camping trip 2016

9:07 PM

We went on our annual camping trip about two weeks ago now and we've been talking about the possibility of making it a bi-annual tradition instead. True there were the usual annoyances - arriving later than planned (i.e., having less than an hour of sunlight to set up camp), not getting the campsite we planned on and instead having to make four trips from the car to site that involved a half mile of walking each time and toddler meltdowns, tantrums and whatever you would imagine sharing a queen size inflatable mattress with two kids and two adults would involve. However!! All that aside we genuinely had one of the most enjoyable times yet. 
When we went last year Teddy was still taking a bottle and had taken his first steps just weeks before. Trying to contain him and keep him off the ground as well as warm bottles in the middle of the woods at 4 am with a flashlight... well it was a lot to say the least. This year however, this boy melted our hearts. He enjoyed the heck out of everything! The tent building, the fire making, the eating of marshmallows (this might have been his fave), the exploring, the leaves... You name something - he LOVED it!! And Birdie's whole life was made when I revealed the little tent I had gotten for her and Teddy! She thought it was the most special thing and even begged to sleep in there at night which we of course did not allow. But during the day we had a twin mattress in there, filled it with books and toys and Teddy and Birdie would pile in there with some cookies and a flashlight and give us grownups a moment to lay in our tent and just take in the sights and sounds. 
And isn't that truly the best thing about camping? The birds waking you up, the sound of the fire crackling late into the night, the crisp air in the morning, the sizzle of food being cooked on the fire, the smell of smoke and the continual rustle of leaves. We did a whole lot of "nothing" on this particular trip - no hiking, no exploring, no big plans at all. We just ate, tended to the fire, took naps and enjoyed this precious time when it felt like it was just the four of us in the whole world. The quiet, the clean air and absence of distractions really does have a wonderful way of making you feel incredibly rested even with all the "work" you have to do in order to complete the simplest task. 
We were all a bit heartbroken to go home and I always hate that feeling of packing up the tent and seeing just how empty the campsite looks once it's all packed up. So we vowed to try and do again in the spring! 
If you're at all on the fence about camping with kids I say do it!! Sure it's not as simple or easy as doing it with adults only but seeing the wonder on their faces and watching them take it all in is so worth it. You'll never know just how wondrous an acorn could be until you've watched a toddler discover one. 

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