Neither Terry nor I grew up doing a lot of camping, but I went to church camp a lot and loved it and have enjoyed the times I went camping in college and then a couple times after Terry and I got married. Terry on the other hand is not much for camping. Last summer though we decided to put our tent up in the backyard and show the boys and from that moment Isaac decided he wanted to go camping and I was right there with him. I thought it would be a fun family activity, but Terry wasn't sure how the boys would do and thought we should try camping in the backyard first. Since Hayden was just turning one at the time I agreed that we would just stay in the backyard that summer. So, Isaac and I camped in the backyard one night. We roasted marhmallows and made smores, played, read books, and laid under the stars while Terry and Hayden camped inside. It was a lot of fun.
After getting our Stone Mountain memberships last summer and hearing that they had a great place to camp (where you wouldn't have to rough it too much) we decided we would go the following summer. We knew we wanted to go before it got too hot so when we looked at our calendars we decided that Good Friday would be the perfect time to go since Isaac was off from school and so was Terry. Friday morning Terry and the boys went to Walmart to get food and other camping supplies while I finished packing. Although we had decided to only go for one night there was a lot to think about and pack since this was our first time. We had a small air mattress for Isaac, but debated about where Hayden would sleep. We thought about getting an air mattress for him, but since he has never slept in anything except a crib or pack n play we decided this wasn't the occasion to experiment with something different so we packed the pack n play. We got to Stone Mountain about 1:30 and set up our campsite. The boys wanted to help daddy set up the tent briefly, but then they were more interested in exploring the area. It was great to see them run around and yell and know that they could be outdoors which they love for the next 24 hours. After we got out campsite set up we decided to take advantage of a couple of the many things to do at Stone Mountain. The top three things on Isaac's to do list were to go to the Great Barn (an indoor play area), go to the top of Stone Mountain, and go on a ride called Ride The Ducks. We had heard that you get somewhat wet on the Ride The Ducks so we decided to save that for Saturday. We first visited the Great Barn. The Great Barn is full of soft foam balls that you can shoot at each other as well as things to climb on, slides, etc. We next headed over the get on the gondola to go to the top of Stone Mountain, but we found out that they stop it at 5:00 and it was already 4:00 by this time and the line was long. Plus it was a very cloudy and cool day and we decided this would also be best saved for Saturday. So we went to the ropes course which Hayden was a little small for, but we enjoyed watching daddy and Isaac do it and Isaac conquered a fear from last summer, the zipline. After being at the ropes course for awhile we decided to go back to our campsite and have dinner. We grilled hot dogs and french fries and had a great dinner together. We then went over the playground that was amongst all the campsites. The weather was much cooler then we expected and it actually started sprinkling a little bit, but the boys had a great time playing with all the kids that were there. The rain stopped so we went back to our campsite and attempted to start a fire. We didn't have much wood, but Terry tried to get it going. We had trouble getting it started, but I refused to give up. I love roasted marshmallows and smores and knew this just had to be part of our memories (I get a plan in my head and have a hard time letting it go :) so I went to the camp store and got a fire starter. Thankfully the fire starter worked and we roasted marshmallows and hard our smores. We then got the boys pjs on and started settling in. Tradition at home is for the boys to watch a show before they go to bed to wind down and although we were camping we decided to let them still do this on daddy's Ipad. It was fun to snuggle together and watch a video. I wasn't sure how they would do with going to sleep, but they were both so worn out that they went right to sleep. Terry brought Scrabble for he and I to play, but we were so cold we decided to get in our bed to stay warm. Terry went to bed and after playing around on Facebook for awhile I went to sleep as well. Unfortunately I kept waking up either because I was sniffling because of my allergies or because my face was cold. We knew we wanted to go camping before it got too hot, but we never expected it to be as cold as it was. I didn't sleep well, but it was worth it for all the good memories we made. Hayden called for us at 6:20 and wouldn't lay back down so Terry brought him in bed with us. He snuggled up and fell right back to sleep. Isaac woke up at 7 and wanted to get up, but we convinced him to lay in bed with us for awhile. He never fell back asleep and kept asking us to get up, but we managed to lay in bed until 8. As I was trying to fall asleep the night before I realized that I had forgotten the syrup for the pancakes that Terry was going to make for us. When I told Terry this the next morning he quickly insisted that we go to McDonalds for breakfast, but I was adamant about sticking to the camping experience. He even got Isaac to chant McDonalds as well, but I explained that we had other food such as bacon and fruit and didn't need to go anywhere. I finally said I wouldn't stop them from going, but I was going to stay and eat at the campsite. Terry of course wouldn't hear of that and suggested that the camp store might have some syrup. Terry checked it out and to his disappointment they not only had syrup, but it was light syrup :( He decided to grant me my wish and made us pancakes and bacon. Have I ever mentioned what an awesome husband I have :) He didn't like the syrup, but admitted the pancakes were better than McDonalds. :) After breakfast we packed up our campsite and headed over to do some more activities. We didn't have a lot of time because we needed to get back home to get ready for a friend's birthday party so we asked Isaac if he would rather go to the top of Stone Mountain or do Ride The Ducks. He chose Ride the Ducks since he had been to the top of the mountain before. This is a boat that can also travel on land. It takes you on a tour of Stone Mountain and then you splash into the water and take a short boat ride. We brought towels thinking we would get wet, but we didn't go into the water very quickly and didn't get wet at all. It was still a fun ride though that we all enjoyed. They gave everyone a duck bill shaped duck call that was loud, but fun. The captain let the kids take turns driving the boat which Hayden declined, but Isaac enjoyed. I would say our first camping experience was a success! The boys handled camping well and had a great time, Terry said from a noncamper's percspective he had a good time, and we made wonderful memories!