Friday, March 25, 2011

Our first camping trip alone...with 4 kids.

This is the prelude to our camping adventure.  Everyone is feeling really adventurous.  Last night Bethany said she couldn't wait to see lions, zebra's, giraffes and baby bears in the jungle.  Dez was asking if he could go with Ben to the store for a few last minute items.  When Ben said "yes" Dez quickly asked "Can I drive?"

It's the day of the trip...
We got in the van and headed out.  Not one mile down the road, Bethany screamed "I have to go potty!". Someone else screamed, "I'm thirsty!"  Anne-Claire was in tears.  I thought "Oh this is gonna be soo FUN!" :)  I remembered Gary Smalley calling camping "organized disasters", and I was beginning to think he was right. Everyone did calm down, until we were out of town and Ben says something vauge and about not being sure about which direction to go. Anne-Claire replies with a "Oh, I get it, you don't know where we are going". Maybe another reason to call it an organized disaster.  We did finally make it, though and we didn't get lost.  We pitched our tent.  I'm sure the expert campers around were laughing.  Ben and I felt the need to call all of the pop-up and fifth wheel campers snobs.  We ended up only staying one night, but it was long enough to learn a few lessons about camping with children.  Here's a few things you should remember if you are feeling adventurous:
1)Packing light is impossible, don't even try.  
2)Hunting for firewood is an actual activity.  Its like hunting for Easter eggs.  It takes hours and everyone can do it.    
3)  If your two year old does not like small spaces, he may not like the tent.  Especially if you are not in it.
4)  If the two year old is sometimes afraid of the dark, he will not like sleeping outside.
5)  Not all of your children will be outdoorsy.  Bethany kept saying she just needed a slushie and a Happy Meal. She was the first to go to bed and the last to wake up.  She did not sing the entire time.  She was dreaming of French fries. (5 minutes after leaving she burst out in song and it was about salvation!)
6)  Camping is a great break from vanity.  Personal hygiene is totally different, but I do not wear make up.  I pull out my "grungies" to wear for the duration of the trip and I do not care if the children's clothes do not match.  I am totally relaxed.
7)  Because I am outside, Cheetos can be consumed and I do not worry about Chesidue--my arch enemy in the mission of Motherhood. Riggs is showing off his Cheeto fingers in the picture above.  He is proud.
8)Each meal is an event.  It takes a while to start a fire or light up the grill.  It takes a while to cook it.  It takes creativity to keep your plate, napkin, and drink from blowing away. Everything will taste better because you are outside.
9)  The age gap is narrowed.  Riggs remembered to bring his light sabers.  He gave one to Dez and dubbed him as his "padawan".  I think he taught him everything he knows about being a Jedi while using the army of trees as his evil nemeses.
10) Having to walk to the bath house with two young girls makes every bathroom break a race.  Another event.
11)  Throwing rocks can also fill time and everyone loves it.
12) You will smell like a smoked turkey.
13)Flashlighting is a verb reserved for camping trips only.
14) Bonfires have the ability to make even the most active children stop and stare.
15) When your kids are laying in their beds at night, say a big "wooow" to the gazillions of stars in the night sky and then say "This is the best day of my life!", you know that it was worth it to persevere past the first mile.  After all, I have learned something new about my kids and that is worth camping again one day.
Dez taking a nap on the way there!

Chilin' around the fire!


  1. I am in TEARS from laughing so hard. This is a terrific post, Ashley. I love it. I laughed out loud (and nearly woke up my snoozing family) when you said "You will smell like a smoked turkey." That is so true.

    You are one talented mama. I can't wait for Chris to read this.


  2. That story is EXACTLY why our family camping adventures was actually one family camping adventure. LOL Children are a gift from God and so are hotel rooms!!!