Friday, July 24, 2009

McCarthy State Beach Park

Well it's been one week since we spent the worst night of camping and I feel I can finally talk about it. Last Thursday we packed up half our house and left on a four day camping trip to McCarthy State Beach Park just outside of Hibbing on Side Lake. It was raining when we left. It was 54 degrees also. The boys, Shelby, Bear and I were headed out of town at 11:30 am full knowing that we couldn't check in to our campsite until 4 pm. Bear insisted that we just get out of town and get there. At one point I heard him say "I don't care if we sit in the car for 3 hours until we check in, let's just get out of town". You are thinking what I'm thinking? Yeah right! You really wanna sit in the car for 3 extra hours while the kids patiently wait until we can check in to our site? I don't think so. Well luckily it was cold and rainy so people had cancelled and we got one of the best sites in the whole park! We booked it for the whole weekend. Then it was on to finding Debs family a site. Another cancellation, could we be so lucky? Yep a great site just down the road from ours. Forget calling anybody with your cell phone, zero service but great for texting constantly. We let them know that they are settled for the weekend. We immediately realize the 2 bundles of firewood we bought are not going to be enough. We start the fire to warm up the kids and start setting up the camper and unloading all that crap!
Most of the weekend was spent around the fire, sitting in chairs with umbrellas over our heads. The kids would play in the dirt/sand of our site. We would read Harry Potter to Shelby. It was comforting and miserable all in one breath. (which you could see in the air almost all weekend!)
We got the kids all settled in the camper that night after showering and warming up. Thank God for warm showers! We made the beds all up in the camper, played with the lacing cards (which happened to be one of three toys I actually brought for the kids to play with!) and listened to the rain come down on the camper. Part of me is so thankful that we are not in a tent but the other part is so damp and cold it's depressing.We quickly realize that the temperature is dropping and the camper temp and the outdoor temp are the same balmy 35 degrees! So Bear and I are up every hour or two to light the propane stove in the camper to warm it up. He is freaking that Emmitt is sleeping in the pack and play on the ground level and I am whispering in my possessed voice that we are all going to die in our sleep from the fumes. So he gives me both boys to sleep with and he sleeps on the lower bed to keep an eye on Shelby. All night we are up and down warming everybody up. I can't say I have slept with Emmitt on my chest since he was an infant and it was kind of nice. Once I realized I was going to get no sleep at all I went with the plus side of cuddling with the boys. About 3:30 am we are laying there awake listening to the kids sleeping soundly and Emmitt, clear as a bell, says Uh-Oh in his sleep. Bear and I, delirious from the propane and lack of sleep, start laughing. We get the giggles so hard the camper is shaking. We just wondered what on earth Emmitt was dreaming about. I love how the cook stove has the huge warning label that we plainly ignored.Again, so thankful that I brought my huge 12 cup coffee pot from home. We made two full strength pots that Friday morning!Bear had the idea Friday to get out of the campsite and head to Iron World. Which is now known as the MN Discovery Center. It was the perfect outing for the day. We headed to Hibbing as soon as we all had warmed up in the showers again, had breakfast, got in the car with the DVD player going for the kids. The boys were so off schedule the whole weekend as we watched Emmitt take morning naps again and Parker not have a nap at all or a 2 hour nap at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. I wish at this point I had realized that the schedules didn't matter but that didn't happen until later that night.
We spent the whole morning and part of the afternoon at the Center. We were warm and dry and one of a few families there so the kids had free reign over the whole place. Before getting to the Center, we had made a list and headed to Walmart. I spent $120 on crap that I already had at home that we needed for the trip and didn't bring. I bought things like: beach toys, another umbrella stroller, a new chair for Shelby-she sat in hers and it broke!, a can opener, a flashlight that works, jiffy popcorn, detangler for Shelby's poor well watered hair and most importantly a SPACE HEATER!!!
The kids enjoyed the Center. It has changed in the last 20 years. I had been there when it was Iron World on a Girl Scout trip.
