The Equations of Camping.

Despite my extreme reservations about the June Alabama heat, we went on a family camping trip to our favorite Alabama secret, Buck’s Pocket State Park, this last weekend.

And when I say “camping trip”, I mean one night.  And for that one night, we rented a camper.  Because juggling two kids on a daily basis is like trigonometry – no need to add a tent and multiple nights into one’s already complicated equation.

(I’m pretty sure that my brother and sister-in-law were running some sort of PhD-Level Differential Equations with their three kids (one of which is potty-training), dog, and tent.)

The idea of camping often seems glamorous and beautiful.

And it is.  At least once you get home, throw the exhausted cranky kids in bed, and start looking through the photos you took while finishing off the dark chocolate and marshmallow stash.

Their magical excitement (which in the moment feels more like s’mores-fueled hysteria),

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Their endless supply of joy (until you tell them it’s time to go and it turns quite the corner),

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And their more thoughtful moments (which means that you snapped the photo right before they had a meltdown about leaving.)

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And somehow, kids can even make the most unglamorous parts about camping (such as the weather being quite delightfully colder than expected, and even though you brought a jacket for yourself, you didn’t bring anything warm for your children, so in a moment of panicked guilt, you shoved them into every piece of clothing in their bags) look quite fabulous.

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I mean seriously.  If I wore stripes, houndstooth, fleece snowman print pajamas and neon Converses, I’d look like yet another sketchy character from Yo Gabba Gabba.  But she somehow pulls it off.  With style.

Noah also rocked the Playground Runways with Camping Chic, provided by Pajamas, more pajamas covered by pants, and some awesome fireboots.

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And as for me, it was the dirty, unmakeuped, greasy hair look, thanks to my unwillingness to add “showering in the dirty, bug-filled bath-house” to my Camping Equation.

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(Clearly, the Camping Glamour gets lost somewhere between the ages of 5 and 30 – I’m just not sure where.)

But for Noah, his Camping Equation was greatly improved.  The last time we went camping he was crawling, so he found himself confined to his stroller for most of the weekend to prevent the eating of leaves and small snakes.

But this trip, he was free to enjoy the full benefits of being a carefree child in the world of camping.

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He took the opportunity to attempt bonding with his cousin Andi, for whom he has quite a bit of bitterness due to her tailgating his birth and therefore not giving him his allotted time as The Baby of The Family.

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At first, it looked promising.  Progress was made as they teamed up together to attack the big kids.Tent Play

But then there was the issue of Pop.

Pop, of whom Noah owns.

And when Andi dared to think she had any rights to Pop at all, Noah had to make sure that she knew that was not the case.

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But sometimes Pop had important camping tasks to attend to, like stoking the fire.

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(With an electric blower.)

So the kids had to focus their energies on the playground,

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Where there was needed much concentration and mouth acrobatics.

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And just enough rides for every cousin.

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Then the older kids then headed off to the fabulous rock pits,

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while the babies just sat in that awkward, uncomfortable swamp of jealousy and contention.

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