Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Family First: Camping

We decided to take the plunge and try our first EVER family camping trip.

And it was a huge success!

Here's why.

The weather was PERFECT.
 High in the 80's, low in the 50's.
Plus, it's early enough in the year that there were no mosquitos.

 We had three happy kids who were up for an adventure.

We found a little creek where they could throw rocks.
And pick wild onions,
because what kid doesn't want to do THAT?
The even tied them to end of sticks to go "fishing."
(Grandpa G and Uncle Mark really need to come visit.)

Caroline thought she was big stuff,
walking across this log.
She thought she could do it all by herself,
but she finally let daddy help her.

 Set up not one, but TWO tents.
Brandon got the little blue one all to himself.

The boys got the fire going for us.

 The girls dug for worms.
And found a "cute" little one that they 
kept as a pet for a few minutes.

 We roasted hot dogs.
(I packed myself a PB&J.)

 And marshmallows.
(Love this pic!)


The big kids thought it was way cool
to smash this rotting log with a mallet.

Everyone slept great.  Except me.
The girls even let us put them to bed and then we hung out
around the campfire with B-train.
I was such a light sleeper and woke up about sixteen times.  Boo.

We had donuts, fruit, and chocolate milk for breakfast in the morning.
No wonder the kids had fun.
They've never had this much junk food in two days!

It was a very fun adventure.
Despite the face Brandon's making in this picture.

Lessons learned:
*Next time, I want to stay two nights, because it is a whole lotta work for just one.
*Andrew warned me to bring extra socks, which was very smart.  But, I learned that you also need to bring extra shoes.  Because when two of your three kids step in the creek, you don't want to put those nice dry socks into yucky wet shoes.

Any other tips for us rookie campers? 


  1. the show pony sleeps outdoors! and says she'll do it again! for TWO nights! these are major headlines, folks!

    of course, the show pony had to bring her show pony hat even on a camping trip. someone please tell me, have you ever looked that fabulous when you've gone on a camping trip? i don't think so!

    and kids, please stop picking wild onions! it makes your hands stink like onions, and then every time you want to snuggle with me, my preggo nose just can't take it!! :)

  2. Camping's a blast, but we usually only go for one night, and as you mentioned, it's a whole lot of packin' and unpackin' for such a short time. And quality of sleep for me (always) is abysmal. But still worth it!

  3. You guys are such troopers! You trip looks so fun and even makes me want to camp...well if someone else does all the work.

  4. How fun! I love camping and your kids are the perfect ages right now. I've camped pregnant and with little babies - not recommended.
    I like staying 2 nights, but then I have to bring stuff to do. Board games or a bug catching jars or a book. Bikes too if you can. Are you a bacon or sausage eater? That's yummy on a camping morning. Either way it's a whole lot of packing and unpacking unfortunately.

  5. I've just barely started to come around re: camping, mainly because I sleep terribly, too. But now that the kids are older, it's definitely more fun. Nothing tastes better than fire-roasted marshmallows!

    Did you bring an air mattress? That always helps me to sleep at least a little better.

  6. Did you see moth man?

  7. marshmallows over a fire are one of the best things about camping. or having a gas stove for cold winter non-camping nights. ;)

  8. I could almost smell the campfire and feel the morning brisk air from your photos. What a great time it looks like you had! We started off as camping wanna-be's and had the tent, bags, lanterns, and then it just petered out to nothing and we didn't ever, ever go. The last time we camped we memorable though - it was on the beautiful Oregon coast - too gorgeous for words to camp in the pines and the walk over the bluff and there's the Pacific Ocean! Amy was just a little over 2 years old and she literally walked on top of us for an hour when we went to bed that night - it was hilarious. and a crow woke us up at 6:00 a.m. and I tried to throw my tennis shoe at it and made Dennis double over laughing at my feeble attempt. Ah the memories. Andrew always did love fire!!

  9. Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun!
    It's been a while since we had a family camping trip...time to schedule one :)
    Oh, and I agree it's too much work just for one night!

  10. I particularly enjoy camping when it involves a very long hike and/or fishing. That's not for everyone though. It sounds like Dave is more worried about being eaten than looking for other things to eat. (Kill or be killed Dave. Have you learned nothing from the LOTR movies?)
    Back to camping. For me it's about finding comfort in the wild. When I started having to do a lot of overnights with Scouts a couple of years ago I decided that it was all about sleep. Now I bring a big air mattress and sleep in two sleeping bags zipped together so I can move around all night. I usually set up my own tent as well. I sleep like a baby.
    Good times.

  11. I am absolutely, positively a two-night minimum camper. Do you have a Food Saver? If not, you are missing out on one of the best kitchen appliances ever made :) It is great for Frugalistas and you can't beat it for camping. I can vacuum seal the food and throw it in the cooler w/out worrying that the food will get gross as the ice melts.

  12. Ahhhhhhhh.....camping! It's what makes life worth living. That's all we've done for vacation as the kids were growing up. Grandma and Grandpa Hiatt took us camping all the time when I was growing up. Our favorite spots are the Oregon coast and the Olympic Peninsula in WA.

    I can email you my excrutiatingly detailed camping list I've compiled over the years if you'd like. Here are just some things I do to be comfortable:

    1. Wear ear plugs. The squishy, waxy kind you cram into your ears.

    2. Drug yourself an hour before you plan on going to sleep. (Guess I can't sign this as the Normal Mormon Aunt. Woops). Over the counter or prescription. Whatever works.

    3. Wear socks at night.

    4. Take the T-shirt you wore during the day and pull it almost off you but keep it on your head like it's your hair. (Neck opening framing your face). That way your head doesn't get cold.

    5. Have Andrew deal with a child that gets up in the night or pretend like you're asleep.

    6. Get the best air mattress money can buy OR buy one of those tri-fold thick mats (mattresses) you get at Costco. They're a bit bulky and take up a lot of room but well worth it if you can squeeze it in.

    The next morning you will be rested and warm (enough) to enjoy a day of hiking. It gets easier and easier as the kids get older until they're finally able to set up the tent with Drew. The first time we went tent camping Russell was only about 18 months. We let the kids out of the car and did what we could to set up camp, but Russell ended up crawling around and eating...dirt. So we just took the car seat out of the car and strapped him in it and placed him in the middle of the action so he could watch us. Now he's 6'6" and can do anything. He amazes me. Best family memories are family camping memories. Happy camping! Love, the (ab)Normal Mormon Aunt Julie