If you answered YES, then you should go Camping.
What did you THINK I was going to say?
Seriously, camping outside in July in Maryland is HOT. And oh, the HUMIDITY! But it was fun and we will return to the great outdoors. We keep saying we are a “camping family” and have been camping exactly….well, this time is the first time. We’ve got a tent, sleeping bags, camping gear….just never got around to actually going. But now I can OFFICIALLY say we are a camping family.
Here are some lessons learned while camping.
1. That’s Not the Mother Nature I Was Talking About:
It is Murphy’s Law that if going camping for the first time Mother Nature will come a calling as soon as you get to the campsite. Yes, THAT kind of Mother’s Nature. When I said I really wanted to become one with Mother Nature, that is not what I meant. Someone answered my wishes, but there was some sort of glitch in the communication. And guess what item was NOT on my camping checklist? Yeah.
2. There Is A Lot Of Dirt.
Duh, sort of a no-brainer, right? When you look up google images of camping you get all kinds of beautiful, scenic pictures worthy of magazine covers. The pictures I took would be more fitting for a commercial for heavy duty stain remover and Johnson and Johnson’s soap products. You can pack as many wipes and paper towels as you’d like, dunk them in the pool, give them a shower, take a dip in the lake….and there will be a layer of grit, grime and slime on your kids that will take 2 baths to combat when you get home. Popsicle streaks down both legs, under chin grime circle and black finger and toe nails? Check, check, check and check. And FYI, Vera Bradley bags are NOT camping friendly.
3. When You Go From Campsite Into Your Tent….
….there is no a/c. Seriously, a couple of times I was totally confused because I am so used to the 20 degree difference of walking into my house from outside that I was all “where the hell is my blast of cool air goodness?” Oh yeah- camping. It is hothothot in the MD/VA/DC area in the summer. The sun goes down and it feels….well, exactly like it did when the sun was up. Hot. Humid. Sticky. We brought sleeping bags….they just took up space in our car because they certainly weren’t used. My sister-in-law brought a fan and an extension cord (hey, we were first timers with small kids, we were not “roughing it THAT much”), but Pi drew the line. “The whole point of camping is being in the outdoors…blahblahblah” Next time buddy- fan and an extension cord.
4. Everything Tastes Better On An Open Fire
Bacon. Enough said.
5. Kids Will Be Delighted
You may squirm at the sight of bugs, flying insects, worms, dirt, leaves (in which case what in the world are you doing outdoors?) but your kids will LOVE. IT. If you’ve not ever noticed before, kids don’t mind getting dirty. They are okay with not taking a bath for a day or so. They LOVE bugs…a caught caterpillar, a butterfly…they love it. And at night what better activity than catching fireflies? Sweets and her cousin started calling them “sneaky bugs” (which actually is somewhat from the movie “Tinkerbell and the Secret Wings” when at the end a fairy, who is scared of glaciers, is sitting on one and says “sneaky glacier”- it is Sweets’ favorite part). So they were running around yelling, “c’mere you sneaky bugs!” It was quite awesome. Everything about being outside is like a treat. “We’re eating outside? YAY!” “We’re sleeping outside? YAY!” “Can I pee outside?” “no, they have bathrooms” “aw, I thought we’d pee outside like the dogs”.
Anyways, they had awesome activities for kids including a “bubble party” which was WAY MORE than just a few bottles of bubbles….pictures are below and it was their favorite part, other than sleeping in a tent. It is going to be quite the disappointment when they are ready for the bubble rave party portion of the camping trip and find out that is NOT typical outdoorsy type activities.
6. Camping Takes A Lot Of Stuff.
We were camping out for ONE NIGHT and took enough for a weeklong vacation. Of course, with kids you always have a lot of stuff, but then add in you are going to be outdoors without the typical amenities? Holy Smokes- people have whole websites dedicated to camping checklists! My co-worker, the first thing she said when she heard I went camping was “oh my god, I’ll send you my camping checklist!” Fortunately my sister-in-law is more schooled in camping than us and was way prepared with all the different kinds of camping gear one would ever need. So, it is pretty safe to say we are never going camping without my sister-in-law.
7. The “Fresh Outdoor Air!” Does NOT Make Your Kids Sleep Later.
Nope, because this fresh outdoor air was very hot and the birds were very loud, so that does not equal a sleeping in child. But the many beers you drank around the camp fire with family will make you want to sleep all day. NOT a great combo.
8. I Don’t Know Any Campfire Songs or Stories.
I am pathetic. Know any? Pass em on so I’ll be prepared for my next camping adventure!