Camping, take 2

Well, folks, I think it’s official.  We are a camping family.  Last year left us with some significant doubts but we were heartened (mostly) by our trip last month for J’s birthday and were actually looking forward to our 5th annual Community Group campout.  From the moment we got pregnant with Isaiah we’ve been saying that Summer of 2012 would be our year and it turns out we were right.    A look back at the weekend in pictures…

Despite a decent slope to the ground, our group campsite was pretty awesome.
Some sun, some shade, two firepits, multiple picnic tables and we all got to be together.

With Jack as catcher and Daniel (not pictured) as an incredible pitcher,
Isaiah actually managed to make contact with the wiffle ball 3 times Saturday morning.
I’ve got to admit, I was sort of puffed with pride watching him hit that ball.
What can I say?  Kid’s a natural!

The boys were pretty pumped about their sunglasses

We were camping at Tolt MacDonald State Park and our campground was right on the river.
The boys had fun tossing rocks, some of our gang floated down the river and there was a lot of swimming

See the purple hammock just past Jason?  Maybe one of the more memorable (painful?) moments of the weekend was Saturday evening when Jordan was lounging in it while we all chatted around the campfire and the thing just split apart and dumped him onto the ground!

Gryffin scoping out the food situation

Isaiah spent a good portion of the weekend running.
He’d say “I go jogging” and off he’d go, sometimes alone, sometimes chasing the bigger boys
(and keeping up!) on their bikes

Here’s his classic stride

Taking a quick breather.

Owen (4) – new to the group but he made fast friends with Gryffin and Isaiah
and the 3 were inseparable for the weekend

And after the kids were tucked into their tents for the night, there were more shenanigans to be had.
In the spirit of the Olympics we staged our own decathlon.  Here’s Jordan bench-riding

 Me showing off a cartwheel

Trying to coach Jason in an elbow stand.  Things were ok…
…until this happened

All in all a great weekend.  And we’re thinking about squeezing in another trip or two before summer in Seattle comes to a close.    Here’s a link to my camping checklist (for car camping with potable water) and a few tips for when you’re camping with little ones…

  • Keep your general routine going – they will stay up later to be sure but keep naps and bedtime routines roughly the same.  At naptime and bedtime, we put the boys in the tent and then (mostly) let them fend for themselves.  They usually talked and played with their flashlights for quite a while before falling asleep.  No big deal.  They were in bed and we had some time on our own.
  • Bring multiple changes of clothes and socks for your kids.  I brought 3 changes per day per kid.   They will get dirty.  Really dirty.  Just roll with it and change them when things get out of hand.
  • Bring a lot of wipes.  I used them a lot for cleaning up food spills on their clothes and wiping their feet before they got in the tent.
  • Hand sanitizer.  Bring some.
  • Camp with other kids, if possible.  This was probably the biggest bonus for all of us this time around.  With Owen there, the boys had someone to play with and they had a grand time doing their own thing.  A win-win.
  • Bring a ton of towels – large, small, medium.  Junky ones that you can use to clean up anything.
  • Best toys this year?  Bikes, water squirters, a couple bins that I filled with soapy water so the boys could wash their toy cars with sponges.   I also usually bring sidewalk chalk, magnifying glasses, glow sticks (doesn’t get dark up here until after the boys are in bed though!), and a couple books.
  • Be flex with food.   This was kind of hard for me at first but, especially when camping with other folks, we let things slide with food.   We bring a few fun treats that the boys don’t normally get (juice boxes, granola bars) and tried to say yes to as many food requests as possible (hot dogs?  sure!  animal crackers?  sure!  potato chips?  sure!).
  • Be ready for the let down and some angst when you get home.   Your kids will be amped up all weekend, and for good reason, but that makes coming home and getting back into the routine a little rough at times.   You have a ton of laundry and unpacking to do and your kids are melting down fast.  I find that if I am expecting the let down and some tantrums upon our return, I’m not as bothered by it.     Take your time unpacking and easing back in to the swing of things.

Hopefully we’ll be able to get back out there soon.  I’m curious to see how we do when we are completely on our own, instead of with a group of friends.  It will likely be more work for us without all our friends there to help with the boys but Jason and I haven’t had time around a campfire alone since 2008 and we’re ready for it!  As far as camping goes, I think the Rusts have arrived!