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friday night camping

Sandwiched between our trip to New York, my little brother and his family coming for a visit, and my shoot in the Bahamas (May has been busy!) we took a quick camping trip with the kids.

Part of why we moved to California two years ago was so we could be close to my family. My parents live about ten minutes away, and my older brother lives less than a mile away. The cousins love each other, and sometimes when I feel badly that C doesn't have a brother, I am so glad he has two older cousins who help fill that role.

So when my sister-in-law asked if we wanted to go camping, we were in.. despite our crazy May. We had three families in all... perfect for divying up all the gear that comes with camping. (And especially helpful when you get to the campsite first and realize you have forgotten all of the firewood. Oops!)

JR was in charge of buying a tent and came home with this little number. I took one look at it and reminded him there are 4 people in our family. To prove to me that his tent was the perfect size, he set it up in the living room the night before the campout.. and yes, all four of us fit (barely!). I love the feeling of having my whole family snuggled in together.

The most exciting part of camping for the kids is the campfire. They love gathering the sticks for the kindling and letting us know when we need to add another log. We kept it easy.. hot dogs for dinner followed by s'mores. All the kids went to bed around 8 (or at least got in their tents.. we could hear them talking and giggling for the next few hours) and the adults sat around the campfire and talked.

In the morning we had omelettes, made to order on two little camp stoves. My friend had chopped up all the ingredients (like peppers and onions) beforehand and she and her husband set up a little omelette bar. Delicious!

We took a hike in the morning in the hills around the campsite. Though I think my kids are pretty tough, they were both wanting to be carried about 20 minutes into our little nature walk. By the end of the hike, they were both in tears. I coudn't quite understand it until C came down with a fever that afternoon and the doctor told us it was strep throat. Bee came down with it a few days later. I feel a little badly about that hike..

I'm amazed that just 25 minutes from where we live, you can be in such beautiful countryside. May is the perfect time to go camping (at least in Southern California). It's not too chilly at night, and not yet hot enough that you are boiling in your tent by morning. I'm always glad to see that the kids can entertain themselves when we leave them to their own devices, they spent most of the morning looking for ladybugs and chasing squirrels and helping take down the tents and carry things to the car.

It does take a bit of gear to have a comfortable campout (this pregnant lady was very happy for our air mattress). And sometimes it seems like a lot of work for just one night. But will my kids remember that they went camping as a family? Will they have memories of different campsites and the funny things that happened along the way, the way I do from my childhood? I'm doing my best to make sure they will.

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Reader Comments (11)

I grew up camping here in So Cal. By the time my husband and I had children, we'd moved to camping in a motorhome and now a fifth wheel. We need to take our girls out and sleep in a tent! They have no idea the fun (or discomfort, but their bones are young). :D It is nice to see that you make time for your little ones in the midst of your busy schedule. That's no easy feat.

05.29.2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissaP

Bravo for you on the camping! I married into a camping family on my second marriage and my four children readily adapted to the rigors--and delights--of the experience. The campfire was also their favorite. Our first hike was about like yours, but my sons have both gotten their families (our grandchildrne) out camping, and have climbed a lot of the hikes at Zion's Nat'l Park (Angels Landing, etc.). It has paid off.

Excellent post--brought back a lot of good memories

05.29.2010 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

That looks like a lot of fun! We live in so. cal and have been wondering about camping (have yet to camp down here since moving from SF). May I ask where you recommend? Thanks!

05.29.2010 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

way to go! it sounded like a easy-going, enjoyable camp-out. and pregnant, too. thank goodness for air mattresses! and pleasant weather!=)

05.30.2010 | Unregistered Commenteramy

oh fun, I love camping, and have such great memories with my family camping as a kid.

05.31.2010 | Unregistered Commentermichelle

Hi! I've been following your blog for a little while and thought this post would be the perfect time for me to introduce myself (so I'm no longer a 'lurker':)). I absolutely love your blog. The first day I read it, I looked back and saw the "wish jar" post. That day, my daughter said something really cute and I wrote it down immediately for the wish jar that I hadn't yet created. Now, the jar is 1/2 full! Thank you for the inspiration.

I too, live in SoCal. and LOVE camping. In fact the picture on my profile was recently taken by my son while on a camping trip to Julian! We have camped all over CA, but our favorite yearly summer spot is on the coast of Sonoma...absolutely beautiful~ vineyards, beaches, valleys, forests, and farmers markets galore for us to buy/cook our own food @ night...couldn't ask for anything more. I look forward to reading more of your past and all of your future posts!

You're absolutely right, the kids don't remember or even realize all the work it takes to go for one night, but the memories are worth every bit of time spent shopping, packing, setting up and taking down and then unpacking!

06.2.2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

When your kids get older, it'll be less work for you! When I go camping with friends now, I remember all of the things my mom showed me along the way for storing food or hygiene products or cooking things over a fire. I look like an expert (which I most assuredly am not!) because my mama was so thorough in explaining why we did stuff.

06.3.2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

How lovely. (And congratulations!) We have camping on our agenda for the first time this summer. We are so close to the mountains, how can we not?

The big difference is that I am dreading sleeping in the same tent with the kids - as a family we don't sleep well together. Small sacrifice for the greater good!

06.4.2010 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl

We camp out every year with the girls in the Adirondacks and while it does require planning (we forgot a knife the first time), it is such an amazing experience for the kids!

So much so, my oldest daughter has asked for an almost camp out for her birthday party. We are setting up a tent in our backyard, creating a campfire with them collecting the wood and playing old games like kick the can and telling ghost stories. I love the idea of finishing the night with some eggs over the campfire to make them feel they have really spent the full night.

Congratulations too!

08.5.2010 | Unregistered Commenterhadley

Camping has always been a family favorite. It's an incredible experience when we all have our gear packed up and head out to the woods. The outdoor fire always bring us closer especially on cool nights. Kids always love the fire but so do the adults. Cooking is no longer in the kitchen but over the open flames. It's great when everyone can help out to create those long-lasting campfire memories.

Please visit us at www.OutdoorFirePitsUnlimited.com

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