Thursday, May 31, 2012

The First Ever Bradshaw Family Camping Trip

Oh the backlog of things I need to blog about!!! I can't even begin to think about all that needs to be told of this crazy, busy, blessed little family. For starters, I will talk about our latest adventure. For years now Jonathan has wanted to go camping. He loves camping. He grew up camping. He loves the outdoors, the fire, the "roughing it," sleeping in a tent, bugs. You name it. For many reasons, camping before now just hasn't been an option. I was either pregnant or we had a newborn, and since I haven't ever really camped before, I wanted to make sure we weren't in either of those situations when we took the dive. Also, because we had never done this before, I wanted to go with some friends who were experienced campers; I mean, doing new things with friends makes everything more fun, right!? When our friends the Worleys invited us to join them on their annual camping trip, we jumped at the opportunity. There were actually a bunch of families that went: The Worleys, The McNeils, The Hayes, The Cormanys, and the Trumps. All together there were close to twenty kids between us all, and they had a blast! We decided to leave Stella with the grandparents because she isn't at the best age for camping. (She is crawling, not walking, and is into everything. She would have been a handful to keep up with for four days). I cannot tell you how much fun we had! I am a changed woman! Before our trip, I would mention to some friends about us going camping, and they would quite literally laugh the thought of me being a camper. I didn't understand! I mean, I am a city girl and all, but I am tough! I really enjoyed camping and had such a fun experience. I will say that camping is a LOT of work, but it is also very relaxing. We drove up on a Thursday morning and arrived at Indian Boundary in Tellico Plains, TN right around lunch time. The drive there was absolutely beautiful and we were blessed with perfect weather. It took a while to get our tent set up, but many friends pitched in to help us get unpacked. The kids immediately jumped on their bikes and joined the rest of the children roaming and exploring the campground. It was a perfect scenario for this first time camping momma. We were in a great location, surrounded by friends, and not far from the bath house. Nora and Liam were thrilled about sleeping in a tent and we slept great the entire time we were there. After we got settled that first day, everyone changed and we headed on a quick trek to "The Beach."

Isn't this beautiful!? It was like something out of a movie! The kids and dads played in the water while most of the mommas sat in the sun watching everyone play. It was so much fun! We headed back after a while a got ready to fix our first camping supper: chili. Our friends, Thomas and Johanna, are very experienced campers and have a pop-up. They insisted that we do our meals with them since they have so much equipment and knew it would be easier on us to cook and eat and clean together since we were new at all of this. It was wonderful having meals with them, and I learned so much just from watching how they did stuff. Camping really does require a lot of STUFF!
Every night we would have a fire for the everyone to sit around. We roasted marshmallows and had s'mores some nights, and the boys especially turned into little pyromaniacs whenever there was a fire roaring.

The second day we were there (Friday), we were all pretty lazy!  That morning we fixed a huge breakfast together as a group and then just relaxed around the fire while the kids played.  It quickly turned overcast and started to rain right around lunchtime, which meant that we took naps.  Everyone.  Adults included.  This was truly a Godsend because Liam was exhausted and quite the pill.  Our kids slept about two hours and when they woke up, they were new creatures!  We spent the remainder of the day just hanging around and for dinner we grilled steaks and made potato packets on the fire.

On Saturday, we spent the afternoon at Citico Creek.  It is a short drive away from the campsite and was a wonderful place to play in the water and on the rocks.  The kids loved it!  There were a few rapids so the kids took turns floating down on rafts (with the help of the Daddies).

Keeping my tired little man warm!

A very happy man.

Thomas holding the dead baby Copperhead snake we found.  Way to save a life, Thomas!!!

Of course, what is a day at the creek without a water gun fight!?

For dinner that last night we had jambalaya.  We put the kids down early that night and the adults sat around the campfire talking and hanging out for a few hours.  That was really nice!  On Sunday morning, we packed up (which took forever), and headed to Bald River Falls to see a beautiful 100 ft waterfall.  We didn't stay long because it was getting late and I had a baby girl to get back to!  I was missing my Stella Baby!  We enjoyed the beautiful drive back to reality and talked about how much we loved camping.  I hope this is the start of many great family camping trips together.  I really, truly enjoyed it and can't wait to do it again!!!

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