Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bad Night. Good Morning.

I have three kids, so I figure I have three days worth of Mother’s Day. At least that’s the way it works in my house. So I gently encouraged my husband with stern looks and sharp comments to reschedule engagements and hustle on Friday so that we could head to the coast. As soon as he came home, we threw the tent, sleeping bags, camping bin already packed with essentials, and kids into the hatchback and took off.

We hadn’t been to the beaches since last summer and I was looking forward to plopping my kids in the sand and throwing the Frisbee with my hubby.

We found a campground right on the beach, south of Walport, OR, were we could hear the waves as we sat around the fire. We arrived at our campground right before dusk, set up camp, roasted some mallows, and tossed the kids into bed.

Needless to say, the excitement had not yet worn off and there was much crawling around, giggling, and talking going on in the tent. Apparently a bouncy, empty air mattress is just too tempting.

Good thing we didn’t have any neighbors on our entire loop! Honestly, my children’s voices turn into white noise after 8pm.

By the time the tent jibber jabber had died down, my husband Ryan and I had talked and laughed and just sat in the dark hours. The fire, salty air, and sound of the waves was intoxicating.

This was the calm before the storm.

No sooner had Ryan and I put out the fire and crawled into bed than my 2-year-old Bjorn decided he was done with his nap and wanted to play. Nothing would quell his joy as he giggled and shouted, “Seeping . . . Bag! Seeping . . . Bag!”

Why hadn’t I listened to my husband and brought the portable crib? Instead I insisted on bring a big kid sleeping back for Bjorn. Needless to say Bjorn was happy with my decision. And from 1:00am to 6:00am, the entire campground heard about it.

At one point, I had flashbacks to of an episode of “Man vs. Wild.” Bear Grylls was trying to sleep on a makeshift raft on the ocean, pleading and praying for morning to come. He must have felt the same way I did that night. Okay maybe I’m exaggerating. My night was much worse!

As soon as the darkness began to lift, I scooped up Bjorn and clumsily stumble out of the tent down to the beach.

My toddler looked wide-eyed at the waves as if for the first time. He sat in my arms .
and mumbled, “Water . . . Pretty.” I smiled and took a deep breath for the first time since 1:00am.

As I carried my son by the surf, pointing out crab, shells, birds, bugs, and sea foam, the sun began to rise behind the mountains and kissed the tops of the highest waves.

“Thank you Lord for my excited little boy!” I prayed earnestly, even though I had been praying a much different prayer only hours before. If I’d had my way, I would be still be sleeping and would have missed the low light of the beach with the sun glowing through the mist on the mountains. I would have missed the sigh and giggle of my son as he watched seagulls speed over the water.

I would have missed stomping fluffy piles of sea foam with my toddler and seeing him bravely pick up a large crab (thank goodness it was dead) and hurl it into fast approaching wave, fearlessly.

Bjorn grew sleepy and wanted to lie down in my arms. He kept his head craned around so he could keep his eyes fixed on the sea.

“Are you watching the water?” I asked him. He sighed sleepily, “Pretty . . . Water.”

The sun continued to rise and soon we were eating by the fire, playing in tide pools, throwing the Frisbee, and of course washing sand out of toes, ears, and little kid crevices with freezing cold water.

And no, Bjorn didn’t sleep any better the second night.

Still, this was the best Mother’s Day ever. I love my family, exhausted or not. And in moments when I would trade my kids to the devil for a few minutes of sleep, God opens my eyes to the beauty around me that I would miss if it weren’t for my wonderful, sleep deprived family.


Easy cooking, few ingredients, cheap, and tasty – finger lickin’ chicken at home or over the camp stove. If you are camping, pack chicken frozen to help keep the cooler cold. Once you are ready to
make dinner, just throw chicken in the pan whether fully thawed or not.

4 chicken breasts
2 tbsp butter
½ tbsp seasoned salt

Fill skillet with about 1 inch water. Add butter and simmer until melted. Add chicken and seasoned salt. Bring water to boil. Cover with lid or foil and simmer until done.

Serves 4

This non-recipe recipe is easy and perfect for camping or the backyard fire pit. The browner the better! A little burn only makes the corn sweeter – flame on fire!

Corn on the cob, shucked
One schmear of butter per ear of corn
Tin foil

Roll smear butter on corn. Roll up in tinfoil. Place over or near flame. Listen for doneness – butter will sizzle when nice and hot. Let sizzle continue for several minutes. It’s not an exact science since every campfire is different. Keep moving corn around to cook all sides. When corn is slightly over cooked and a few kernels brown, it becomes even sweeter.

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