Happy Campers

Though Ashish and I have camped, and we have a tent, this was the first time the boys actually stayed over-night in the tent. The best part was being with our special friends, the J’s! They volunteered their home as “base.” Once the sleeping bags, pillows, suits, clothes, bug spray, toothbrushes, tent, cantaloupe that moonlights as a watermelon, and kids were packed in the car, we set out on our journey– ready to rough it in a suburb of Minneapolis. With the mind-set that there wasn’t a store for miles, I’m pretty sure the kitchen sink was in fact included in our bags. Such is life with a 2 year old and a 4 year old…life happens, so be prepared, right?
In order to document the experience, I’ve constructed a time line:

5p.m. Arrive at the Best Little Camp-site in The Burbs (it’s like a well-kept secret!). Upon arrival, “bon-fire” snack is served consisting of cheese, pretzels, and grapes that was as appealing to the eyes as it was the palate! After, Nishad’s bestie put on a little John Denver show for us by special arrangement of his agent. 😉 The house seats– best eva!

5:30p.m. The boys discover the hidden toy store that the J’s have within their home and play with their buddies, a little gabbing, and some swatting mosquitoes- the national bird of Minnesota.

6p.m. Mr. J is manning the grill, while Mrs. J and I are (wo)manning the kitchen. Ashish sets up the tent…upon realizing this, Ashish has four little helpers.

6:15p.m. Turkey sliders hot off the grill served up with lemonade Alfresco!

6:45p.m. The Garden Tour. [Swat, Swat] Built on rolling hills, the garden has something to offer every gardener! A natural setting that backs up to mature trees and greenery eliminates the “fish bowl” backyard that so many people seem to have. Don’t get me wrong, I love my neighbors, but I love the essence of privacy and serenity. Our trees has some years to grow before they develop the screen the J’s garden provides– yes, I am filled with tree envy! The people that use to own the house use to be a photographer, so she would use the backyard for photography… It is lovely.

7:30p.m. The Bon-fire begins! We shared stories…and Ashish even entertained all 4 boys as they chased after frogs. Ashish is such a natural with kids– if we met when we were in our 20’s maybe we could have had 4 kids. Mr. J carved the perfect marshmallow roasting sticks, and Mrs. J assembled the s’mores (although Tiger and little J were all about the simplicity of chocolate). At this point, I resorted to the “Family Off” aerosol spray because the mosquitoes crashed the party– in a Titans kind of way.

9p.m. Bed-time…already? [Swat, Swat, SWAT!] After putting on our PJ’s and being lovingly teased by the J’s about our 8 person tent, it was time to say goodnight. Immediately, Tiger started crying because he wanted to go outside of the tent and play with his friends (frogs included).

9:30p.m. We finally got the kids calmed down and a series of fire and police sirens ramped up. Mrs. J yelled something like, “You’re not in Otsego anymore!” I yelled back, “I was thinking you orchestrated this because of our love for firetrucks?” ha,ha.

10p.m. Neighbor’s Dog. Bark. Woof. Arrrrrrgph! Scratch. Scratch. WOOF!

10:30p.m. Tiger is UP again. He was fine laying on me…but was not a fan of the ground.

11p.m. Toot. Ashish: “Oh my gosh, aim to the window!”

11:30p.m. I attempt to lay Tiger back down in his sleeping bag, but fail. He is up again. I quickly put him in my “birdie nest” (as he calls it).

11:45p.m. “Honey, I forgot my phone in the chair by the bon-fire. Can you get it?” Ashish makes a sliver opening to slide out of the tent so no blood suckers get in.

Midnight. A large animal is outside of our tent…better be a dear!

2AM My final attempt to get Tiger to sleep on his own and then I threw in the towel. Trying not to disturn the J’s (who’s babes didn’t make a sound all night!) Ashish helped me bring him in on the sofa. That little pumpkin! As soon as we laid him down on the nice, soft cushion…let out a sigh and smiled and drifted happily to sleep. He must be royalty! Finally Sleep. I’m sure I looked frightening sprawled out on the sofa when Mrs. J and Mr. J came inside in the morning.

7AM I opened one eye and the cutest little curly haired boy yelled from the stairs, “They’re up!” haha. The boys were happy to help up greet Nishad and Ashsih, who were still in the tent.

We visited a bit while Ashish packed up… Mrs. J made the most wonderful whole wheat banana chocolate waffles and scrambled eggs for everyone. What GREAT hosts the J’s are! This was a fun test run as well… They are more than welcome to borrow our tent at anytime…as I think it will be another year until we’ll be roughing it any other place besides our backyard– or theirs! Thanks, J’s!