Tuesday, September 15, 2015

We Went Camping

The fire. See the house in the background? That is James' Parents' house
Last weekend James invited me to go camping with his children on his parents' property on Lake Anna. I was so excited to go, so of course I found a dogsitter and packed my bag with the quickness!

It was a cool evening, but not cold. Perfect weather for camping in my opinion.

I had to work earlier that day, but after work, I drove down to the lake. I had some cookies and Auntie Anne's pretzels for the family. (It wasnt a gift though. The treats belonged to Mrs. Jackson. I was just holding the fundraising treats in my freezer from one of James' kids past event, and finally remembered to bring them.)

The 45-minute drive was nice. No traffic! I still drove past the entrance to the driveway though. I do it every single time! It just isnt conspicuous, so I miss it.

When I got to the house, I was greeted by James' youngest. She is so cute. We hugged and I gave her the pail of frozen cookies to take to her grandmother. Then James walked out and we hugged. I missed him. I ALWAYS miss him.

He asked me whether I was ready for camping, and of course I said I was. I had my Marine Corps sweats on hand to changed into and everything.

We went inside, and I put my overnight bag away. I noticed that the couch and loveseat bore signs instructing everyone not to sit on them for 72 hours. Boy did the kids have a hard time not sitting on those chairs! LOL They kept testing their grandparents resolve by asking to sit. They insisted that the couches were indeed already dry. James' mom said they were instructed by the cleaners to wait 72 hours, and that's exactly what everyone was going to do. It was funny.
My view from the deck. See the lake? That's where we set up the tent

When I walked out onto the deck, I saw that James had the grill going, and was burning hamburgers. I teased him about cooking on a high flame. He scoffed at me. He knows what he's doing. (Whatever)

While James prepared dinner for the family, his mother and I talked. We just talked about everything that came to mind. Just getting to know each other better. At one point I wanted to confess to her how much I love her son. But I didnt. Maybe next time.

After dinner, James, his three children and his mom all went down to the lake. James' mom jokingly asked whether or not her reclining lawn chair would fit inside the tent, because if it did, then she would spend the night with us.
Lantern, grahams, and mellows... Where's the Hershey's?

The kids were so excited. They had the graham crackers, Hershey's and marshmallows out, ready to make s'mores. The oldest child was fishing and later decided to set up his line to stay out all night in hopes of catching a fish while he slept. He said he liked night fishing a lot.

The kids set the tent up and James made a campfire. We set chairs all around and also used the family golf cart to run back and forth to the house until everyone had what they needed and were settled.

I was super excited to make a s'more. I had never had one before. Not one made with campfire, anyway. remember, I'm originally a city slicker. The kids were astonished to learn that about me. They said, "You've never had a s'more?!" I said, "Nope!"

The middle child got me a nice stick to tack my marshmallow onto. It was dark by this time. Aside from the light of the fire, it was pitch black out. The sky was clear and it was a perfect night to stargaze.
ok, so I didnt really like how sweet the s'more was, but im grateful for the experience

Anyway, we sat around the fire and played games. We sang songs too. Then it was time to tell scary stories. I told two stories that spooked the kids real good. And the youngest told a couple of good ones too. I was impressed with her storytelling skills. For a 10-year old, they were really good!

During the storytelling time, James' middle son and I were stargazing. I pointed out the North Star, and the Little Dipper. He was intrigued by constellations. It was a beautifully starry night! 

After the stories and games, James' mom decided to call it a night. Her oldest grandson drove her back up to the house. James got the sleeping bags and comforters spread out in the tent and had the kids turn in. We all said goodnight. After a few minutes, he came out of the tent and presented me with a cup of ice and rum. I was pleasantly surprised. It was Appleton Reserve. Good stuff!

 As I sat there with James listening to the water of the lake, sipping rum and gazing at the night sky, I felt so much peace and gratitude. I thought about how these children have such a different childhood than I did, and how blessed they are. I am from North Philly. I'm talking, the HOOD. And when I was their age, life was so different. I hope one day they can really come to appreciate the life they had.

Anyway, I turned my attention to the fire and it was mesmerizing. We sat in silence for a long time. Just staring at the fire and holding hands.

James jumped up and told me had an idea. He had a mischievous grin. I knew what was coming. He disappeared into the tent and came back with a comforter. I giggled.

He spread it out and told me to stand up. I did. He hugged me and picked me up. (He always picks me up) He told me to wrap my legs around his waist, so I did. Then he got down on his knees while holding me, and gently laid me down. I was nervous that the kids might get up or something, but I didnt say anything. I didnt want to ruin the moment. When he began to tug on my sweatpants, I almost objected, but I decided to go with it.

Yes, we got REAL CLOSE by the campfire. In fact we became one person for a while. It was amazing. James ended up completely naked, but I only lost my pants. I was not about to be caught butt-naked by his kids. LOL It would be bad enough to be caught in the act, but at least I wouldnt be naked too. I was gigling at my own thoughts. James asked me what was I thinking about. I told him. He said the kids wouldnt wake up. I still didnt lose my shirt though. I kept it on.

I enjoyed him though. The only thing that went wrong was there was a pebble underneath me and it began to hurt me after a while. When we were done, we lay and looked at the stars. We talked about the beauty of the scene. James told me he loved me so much he didnt know what to do without me.

I said that I felt the same way. After about an hour, we decided to get in the tent. But first, we had to pee. I decided to pee behind a tree. James laughed at me. He said, "why can't you just pee in front of me? I've seen you naked." I said, "I don't know, but I just dont want to." I used a paper towel dipped in water to clean myself up a bit, and then we went inside the tent. The kids were all spread out, so James moved them all in a row, to make room for us. We huddled up together. He gave me the sleeping bag, and he slept on a blanket.

It was such a wonderful day and night. I slept.
woke up and felt great. except for that lumpy bruise (ahem)

When I awoke, it was to the sound of the tent door flap being unzipped. One of the kids was up. It was the oldest. He went to check his fishing line and discovered he'd caught a fish in the night. But the fish had tangled the line and gotten away.
I had a huge lump on my lower back that throbbed. (We know how THAT got there!)

Next the middle child woke up, leaving me, James and the baby girl. I didnt fall back into a deep sleep, but I was lightly sleeping. Still aware of everything happening outside. I heard one boy tell the other how my story scared him so bad that he didnt get up to go pee during the night. I laughed to myself.
my view in the morning. that is james' shoulder

Next, Babygirl began to stir. She hugged her dad. That woke James up. He asked her how she slept and stuff. She said good. The three of us lay there awhile. Yawning, making small talk and thinking of breakfast. And then we got up, and started putting everything on the golf cart to take back to the house.

His daughter and I played a bit on the lakeshore in the more shallow water collecting shells and classifying mollusks. She told me about the turtles that inhabit the lake. We talked about building a sand city too.
James' daughter took this pic for me. Great shot right?

The cool morning was giving way quickly to a hot day, so we all went inside. James made breakfast and we all ate. The following day was Mr. Jackson's birthday, so the kids made him birthday cards.

Next we all got showered and left for my house.

James washed and styled his daughter's hair. I thought it was a cute scene. I wanted to photograph it, but I didnt want to cheapen the moment. He did a good job too. I was impressed.

Then the kids had lunch and James took them to their mom's house for the evening. He came back to my place and we chilled the rest of the night.

Good weekend! So happy. Enjoy the pics. I finally remembered to take them. LOL
Ahhhhh the Lake