So you know that we went camping last weekend. What you may not know is that it was the first time IN MY LIFE that I had ever been. I went to music camp in cabins when I was a tween, but that doesn't REALLY count. Not like this where we had to plan out sleeping, meals, and activities for three days and two nights. Steve has been teasing me the entire 15 years we've been together about going camping. So we finally did. This is a partial list of the things we did right and the things we may want to change next time. Hopefully will serve as a reference next year :)
1. No matter how many extra clothes you bring, there will never be enough of some things (long sleeve sweatshirts and socks) and you will have to wash ALL of the clothes again whether you wore them or not. Another word about wardrobe. What mother in her right mind would pack sandals and water shoes, but NOT sneakers for hiking? Goes on the list of biggest OOPS of the trip.
2. Within five minutes of arrival, boys will be off playing in the woods, looking for and finding other kids to play with,. It was definitely a first... sending them off to play and not knowing where they are for an hour or more. Steve (and many other moms around) assured me that this is normal for a campground but it still took some getting used to.
3. Two tents are definitely a good idea, even if we could technically have all fit in one. Good for extra room to store food while sleeping, clothes that haven't been worn yet, extra blankets, and wiggle room.
5. Even when your husband scolds you for buying two twin air mattresses for the trip, bring them anyway. The same husband will be thanking you for those mattresses after the first night of bad sleep on a hard ground.
6. Bring spray bug repellent, NOT wipes. Made that mistake...won't make it again
4. Pick a campground that has many fun activities for the kids. Not only did this campsite have three different playgrounds, it also had a craft cabin that was open for a few hours each day and a beach.
7. Hang up the clothesline for wet clothes earlier in the day, and DON'T hang it over poison ivy. We're still waiting to see if any of the remnants will show up in the next couple of days :(
8. Don't make too much food for each meal. I was so worried that we wouldn't have enough for the boys to eat that we ended up making too much. And DON'T forget the salt or ketchup. Otherwise, you'll be making a hike up the hill to borrow them from the scouts nearby.
10. Don't worry about running out of firewood. Give a man a hatchet and free reign to make a big fire, and he'll be in hog heaven (at least, mine was)
11. If you're going to let the boys slide, run, and roll down a big huge dangerous hill, DON'T WATCH. It only gives them a chance to cry when they get hurt. Every other time, they just come slinking back covered in filth.
12. It's okay to send some family members off to do an activity without mom so she can break camp in peace. That, and nurse the remnants of the feast that the mosquitoes enjoyed from her feet and ankles.
9. Dollar store is a great place to prepare for a camping trip. A small bug keeping cage can amuse a boy (and many kids that he meets while at the camp site) busy for hours. And yes, the bugs will come all the way home with you, whether you want them to or not.
13. It never fails. One of the kids will complain the entire first day and then find his stride the next day and never want to leave. The other child will have a wonderful time the first day and be a weepy tired grumpy mess by the third day. And mom and dad will be exhausted and feel like they've walked a bazillion miles. But EVERYONE will be counting the days until they can return and do it again!
Oh, there is so much more that I could share. Everyone keeps asking me how I liked camping. I guess it's no big surprise considering I'm not really an adventurous type by nature. The thing that surprised everyone the most was that I had a really good time. Steve and I were commenting that it actually was easier in some ways than hotel traveling, since we didn't have to worry about kids being loud or getting into trouble since they were outside the whole time. And definitely much cheaper.
Believe it or not, I'm actually looking forward to a camping trip again next year.