Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Baby Backpacking ...

I honestly don't remember a time in my life that I've ever been as tired as I am right now. Why? Well, here's a little hint:

As is a sort-of tradition of we Collins Family, we spent Labor Day weekend camping. In a tent. With a baby. No, wait, make that three babies:
Sisters from Different Misters.

This year, we took our newest little camper out to the woods of Hanging Rock State Park with four of our Bradly Birth Class friends (we hang out with them a lot, huh?) and their daughters, Abigail and Livvy. As I'm tying the post and uploading the photos I took from the trip, I honestly can't help but smile. We had a great time.

From the very beginning we knew we hit on something special. Beatrice Kate immediatley wanted to walk all over the site inspecting every rock, stick, stump and leaf she found:
Campsite Inspector.
 And you know what? We let her; because that's what you do in nature. And at this site, nature was the name of the game:

Rocks present? Check. Ok, this site is good to go.
Then, as the other families arrived, it became clear that Daddies can't be trusted to construct tents by themselves. They need help from their daughters, right?:
Engineering. Schmingineering.

Eagle Scout. Smeagle Smout.
Some of us had nicer accommodations than others... but I'm not naming names, Mark and Cindi:
It's like a Sheraton in your tent ...
A re-introduction of the kids and the girls were off on their own adventures. Games like, "Pass the Grapes" and "Hey, I know you" quickly took over and instantly, they were all best friends again:
Is that a grape?

Gimme it.
After camp was set-up and a quick lunch was eaten, we loaded up the babies and headed out on a hike; stopping of course, for a few photo opportunities:

The Daddys carried the Babies:
And the Mommies followed closely behind, talking about important stuff like "What will you watch when Bachelor Pad is over?" "What preschool are you sending you kid to?"

We had to stop along the way to get a few "action shots". Here's one of Pat and Abby, reenacting their favorite movie, 127 Hours:
Abby isn't impressed. At. All.
And one of the Pack Mules Dads:
Obligatory shot of the Mommies:
Note to self: Lose 80 pounds immediately.
Once we got to the top, the view made the hike up totally worth it. Some hikers were a little more brave than the ones whose wives were shouting at them for standing too close to the edge with their children on their backs others:
Either way, it was a great place to grab a quick snack and a break and enjoy the views:

One of them is really into looking at stuff. Can you guess which one that is?
Bea naturally fell asleep about a half-mile from the car:
Can I get a breathing check on that please?
Considering she hadn't taken a nap the entire day, we let her get nice and... cozy?
Notice the spit bubble. She was very relaxed ...
 Maybe that's not the right word....
Casey likes his Goldfish at the ready ...
After the hike, we gathered back at the campsite and started ourselves a little campfire. Here's a fun fact: Babies love campfires. Suspecting as much, we brought along Baby Jail to keep out tiny fingers from flaring up our fire:
Some babies (ahem, Livvy), liked to test the limits of BabyJailCampfirePerimeter:
She's a fire starter.
Some, took a more safety conscious approach:
Uh, you guys go ahead. Just tell me about it later, Ok?
The girls had a great time playing around the site. Livvy took a more "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" mind-frame and set about wiping down every stump in sight (In case you are wondering, Bea took the "God made dirt, Dirt don't hurt" mind-set):
Does this girl know my father?!? She should.

Then the girls had a quick meeting to discuss... well, actually I have no idea what the heck they were talking about but there was an awful lot of hand motions and shouting. And Molly's wallet and credit cards got thrown in for good measure:
Yea girls, that doesn't look suspicious at all. Not.
It wasn't long after that, when we noticed the girls voluntarily being calm and reflective:
It's such hard work being carried up a mountain, isn't it Abby?

Yea, we had to do all the hard work. Life just isn't fair.
So we figured it was time to get some dinner cooked up. Bear Grylls Mark Michaelson was there with his giant knife to help butcher any game meat we happen to come upon:
Unfortunately for him, we all came prepared with a few pre-prepared Foil Dinners, Chicken Kebabs and Hamburgers, so no butchering was needed. Sorry, Mark. Maybe next time you can go all  Mountain Man on a wild buck?

The girls were treated to a few campfire-warmed hotdogs and mac and cheese:
They're circling in on Abby's meal. Get more hotdogs on that fire, stat!
The aftermath of hotdog + rice mac + ketchup + dirt + sweat + general baby messiness wasn't pretty:
Schmutz, and a lot of it.
Sleeping in a tent with a baby was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. Of course, we kicked Casey off of our air mattress and made him sleep on the ground, so Bea and I had lots of room to toss and turn:
At least one of us got a little shut eye ...
Because it was so hot and humid, we took off our rainfly on the tent; making waking-up after very little actual sleep a little easier, because we were under a tree canopy:
All the essentials at the ready: Knife, iPhone, Baby Orajel.
A hearty breakfast and a little more playing were had:
Hey, is that Bacon, Bea?


  1. I love this! (For the record, I get nervous taking mine to a hotel. I can't imagine taking them into the wild.) My favorites include baby jail on the road and Casey with Goldfish around his neck. When's the next outing?

  2. Amy, it was SO FUN. It was great to let the kids run around and not have to worry about cars or things running over them. Yes, they were so smelly and gross by the time we got home; but they had a blast. AND- Bea slept until 1030 this morning. How awesome is that?!?

  3. Glad y'all had a great holiday weekend!! I'm not sure I could've survived the heat with my little one right now! More power to ya momma :)

  4. Wow. I'm super impressed. Don't know if I'm quite ready for camping with my boy. You make it look so fun, though :)