Camping Weekend – April 2020

Camping Weekend – April 2020

As our state neared the end of the stay at home orders I realized just how important it was for the kids, for myself, for our family to GET OUT and LIVE.

The final blow of disappointing news came when Georgia Bible Camp announced they were cancelling for the summer.

Kye cried his first tears.

He cried for himself but mostly for Britt. She’s been SO eager for her first year of camp. She’s been looking forward to it for two years now!

We decided not to tell Britt right away and instead focused on a plan.

Britt LOVED camping with Zach and Kye a couple years ago so we talked about trying to go camping as a family.

Tiffany LOVES camping so we reached out to her a Steven about planning a trip as soon as possible together.

It all really worked out SO perfectly! They own a camper and know all about camping life (we know nothing ha!).

Camp grounds were open for camping and we were able to secure two spots beside each other for that weekend.

Yall know I don’t DO last minute plans but these came together so smoothly and we were able to tell Britt the bad news of Georgia Bible Camp canceling while immediately following it with butttt we are going CAMPING WITH Hadley πŸ˜‰

Needless to say, she had NO tears about this news and was SO excited.

We looked into options to rent a camper and lucked out again when our next door neighbors let us borrow theirs for the weekend!

G-Mama and Big Papa were thrilled for the opportunity to spend quality time with Spear and he was NOT sad at ALL about us leaving him.

He went around and kissed each of us bye and was SO excited too πŸ˜‰

Mr Rusty was awesome to let us borrow his truck to tow the camper and we headed out first thing in the morning on THE day our stay at home orders ended.

Pretty great way to celebrate πŸ˜‰

Of course Zach is like a camping PRO even his first time…he backed in the camper like he’s done it a million times haha.

The kids were SO excited and it was so awesome to be hanging out with FRIENDS!

Steven and Tiffany felt bad that so many of the activities weren’t available with everything going on but we didn’t mind at all!

When you never go camping…just being at the camp ground in nature is exciting.

I was surprised right away with how CHILLY it was.

I just had envisioned South Georgia and camping meaning feeling super sweaty and being crazy hot the whole time.

I was so wrong and had only packed the kids one pair of pants and one light jacket. Mom fail! Zach did a Walmart run and grabbed what long sleeved stuff he could find and we made it work.

It was PERFECT camping weather. GORGEOUS. Never hot at ALL and barely any bugs. We did bug spray in the evenings and I don’t think I even ever got bit!

We got spoiled for sure with such perfect weather – good to remember if/when we go again that end of April is a great time to go.

This was Tess’s first time EVER camping and she got spoiled as well for her first time – none of us have ever done camper camping before and it’s def a big step up from sleeping in a tent!

Britt was hilarious about exploring nature. She called me over to look at this hole at the base of a tree and asked what made the hole. She started to put her foot in the hole and I said “no no don’t put your foot in there!” and she said ” why not? I already put my hand in” hahaha Luckily nothing bit her!

All of our kids get along SO WELL (wish they’d had one more for Spear to have a buddy ha!).

Britt and Hadley were attached at the hip and Kye simply adores Maddox and Davis and they picked up right where they left off from our Atlanta trip.

I was a bit nervous about Tessie feeling left out but she fell in LOVE with Tiffany’s dog, Millie. At first she was a bit afraid of the dog (which is so odd to me) but once she got comfortable she NEVER left Millie’s side the whole weekend. It was SO sweet!

The guys played a football game of Dudes vs Dads (the Dads won #shocker) and we had a late night of s’mores and laughs by the fire together.

The first night Kye slept in the Hall camper with the boys and our girls stayed with us and the second day was all planning and plotting for how to work out a sleepover situation for that night.

It totally reminded me of my childhood with my friends and saying “ask your mom…” πŸ˜‰

The only real big downside of camping is the public bathroom situation. The camper had a bathroom but we tried not to use it much so that first night I showered in the public bathroom.

It was a flashback to my freshman year in college where we had a shared bathroom in the dorm!

I shared my shower with a spider πŸ˜‰ I didn’t mind it much it’s just a HASSLE to carry everything down and make sure you have what you need.

Zach made an EPIC breakfast that morning and it was SO good. Something about camping food!

We had a lazy morning hanging out and Zach took the girls to gather firewood. Tess was loving the camping life and had been too nervous to share stories by the fire the night before so she spent time that morning telling me the stories she’d been planning to share.

The Hall’s are camping pros and found a boat to rent to enjoy the lake!

I camped a good bit growing up and all we ever did was tent camp and hang out at the campsite so this was some fancy camping to me πŸ˜‰

The boat was SO FUN. My dad had a house on the lake after my parent’s divorced so I grew up on the boat on the lake and being out there with my kids brought back so many fun memories of my childhood on the water.

