We had a marvelous time this weekend with our fellow cub scouts and their families at Blanchard Springs Caverns in Fifty Six, Arkansas. (Yes, that really is the name. :)) (This was also the very first Lillard family camping trip! The very first time Josiah or Sadie had ever been camping and the very first time we'd gone together as a family.) What beautiful country! I really wish I could post pics from this trip. I'm really getting sick of using disposable cameras. (Someone, please tell my husband to get me a digital camera for Christmas! ;) ) I never know if my shots are any good and I can't immediately come home and post them online. Instead, the questionable quality images sit trapped inside the disposable until all the exposures are, well, exposed and then developed. So, I will try to remember to post pictures (if any of them turn out decent enough) but I'm not making any promises. That's how I get myself into trouble...broken promises. ;)
Anyway, some from our group went up Friday instead of Saturday. We considered doing that too but decided not to because #1-Justin works until 5 and it gets dark around 5:30 now ever since the time change took effect. Putting up a tent in the dark is not my idea of a good time. #2-Even if someone put our tent up for us (which they did. Thank you, Kerry!), we'd still be driving in the dark on unfamiliar roads, with one working headlight and a husband who is teetering on the verge of "night blindness". We'd all like to get there in one piece, if you know what I mean. And #3-We figured as soon as we got there, Jackson's "meltdown clock" would start ticking. We thought it best to leave as much sand in that hourglass as possible. All things considered, I think it was absolutely the right decision!
We left the house Saturday about an hour and a half later than I had hoped but I didn't get myself worked into a tizzy about it like I've been known to do. ;) This was, after all, supposed to be a nice, relaxing, and fun weekend getaway. I was not about to let 90 minutes of "disappointment" ruin an otherwise fantastic 2 days! We weren't in any danger of missing the first scheduled activity anyway, the cavern tour, so we took (in my opinion) a leisurely drive to our destination. I say "in my opinion" because I was driving. Justin probably has a much different perspective seeing as he started singing to me a time or two on a couple of mountainous curves. (Yes, I meant singing.) After one occasion, I heard my precious echo from the back seat say, "Yeah, Dad. Relax. Everything's fine." Love that girl! LOL
The drive alone was gorgeous. We hadn't gone very far when it occurred to me that I forgot to make sure we had dramamine. All 3 of our young ones are prone to motion/carsickness but that's especially true of Josiah. We've had more emergency stops than I care to remember in our long road trip history. I did not want to have another one. I'm happy to say that we made it to our campsite without incident!
Our group campsite was AMAZING. And when I say amazing, I mean we literally had our own cave...with bats! Don't worry. We didn't pitch our tents in the cave. Although, I don't think our kids would have minded it if we had. They absolutely loved that cave! (And there were only 2 little bats in there. Harmless, really.;) ) Jackson also found a climbing tree. We didn't have to worry too much about where our kids were whenever we were at camp because 99.9% of the time, they were either in the cave or around (or on) that climbing tree. Justin and I have decided that we're in the market for a cave now. If you know where we can get one real cheap, please let us know! ;) Still undecided on the climbing tree, though. Jackson has no trouble climbing UP the tree. It's climbing DOWN that causes an occasional problem or two. We're not in the market for broken arms and/or legs so, best wait on the tree. But, caves. Caves are good. lol
The cave tour was fun, too. Thankfully, they did NOT turn out all the lights inside the cave. I think I personally would have enjoyed a demonstration like that but not with my kids in tow. There would have been much weeping and gnashing of teeth...and clawing at Mommy. You could tell Sadie was scared because she kept covering her ears. Not eyes. E.a.r.s. Silly girl. Josiah wanted to be held nearly the whole time and Jackson kept reminding us that he wanted to go home. (I know what you're thinking. "Yeah, Steph. That sounds like great fun!" It really wasn't as bad as it sounds, though.) I'm really proud of them, actually. They didn't scream or cry. They pressed on and began to lighten up the longer we were in there. Jackson pointed out a rock in the cave that looked to him like a dragon (and when I looked, it did look a lot like a dragon's head) and Josiah even tried to share a joke with everyone during one of the group talking stops that was riddled with bad jokes. Wanna hear it? Question: "How many bats are in a cave?" Answer: "One." I warned you they were bad. His was funny simply because it was so bad! lol
Back at camp later, our fearless leader Adam, demonstrated a science experiment with all our cub scouts involving water, an air pump, and 2-liter soda bottles. Jackson wasn't very interested at first. This demonstration was too close to his climbing tree and cave. He's a boy of action and has little use or time for words. But once he saw that bottle rocket into the air, Adam had his full attention. Jackson laughed so incredibly loud every time a bottle left the ground after that. We should really expose him to "The Three Stooges" because he loves slapstick humor. :)
Saturday night, all the dens each put on a skit for the pack. They were really cute. Our den's skit was kind of like a TV news interview gone terribly wrong. I was the reporter interviewing the Tiger Cubs and asking each of them what they liked about being a Tiger Cub. The first one (my son) said "Nothing." (Yeah, I'm thrilled with that answer. *insert sarcasm*) Others said, "Because you can shoot bow and arrows, b-b guns, use pocketknives, build fires, and it's fun." I asked if I could be a tiger cub and was told no. When I asked why, I expected to be told I was too old but noooooo...instead, I was told it was because I'm a girl. I have to be in girl scouts, not boy scouts. (I think Girl Scouts of America could learn a valuable lesson from this, don't you? ;))
After the skits we all settled in around our respective campfires and just enjoyed each other's company while the majority of the boys ran wild in the field with their glow sticks screaming, chasing each other, and just having an all around wonderful time. Our kids stayed with us and made smores. What's a campout without smores, right? By 8 PM it felt like midnight for all of us. Justin took Josiah to the tent to sleep but Sadie followed him in and they started playing instead. So, the 3 of them made up a bedtime story and it's entirely possible that Justin was the first to fall asleep. All I know is that he never came back out that night. :) In the meantime, I was sitting in someone else's camping chair with our 6 year old in my lap who was just as fast asleep as they come. I do not know how I managed to get out of that chair holding him but somehow I did. Special thanks to Meredith for unzipping our tent so I could get him inside without dropping him! :)
This pretty much sums up Day 1 of the weekend trip. I'm gonna stop here for the night because I'm extremely tired and this post is already too long. Day 2 tomorrow. More fun stuff!
Link to: Day 2
- I'm a mother of 3 who started blogging as a way to share our many adventures and to expand beyond the everyday "mommy world". While there IS so much more to us mommies than the title, there is very little that doesn't in some way or another lead us back to or influence our children...if anything. So, I hope you enjoy following our family's randomness, because as all moms know- you can never anticipate what tomorrow will bring! Thanks for visiting and have a blessed day! :)