Saturday, August 11, 2007


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!


Liberty said...

We used to have turtle races at our county fair. How did you guys do it? They drew a big circle and put them in the middle and whoever got out of the circle first won. It was great!

Llama Momma said...

Liberty -- thanks for your comment! We made a rope circle on the ground and first turtle out won. Ironically, it was the gimpy old turtle who was missing a limb who won -- every time!

Very fun!

23 degrees said...

Sounds SO GREAT! What a fun time! Time to make that iDVD and watch it over and over.

Thanks for sharing!

Jenny from Chicago said...

I agree about vacation memories but (having camped for the very first time a couple of weeks ago) I think camping memories are especially wonderful...something about all that fresh air and then a campfire. Lovely.

Llama Momma said...

23 - We shot lots of pictures, but no video. But we managed to keep everyone alive all week long...that's even better than a video! ;-)

Jenny - Where did you go for your first camping trip?