Camp Mom Goes Into the Woods

This is a cross post blog experiment with dear friend and fellow blogger Sheila from Mary Tyler Mom.  You can read hers HERE.

Once upon a time.

I wish.

It was a glorious Friday morning in Chicago.  The kind that demands you get outside and partake in the fresh air and the beauty that is nature.  And if you’re like me and my friend Sheila (aka Mary Tyler Mom), you bring your kids because we can’t very well leave them at home now can we?

Camp Mom was in session.

We joked last night via text message, OH HOW WE JOKED, about needing to bring rain-boots because the grounds could be muddy as we had so much rain a couple nights ago.  But this morning we both arrived at our destination saying laughingly, “oh it is too hot for boots” and “we should be fine”.  HA HA HA HA HA.  Oh we were so naive.

We took off on our course, staying to the right because BICYCLISTS and DOGS and HORSES and HORSE POOP oh my!  We were catching bugs and being schooled on the difference between moths and butterflies and generally having the lovely time Sheila and I always have together – heightened only because all our kids like each other too.  My boy is enamored of her bigger boy and her littler boy is enamored of my boy and my girl, well, she just takes it all in.

We stopped along the way to partake in a donut or four because no outing is complete – at least not for my children – without a donut you see.


We veered off the path and took a slight turn into the woods where the bugs seemed to grow bigger and sprout teeth but then look!  A trio riding horses with a kind smiling lady up front who gave us a friendly look and hello – OR SO WE THOUGHT.

She had said nary a word but looked at my children sitting down to let them pass, when she said with that same grin, “THAT IS POISON IVY” and carried on her way.

THANKS SO MUCH KIND STRANGER FOR YOUR CONCERN all with a smile and not yet a warning of what was waiting for us ahead.

We laughed and washed off and hoped for the best, when we took our next steps feeling the ground grow wet and soft beneath our un-rainbooted feet, we laughed more saying, “Maybe Jeremy was right” and silently cursed the thought because we don’t curse in front of children.


Once upon a time.


We were knee deep in mud and muck and the stroller – did I mention Sheila had her littlest in a stroller – was sunken to eye level.  We were too far in to turn back.  We didn’t know exactly how much farther down this path we had to go to arrive at dry land again.

We debated the options.  Cool cucumber moms that we are.

This is what cool as a cucumber looks like. Also, should be noted, this was taken BEFORE we were covered head to toe in poison ivy, horse poop and mud from the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Meanwhile the older, wise boy was way ahead watching my two littles who were now out of sight and my yelling only scared a few critters in the wildlife I’m sure.  “Watch the little kids!”, we both cried.  And he did, as a good, responsible kid does.

Why didn’t that evil woman on the horse warn us what was ahead when she smiled her wicked grin about the poison ivy, IS THAT HORSE POOP I JUST STEPPED IN?

“Want me to carry him and you can carry the stoller?” I asked.

“No, I’ll just keep going.” She said determinedly.

I tried to keep an eye on Sheila and the stroller while also climbing my way to my own kids and found them swimming in a mud pool, much to their utter squealing delight.

Happy as pigs in ____.

Poor Sheila was sweating.  Her bright pink cute gym shoes, now grey.  She soldiered on.  She persevered.  She showed her boys what it is to be physically strong.

“I am just pulling from the front” she cried, as she grabbed one last most  valuable possession wet wipe to try to pull the 2 feet of caked on mud off the stroller “It’s fine, I’ve got this, you go see your kids are alright.”

As I slogged through the mud IN MY FLIP FLOPS AND BRAND NEW PEDICURE FROM LAST NIGHT I heard a bell ringing.  Sheila’s boy is fond of this bicycle bell right now and it sounded far off in the distance as a beacon.  HOPE.  THERE IS HOPE IN THE MUCK AND THE MIRE! CARRY ON!

When I came upon my children – my angelic, clean, well behaved children – they were waist deep in the mud and water and probably about to take a drink when I yelled let’s go see if this is the way out!  They ditched all their things – you know bug catchers, backpacks, pants, shoes, hats, food, dignity and took off up the hill without a care or a worry as to poor Sheila and her baby in the mud with their bell.

Careful the things you say, children will listen….though it’s fearful, though it’s deep though it’s dark and though you may lose the path though you may encounter wolves……

Sheila mentioned she may have blurted out something that rhymed with muck and I’ve never been so appalled in all my life.

A kindly gentleman happened upon us.  WHERE WAS HE EARLIER when that devil she-lady who was half horse never gave us any indication of our impending doom crossed our path straight into hell?  He stepped right in and helped get them through the last part of the drowning mud pit of Hades and onto the holy dry land.


FREE!  They were free and we all re-grouped and ran into the parking lot not giving a rip about cars or bikes or dogs because we were FREE!  We scampered though the fields wishing we had bonnets because we were the Ingalls playfully running and falling down that flowered field of daisies.


Our spirits were lifted and refreshed.  We diapered Sheila’s stroller wheels with plastic bags to get it in her car to get home to be hosed off.  The kids stripped off their muddy clothes and after taking a naked lap, were strapped into the vehicles and we were all on our way.  I hosed them down upon our return home and we are left with the memories.

I asked as I put them down for naps, “Did we have a fun adventure this morning?”

“YES” they shouted, naked yet clean for the next two hours in their beds, “THAT WAS SO MUCH FUN LET’S GO THERE AGAIN!”

And that right there is all that really matters, isn’t it?


Into the woods and out of the woods and home before dark.  I WISH!


p.s. No one has poison ivy and feel free to contact Sheila and I to be on your next season of Survivor – Camp Mom at any time.  We’ve seen things. Things city gals should never have to see.


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