We had another first this week. Camping! Well, a first for the kids of course, not for me. I went camping all the time as a kid, with a camper, and parents who took care of all the packing and logistics! Fortunately this time I went with my friend Elizabeth who camps regularly and took care of most of the packing and logistics :) I brought food and kid entertainment, two things I’m pretty good at.

We decided to stay a little close to home (only 40min away) and start with just one night. If everyone had fun we figured we could try a two-night trip next time. My friend Lauren and her lovely Bella came up for a few days and came camping with us too. Alan thought we were all crazy to pass up comfortable beds and electricity and he opted to stay home. He also had to work both days, of course.

reading with lauren

Reading "Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping" with Lauren.



Lauren set up her tent in the living room, to try it out. The kids moved right in :)

We arrived Tuesday afternoon in the midst of a giant rainstorm. It wasn’t raining at my house when we left, but we apparently drove right into the center of the storm. The kids and I sat in the car for half hour, Lauren and Bella in her car, and we waited for Elizabeth and/or the rain to stop. When she got there the grownups pow-wowed in the rain (I REALLY need to invest in a raincoat!) and decided to go back to her house instead. I buckled the kids back up and we drove way. Moments later, in the parking lot, we were met with blue skies and sunshine! Another quick pow-wow and we decided to turn around and try to get the tents up. Elizabeth has a mansion of a tent and a canopy to put over the picnic table, so we would be dry enough.  We got the tents up and the cars unloaded before the rain began again. Elizabeth somehow managed to get a fire started in the rain while Lauren cooked dinner on the portable stove (I tell you, she has everything!) and I corralled the wild ones in the tent for stories.

at the site

At the camp site, the kids passing around bug bottles to begin their first mission.



Lauren and Eve setting up the canopy for the picnic table.


food tent

Lex was fascinated by the portable kitchen Elizabeth has. The box he's looking at here had spices and oils and dishes and tea and lots of other useful things.

The rain let up a bit, the kids ate PB&J under the canopy, Alistair got sick and went to bed (poor boy!) and my kids were DYING to make s’mores! I tried to get them to wait until the rain stopped, but as I could make no promises that it even would stop, I eventually relented and we made the world’s worst s’mores, in the pouring rain. Imagine the three of us, no rain coats, huddling around a fire. Two eager kids, long curved sticks, giant marshmallows swinging wildly around. The whole process was so hurried and chaotic that they ended up with barely warm on the inside, somewhat burnt on the outside marshmallows, chocolate that didn’t melt, barely fitting within the graham cracker confines. The kids were happy but I was a little embarrassed that that was their first introduction to s’mores. Oh well, there’s always next time. :)


Biiiiggg bite! We had some really big marshmallows!



I was surprised that Lex almost finished his.

I just remembered that they had s’mores once before, at Parrish’s house last summer.

Eventually the rain did go away. Lex had a blast exploring the woods around us. We had nice boundaries (a creek and a road) so the kids could wander safely. He took tons of pictures, they both did their scavenger hunts that we made. We walked around the whole campsite a bit, made a few trips to the bathrooms, and suddenly it was nearing dark. I got the kids in pjs and washed up and then we laid on a blanked under the stars (and occasional rain drips from the trees) and read stories by the gentle glow of their glow sticks. Blue, pink, yellow shining down on the book.

I got the kids tucked in, laid with them for a few minutes, then left them to talk quietly with each other (threating all sorts of things if they were too loud and woke up Alistair!) and I joined the ladies by the fire. We worked on s’mores (for them) and wine (for me) and chatted late into the night. That was my favorite part :) Then I crawled into bed to catch a few winks, interrupted once when Eve crawled in with me and once again when Lex joined the party.

We woke up at 5:30 and cuddled for a bit, listening to the rain drips on the tent. It wasn’t really raining, much, mostly just drips from the trees above. We had oatmeal for breakfast and tried to keep the kids quiet until a reasonable hour. We walked down to the lake and beach area, played on the playground, watched Bella swim, and played in the sand. By that point it was about 8:30 in the morning. Seriously.

at the dock

At the dock, checking out the boats.



Bella swimming. She is a super sweet dog. It was fun to have her camping with us.



Lex made himself comfy to watch Bella in the water.



This girl loves the sand.


at the beach

Playing at the beach. It was starting to warm up and the sunshine felt good on our damp selves.


rock climbing

We discovered a cluster of big rocks which just called to the kids.
"Climb us, climb us...."


king of the mountain

He's king of the mountain!



The boys


silly kids

Silly kids!

The plan was to pack up the campsite and check out by 11am, then head to the beach for lunch and swimming. However, my kids were exhausted and totally disobedient, and I was exhausted, and Alistair was feeling sick again, so we decided it would be best to just pack up and get going. The sun was shining now, of course. A beautiful day. We packed up, did some more exploring, climbed some giant rocks, checked off a few more scavenger hunt items, and piled into the car at 11am. I was expecting the kids to fuss about not getting to go to the beach. In fact, I was hoping they would fuss so they would make the connection between poor behavior and getting a consequence, but alas, they were tired and I think they were happy to be leaving.

We made it home. Lauren, Lex, and I had lunch while Eve crawled upstairs for quiet time and fell asleep on the floor. Lex had quiet time and Lauren and I got more time to chat before she had to leave. We said goodbye to her and Bella, then settled in for a slow afternoon. Around 4pm I found Lex just dozing on the couch. I woke him up :) You can’t fall asleep at 4pm! I tried to engage him in something, but eventually only managed to get him upstairs for a shower. We had dinner and everyone passed out pretty early, in a dry house and comfy beds :)

The kids both want to go camping again, so… that may be in our future… on a sunnier day!

This makes me so happy I decided to link up to this week’s
Happiness Is… blog hop over on Rub Some Dirt On It :)


4 thoughts on “Camping

  1. looks like fun was had by all, and it’s a good thing the rain didn’t get you guys down! It’s always a plus when they want to do that again!

  2. What a wonderful post, full of great memories! You guys rock for braving it in the rain; I would have just slept in the car ;) But it sounds like a trip the kids will never forget, and I bet it just gets easier every time. And great photos, too!

    Thanks for sharing this with us at Rub Some Dirt On It!

  3. Pingback: Happy August! « Calm and Chaos: Life with kids

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