We left on Friday morning to go camping at Ginnie Springs (north of Gainsville). We have been there several times over the last 2 years, and we love it there. The campsites are pretty large and all have at least one picnic table, a fire pit, and a grill. We like to get near a spring so that you can jump in the water whenever you want to cool off. We typically go near the Dogwood spring because it is a more family friendly area. Cars cannot be driven by Dogwood, so it is calmer and quieter with the kids. The downside is that you have to carry all of your stuff to the campsite (with 4 kids and 2 adults, we have a lot of stuff!). Mike and I tend to have different opinions on camping stuff. I am all about simple. I don't want to do a lot of work setting up, cooking, cleaning etc. Mike likes to have more comfort, better food, real dishes, etc. Last year, he even made brownies in a dutch oven. So, this time, he was nice and he let us go in the simplest setup. We used cots to sleep on (no blowing up mattresses), easy to make meals (cereal, sandwiches, hobo dinners and hot dogs), paper plates (no cleaning), etc. We had smores three times (the very best part of camping).
After lugging all of the stuff to the campsite, we put up the tents and the "food prep" tent. Unfortunately, the screen didn't fit our food prep tent, so it didn't have a screen. We survived though even though Michael grunted and moaned that the bug spray didn't work on him every 5 minutes. We had Morgan's friend Victoria with us, and she did great. It is so nice to have her friends along when they like to do active things and aren't worried about getting dirty or whatever.
After setting up camp, we went into the freezing cold spring. :) It is 72 degrees all year round. CHILLY but refreshing. The kids love to swim over the "pit of death" othrwise known as a spring. Morgan used to be terrified of it, but this year she dove down in it. We had sandwiches and then floated down the river. The girls were on their flower power floats, and they had a great time standing on them, spinning them, etc. Michael got into the grass, and he was freaking out. Chris just wanted to get away from all of us. :) We learned to get in at the Devil's spring instead of at the beginning to avoid going through thick grass. We built a fire and had hobo dinners that night. Then we had smores. YUMMMMMMMYYYY. I had forgotten how good they are. I am pretty sure that heaven is just sitting around a campfire eating smores. Pretty sure.
We had a brotherly sisterly spat on Friday night, but the kids made up on Saturday. It reminded me that blending families is an ongoing process and that you have to take extra care to help all of the kids feel loved and included. I think you especially need to remember that another adult who is not so fond of me or Mike is in the background saying all kinds of bad things about us. I f0rget that sometimes. Poor kids. They have to try to sift through it all. I am thankful that Morgan doesn't have to go back and forth.
Saturday, my chair broke. I had used it since college. I was sad. It was my tailgate, horse race, camping, ballgame, beach, etc chair for about 16 years. I loved it because it had a foot rest. I needed to go out of camp to a store so I decided to look for a chair while I was there. Can you believe that they had a chair that was similar to it for $10. WOO HOO!!!! Michael came with me to the store, and it was nice to spend some time talking to him without other kids around.
At one point, a girl was so drunk coming out of the spring that her boyfriend was trying to carry her out. He wasn't exactly sober either. She had been puking for a while apparently, and she wasn't alert at all. We tried to get her to open her eyes,but she wasn't reacting at all except to puke. He kept saying that she was just "a little drunk" and that she would be ok. Oh to be young again and think that being unconscious and puking is just "a little drunk."
We went down the river twice. We started at the Devil springs this time, and it was nice without the grass. We also swam in Ginnie Spring twice. Chris hurt his ear by clearing it after going down deep into the spring. Poor thing, it was huring pretty badly. Thank God for Advil.
We had hot dogs and smores for dinner. I have decided that smores are another food group. LOVE THEM. We hung out at the fire for a while before going to bed. It was a fun night.
On Sunday, we packed up and went into the spring. The kids didn't want to go down the river, so we just swam, packed, and relaxed. Michael wanted to stay and go to Ginnie again, and I had told Victoria's mom that we would leave around 3 (as Mike had mentioned). At 3:45, they were just going to Ginnie. Mike says he will see us in Tampa. Wow...I was surprised that he didn't want to drive at the same time. Whatever. So, we head back. We drop Victoria off, and then head home. The boys get home later. I help them unload. Then, Mike says he is taking the boys home which is really some secret boys code for we are going to dinner without you apparently. :) It was a fun trip away from our typical busy lives. I am ready to go again. Any takers on a camping trip???