Father-Son Camping in the Backyard Gives Mom a Night Off!

T and C camped out in the backyard last week, complete with a fire (note the hose nearby, RMT’ers)!

Last week I got a rare and somewhat impromptu adult night to myself! I went to our FREE community summer concert in the park with our neighbor and dear friend (and T’s “auntie”) while the boys stayed home and did their own thing. Little did I know just what things they’d be up to while I was out.

C and T camp overnight in the living room for the first time last June (2011). I thought I wrote that one up before, but turns out I hadn’t started this blog at that time, so here’s a photo from that milestone father-son event!

T is so happy. He and Dad are going to camp overnight in the backyard for the first time together!

C is very proud of the backyard campfire he built for himself and T. I of course could not depart for the evening without voicing my, um, concerns about fire safety etc. etc. I know C knows what he’s doing, but that fire wasn’t that far from the side of the house (as you can see!). I am happy to report all’s well and nothing was burned during this overnight event other than the wood that was slated for burning (and some hot dogs and marshmallows).

Yes, C and T camped overnight together in the backyard! They’ve camped in the living room before, but never outdoors! This was T’s first camping trip, and I call it a trip because C made quite an effort to replicate a real campground experience right in our own backyard (literally!).

T and C sit back and enjoy their “campfire” in the backyard during their Father-Son overnight outdoors!

I guess T had been asking Dad about building a fire on the ground outside not even days before this all came to pass, and C had been brainstorming how he could safely do this without burning down the house. Thankfully C had some large foil trays from Costco, good quality wood to burn, newspaper thanks to our free weekly paper delivery that morning (thanks, Grunion Gazette!), and some olive oil for C to put on the paper so it could burn slowly to start the fire. Don’t worry, RMT’ers, the fire-starting experience also gave C a great opportunity to talk to T about fire safety (notice the hose right close by) and how only adults are in charge of the campfire – or any fire for that matter!

The boys cook hot dogs for dinner during their backyard camp-out together.

What’s a camp-out without some roasted marshmallows? Thankfully there was an entire unopened bag on hand for the boys to enjoy during their first overnight in the backyard together.

T checking out one of the roasted marshmallows from his Father-Son camp-out in the backyard. I can’t tell if he thinks it’s too burned or not burned enough. I know for me this isn’t even close to being done (I like ’em charred black and gooey).

T kicks back as one of his marshmallows cooks over the backyard campfire.

And it isn’t a camping overnight without cooking dinner over the campfire, which is exactly what the boys did! They made hot dogs and corn on the cobs for dinner, along with marshmallows for dessert of course. T really liked the marshmallows (of course). I am so glad I picked up those long wooden skewers on a whim from a recent shopping trip (can’t for the life of me remember where I got them though, sorry!).

T hunkers down in the tent during his first backyard overnight with Dad.

After dinner and extinguishing the fire, the boys turned in around sundown, with stories and toys in the tent. They also lasted outside all night long until 7 a.m. straight up, all despite reports from C of just how noisy our neighborhood is until about 1 a.m. and then from 4:30 a.m. on (yeah, not the best sleep of C’s life but I guess T was zonked, and because C is the great dad that he is, he wearily followed through).

Under the leadership of Conductor Larry Curtis, the Long Beach Municipal Band celebrates its 103rd year with its annual free summer concerts in the park. Comprised of professional musicians from all over the Southern California area, the band convenes for a few weeks every summer and performs shows free of charge for the Long Beach (CA) community. They are doing so this summer either with very little or no public taxpayer funds; the band plays on thanks to private donations, which are mostly collected from attendees during the shows themselves along with some larger, private corporate sponsorships here and there.

Just a portion of the picnic dinner I put together for myself out at the summer concert last week. I had all of this at home ready to go on a whim. I guess it’s a good thing we moms do all that grocery shopping all of the time after all!

So while my night was not as milestone-worthy nor as event-filled as the boys’ was, I did get a fantastic evening filled with adult conversation with all kinds of friends from my neighborhood whom I just happened to run into out at the show. The best part about said conversations: I was never once interrupted by a child or husband (it’s the little things, RMT’ers!). It also was the Long Beach Municipal Band’s “Let Us Entertain You” concert, which featured all sorts of music from various movies and T.V. shows throughout the decades (very fun!). Oh, and my picnic dinner was delicious, including the bottle of wine minus one half-glass that I enjoyed throughout the evening, too. And to round out the evening, I returned home to two sound sleepers outdoors and a bed all to myself all night long (oh yeah!). To say that I enjoyed my night off “work” would be a severe understatement. Thanks again, boys, and so glad you had a blast, too!

For those wanting to catch the last of the FREE concerts put on by the Long Beach Municipal Band this summer, it’s not too late! The last three shows are TONIGHT Wednesday August 1 at Los Cerritos Park; Thursday August 2 at Marine Stadium (shows stage on the green near the entrance to the parking lot off Appian Way, same spot as the Wednesday Farmers’ Market); and Friday at El Dorado Park (free area). All shows begin at 6:30, but it’s advisable to show up a little early to get a nice amount of picnic space to enjoy the show. These concerts are fun for the whole family, a date night, or a friends’ night out! This week’s theme is “Latin Fantasy.”