We just got back from a week in Michigan camping at Cran Hill Ranch, enjoying a reunion with my husband’s extended family. Honestly, I dreaded this trip for six months before it came, trying to think through all of the particulars of traveling and camping with baby b. Overall, things went much better than I expected. The first travel day was brutal—the baby screamed for two-and-a-half hours in the car, filled five diapers with diarrhea throughout our first night in a hotel in South Haven, and left my husband and me completely fried and thinking, “Why are we doing this to ourselves?” (Later I figured out that he must have cut a new tooth, which was the cause of his misery.)
But things got better from there. The campground was beautiful. Our rented camper worked out perfectly. The baby had no problem going down for naps during the day at our quiet campsite, and he went down early each night while we enjoyed the campfire. We woke up each morning to his smiling face peeking over the edge of his pack-and-play and his happy babble, which I wish there were real words for so I could share it with you. Is there anything sweeter than the babble of a one-year old? My husband would hit the button on the coffee maker and pull him into our bed for a cuddle. “Ooooh!” Baby b. would squeal and point, excited at his first view of the lake.
The noisy boys had a blast running around with their “extended” cousins. A craft room, a frog pond, canoeing, tubing, fishing, swimming, hanging out at the beach—each day was jam-packed with fun. It was a joy to watch them bond with family we see infrequently. My favorite moment? The turtle races. The kids worked hard catching turtles for several days, and then they each picked one to name and race. What fun! I don’t think I have ever seen Twin B. so excited. He jumped up and down cheering on his turtle, Lightning, and laughed and laughed at the sight of so many turtles scampering through the grass. (As soon as the races ended, the kids let the turtles go back into the lake. No turtles were hurt in this moment of family fun, though I’m pretty sure a few need therapy.)
We half-expected rain all week, but it only really came our first night camping. And boy did it come. But I’ll save that story for another day. For now, I’ve got about twelve loads of laundry to do, and the pile of everything is still sitting in our entryway where we dropped it last night. My husband summed it up on day three when we collapsed into bed. “I’ve never been so exhausted, but it’s so worth it to watch the noisy boys build these memories.” I suppose that’s why any family goes on vacation ever, isn’t it? The memories.
We’ve made plenty. And now I’m ready to stay home for a good long time!