Camping doesn't have to be crazy.

3:35 PM

   Last weekend, the husband and I decided to go on a very last-minute camping trip with the girls.  Camping and kids aren't a match made in Heaven to begin with, and throwing "last-minute" in there sounds like it would be a recipe for disaster, but surprisingly, things went amazingly well.  

   I mean sure, they both woke up at one point during the night and wanted to sleep with us, but hey, that's no different than life at home right now, so no big loss there!  I have to give all the credit for this one to Randy, camping was all his idea.  I was a little dubious at first, but life is too short to be dubious, and so we went.  And I'm so very, very glad we did.  I apologize in advance for so many is just not my strong suit to edit them down!  I just want to post each and every one. 

   I see all over Pinterest these lists and lists and lists of things you need while camping with kids.  And while I will admit it's a whole different ball park if you're taking a tiny baby, if your kids are similar to the ages of mine, then the SIMPLER THE BETTER.

Apart from the basic staples like a tent and food, you need pretty much 5 things:

1. Clothes (several changes for getting wet, sandy, etc. and sets for both hot and cold).
2. Blankets (and plenty of them).
3. Potty chair (saves you from the dreaded port-a-potty).
4. Baby wipes and hand sanitizer (obviously).
5. Diapers.

  Skip the entrainment, toys, games and books.  They're usually content with something as simple as going on a walk or throwing rocks into the water.  You're outside, after all, the world's their oyster.  And I didn't even take things like toothbrushes and a hair brush and all that jazz.  It was only going to be for one night and I just made sure I braided their hair real good so it wouldn't need to be done again.  Gross? Grungy? Great? You decide.

   We took sunscreen and bug spray and didn't use either one.  So you don't need those either, I would say.  I bought them little flashlights that they never used too.  So like a broken record here, simpler is better.

  I kept the food as basic as things could possibly even be, eggs in tortillas for breakfast and hotdogs, potato salad, beans, watermelon and s'mores for supper.  We all ate good and had full tummies, and the girls gobbled everything down and didn't complain.  I'm telling you, keep it simple!  You'll thank me later.

   The next morning we went hiking, and I guess I DO wish we would've had some sort of fancy schmancy hiking pack to carry Charlotte in, but we didn't, and we survived.  Jocelyn was a trooper, hiking most of the way, and when she needed a break, I carried Charlotte and Randy carried her.  We kept it short and manageable and only hiked a couple miles.  And being the neglectful mother that I am, somehow the only footwear in Jocelyn's possession right now are sandals, church shoes and rain boots, and so she hiked in flip-flops.  Someone needs to get that poor girl a pair of tennis shoes for goodness sakes.

   Oregon never ceases to amaze me with its breathtaking beauty.  I mean seriously you'd think I would be used to it by now.  I've been to this exact lookout before, seen this coastline, walked beneath the trees, gazed out across the sea.......but nope.  Still gets me every time.

   After our hike we took our tired legs to relax on the beach.  The sun smiled down on us and they just loved playing in the sand.  I may or may not have dozed on a blanket like the awesome, fun mom that I am while Randy kept them entertained.  Thank God for daddies.

    If you would have told me a few years ago that one day I would go on a camping trip with my husband and two small children and later say (and I actually did say this) "I think that was one of the best weekends of my life".  I wouldn't have believed you.  But it's true, it ranks right up there with the other best times of my life.

   It truly was the little things....watching the girls tackle Randy in the tent, roasting marshmallows from a stick carved by a caring neighbor,  seeing them loosen up around animals and even *gasp* pet a few puppies, watching them talk animatedly about things like "hiking" and "the beach" and "camping" and just hoping that somehow, somehow this will be one of those moments that freezes in their little memories.......the kind of memory that you can still see, smell and taste years and years later.  I just loved every minute of it.

And yes, it was work and no, it was not perfect, but it was delightful.

  I guess they aren't the only ones growing up.  For a long time I felt like I always needed to be around a lot of people to be happy.  I'm ashamed to admit it, but for most of my life, staying at home with my family never sounded as appealing to me as a good party.  I wanted to be wherever the action was, and with whomever that meant.

   I would jump from group to group of friends, always restless and skittish of putting down roots.  I wanted the freedom to be able to fluidly morph and meld into whomever I wanted to be at the time, and whatever group of people kept my attention.  So the thought of sitting at home with a husband and children never sounded quite as exciting or thrilling as the thought of traveling, meeting new people, making new friends, and living life as One Big Party.

But I'm happy to say that people can change, and God's not finished with me yet. 

   I am amazed at how much I am growing to love our times together as a family.   No one else, no crowds of people or cool parties, no nights in the city or fancy restaurants.....just the four of us, doing simple things and living in the moment.  

It's really, truly, all that I need. 

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  1. Dubious is a good word. I'm glad you reminded me of it. ;)

  2. Ah camping. I didn't grow up doing this but husband did and so we do. Kids love it, so why not. :)

  3. I love camping with the family. With four children it's a lot of work to get there, but so relaxing while we are there it's worth the extra work. I do like some books and games, but my children are older and we always played games together as a family, and I enjoy reading to my hearts content while the children are playing. For sure though I agree with you simpler is better when it comes to camping. And I always think while I'm there why don't I live like this all the time a little more simpler ;-)--Ladonna

  4. Great post! We did this a couple weekends ago and plan to do it again this weekend. Wonderful way to make memories- for us and the kids!

  5. Honestly, your girls are just too cute!
    Also great post! I always find it odd when parents have to bring a whole array of things to entertain the kids while camping. Seems to me there should be plenty of things to keep a child busy in the great outdoors :)


  6. Your pictures look amazing! Is this out at the coast? I love camping with my little family, it makes so many great memories!


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