I can count on one hand the number of times I slept in a tent when I was younger. So when my husband thought it would be a great idea to take our 2 and 5 year olds camping last year I thought he had lost his mind. But I was convinced to go along with his plan and it was OK but we got next to no sleep and we didn't camp nearby either (learned our lesson and stayed local this year). It was exhausting. This year was an improvement! Note that we are currently doing recreational family camping, not "real" camping. There is a bathroom and running water nearby! The only way to do this with young children!
Friday was rough because I was constantly worried about whether G was sick. She was fine and after a bit we went into full packing and getting ready mode. Lots of errands and packing and the Brian came home. We left as quickly as possible and checked in at the camp site around 6. One positive point is that the playground was RIGHT next to our campsite. So the kids played on the playground while we set up the tent. They were back quickly though because they were excited to "help". Afterwards we cooked hot dogs at twilight. It was actually pretty nice (though I'm a bit nervous about having my kids near fire so I'm an overprotective camper - I'll get there I'm sure). Then we made a sticky mess of ourselves and made smore's -definitely the highlight for the kids! Then it was bedtime. Here is the real issue. We put them to bed and we cooked our smore's while they were (supposedly) falling asleep. Well they were up and the tent was moving and the talking was loud and sleeping was definitely NOT happening in that tent! We had to tell them several times to go to bed and my beautiful angels did not go to bed until 11:00!!!! Brian and I were exhausted and ready to sleep!
The next day was much better. We got up in the morning. I'd packed bagels/pastries for breakfast. That was a fun start to the day but the bees came around soon after so I tried to hurry the kids along! Then we had some down time. We got to play on the playground, walk around a bit, relax a bit and enjoy being out with the kids. This was nice except that the kids couldn't stop jumping around asking when we were going to the waterpark (which is basically a pool with a water feature in the middle).
Finally we got changed and headed over (it didn't open until 11) and had a great time in the water. I tried not to get my head too wet since I still am using drops for swimmer's ear but overall we had a great time. The kids could stay there all day, it was fun though crowded and crazy.
We went back to our campsite and decided to take a hike down to the marina. Very pretty hike and the waterfront was nice. It's fun to walk along and be able to focus your full attention your kids and on God's creation around you. No distractions from this family time and that's what I like about camping. Having the time to spend with my family without other demands on my time and attention.
Saturday night they went to sleep QUICKLY! It was wonderful! We definitely wore them out during the day. We all got a much better night's sleep though Brian and I were still VERY ready for coffee come Sunday morning (I was going through a bit of withdrawal at this point...). :)
All in all it was a success but we are imagining in a few years (probably 5 since we'll be adding another little one to the mix in the coming year) how much fun this will be as long as we keep it up. The kids will be used to it and know what to expect and I'll eventually relax a bit more and we'll be able to continue to spend some great time together as a family!