Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Happy Campers!

This morning my little girls went camping ... to the North Pole ... and never left the family room! :)  We currently have a large, make-shift tent filling the corner of our family room.  When you crawl through the tunnel to get into the tent, you will find that it is filled with pillows, blankets, books, a few baby dolls and probably a few left-over snacks our dog, Gimli, will enjoy later.  You can't find this particular tent at any sporting-goods store seeing as it is constructed with sheets, blankets, clothes pins and two kitchen chairs.  Both the girls had a lot of fun "helping" Mommy pin, drape and stuff all the ends of the blankets, sheets, etc. to the chairs and railing.  But, Mommy didn't need a whole lot of help, because I am a professional tent-builder and have been honing my craft since I was a kid.  While building this particular tent, I had a few fun flash-backs to the extravagant tents my sister and I would build in our room.  Boy, did we have fun!

Growing up, Allison and I shared a room and for the longest time we had bunk-beds ... which, as any accomplished tent-builder knows, are essential to making big, marvelous tents.  We would start by rounding up all the sheets in the house ... even off of somebody's bed probably (sorry!).  Then we would clear out as much of our room as we could - probably by shoving the extra stuff under beds and in the closet.  Then we would begin draping the fabric.  Two corners of the tent would be tucked into part of the bunk-bed while the other corners would be stuffed in bookshelves and more often than not, tacked to the wall!  Gasp!  Don't tell my mom! :) We were rather elaborate in our tent making and often had more than one room that was divided by extra sheets and blankets.  Hence the multitude of tacks.  (I can't imagine what our walls looked like ... definitely perforated!)  I remember one time we had a bedroom, a kitchen and even a TV room with a working, black & white TV.  I don't think it got any real channels, but it was fun to have in our little "house".

Seeing as that portion of my childhood has left me with such sweet memories, I try to say "yes" when my kids want to do things like this.  Things that require much of my hands-on supervision.  Things that tend to make the house look like a mess for the better part of the day.  Things that will definitely require my help to cleaning up.  But ... things that will be memorable for my kids.  Things they will reminisce about years down the road.  And, things that make for great pictures now!

In light of this resolve to say "yes" we frequently have tents under the dining room table (watch your head!) and many other parts of the house are "all set up to play".  For a few weeks, we had a blanket hanging down the side of the older kids' bunk-bed to make a tent.  We even stuck some glow-in-the-dark stars under the top bunk so it was almost like being outside!  Sometimes it can get to be too much and I get that little twitch in my face that says, "I can't take all this clutter!  We have to put stuff away!" but I try hard to let the little messes go for as long as the kids are playing with them.  I know that I appreciate that my mom chose to "look the other way" when we were building our magnificent structures (stolen sheets and tacks and all!) ... and I hope that my kids will look back fondly at their trip to the North Pole in the same way.

Here is a little snapshot of the girls' camping trip.  I love the sunglasses!

It's bright at the North Pole!

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