Parenting Photography

52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with Backyard Camping

“I think I only took one picture of the boys together this week. I have nothing to share, nothing to write about brotherhood.”

Then I scrolled my phone.

It’s amazing what you forget happens in just one week’s time. Or, like, a day’s time. I could blame someone else, but the truth is that I’m so caught up in smooshing ALL THE SUMMER THINGS we want to do into what little time we have left, I’m struggling to remember the awesome of what we’re doing.

Like camping.

In the backyard.

Backyard Camping FTW!

We didn’t go camping at all last summer. The boys noticed, and were sure to let us know that they noticed. So we started out this summer full of camping intention. And then one thing after another happened, days came and went, months passed, and we found ourselves looking down the slippery slope of two weeks left before the school calendar once again rules our daily, weekly, monthly lives. With our work schedules, packing up and heading to one of our amazing state parks in Ohio didn’t seem do-able.

So we pitched a tent in the backyard. Without telling the boys.

They came outside, after having been told we’d be doing something fun that night, and nearly tripped over their glee.


They thought it was the best thing ever.

They went and got pillows and blankies and Hobbes. They found their flashlights. They asked 87 billion questions. And then they went to play in the settling dusk, chasing lightning bugs, playing flashlight tag, tripping over the dog, and having a blast.

I Don't Know...

You see, these two brothers have a rather early bedtime even in the summer. While they don’t have to wake up and go to school, we (the adults) have to wake up and work. Things still need to be done. Life still has to happen even if the school bus doesn’t arrive in the morning. So they are always the first kids in the neighborhood called inside, washed up, pajamafied, and sent to bed. They read past our nightly prayers and into the darkness, but they don’t always get to watch the sun set, the darkness fall. We have special nights out, but it’s not a regular occurrence.

So that night camping in the yard was really something special for them.


And for us, as the parents.

The slow down, the roasting marshmallows over the grill, the laughter of little boys in the dark, giving away where they’re hiding, the dog confused as to why we’re outside and what a tent is. We eventually sat on the deck as the boys attempted to fall asleep in the tent. For awhile, the giggles and snort-laughs followed jokes about cutting the cheese. Then the laughter gave way to whispers, words not discernible over the hum of late summer locusts. And then… silence.


Little boys… brothers… best friends, asleep.

And really, it was the best camping trip ever. Wifi and bathrooms, the latter of which made for a faster trip at 1:44 AM when LittleBrother decided he had to go. RIGHTNOW. And then the sun rose in our back yard, waking both me and my husband before the boys even stirred.

There are two boys in this photo...

Eventually they woke up, “ordered” breakfast, and we shuffled them inside for cereal and air conditioning. For the rest of the day, they chattered about how fun the camping “trip” had been, how they want to do it again, how they wanted to do it that night, how much fun it is to play in the dark, and on and on.

Win, for both brothers and parents.



2010 Camp Recap: Photo Style

Warning: Picture heavy.

We’re home. We’re kind of exhausted. LittleBrother is sick. BigBrother is way grumpy, and I’m even more behind on work than he is grumpy. But we’re home. And we had a blast.

There were highlights: no trips to the emergency room this year, family coming in from all over, ice cream in the evening and sleeping in later and later as the exhaustion set in near the end of camp. There were lowlights: getting on one anothers’ nerves due to small space, the bell waking us up at 7:00 every morning in the earlier part of the week, the CRAZY HOT HEAT OF DOOM. But the highlights far outweigh the lowlights.

Like cousins.

Hollow Rock 2010

And more cousins. (There were lots more.)

Hollow Rock 2010

And the sound of thunder rolling down the hill into the valley.

Nothing Like a Thunderstorm at Camp

And foam, light-up swords that don’t hurt when you bonk your brother in the head.

Hollow Rock 2010

And perfectly blown bubbles by Daddy.

Hollow Rock 2010

And a moment when LittleBrother didn’t realize I was in his classroom.

Hollow Rock 2010

And my cousin totally being an awesome little girl.

Hollow Rock 2010

And, yes, more ice cream. Way after bedtime.

Hollow Rock 2010

And getting to see their program even though I thought I wouldn’t get to.

Hollow Rock 2010

And this.

Hollow Rock 2010

And this.

Hollow Rock 2010

And this.

Hollow Rock 2010

And us.

Hollow Rock 2010

And about 600 some other pictures of highlights, plus the ones, like snuggling in bed with one boy or another, that weren’t caught by my ever-present camera. (Though, except for the bubble picture, all of these were taken in extreme heat. Apparently you take the good with the bad.) I left camp feeling both rejuvenated and exhausted. We’re trying to find our back-at-home groove, and I suppose we’ll find it just in time for me to head off to BlogHer ’10. And then we’ll find it just in time to go on our annual beach vacation. And then preschool starts the day after we get home.

That means, as of now, we have begun the slippery slope toward the end of our summer. Wow.