When we lived in Germany, we became friends with a very dear family -- Nick and Heather, and their two (now three!) children. Heather and I met through the knitting group that I organized there, and soon realized our husbands had a lot in common (military, mountain bikers, music, etc.) When we moved back to the States, we were very happy to learn that they were moving to San Antonio -- less than 2 hours away from Austin! We've managed to get our families together numerous times for weekend sleep-over visits in the past year, and it's always great to spend time with them.
Two weekends ago, we decided to go camping together at mountain biking ranch near Fredericksburg TX. Because camping is already a study in inconvenience, I haven't wanted to go camping as a family since having children. However, now that Jonah is 2-1/2 years old, I decided to take the plunge. I'm not really an "outdoor" sort of a person, and have never enjoyed the idea of roughing it, so what always happens in an situation like this is that I get left behind with the baby, while other people go off to have the adventures, and then I hate the world. However, Nick and Heather have taken their children camping many times, and I figured that even if it was a little miserable, at least I'd be able to spend time with Heather while our guys went off mountain-biking or exploring or whatever it is that they like to do in the wild.
The first night was very rough for me -- I have bad hips from having all of these babies, and it's nearly impossible for me to sleep on camping pads (excruciating pain in my joints). After adding about four more pads under my sleeping bag, I was able to take a nap that afternoon, and then the 2nd night was slightly more bearable. Next time we will take the inflatable mattress with us, and it will be a whole lot better. ...And yes, I did say next time. As it turns out -- besides the sleeping issues -- ...we actually had a lot of fun!
To be sure, the best part of our camping adventure was when the children were in their tents, the sun had gone down, and we parents got a chance to chill out and visit around the lantern. (Due to a state-wide burn-ban, the lantern had to stand in for an arguably more romantic camp-fire.) Clove cigarettes, plastic cups of red wine, discussion about bluegrass and blue Avatar men plugging into mystical horses... The best of times under a blanket of stars.