I have been reading John Grisham’s The Appeal lately and it sparked an idea.  I typically keep a book in my bag when traveling to read during tarmac time (when you can’t listen to your ipod) but don’t take time to read at home for fun much.  The family in the book would camp out in their living room on Friday nights.  I thought it was a fun idea and a step toward some bigger things.

Basically, I think one of the stereotypical childhood experiences is camping out in the back yard (another is frolicking in a pile of leaves in the Fall, we did that a couple of Falls ago).  I never went camping, per se, growing up but did go to overnight camp a couple of times, sleeping in buggy, musty cabins.  But, never hiking with the tent to pitch, cooking over a fire, etc.  No experience as a Boy Scout (did go to one meeting though).

So to work up to allowing the kids to experience camping in the back yard, I decided to take the book example as a first step.  In thinking about this I realized that I have not had a sleeping bag for some time so that would be one obstacle.  Plus, looking at the family room floor I suddenly missed the carpet we replaced with wood flooring a few years ago.  But, we gathered up the boy’s sleeping bags (and some blankets for additional padding) and setup camp in between the Entertainment Center (to the East) and the sofa (to the West).

Timing was good since I wanted to watch the race at Daytona and the boys were pretty tired from a full day of activity.  Our first camping started with them falling asleep in their bundles of blankets and stuffed animals while I watched the race.  I then cheated a little (since I had no sleeping bag) and slept on the couch.  Our couch is sectional so between the end seats that have foot rests and the middle section are steel supports that make for quite a lumpy surface, but I guess it was a little better than the hard, flat floor.

The boys were up normal time.  I think my oldest snuck upstairs at some point and climbed into bed with his mother.  My oldest was watching TV with the sound off for a while, until I told him he could turn it up, I was able to sleep through it for a while based on the uneasy night on the couch.  I expected to be barely able to walk when I finally gathered the courage to attempt to stand but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought.  In fact, I am not sure what caused the most soreness, the couch or Tae Kwon Do that morning.

Regardless of the couch, the boys survived the first test and now are ready to move to the next- sleeping on the screened in porch.  I need to purchase a sleeping bag and some form of padding (perhaps an air matress?) before then but at least my oldest seems ready for it.   I haven’t shared the backyard goal with them yet, don’t want to over commit, but if that comes we may be purchasing an tent- if anyone has suggestions (keeping in mind our purpose and related price point) please pass them along.

So our adventure of camping in went well, and we are all functional today.  More description to come on a future show.