Camping trial run

Camping in the back yard before venturing away from home was a brilliant idea, and we decided that Saturday was as good a night as any. The tent was raised with ease, and I'm even more happy with the purchase than when I clicked "buy".

My toddler and preschool-age daughters had a late nap in anticipation of a late evening. We gathered up sticks and started a fire in an outdoor metal fire-pit. Once the fire was red hot, the butter-laden and foil-wrapped corn on the cobb was left in the fire for 15 minutes to cook. Hot dogs grilled over the fire rounded out the nutritious backyard dinner.

By the time we finished the first two courses, the sun had set and the mosquitoes were finishing their own feeding (of us). We put my youngest in her pack-and-play, and closed off her "room" of the tent. She didn't like the distractions we provided and let us know with her crying, so she got half the tent.

To round out the camping culinary experience, the rest of us cooked marshmallows & made smores.

Next up was the true test of whether we'd be able to go camping anytime soon... bedtime for our 3 1/2 year old. She was going to sleep in an all-in-one Dora sleeping bag/inflatable mattress while my wife and I were on a queen size inflatable mattress with a cotton blanket to help wick away the sweat; even laying on top of the sleeping bag was too hot. How could I forget to mention the temperature was 86 degrees with absolutely no breeze?

Other environmental factors not boding well for a good night camping included a bright spotlight on a neighbor's house behind us as well as what sounded like an outdoor party at another house in the neighborhood behind us.

Once settled into the tent, I told a couple of camp stories, and my wife and I read several books before officially declaring it bedtime. We stared out the open top (we didn't have the canopy over the tent since there was 0% chance of rain) and saw the moon, a few stars, but mostly we just saw airplanes. This peace was interrupted with, "I need to go potty."

Since I was closest to the tent exit, I climbed out, put my shoes on, and carried her into the house to do her business. This scenario was repeated several more times within a 45 minute period. Once back in the tent, she was too excited to go to sleep. She wanted to lay on the tent floor rather than her sleeping bag/mattress. Then she wanted to sleep on Mommy and Daddy's mattress. Then she wanted to talk about the stars. Everyone was hot, and it was pretty obvious that only my youngest was going to get any meaningful sleep unless something happened. And at 11:21pm Saturday night, it did. Without a complaint, we all decided to head to our cozy beds and air conditioned house.

October sounds like a great month to try this again!