We arrived on Friday, and it was very warm and sunny and lovely. Our friends (you didn't really think V and I would just haul off and camp all by ourselves, did you?) helped us put up the tent and settle in. V loved the fact that she had oodles of space to walk wherever she liked without having to hold anyone's hand (like in a parking lot) or being redirected away from the street (like at home). She played in the dirt, she chucked rocks, she tried to take a short cut and got caught in a bunch of thorn-covered something or other. She explored binoculars and decided they were good for sucking on. She didn't even seem to mind the Junebug infestations.
The first night, we went to bed around 11:15, and the storms hit around 11:40. V was sound asleep, and didn't wake up once, except when I poked her in the ear to make sure she wasn't dead. What kind of human sleeps through thunder that shakes the ground beneath us? Or lightning so bright I could've read by it? My daughter, ladies and gentlemen.
The storm(s) raged until around 4:30, when I finally fell asleep (the tent took in water at one point, when the surrounding ground was so saturated that it was raining upwards for a bit, splashing up under the rain tarp into the tent. That was fun). V woke up at 7, all chirpy and annoying and excited to play. That first picture, above, is from that morning. In my optimistic camping stupor, I had neglected to pack enough warm clothes for the sweet girl, so I layered. Jeans, long sleeved onesie, pink summer shirt (with no warming value, but cute). And then the fashion highlight of the day: her fleece jumpsuit. Everyone wanted one of these, and not just because it was 42 degrees.
In the background you see our tent, still standing despite the wrath of mother nature. And V's jumpsuit has a hood, but apparently she stayed plenty warm under all that hair.
So day 2 was colder, but we had lots of discussions on how we all experienced the storm differently (Tony was worried about deranged murderers; I was thinking through my rusty tornado knowledge, i.e. "is that a freight-train noise, or just prolonged thunder?" and Crystal slept like V). We had french toast and sausage for breakfast (thanks, Jensens!), and V conned several people into reading to her or cuddling her (that's Nancy, K.C., and Todd. Sorry if you didn't want your photos posted, guys...).
For supper, we had ham and delicious, buttery potatos, courtesy of Shari and Fej, and then we hung out in the Giant Party Gazebo, which was modified with a tarp to keep out the freezing wind. We listened to music, had lovely conversation. About 9:30, V seemed tired enough for bed, so we said our goodnights and toddled back to the tent.
V was asleep before I even closed the zipper on the door. But I was cold. The wind seemed to sneak around every seam and cut through all four of my shirts. In my very tired state, I started worrying about toddler hypothermia. Yeah, she's asleep, but if she was in danger from cold, would she wake up? Would she fuss and complain? Or do babies just sleep even if they should be trying to warm themselves? She wouldn't let me cuddle her, and kept rolling out from under the covers. So I made an executive decision, and we came home. She slept the whole way, I cranked up the heat in the car, and made it home by 12:30. Shaun had insisted we could, after all. Oh, and what sweet, sweet comfort in my own bed.
When V and I got up on Sunday, we got back in the car and went back to the campground (it's only a little over an hour away), where we were greeted warmly by people who are probably still not fully thawed out. We missed K.C.'s famous omelets for breakfast, but got to hang out with everyone some more, and leisurely pack the tent, having slept well and warmly the night before. When our camping cohorts work up Sunday morning, it was under 40 degrees. This detail definitely made our late-night dash for home seem less pathetic and more wise.
Everyone helped us load our stuff, and we lingered into the late afternoon. V chucked some more rocks, dug in some more dirt, and wandered all over the trails. By this time she was a bit tired of walking, though, so there were several shoulder rides.
Though the weather did not cooperate, I still think V's first overnight camping adventure was a success. I hope she will come to find solace in natural places like I did when I was a child. I hope she continues to let me tag along for the ride.