Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Campout Novel - Finally!

Well, it has been a long week. We returned from our First Annual McKay Family Weekend on Monday night and spent the next two days getting all our camping stuff put away. We still have not fully recuperated, but are getting somewhat back to normal. First off, let me say that this family campout was an adventure. Nothing, it seemed, went as planned, but we had a fantastic time anyway!

We arrived in Rock Island State Park on Thursday afternoon. We were the first of the family to arrive and went right to work unloading all the tents and equipment and setting up. Jeremy is a regular mountain man, and needed no help from me to get our tent and canopy set up. About the time our tent started to take shape, Uncle Drew and his crew showed up. With six kids 8 and under, things started to get crazy. As evening started rolling in, I was trying to keep the kids from getting in the guys' way as they set camp up, keep Luke from eating dirt, and try to figure out what we were having for dinner. Luckily, Aunt Rea showed up right about dinnertime to lend a hand. We love Aunt Rea! After Jeremy got the tent completely up, I walked in the front to take a look at our massive dwelling for the next four days. I really like our tent, it has plenty of room for us all, and it's tall enough you can walk around inside without having to duck. So nice! As I turned to exit the tent, a bird pooped right in front of me, almost on me! Now that I look back, I probably should have realized that this was an omen that things were going to get crazy!

That night went relatively smoothly, although Luke had a little trouble adjusting to sleeping in the tent. By bedtime though, he was so exhausted from the 10 hour drive and all the excitement that he passed out, not literally. The next morning, Grandma and Poppy arrived full of energy and excited to see the grandbabies. After we unloaded all the supplies that they brought with them, we had lunch and headed for the river for a swim. It was a nice sandy beach area that we had pretty much to ourselves, and the scenery was fantastic. The kids were all having a good time, and we had just settled into the water when it happened. I looked over and Kylie is holding her foot while blood runs down her hands and leg. She wasn't crying....yet....but I could tell that this was not good. Jeremy scooped her up out of the water to take a look. She had a nice two-inch cut on the bottom of her foot from a sharp rock. It was borderline needing stitches, but it stopped bleeding pretty easily so we decided to try and see what happened. So while we all enjoyed the water, Kylie laid out in the sun with Poppy and tried not to feel sorry for herself. Her foot was pretty tender, and she hobbled around for the rest of the trip.

After our swim, we headed back to camp for some fun and food. After we got the kids to bed, and had sat around the fire catching up, Mom and Dad headed for their hotel for a good night's sleep and we all turned in. The next morning started well, but little did we know that it would turn crazy! After a grand camp breakfast, Grandma rounded up the kids to help with the dishes, but as she lifted the washtub, something didn't feel all that great in her back. She kind of brushed it off, but mentioned that her back was sore. We spent the morning playing Bocce Ball and the kids did some camp crafts with Grandma and Poppy. We picnicked at a nearby playground at lunchtime, and the kids played while. After a short hike, Mom's back wasn't feeling all that great so she headed back to camp, while we finished a fiercely competitive game of volleyball. When we returned to the campsite, we were greeted with news that Dad was heading to the ER with Mom. Looked like she had really hurt her back! Crystal went with them to help, and we kept up-to-date with the ER events through texting.

When they returned from the ER, they informed us that a big storm was heading our way. We frantically tried to get things ready, and stuff covered. With the rain imminent, I took the kids down to the bath house for one last potty break. We hadn't made it in the door of the bath house when the rain hit. It was pouring! Jeremy rescued us with the van, and took us all back to the camp site. We ran for the tents as the lightning started. The kids did really well as we waited out the storm, but in the midst of it all, Uncle Drew got a call from his boss and had to leave to catch a flight to New York! What a bummer!

It stormed the entire night and the next morning the entire campsite was soaked. I fell twice in the mud that morning, and was not in the best of moods. I'll be honest, deep down I had had enough of the great outdoors! Needless to say, Jeremy was pulling double duty as now he was the only man in camp. Between drying things out over the fire, hanging up more line to hang clothes, and gathering firewood, he didn't get much rest. Later that afternoon, as we were all in the middle of a game of cards (Mom had gotten some good medicine and was feeling a bit better), the thunder started again, and we realized we were in for another night of rain. We went ahead and packed up as much as we could, said goodbye to Mom and Dad (they were heading back to Nolensville), and just as we loaded everybody up in the van, the rain began to pour again. I think we had finally had enough, because off we went to McDonald's! :)

We spent the next few hours letting the kids play and hanging out with Andrea and Crystal. Then we slowly made our way back to camp, and snuck into our tents in between bouts of rain. The next morning we packed up what was left of camp and headed home. All in all, we really did have a good time, and definitely made some lasting memories. Maybe someday soon, I'll be able to look back at my time in the mud and laugh. :D Over the next few days I'll post the pictures from the trip, but until then here's the video I took while we were away. Enjoy! Love you all, and thank you to God Almighty for time to spend with family!