Let’s Camp!

This past weekend, the hubs & I took our kids tent-camping for the first time.
We actually purchased a 1975 pop-up camper from a friend when I was preggers with my oldest. 
But every spring, we would open the thing and would encounter one or more of the following:
A rabid army of big, black ants.
Mold.
Mice.
Mildew. 
Wasp-nests.
Spider-nests.
Need I go on?
Let’s just say… even after a yearly bleaching, we didn’t enjoy much camping in it. 
So last year, we sold it, and I used the money to go to BlogHer. 
Money well spent.
However, we still wanted to take the girls camping, so we used the hubs’ birthday money to stock up on a big tent & camp-mats (since every air mattress we ever owned left us flat on the ground at 3am).
A friend of ours works at a golf-course & campground just 20 minutes away from our house. We figured that would be the best place to go for our first test-run tent-camping experience. Because, let’s be honest, I wasn’t ready to teach the girls how to pop-a-squat when they needed to pee in the middle of the night. 
Yes, I’ve done it.
My vagina & I prefer indoor plumbing.
But, only when necessary… boys have got to be easier to take camping in the woods, yes? 
Our girls are 4 & 7, which I figured were perfect “camping” ages. 
They were so excited. 
I wasn’t thrilled about how hot it was last weekend. It hit 90. I am such a puss about the heat… I get bitchier with every degree above 80. But, it was dry, so it really cooled off nicely at night. 
I’m glad we went.
However, despite being relatively responsible 4 & 7 year olds, I had forgotten just how klutzy they can be. The girls just don’t watch where they’re going when they are on a mission to find… whatever it is they are exploring at that given moment. 
This was our biggest challenge of the weekend.
I felt like we were chasing 18 month-olds again. 
Keeping them out of poison ivy.
Keeping them from stepping right into the firepit of death.
Keeping them from falling into the creek.
Keeping bugs from biting them.
Keeping the sun from burning their stark-white skin.
Let’s face it, once your kids are old enough to know general limits around your house, yard, even family & friends’ homes – maybe around 2 1/2 – 3 years old or so… they are much easier to let loose… so you can relax, enjoy your beer and… let loose!
But since my kids weren’t accustom to things like poison-ivy and campfire pits, I had to turn into “that Mom” several times. It was not easy for this paranoid Momma to relax. 
But I have a feeling that it will continue to get easier as we camp more often… 
Do you camp with your kids? 
What do you camp in? Tent? Pop-up? RV?
Where do you enjoy camping? State Parks? Backyard? Etc?

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8 Comments

  1. Abby Briggs
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    We are taking our kiddos tent camping this weekend in Muskegon. Spencer has slept in the back yard, but never anywhere “real.” Getting progressively more nervous. Must bring lots of beer!!

    • Posted May 22, 2012 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Yes — we brought a cooler full of beer!! Will you be at the state park in Muskegon? You’ll have less to worry about there. You’ll be very close to us… and we only have plans for a day-trip into k-zoo on Sunday. Let us know if you’d like to make a pit-stop at our house… or a neighboring brewery on your way in or out of town!

  2. Posted May 22, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I grew up camping and hated it for every reason you mentioned. So when my husband turned out to be a camper I was wary. However his family are camper campers. My kind of trip. We bought a membership to Outdoor Adventures and I love it. It’s expensive but really fun for our family and the clean restrooms and showers plus a travel trailer with room for indoor activities in case of rain make it worth every penny.

    • Posted May 22, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      I grew up camping in a pop-up & a motorhome. Believe me, I do miss having a little more of a bed, and I *really* wish my folks would’ve kept the motorhome! But let’s be honest here, my family of 4 = fair-weather campers. So, if it rains, we’re out. We’re not hard-core campers. So, tenting works well for us right now. However, if we stumbled upon a camper of any sorts for cheap, and in excellent condition, we wouldn’t turn it down!!!

    • Laura T
      Posted May 23, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      My husband & I have camped since we first met and our 4 year old daughter went on her first camping trip at 6 months old. We started out in a tent, but after the first camping trip with thunder, lightening & rain coming in buckets – I was done camping in a tent. We got our first trailer from my step mom; a very cool 16ft 1970s Scotty. We had to put about $1000 into repairing it before we could camp, but we had many years of good camping trips in it. Then we got a golden retriever and decided that we needed a bigger camper and somehow we ended up with a 5th wheel. Had many good trips in that, but sadly we had to sell it last year but we all miss camping and will probably buy a new camper next year.. Wishing you many great camping trips!

    • Posted May 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      That’s awesome, Laura!! I think if we had an actual camper instead of a pop-up, I would’ve been willing to put a little money into it to make it “campable” (if that’s even a word.) Where do you prefer to camp?

    • Laura T
      Posted May 25, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      We spent most of our time at the State Parks. We did go as visitors to Outdoor Adventures, but it was TOO busy for our tastes!

  3. Posted May 23, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    I firmly believe in diva camping (i.e. hotels). 🙂

    I spent 3 days tramping through the wilderness last week… at the end of the day, we hiked our way out of the canyons and spent the evening relaxing in the hotel’s hot tub & then wrapped ourselves in our comfy little blankets. I’ve learned through years of camping (almost all tent) that while I love hiking, canoing, and bonfires, I HATE camping!

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