I went camping this past weekend with my family. It was our first camping trip as a family of six. We had an amazing time. The weather was perfect. The kids played well and enjoyed the outdoors. We had a great campsite. It was one of my favorite weekends of the summer.
Here are a couple pictures from inside Cove Palisades State Park, which is where our campground was located.
We had fun. We also learned a lot about camping with a family of six.
Camping lessons learned from the family:
Husband: Next time- Bring Extra Everything.
8 year-old: Getting car-sick is not fun.
5 year-old: You can swim faster in a lake if you take your sandals off.
4 year-old: If you cook marsmallows too long, they get burned.
20 month-old: (She didn't say this, exactly, not in words anyway.) I don't need to wait for someone to roast marshmallows. They are good right out of the bag.
Here are some of my camping lessons learned:
Don't put the child that tends to get car-sick in the middle of the back seat when you are driving on winding mountain roads.
When your child throws up all over your car on the way to the campsite, the scent will not go away while you are camping.
When your husband packs most everything for the trip because you were really busy the few days before the trip, be happy but don't take his word on the fact that he packed your shampoo. You might just end up with a small bottle of conditioner instead of shampoo.
[EDIT: Don't beat yourself up too much for not mentioning the shampoo mishap on the first morning of the campout. When you let your husband read your post prior to posting it and he smiles and tells you he took the time to put your shampoo in another bottle (an unmarked bottle that you wouldn't have suspected held shampoo), don't be frustrated you used baby head-to-toe body wash to wash your hair.]
When your husband looks at the lake and suggests that the kids will only last 20 minutes, don't wonder if he is right. Don't doubt your knowledge of how much kids enjoy dirt, rocks, sand, and water. Do be kind enough not to give your husband too hard of a time about suggesting they would be bored.
When you are at the lake looking at treasures (rocks, sticks, etc), don't pick up that mysterious item that your husband throws to you because he's sure the boys will think it's cool. It might be a piece of chewing gum with little rocks stuck to it. (Can I just say -Ew!)
Next time remember that if 2 of the 3 boys get up in the night to go to the bathroom, we should take the 3rd (and youngest boy) to the bathroom. Thankfully, we had enough (not extra but enough) bedding and clothes to get by after the accident.
Don't spend any time wondering if the trip is a good idea, even if you and your husband decide on the trip on Monday before you leave on Friday. Even if you have little to no time to do any of the planning or packing, go with a great attitude. Even if there are little mishaps, camping as a family is fun.
Seeing all three of your boys fall asleep by a campfire will warm your heart and make the campfire feel magical.