Almost 2 weeks ago we make a trek out to Park City, KY to go camping in the Mammoth Cave area.....Total FAIL!! It was a total disaster. From the time we loaded all the gear and kids up I knew it was a bad deception to leave. I voiced this to my incredibly sleepy husband, (he had worked a 3rd shift the night before leaving with no sleep before we left at 8am) and his reply was, "NO!! You did all this work packing so WE ARE GOING!!!!"
Wrong Choice. The kids had gotten into some Gluten by sneaking crackers at church the day before and they were totally in the throws of "Autism Land" as I call it. They were all Autistic noises, stemming, totally full of seeking behaviors and WE were trying strap them down in car seats and seat belts for a 2 hour journey. It was a HORRIBLE trip that should have taken 2 hours, but it took us almost 4 hours due to fighting children, anxiety ridden husband who wouldn't sleep because of worry over the trailer I was towing, way too many potty breaks, food breaks and a complete melt down from me when I had just HAD IT!!!
We finally made it to the camp grounds and were forced to the back of the grounds by the care takers where we wouldn't be in the way on a site I didn't want to be on. UUGGGG!!! That guy really made me mad. We were supposed to be able to pick our own site, per the rules, but this idiot convinced my husband that the site he was "suggesting" would be best for us. Nope. We ended up surrounded by other campers in a deer tick infested valley with NO trees for any of our camping hammocks. The opposite of a good camp site for us.
We did a hiking trip to a sink hole which was fun but the kids were over tired and I had caught a 24 hour bug that was making me exhausted, nauseated and completely achey which is not good for hiking let alone hiking with toddlers and young kids. I pushed through but Brandon had to carry Ammon part of the way and I ended up carrying Aribella some of the way too. (God bless hiking poles for giving me the support the entire way. I desperately needed it.) I had to take a break once we reached the sink hole and pull out the camping hammock I had thrown into the hiking pack and lay down for 10 minuets to not start throwing up. Ammon was so tired he hung back with me to lay down and eat a snack while all the others walked down another branch of the trail to a great look out.
We eventually made it back to camp but we were all spent so it was rest time. I made everyone lay down and Hunter screamed about it for about a half hour but eventually passed out. The 2 younger kids took less time fighting sleep and Mason and Daddy hung outside the tent on some camping cots and read a great book from the library I had brought.
One thing I did learn on this trip is to make sure to go to the library before leaving to pick up some great books that everyone would enjoy. When you take away the and all technology the kids are used to you have to supplement their down time with something else. Our family is learning to love gathering around one of us parents and listen to stories from a library book. It is teaching the kids how to use their imagination better and they can look over our shoulder and practice following along or reading themselves. They are heavy and take up some space when taking them camping but well worth the effort and weight for our family.
So I guess the trip wasn't a complete failure. We did learn how valuable these books can be for our family in a camping or just an outside environment. And I did eventually feel better and get to spend some quality time with the family around the camp fire later that evening. The next day was worse though. We tried to go to church in the Cave City area and it was a complete disaster.
Taking the kids to a church they have never been to before after totally changing up their routine by going camping in the first place was awful. We left that church in a blaze of screaming fits and kids beating each other to a pulp and both mommy and daddy screaming at the kids for their despicable behavior. Later I had to apologize to the children once I realized that it was completely unfair to yell at them if we were the ones who took them out of their environment and set them up for disaster in the first place.
After that fiasco we just ended up breaking camp and heading home. Everyone was tired, hungry and DONE so throwing our hands up and just going home was totally the best choice. WE learned what things not to do again and what things will never work so I guess that is something. All in all it was a horrible trip that I would never wasn't to repeat, but if we can't learn from our failures when we have them we can never learn and grow. So I now look back on this trip and say, "Well, that didn't work. Now what can we learn from this for the next time we camp?" Then let it go and move on to the next adventure.