Monday, September 19, 2011

A-Camping We Will Go

After talking about doing this for at least two years, last weekend we went camping! In a tent! Away from our backyard! After the soccer game, baseball game and morning yard sale, we threw some gear in the back of the van - really, it happened so fast I think we threw it - and headed out for our first night in a tent away from home.

Never having done this before, we made some rookie mistakes - one being we forgot to bring camp chairs, and a table cloth would have been nice - but luckily this was the one night in the last month where there was a chance of rain and it actually DID NOT RAIN. It was a camping miracle!

So we arrived at the campground at about 6pm and had an 1-1/2 hours of daylight to get the tent set up & everything situated. Matt had the kids help him with the tent while I tried to unload & organize what we DID manage to remember to bring...
 Jason had fun running in circles around our site...
 and our home for the night was set up! The camp site next to us had an enormous family of foreigners who proceeded to get louder as the night went on - by the time 11pm quiet time rolled around, I think they were singing. We at first thought they were German, but after running into them all at the bathroom, Matt informed me they were either Japanese or Chinese. Go figure! Singing Asians sound German! Side note - we have no idea where all these people slept, because as we were leaving, we drove past their site & didn't see a single tent or camper there - just a big van, and some easy-up tents. Interesting...
So our night was a bit crazy and rushed, as we'd gotten there so late - we had no chairs to sit on, so Matt and I took turns hunched over the fire circle trying to get the damp wood to burn. It's rained almost every day here for what seems like a month, and the bundles of firewood the campground sold were damp, even though they were stored in a covered building. Thank heaven for cotton balls and vaseline, and a hubby who is handy enough to think of these things. The kids were all wound up because this was all NEW! AND EXCITING! to them and it was tricky to try and get them all settled at the same time. We ended up having them each tell us some stories, and while I knew Evie would do great, William and Jason both really surprised us with the things they came up with! None of which I remember of course, but I do remember really enjoying every minute of it.

So everyone got to sleep, and even though Matt didn't, I slept GREAT! Until 5am when Jason woke up because he'd peed in his sleeping bag. We got him into dry clothes & tucked him in with me, and before long he was back to sleep. Matt and I finally got up around 7, and got another damp fire going; Matt then set up the little stove he's bought for backpacking, and we made our first meal outdoors, a pot of french press coffee and a big pot of oatmeal. Jason said it was the best oatmeal EVER!

I really enjoyed watching the sky get lighter through the trees...
And clearly I need to work on my camp wardrobe, especially footwear.
My little buddy was the last one up, and of course Evie was the first. She's a pro at camping after two summers overnight with the Girl Scouts.
Sarah was surprisingly cheerful that morning!
Once everyone was up and had eaten, we cleaned up & then explored a little bit before packing up to leave...
There's a beautiful lake at this park, and although it was too chilly for swimming, it was a beautiful sunny morning and there was a great playground for the kids where they could be as loud as they wanted at 10am and not disturb anyone else.

William has already asked when we can go back for 'two sleeps', because he really enjoyed it - I asked him what he liked so much about camping, and he said eating oatmeal outside - he'd like to have dinner next :)  All in all, our 24 hour camping adventure went about as well as it could have - we made some mistakes and learned some things, and may be ready to try two nights in the spring. We'll see! It won't be so daunting next time.


  1. Great post Jen-remember, hand sanitizer makes a great firestarter too!

  2. How fun!

    Couldn't much of this be duplicated at your fire pit...but sleep inside?

  3. We made two mistakes camping this summer. We forgot chairs once, and sweatshirts another time. We love camping and are planning more trips next summer!

    Glad your 1st camping experience wasn't too bad! Hopefully you'll remember stuff next time. Make a list, that's what I do!

  4. Seriously, the first time we went camping it was the same way. We went at the last minute in September...the kids LOVED it and now we go for a couple nights in a row. More than 3 is too much I think.
    They love it! You look adorable!
    Did you read my post in 09 I think where we camped next to a lesbian convention? I think that's what was going on anyway...UGH. lol

  5. Awesome! I want to go camping... I've been once :P I know i could "rough it" but I know my 12-yr old would be a total whiner that I'd wish I'd left at home :P

    Looks like such an awesome time :)

  6. You are a better mother than I. Despite the fact that all my boys go on canoe trips at camp we have never once gone camping as a family but you might have inspired me.

  7. I think I would need to do 2 sleeps. That's a lot of trouble for a 24 hour trip (b/c I'm sure I would end up doing all the packing) but I must say that I LOVED looking at all your pics. Your kiddos are so stinkin' cute! I'm glad that it was successful! (Oatmeal is my fav!)


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