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.