I am not spontaneous. Mr. F. is even less spontaneous, if that is even possible. And it is an entirely within the realm of possibility given our two personalities that our offspring's childhood would be entirely spent at home doing our normal routine because that is all we can manage: basic survival. However alluring as that vision might be at times, I do not want that for my kids. I want them to have memories of adventures, fun trips and breaks from the ordinary. I am currently re-reading The Happiness Project, and Gretchen Rubin states with some authority that people are happier when they plan activities that break from normal routines. So there you go. I am trying to make our lives happier, even though such acts actually create a fair (understatement!) amount of stress. (But hey! According to Rubin, that is totally normal too.)
So, in January, I proactively started planning for a camping trip during Finn's spring break which was the beginning of April. I suggested this to Mr. F., and the response I received was more or less this: "Whatever. I can barely function on a daily level, but sure, plan a trip." (In sharing this, I am not intending to disparage Mr. F. as I too feel similarly. But unlike Mr. F., I actually get a bit of a kick out of big-picture planning as I am an N and he is an S.) Mr. F. did remind me that before I committed our credit card number, I should perhaps look at probable temperatures and weather forecasts. (This is when his eye for details (S) really shines.) He knows that I am a wimp with nightly temperatures below 50, and that our kids have yet to learn the skill of actually staying in a sleeping bag during the night. The forecasted lows were a bit too low for my comfort of tent camping. I started to despair when Mr. F. reminded me of YURTS! (As well as cabins, but it that isn't as fun to say.) Yurts have heaters! Yurts have walls and a roof! And it turns out that when you go camping in the spring in the Pacific Northwest. Yurts are infinitely more ideal when it is raining. No need to pack up a wet tent!
One of my children took immediate dislike to the thought of camping in a yurt. "I don't like yurts. I like camping in a tent better." Never mind the fact that he had never seen or camped in a yurt. Yet that did not stop him from throwing a huge fit about how this was going to irrevocably ruin our trip. (Do I even need to tell you that he loved it almost from a start and thought it was the best thing ever? No. I am sure I don't. This is such a classic kid move, and one that is going to render me insane by the time my kids are out of the house.)
The place of destination: Cape Disappointment--the southwestern most tip of Washington State. It is where Lewis and Clark got a glimpse of the Pacific and where the Columbia river meets the ocean. There was quite a bit to do and see even though the weather turned a bit inclement towards the end. We visited the two lighthouses in the area, played on the beach which had really fine, dark, sand, biked on the nicely paved Discovery Trail, and ventured into Astoria across the bridge into Oregon for some lunch and to see the fun Victorian houses set on the hillside.
Unfortunately, I picked up a nasty norovirus from the campsite (or elsewhere) and spent the drive home feeling sick and vomiting up the nice lunch that we had. My illness lasted a few days, and so re-entry was particularly rough. Mr. F. went back to work, I stayed more or less prone in bed or on the couch, and the kids fended for themselves. Luckily, we all survived although the house does look like a war zone. But hey! We are happier, right? RIGHT?!
Some camping particulars: I have this dream to be super organized when it comes to our camping gear. I would love to just grab totes and go. That probably will never actually happen. However, I did tackle one particular sore spot: the kitchen box. In my various internet searches, I came across an idea of adding drawers to your tote to help contain things. I tried it out this time, and it was life-changing! Yes, things shifted around as you turned it right side up and then on it's side, but those were minor inconveniences. It was so much nicer do have things organized vs trying always trying to find out where the soap is hiding. (Answer: at the very bottom, buried by everything else. ) It also made it easier to keep it organized as things had specific homes. We have two totes: one with the stove and some bigger items plus tarp, etc. And then the one pictured. Our totes are smaller than the versions I saw online which could hold two sets of drawers.
I am also including the menu since I am always insanely curious about what people eat when camping and the logistics of it all.
Lunch (on road): prepped potato salad, veggies and hummus, fruit
Dinner: defrosted pre-made chili, cheese, chips, broccoli, s'mores.
Breakfast: pancakes (plain and some with freeze dried blueberries added to batter.), flavored kefir, hot chocolate.
Lunch: Black beans and instant rice, cheese, veggies and hummus, fruit
Dinner: chicken fajitas, s'mores. (chicken precooked before hand.)
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with cheese, flavored kefir, hot chocolate
Lunch: Ate out at Breakwater Bistro in Astoria.
I am interested in options for lunch on the way back home. That is the hardest meal for us to plan, so if you have any ideas, please share them!
As usual, you can find more pictures here.