My current post is close enough that my older sister can come visit on a day trip, which is great because we haven’t seen each other on a regular basis since she left for college. But this past weekend, I offered to babysit my nephew Frankie while she and her husband went away for the weekend. I know, I’m a great sister aren’t I?

Before I headed over there, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I was going to do with a seven year old boy for two whole days. Order pizza and watch movies? Of course. Play video games? Heck yeah! But what else? I don’t know what seven year old boys are into. I asked around at work and they gave me a few ideas but then I remembered: Frankie is obsessed with pirates. And pirates bury treasure, and geocaching is like finding treasure!

I ran it by my sister, who was cool with it as long as I remembered the bug spray and sunblock, and checked Frankie for ticks afterward. That was just good sense, so I agreed to her terms. Then I found a couple of little trinkets (a fridge magnet, a Mardi Gras bead necklace, a challenge coin from my boss, a little action figure that came in a cereal box) and made sure to throw them in with my toothbrush and clothes and stuff.

I waited until my sister and brother-in-law left before I let Frankie in on the plan. I told him about how there are real life ‘treasure hordes’ all over the place and that I had a map. I wish you could have seen the way his face lit up. I am officially the coolest person he has ever met!

I showed him the app and let him pick the first location – a park near enough that we could walk. I coated him with sunblock and doused both of us in bug spray, tucked my SWAG (stuff we all get) into my pocket, and we headed out. It took us longer to get there than I thought – I forgot how slow kids move even when they’re excited about something. But we had the park pretty much to ourselves, which is always better for geocaching.

We got to the general location and then I read my nephew the clue so that he could figure it out. It was great to watch him find it! We opened up the container and there was a log for us to sign. I let Frankie write his initials in it, and then we looked through the SWAG items so he could pick what he wanted. He chose a bouncy ball and we left the challenge coin.

We went back home for dinner and a shower. It was a good night, and Frankie was ready to go early the next morning. There were a couple more nearby so we hit them all. Frankie got some cool loot and we left everything we had. I was hoping there would be a tracker in one but there wasn’t. Oh well, maybe next time. And trust me, Frankie was insistent – there will definitely be a next time!