Got S'mores?

Breaking all child labor laws and figuring we had our own private work force, we decided to take the kids to Arkansas for Spring Break. While their friends were off to Mexico to sit on a beach or in Colorado skiing, we chose the more economical route with 6 children and took them camping. Who knew our little neighboring state has the World's 8th largest Diamond Mine?? And I have to tell you-we were pleasantly surprised at how pretty Western Arkansas was! I apologize to you little pretty state with all the green rolling hills and beautiful chicken farms. This is what it looks like when you go camping with this many people in one SUV, in case you ever thought it might be a good idea. You might want to read my earlier post about traveling with children...
I have nothing to say about this, but I laughed for almost the first half of the trip every time I thought about it. The kids car seats might not be buckled in this well, but darn it, Paul's Coke was going to make it unscratched. Can you see where he even duct taped it closed? Seriously??
Let me tell you what this is a picture of since you will never guess. This is us doing 78mph down the highway. Can you see the problem with that? Maybe that the speedometer says we are doing all of ZERO. That will make the trip exciting. "Actually officer, I was hoping you could tell ME how fast I was going?" I had the truck inspected the day before and nothing was wrong with it. As soon as we got on the highway it quit working. But hey, if you need, I can email you on how to figure out how fast you are going by timing yourself in-between the mile markers along the side of the road. Who says nothing educational came out of this trip?!

While stopping for lunch (which takes about 90 minutes) the kids were having a great time entertaining themselves. In between the fence, down the sidewalk, trading sodas back and forth.. of course as we were leaving I noticed the sign.
This isn't going to be the first time on this trip we paid absolutely no attention to posted signs!
Our good, brave friends came with us camping. They have 3 little kiddos. This is our Storie on the right and their little Emma on the left. They are the cutest two kids ever. They pose together every time I pull the camera out!
And here are the big boys. Don't you remember what it was like trying to be cool while hanging out with your family? These guys pulled it off real well even while chasing the baby around and making cute noises at him!
I DON'T LIKE TO BE COLD. Everyone within earshot knew it. The only thing I ever dread about camping are the long cold nights. Every Mom who has ever camped with small children, especially ones still nursing or taking a bottle you know how it goes:

You get them all new clean warm clothes and thick socks, you put them all in sleeping bags with their blankies. Then you spend the rest of the night shoving them back in their sleeping bags because they wiggle out as they sleep and lay moaning next to you because it is 35 degrees out. Then the baby wakes up (because that is what they do), you try to either nurse them back to sleep, freezing to death as you do it or you try and give them a cold bottle, (that you tried to keep warm by putting it in the sleeping bag with you) they are accustomed to it being the perfect temperature, thanks to the microwave that you forgot to bring and somehow wire to work in a tent. Once the baby is back to sleep and you try to warm up your sleeping bag again, another child has to go to the bathroom... Unfortunately, all my kids are just as afraid of the dark and the scary woods as I am, so we run together to the bathroom and back again to the tent. Now repeat this a few times and that is how each night goes.

There is a picture of me further down after a few of these nights. WaaaaHooooo, now to the fun part! Each child was in charge of finding me a 1/2 carat diamond, or, if they worked together they could find a 1 carat diamond. I think I deserve it-it's only a 1/2 carat for each child. That's not asking too much? So this is the diamond field at Crater of the Diamonds State Park. But don't let the name fool you-we dug and dug and dug and dug but alas, we found NOTHING! I was starting to consider buying a field in the middle of nowhere and telling people there were diamonds on it, charging them to get in and dig it all up. Then planting potatoes. There were 11 diamonds found the day we were there. NONE by us. For crying out loud, we had 9 children who dig up my front yard any chance they get and we couldn't even find one! Maybe what they needed were my nice dinner spoons-those seem to work for digging up everything else.
This is that picture of me after a few long nights. I dare someone to COMPLAIN! The best part about camping in Arkansas?? We let the kids bring their AirSoft guns! We figured no one would mind! The boys quickly made friends with some other kids from Dallas a few campsites away and hooked them up with a few of the extra guns we had brought. Then we sent them off through the campground to the amplitheatre to wage war. They rotated Emma and Owen in when someone got out. I would have liked to know what the other campers thought of our army of pellet pumping midgets.
So, we switched from diamonds to quartz crystals. Funny how we didn't have a problem finding any of these. Dig Rush, dig!!! Or no warm bottle for you!
Ummm had to throw this one in. This is the view we had of Storie all day. Who are her parents and why do they dress her in too big pants??
Second sign of the trip that we failed to see until too late. This is us.... washing all our crystals in the sluice trough. The last day we drove into Hot Springs and toured the town. It was really pretty, we had planned on taking the kids to some Hot Springs, after all wouldn't you think there would be some?? But no, Hot Springs is named that after the hot springs that you can't go in. There are only old time bath houses for adults. Go figure, if anyone need a bath in this group it was the kids not adults. The kids were a bit freaked out when we toured an old bath house at the idea of a stranger giving them a bath. I have to disagree, at this point in the trip it sounded like a good idea to me.
But the best part of Hot Springs was the forced march we drug the kids on to the top of a mountain with the promise of a lookout tower. Only to get to the top and find out it was $7 a person to go up in the tower and more insulting they (the little hobbit of a person behind the counter pushing the $7 trip to the top like a drug) was the promise of a beautiful view of Bill Clintons boyhood home. Really? $91 to see Clinton's boyhood home. How about we don't. But all in all, the view that we did have was beautiful and the kids had a blast, it was a great time and only 5 kids had ticks. Which couldn't have been that bad because they started a "I Had a Tick" club complete with secret handshake!


Janet and Maya said...

I am ROLLING in laughter. Gotta love camping - or not! So many good things......so many FANTASTIC things and so many bad, bad, bad things.

I struggled to camp with one little girl, you are so brave.

The memories are good!

Tonia said...

I haven't laughed that hard in awhile. You ready to go back in a month or two?

.:Anna:. said...

Should we worry if you take the kids to Buffale Bayou? I think their signs read "Do NOT feed children to alligators"

The Vowles Family said...

Did anyone mention to Paul that they sell Coke in Arkansas?

Kim said...

Reading this post made my day! What a fun adventure...love the new pictures of your family too- your friend did a great job!

Mach Momma said...

You are too funny! So did going to this diamond mine have anything to do with your jewerly business that we should know about? lol
You are a better mom that I. Last summer I flat out refused to go camping in a tent with my 2 yr. and 8 month old. So lovey took the older ones and rode 4-wheelers. We went looking for 5th wheel trailers after that.

The Mom said...

Actually, he was worried because they only had Pepsi. We hate Pepsi, thats change we don't need!