Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Adventure #357: Camping with children

I used to think that the entire human race could be easily divided into two catigories:

  • those who love camping


  • those who hate camping.

Summer camping trips were fantastically fun to me growing up. Playing in the lake with my cousins, card games by lantern light, finding socks in the bottom of my sleeping bag from last year, scrambled eggs by a smoky morning camp fire, and our family's old canvas tent that was as big as our house. Those are just a few of the fantastically fun times. They were all good memories. I considered myself a camping LOVER. 

And then I had a child of my own and went camping with her. I didn't sleep at night. She had to be held all the live-long day and everything baby-care related was 146 times harder and dirtier.

I had to revamp my idealistic view of camping because, well, it's a lot of work for all the non-child participants. My new categories look like this:

  • Those who really, really dislike camping because it's a lot of work and why in the world would you voluntarily leave the comforts of home?

  • Those who love camping for the simple adventure of it. These people are known as "hard core." Even children don't slow them down. They still tumble out of their sleeping bags refreshed with smiles on their faces.

and then there are....

  • Those who love camping because those they love love camping. Confused? It's more of a chosen love for camping. They put in the work, live through sleepless nights and bathrooms that are 100 yards away on the other side of a noisy tent zipper. All to enjoy the campfires, good food, great conversation, beautiful outdoor views, uninterrupted family time, and the permission to eat an entire bag of marshmallows without anyone raising an eyebrow.

We went camping over Mother's Day weekend. It's a tradition (started by my husband's family many decades ago) and we've been nearly every year since we got married.


Camping in the rain in 2005 when Emmaleigh was 6 months old.


I was pregnant with Mandy and had to get up about 15 times during the night to pee. Good times. Good times.

Camping with Mandy (18 months) and Emma (4 and a half) and me pregnant again. More mid night porta-potty runs.

Looking through all these pictures makes me realize how fun those experiences were. The difficulties morphed into good times somewhere along the way. Even though it was hard work. Even though tears were shed, porta-potties were used too often, and the nights seemed to never end.

I also realized I've been wearing the same coat for 7 years. Good times. Good times.

Last year we started the tradition of finishing off the Mother's Day camping trip with a night at Eagle Crest, a nearby resort. Again this year we packed up our campfire smoke infested belongings, wiped the kids down with wet wipes and drove over to the resort. More family. More good food. Indoor plumbing and electricity (not to mention cable tv) really made my weekend.

So, which of the categories do you fall into? Are you a camping hater? Are you a camping LOVER. Or a camping lover because you have to?



Kellie said...

I think you're brave to be camping in May and a saint to agree to camping for Mothers Day!

I enjoyed camping growing up but my husband and I didn't start camping together until last summer which was an interesting experiment. I don't mind giving up the comforts of home and I LOVE campfires, but I do require a toilet of some sort. Even an outhouse is ok. I can live without a shower but don't make me live without a toilet.

Kari said...

I mostly love it. Although it is tons of work. I now require an air mattress...hubby won't sleep on it...hmmm. He says I'm a pretty good sport..better than he expected...I guess that's good right?
we have reservations for Honeyman at the dunes in August, two families worth of camping...4 kids, three dogs, 4 adults, good times ahead! my favorite camping food is downing a whole can of pringles without any raised eyebrows!

Sara said...

I don't fall into on of your three categories...I just "like" it, not love, not hate and not love because I have to. I didn't grow up getting to camp much since my family didn't, but the couple times I did get to go as a kid I loved it (one time I got to go on the famous Mother's Day weekend camping trip, but I got to sleep in Grandpa and Grandma's RV with Jayne :). Now, I just like it since, as an adult, it's a lot of work and not all play like it was as a kid. Also, for me to enjoy it, the weather has to be good and there has to be some type of toilet.

Sara said...

P.S. But I haven't gone camping yet with a baby...if I did, I might fall into the "camping hater" or "love because I have to" categories. :)

Season said...

I'm not sure what catagory I fall into. I think I love it but I've only been three times. Once as a kid sleeping on the boat on a lake. That was awesome. Once 9 months pregnant with my 3rd baby peeing in 30 degrees outside 4 times a night (but the days were awesome family time). And the third time was last summer on the church campout in the fall. It rained the whole time, tent flooded, 2 babies, 2 portacribs, and 2 bed wetters, and yet we still had fun. I guess I'd have to say I love it if I can survive all of that and still have a good time. Now that I'm reading this maybe there's something wrong with me.

Grace said...

Love, love, love it! Although I don't think I wake up at the crack of dawn smiling! I just told David today that we should go camping soon!

Melanie said...

Totally amazed that you camp with the kiddos! I love it!! God willing maybe we can do a safari camping trip together someday. ;)

Shawna said...

First...loved the on to the question at hand...

I dislike camping. Last time I camped I swore I never would again. I did. But insisted on renting an RV as I was pregnant and sick everyday and wanted my own toilet and ac. So that doesn't count does it?

Now that I have a little one, I want to go again, for the same reasons you write about. Loving camping because those you love, love camping. What a great way to see the cup half full, even if full of dirt.

Great post and great traditions!

Eric & Jenni Birch said...

I love camping. I have been know to camp in the backyard to train the kids and for them to gain the fun experience of camping. I don't mind that one bit. I like my toilet (because it's blue) and there is always bed inside as a backup :) Jenni B

joyq said...

good times, good times. This was my favorite post so far. Just saying.

I'm a lover and a hater. Its a complicated relationship.

Linds and Manda said...

I love the coat...really...I used to have one just like it. It didn't look anything like yours but similar because it was in every winter picture taken of me for about 12 years! :) We will go camping with Libby and Liam in July for 5 nights. I feel a good blog posting coming on about that one and we haven't even left yet. I also loved camping when I was a kid. We've only been out with Liam one night two summers ago. I'm guessing we are going to have our hands full with both of them. Especially our cute little drama queen of a 18 month old. :)