Friday, August 10, 2012

we came, we saw, we CAMPED!

For Christmas last year, Santa brought our family our very first tent and sleeping bags for everyone.  Ever since then, the girls have been asking us WHEN we would go camping.  Now, let me explain a little background.  I wouldn’t say that I grew up in a “camping family,” but on occasion we would do a little camping.  In college, I went once with an outdoor recreation class and a couple times with friends (one of those times was the scariest camping trip ever and I am still scarred for life by it).  I call myself a “fair weather camper.”  It can’t be so hot that I can’t fall asleep because I’m dripping sweat in my tent and it can’t be so cold that my teeth are chattering and I’m scraping frost off the tent in the morning.  But when the weather is perfect, I do enjoy a little camping.

Patrick, on the other hand, is not a fan of camping at all.  Over the years, I have tried to convince him that a very SHORT camping trip (cook dinner, go to bed, breakfast, morning hike, and go home) could be fun.  I knew that I didn’t have the patience to camp with really young kids, but now that our girls are 4, 7, and 9, I thought that maybe we had arrived to where it would be doable.  But I still hadn’t been brave enough to actually PLAN a trip.

Enter my friend Emily.  She called us up last Thursday and said, “Hey do you want to go camping tonight?”  TONIGHT?  Very little notice, but maybe that worked in our favor—no chance to think about it too much and reconsider.  I told her that all we had was the tent and bags, but nothing else as far as camping equipment goes and she said that all the food was taken care of.  I realized that this might be the perfect FIRST camping trip for us because not having to worry about the food would remove a lot of the planning/prep work.  So I said YES!


It was only 30 minutes away, which was also nice for our first time.  It was a nice treat to find that there was playground equipment right on the campsite, and our three girls had a blast with our friends’ three girls.  There wasn’t one fight because there was nothing to fight over!





Patrick couldn’t make it because of work, but the rest of us had a perfect first camping trip.  The weather could NOT have been better—not too hot, not too cold.  Loved it.

I learned two things about camping from this trip:

  1. Going with another family makes it a lot more fun.  Since there’s not usually that much to do at a campsite, having more people there makes it feel like a playdate!
  2. In order for me to want to go again, I need to get a cushiony mat to go under my sleeping bag (I could have done without waking up every hour cuz my back hurt)!  Amazing how resilient kids’ bodies are—they all slept great!

Thanks to the Allreds for making it so easy for us!  They not only cooked, but helped with the setting up and taking down of our tent.  Should we make it a yearly thing?

And I can’t end this post without giving props to my little Emery for “holding it” from 4:00 pm till 9:00 am the next morning.  She is very picky about where she will use the bathroom and had NEVER in her life been willing to use a toilet that didn’t flush.  We tried to convince her multiple times, but her fear of the toilet was greater than her need to go.  Finally, after holding it for 17 hours and just as we were getting ready to leave the campsite, she decided she had to go bad enough that she was willing to try out the “weird toilet,” as she called it.  SUCCESS!  Hopefully this was her breakthrough and the next time we are at an event like the fireworks, we won’t have to walk 12 blocks to use a hotel bathroom ever again!


Cecily said...

Even better than a cushy pad is a cot. They're not convenient for backpacking because they're heavy, but they're awesome if you're traveling via automobile to your campsite.

The Dahle Family said...

Way to go, Meredith!! Looks like you're ready to come visit us in Alaska. We have to use "weird" toilets or just the wild all too often. Even Mom did it...

Marliese said...

Fun, fun....that is my kind of camping as well. Love the nature and the outdoor experience for the kids--but hate all the food prep work and trying to get little ones to sleep.

Glad you made it work. Ask Emily if she'll plan a facilitate a camping trip for our family when we visit? ;)