so in my world, to-do lists fall into three different categories: the stuff you want to do, the stuff you have to do, and the stuff that will foster your child's creativity, learning, and ability to not act like a complete demon in public. ok, also potty training. fourth category.
after having kids, camping hiked from category one to category three. and there it remained. collecting dirt. skipped, ignored and avoided. i mean i like camping... but with the babies? polite pass. gimme a museum, a pizza place or class. anything with a easy, quick escape route. and working bathrooms. it stayed on the list though, and with an encouraging and determined (insistent?) nudge from a fellow mama with, a what i like to refer to as, an accomplish list (she has twins so how she even puts clothes on her body everyday is a wonderment....), we finally camped.
we chose caspers wilderness park (ok she chose, i agreed) because it checked most of our must-haves, except bathrooms. grr. that caveat aside it was the perfect place for braving the great outdoors with our little ones.
caspers wilderness park is inland of san juan capistrano in the lower section of the santa ana mountains, just an hour drive south for us from la. one thing i immediately liked about the campground was that its about seven miles once you exit the highway. the mini malls stagger and trees outnumber cars and the road gets windy. upon arrival staff is incredibly friendly. you get a map and directions to the site. wooden areas of the park entrance were green and bright. then the deeper you go you can see the fall stamp on the terrain. the leaves are brown and crunch when you step on them. the wildlife looks dead yet somehow alive. holding on until spring. that's how i feel during this season. i always joke that i am powered by the sun and warm weather... hence my penchant for bright jewel tones in the winter. it puts a bit of sunshine on the cold and gray days and early dark evenings of this season. so anyway. the view from the entrance...
that's not our tent. check out is at noon people! we actually had a gigantic 6-person tent. it was kind of obscene how big it was but it worked out great. really settled the ocd that had already begun to kick into overdrive with the dirt and clutter everywhere (parents can't help but overpack!).
once we set up camp (i watched) we immediately took off for the playground we saw on the way in. we joked that we drove 100 miles to visit a playground but what a lifesaver. can all campgrounds have playgrounds, please? thanks.
and just like that, he's on the big kid swing.
we have to keep our eye on this one. knox is vastly independent and will just wander away and do his own thing. also, dressing both of them in green that day may not have been the best choice? they blended in almost too much! also, what's with eating dirt and leaves? and why is it so funny knox?
heading back to the homestead... time for campfire food and campfire wine, lol. (ed. note: uhhh, grape juice. alcohol is not allowed inside the park)
so this is a soap in a bag tied to a faucet. thank you pinterest and campmates!.
toasting to our camping victory! mmm. grape juice.
ok the one hairy part of this experiment was that it was pitch dark by 5:30pm. i mean shoot me. entertaining toddlers in the dark let alone just keeping them from wandering off into the darkness, well it kind of sucks. but eventually they went to bed and the grownups got to be kids.
... and had fun convincing our friend this was an alien spaceship before she had a chance to google that it was a rocket test launch. it was so cool though and for a few seconds i was scared and having a melancholia flashback. have you guys seen that movie? gee wiz what a bummer.
and then this kid of mine. he thought it would be awesome to wake up the next morning at 6am to go on an adventure. at least that's how i interpreted his tiny arm tugging mine saying "mama, we go?" and when you have a kid like mine who is constantly in explorer mode... you go. but like don't tell anyone, ok?
look at the struggle! i was so proud of him. there were a lot of rocks (and poop!) that he had to maneuver his little feet around and he did great.
we finally headed back because i really needed a coffee by this point. and this adorableness was waiting for us. nice hat knox! can anyone place what movie it's from?!
but FINALLY, coffee.
and before i could even get two cups down off we went again. ah who am i kidding. it was THE BEST. i mean look how pretty guys.
mickey mouse cactus!
and we did it. thanks to this crew. thanks for the memories guys. xoxo, sony.