Making Memories

29 06 2012

Alternative Title:  A Bunch of Pictures to Prove Just How Lucky We Are.

This logo graced the back of the t-shirts we received at Camp Coleman last weekend.

The event absolutely lived up to its billing.

A few weeks ago we submitted a quick application on the blog The Guavaliscious Life.

Soon after, we learned we would join about 20 other families in Missouri, and an equal number in three other states for a one night camping extravaganza.  In addition to being styled out with an amazing eight person tent, a sleeping bag for every member of our family, two air-mattresses, four awesome chairs, and almost every other cool camping accessory you can think of, we had a chance to participate in a great array of activities.

Of course, we went swimming.

Then we tried out the kayaks.

Wow, did they love this.

Experts were on hand to help with everything.  SAG loves to fish, but we both knew it was a smart idea for the kids to take their first lesson from a professional.

Watching your kids learn something new is so cool.

Then they practiced with their Dad.

PJ got the hang of casting pretty quickly, and was content to practice with the small pole that had a rubber fish ALREADY attached to the end.

Little Dude also sat on the banks of the water for some time with his friend.

Then another camper caught a real fish.  Once that happened, Little Dude was no longer content with the rubber fish.  He approached Coach Brad and said, “Where are the worms?”  Brad, who is amazing with kids, set Little Dude up with regular tackle and started working him through the process.

Always true to himself, Little Dude grew bored and moved on to other activities.

SAG and PJ took over the rod with the real tackle…. Next thing you know – FISH ON.

A little fear

and a lot of pride.

I remember fishing with my Dad as a kid.  I am thrilled my kids will have similar memories.

In addition to the fishing expert, there was a professional Chef to inspire us and guide us through each meal.

Chef Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street Cafe, St. Louis, provided excellent instructions and was incredibly personable.  He and I chatted while I washed our group’s dishes.  He tried to encourage me to experiment more in the kitchen – I happily washed the dishes and nodded in fake agreement.

SAG and I have been pescatarians since 1995.

We always said we would let our kids decide what they were comfortable eating.

Apparently, Little Dude thinks Pork Fritters are heavenly.

I wasn’t sure that my kids were ready for camping.  PJ has been begging to go for more than a year, but it seemed complicated and the opposite of relaxing.  The truth is, sure we “wanted” to camp, but we really wanted the $1,500 worth of free camping gear for some future date.

Turns out, the free stuff was even better then we expected.

This eight person tent goes from bag to fully functional in about 60 seconds.

And it is about the size of our first apartment in Vancouver, B.C.

Back-packing is an amazing way to get out in nature.  But being firmly planted in Missouri, with two small children, car camping is our new reality.

Now we have the chairs, the air-mattresses, the tent, the sleeping bags and all the other swag to make every trip exceptional.  However, you know you have joined the elite when you have a light/fan for your tent.  Hallelujah!  (It might be a terrible picture but it is a blessed invention.)

I know you are jealous at this point.  How could you not be?  But I want to emphasize, one more time, the swag was nothing compared to how much fun we had.

As we settled down to sleep (for the second time – because the first time was a bust and was just a prelude to another hour around the campfire eating s’mores and playing with glow-in-the-dark necklaces) PJ  kept repeating, “I can’t BELIEVE we are REALLY camping.”

Little Dude was not so verbal.  Instead, he was jumping on our two new air-mattresses.  Then, all of a sudden, he was snoring.  I am not exaggerating when I say, I believe he fell asleep mid-air.

The goal of the partnership between National Wildlife Federation and Coleman is to get kids outside and having fun.

Camp Coleman was amazing for our family, but there were a few opportunities that our kids were too young to take advantage of ie:  horseback riding and the guided nature walk.  Since we returned, I’ve been thinking how incredible this program would be for a family with school-age kids who love video-games and watching television.  The chance to enjoy the outdoors with Coleman’s wonderful staff making everything easy for Mom and Dad is too great to pass up.  I would be shocked if the screen-addicted child did not find a new appreciation for swimming, boating or just running wild and being loud.

The Coleman staff went above and beyond to meet everyone’s needs – and they did it with smiles on their faces.  This event taught us that our family IS ready to camp, and that whatever efforts we have to make to get outside will be more than worth it.  And, honestly, Coleman turned our family into loyal customers.

Thank you, Coleman.

* For the record:  I was just a regular, ole’ participant in this event.  I have no arrangement with Coleman or anyone else to be going on ad nauseum about this event.  If I was going to have an agreement with someone, it should be a Syllabus company, because I have run out of ways to say “Awesome, great, amazing, wonderful…”

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14 responses

29 06 2012
Erin

Too cool! Waiting for it to warm up here for a test run of camping in the back yard. We should just do it.

29 06 2012
Semi-Feral Mama

Our plan (for two warm seasons, now) was to do a test run… But it never happened, Having now experienced the real thing, I think it is actually better to be far away. Kids are old enough to know if the house is there, you can use it.

29 06 2012
kathy

I LOVE the smile on your hubby’s face as he’s fishing.. that says it all!

29 06 2012
Semi-Feral Mama

Kathy, He really does love to fish and has not gotten out at all since we moved. I think he has renewed hope.

29 06 2012
barbaloot

Best fishing pictures ever! The kids are so adorable. Hoping to take my son for his first camping trip this summer if it ever stops raining here!

29 06 2012
Semi-Feral Mama

All I can say, is just do it. You guys will have so much fun.

29 06 2012
Kim

so so so much fun! i’m so jealous, too. maybe next summer….. 🙂 we can plan a gigantic blog network camping trip! iowa isn’t too terribly far from missouri….. 😉

29 06 2012
Semi-Feral Mama

Kim, last year we did a Adoption Travel Group (God Will Add, Journey To Hope, and a few others who don’t blog) reunion in Iowa. I don’t think it is going to happen this year – Who said the 4th could be on a Wednesday?? But I am pretty sure I can wrangle you an invitation if it happens next year. We have talked about expanding our travel group to our honorary travel partners and have promises from some other bloggers I know you read (Hot Flawed Mama).

29 06 2012
guavalicious (@guavalicious)

Thanks for being such amazing camping partners. And for letting Calamity Jane invade your family photo.

29 06 2012
Semi-Feral Mama

CJ can be in our photo ANY TIME. Love that girl.

29 06 2012
tamara b

well, now I know what our next gathering can be. Our yard is big enough and so is Murdock’s for those who are too scared to camp 😛 Love the pics and the story. Next time you’re here, we’ll make a point to take Scott fishing. I know the right people to get hooked up with the good spots.

Oh how I miss you friend!

1 07 2012
tesi

Yeah I’m definitely coming should it happen again. 🙂 this is awesome. I love camping with my family.

2 07 2012
Captain Murdock

Just catching up on a few of my favorite blogs since I’ve been MIA for a few weeks. What a fun looking weekend. And by fun – I mean fun for you and could you show me the closest cabin with an indoor bathroom so I can have fun too?

Loving the blog/adoption friend reunion idea. Maybe we could plan something before July and before temps hit 105 round these parts.

3 07 2012
Scooping it up

so so fun! Wow, I wonder if they do stuff in New England. I didn’t catch if you provided links to a website of sorts??? We have balked camping with anyone who is no potty trained, and since we’ve always had someone no potty trained we still haven’t gone all together. Gimme another year and I know our kids would go NUTS with a few days like this…

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