Here is Parker shooting deer out of his deer stand.There was a whole section on Poop. What kid doesn't like poop? I know, classic right?We ate lunch at the cafe at the Center for under $20 for 5 people! It was delicious and warm and dry....then we headed back to camp. The kids actually played with there new beach toys and it kept their attention since they were new! Those toys will stay in the camper. Grumpy Camper
Wet Camper with a shot of the 1979 camper in the back.Friday afternoon took forever to pass by. The kids were giddy for the Lepper's to show up. We kept telling them not until 9 or later would they be pulling into town. I kept trying to get my 2 boys in bed to sleep. Which they whined and fussed for 2 hours. Shelby was emotionally distraught and missing her mom. Parker is driving her crazy asking why she is crying. Emmitt wouldn't go to sleep. Finally Bear busts into the camper shouting for everyone to get out and go sit by the fire. He didn't care if they got dirty, if they never went to bed, if they ate a bag of Cheetos he wanted them to stop whining. Magically, him freaking out worked! Once we got past that point-the point of forgetting the routine while you are camping point-they were just fine.
The Lepper's pulled into the camp ground about 30 minutes after our breakdown to see us all playing outside by the fire. They set up and the kids eventually went to bed while the adults hung out by the fire.Parker brought his fake snake along to scare people with. Shelby got Emma really good one night with it. All weekend Parker made the snake a house and a place to hang by the fire with us. Saturday morning he actually took a whole mini box of raisin bran off the breakfast table and "fed" it to his snake.Saturday we took part in the scavenger hunt the Park put on. Emmitt had fallen asleep so Bear volunteered to hang back in the camper and nap with him. Then Parker fell asleep at the end of the hunt and Emmitt was waking up so Bear got to nap again! It just isn't fair. He took a 3+hour nap with both kids. Then, little by little everyone drifted off to their beds to sleep. Pete and I took Emmitt to the beach. Then the girls woke up and came over. It was so cold, but Pete had to go in the water. It was nice at least to play with the new toys in the sand.Apparently somebody brought in an aquarium snail and released it long ago and the beach is covered in snails and shells. Creepy at first, but fun to see them and all the shells they have outgrown.
Sunday...finally the nice weather we should have had with us all weekend. We got up, started packing and told the kids to hit the beach. We were the first ones there. The water was cold, but beautiful!
Emma in the monster maskPete floating around. See what's in his hand?Another Witch who thought the muggles couldn't see her wand.We went over and over the latest Potter film. I kept warning the kids that Bear hasn't read the books or seen the 6th movie and to not give it away, but one of them slipped. Eventually he started asking questions and at one point sighed Well I guess I don't need to see the movie now. But I am taking him to the matinee on Sunday.
But the beach was covered in washed up sticks that looked perfectly like wands. The kids had fun picking out the perfect wand. Then they all figured which Harry Potter character they were going to be for Halloween! I think we all voted on Chris being Hagrid! They had fun.
I helped bury daddy in the sand.
Bear volunteered to haul all of the food and supplies down to the beach (across the road) for lunch. We all let him. He started a fire and cooked "deer brats" that everyone loved. I forced everybody to eat all the food we had so that we didn't take any of it home with us.
Auntie saw that Emmitt was looking pretty zoned out so she grabbed him right up and rocked him to sleep on the beach. They both enjoyed it.
Yep, that is my baby sleeping on the side of the beach on an inner tube and towels.
Parker having a blast in the water


The lake is gorgeous. You can walk out there forever with it going no higher than your waist. Parker walked out with the kids and uncle to toss the football around and never did need a life jacket on. Emmitt was content to just play in the sand on the beach and not have to go in the water, ever.

We packed up while the kids watched a movie. Parker fell asleep before we left. Bear and I folded down the camper and he "let" me drive home so I could practice with the trailer. We stopped for huge ice cream cones and headed home. Shelby shared her cone with Emmitt. Then he was out for the ride home. By the time we pulled into the driveway they were all awake again and we started unpacking. The worst part. We learned what to bring and what to leave home. We now have just for the camper items that will stay there. We are pretty sure we will go again this summer. We have booked a weekend next year too. The kids will be even easier. Just thinking about it, I won't need the pack and play for Emmitt and he may even be out of diapers! Wouldn't that be nice...hopefully we get a trip with nice weather too.

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