy bars, lollipops...and it's not like we didn't come loaded with food and snacks. There is just something thrilling to them about spending their hard earned money on a food item, even if they paid three times what it's worth.
Somehow you convinced your brother Noah to share his treat from the store with you...
I think you forgot you two were sharing.
It's late now, and you're sleeping soundly in your bed next to me, your tiny shoulders a fragile shade of sun-kissed pink. We're all pretty tired, but in that good post-vacation kind of tiredness, and even though I love to get away for a little bit, it is so nice to be home in our own beds.
I have to say, there is something rewarding for me about pulling off camping with a family our size. The bags are unpacked (for the most part) the laundry is caught up (sort of) and our kids have happy memories tucked away, to be pulled out and savored over the years. They rank right up there with Disneyland in your siblings' way of thinking, and I have a feeling they will for you some day as well.