We had the boat for a couple of hours so we explored the water and enjoyed the sunshine. We packed lunches and the kids got brave and jumped in the COLD water!

The boys were the bravest and in true Britt fashion she wasn’t far behind them. Tess and Hadley took the longest to take a dip and didn’t last long.

Fishing wasn’t very successful but it was all SO fun! Again, just such perfect weather for us.

I feel like a MAIN memory I’ll take away from coronavirus life is how blessed we’ve been with such incredible weather!

Our rule of thumb with younger kids is that we typically try to leave them at home with G-Mama if possible when they are too young to fully enjoy an experience and when their presence during the experience will hinder the older kids, who will fully enjoy it, to enjoy it to the max.

I knew not having Spear with us for the weekend made the most sense but it was the first non-Spear trip that I felt a lot of mama guilt about.

He’s getting older and having more personality and when I saw bugs I thought of him. When construction vehicles rode past us on the water and beeped, I thought of him.

My heart wanted him there with us for those moments!

We have found that age 3-4 is when the youngest can really start adding TO the fun rather than taking away from it when we travel (more flexible with their schedules, easier going, well behaved etc).

So we’re getting close to ALL of our family memories being of our ENTIRE family unit!

I loved seeing updates from Mrs Charlotte as Spear was having THE best time! I knew he wasn’t missing us or missing out because he was in Heaven with Big Papa and the tractors and golf cart πŸ˜‰

When we got home I asked Spear if he liked riding the tractor and he as quick to correct me and say “DRIVE tractor”

It works out so perfectly that all of our big kids get along so well. Hadley is one year older than Tess and one year younger than Britt. She has two brothers so getting to hang with girls is super fun for her.

Kye struggles with having two sisters and a brother who isn’t old enough to really play with him yet.

Being able to play with Davis and Maddox (Davis is one year older, Maddox one year younger) is SO FUN for him. He ADORES both boys and the three of them blend super well together.

It was the easiest parenting weekend ever. No arguing. No fighting. No drama. All the kids just had FUN together!

The guys found a disc golf course and had a BLAST playing!

We cooked out for dinner and got things rolling for bed earlier than the first night.

The boys decided to camp in a tent together and the girls all slept in Hadley’s camper. Everyone was happy with the sleep situation πŸ˜‰

The kids all had so much fun with their sleepovers and the adults had such a great time just sitting by the fire talking and laughing.

It’s a rare gift to find a family that fits SO seamlessly with ours. All the kids blend so well and the four adults do too!

We are so thankful to have these friendships and love that we’re making memories together and our whole crew left the weekend excited for more time together with the Hall’s to come!

As I mentioned most of the activities at the campgrounds (Lake Blackshear) were closed but we were still able to walk around some of the historical areas with war artifacts and aircrafts.

It was really cool to see and the kids enjoyed it!

Lake Blackshear has a lake area with a beach and it was a great hang out spot!

The adults were able to hang in the shade while the kids swam and played in the sand together.

Spear was continuing to have a blast and we were told we never needed to come home πŸ˜‰

For the last night of camping we had donuts with ice cream around the fire and everyone slept with their own siblings.

Kye, Britt and Tess decided to camp in the tent. It was so funny with the tent set up b/c someone walked by our site and asked the person they were walking with “why would anyone camp in a tent when they have a camper?” πŸ˜‰

Davis was Mr Popularity with the Parker crew. Both girls said they liked him and that he was so cute and nice.

It was so funny because on the boat Tiffany and I were talking about how someday the kids will probably have crushes on each other and apparently that day came quickly!

Kye told me that he hopes people think about him the way he thinks about Davis which is like THE highest compliment I feel like a parent would want to hear so I made sure to tell Tiffany and Steven. Right?

It’s really precious the way Kye looks up to him and I love that Kye has such a wonderful example to follow.

We got up in the morning and all packed up to head home.

We really had such an awesome weekend and it was such a perfect way to end all the sheltering at home and be able to have a fun memory from all this crazy time in life.

While I don’t see us jumping to buy a camper we’d def go again! It was a great weekend and we’re so thankful we got to experience with such great friends!

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Emily Parker

Hey Y’all, I’m Emily! I’m a stay at home mom and consider parenting to be my passion. Disney is my happiest place and I love making memories as a family together. I’m a big believer in transparency and share all of my real-life moments as a mother of four.

My work has been featured on Love What Matters, Today Parenting and Babywise.Life. I’m also honored to be a member of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network.

You can read more about our family on my About Me page. Also be sure to follow along with me on Instagram, FacebookΒ and Pinterest!

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1 Comment

  1. Randy Miller
    June 24, 2020 / 10:44 am

    Your story with family is wonderful
    My family also often goes out for picnics, and my family loves playing sports, especially disc golf.
    As you said, the only real big downside of camping is the public bathroom situation before going out, So I always tell the kids to go to the toilet before they start playing

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