Our family decided to take a camping trip – the first one as a family. Now let me preface this by saying that I have only ever been camping once. Ever. I can’t even recall exactly what age I was. Maybe 10 or 11? I was with a friend’s family. So this is really new to me. I don’t mind the outdoors, but I haven’t been one that likes to stay outside all night, even if in a tent.
I’m not quite sure we thought the whole thing through. We didn’t think anything of camping on the 4th of July. Yes, you read that right. We went camping for the 4th of July. My husband, myself, and our 5 and 2 year old boys. *insert laughter here because I laughed at the idea before and after the fact.*
While we had a fine time getting settled, that first night was something else. As I mentioned, we weren’t thinking this through. It was the 4th of July. We tried to get the kids down at their normal time, around 7:00 p.m. But it wasn’t working. Our youngest wouldn’t stay in the pack and play. Our oldest was wide awake. And as soon as dusk hit, the fireworks were going off. Even though we knew it was the 4th of July, we really didn’t even think about the fireworks! The kids scrambled to our sides with hands over their ears. There was no way the youngest was going down in his pack and play with the loud noises and if we went outside of the tent. Therefore, we resorted to staying in the tent with them. And then to get them to at least lay down on the other air mattress (yup – air mattresses in the tent as that’s how I roll), my husband put a movie on his iPhone. Modern day camping right here folks! This kept our oldest occupied and the fireworks were just background noise. The youngest kept climbing off the mattress, running to us, climbing on us, climbing down, running to the other mattress, and laying down to watch the movie. Repeat that a billion times. Finally, and I honestly can’t remember what time it was, but our youngest ran over to my husband, laid down on his chest/stomach and fell asleep! Thank goodness! My husband then brought him over to the pack and play for sleep. Some time after that our oldest finally fell asleep. This was probably somewhere around 9:30 p.m. maybe? But man that was the longest bedtime ever! And my husband and I passed out after that.
I was *hoping* that the little ones would sleep in a bit in the morning. Normal wake up time is around 6:00 a.m. (or earlier for our oldest). Sure enough, it was shortly before 6:00 a.m. and our oldest wakes up. And then by 6:30 a.m. our youngest woke up. We slowly got going that morning, and touched based with our friends who were camping a few sites away with their kids. We all got our beach gear together and were going to head down to the beach and playground area. The beach at this campground was actually very nice. The water was shallow enough that my oldest could go out quite a bit without it being over his head at all. He put on his swim vest and jumped right in the water! Us parents took turns with the kids in the water. Our friends rented a canoe for a couple hours and we all got turns to take the families out! This was so much fun! At one point, my husband decided to take a trip home because he forgot something (I neglected to mention this whole state park was about 20-25 minutes from our house). He took our youngest with him so that he could nap for a bit. I stayed in the water a bit with my oldest and swam around with him and our friends. I then sat on the beach for a few minutes while my oldest went back out on the canoe with our friends. They came back and my son was dropped off while our friends went back out for a bit. I then went back in the water with my son. Soon after, my husband was back with our youngest. They went to the playground area (which is a pretty neat playground), while I gave our oldest the 15 minute warning. We then packed up from the beach and headed back to our campsites. We all relaxed for a bit then our friends gathered with us at our campsite for dinner. It was nice to be able to hang out with our friends and let the kids play for a while more before bedtime.
Did I say bedtime was coming up? Oh yes I did. So we tried again, but knowing how it went the night before, we had our plans in place. Our youngest wouldn’t go into the pack and play and our oldest was STILL wide awake. We thought for sure since they were outside all day that they would pass out. Wrong. We again, brought out the iPhone and played another movie for them. The same thing that happened the night before, happened yet again. Our youngest ran back and forth and got up and down on the mattress. Finally we hear our oldest say, “Marshall is asleep on my bed”. To which I get up and pick him up, snuggle him a bit more to ensure he’s asleep, and gently place him in the pack and play. He was definitely asleep. Yay! But it still took longer for our oldest to fall asleep. After some time I realize I didn’t see movement, and I didn’t hear anything other than the iPhone and the score of the movie credits playing in the background. I got up and checked. Sure enough, he’s passed out on top of the phone. I take the phone and make sure he’s comfortable. My husband and I finally go to bed too.
That next morning, we kept watch of the weather, as the entire week there was mention of a thunderstorm. I definitely did not want to camp if there were thunderstorms about to come through. We realized they won’t be coming through until mid-afternoon. We decided to go on a short family hike. We got the kids all bug sprayed up and headed down the trail. After some time our oldest started to complain about the bugs and wanted to turn around. I calmly explained to him that bugs weren’t my favorite either and that’s why we put bug spray on. And I said that we were all having fun on this little hike, and reminded him that he said he wanted to do it. We headed back to our car and then back to our campsite to pack up.
We packed up and headed back towards our house.
Although, we made a stop on the ride home for ice cream at my favorite place, Memories. I got my favorite flavor: Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt! The kids had fallen asleep along the way but when we parked, we woke them up and they were very excited. As we were eating it started raining. So thankfully we were making it home before the storms!
So overall, the camping experience during the day was fine and I had a good time with everyone. It was the bedtimes that were the worst part. Who knows if/when we will take another camping trip. But we made it through our first family camping trip! Have you taken your family camping? How was that trip for your family?