We’ve been talking about going camping as a family, but I kept thinking of it in terms of how you might talk about doing, say, an Ironman. You know: someday. In a hypothetical future when I have the ability to endure inhuman amounts of pain. Certainly not anytime soon. Maybe when both children are fifteen. Or thirty. Maybe they’ll have their own trailer when they’re thirty.

The weather’s been stunning lately, though, and when the weekend forecast predicted more sunshine and warm temperatures we decided what the hell, let’s give this thing a shot. Worst case scenario, we turn around and drive home, right?

A lesson I keep having to re-learn over and over is that the things I am most intimidated by almost always turn out to be the most rewarding. Yes, it’s true that taking a two-year-old and a 5-year-old camping isn’t necessarily what you would call a relaxing experience, but it was pretty amazing. We hiked and explored and the boys played in the water and got spectacularly dirty and we ate campfire-blackened hotdogs for dinner and it was so summery and wonderful.

Dylan did much better than I thought he would in a lot of ways. We had to watch him around the campsite to make sure he wasn’t doing anything too blatantly dangerous, but for the most part he entertained himself really well. We put a Pack N’ Play in the tent and he was fine with that, lying in there happily singing and talking to Riley before conking out for his nap and bedtime. We even had to wake him up around 10 PM when we got in the tent to change his diaper and he just lay there and chirped “What the—?” once before falling back asleep.

He did throw a fairly epic tantrum in the late afternoon which involved him 1) falling on the gravel camp road loop and scraping his elbow, 2) getting up and being so infuriated by the pain that he ran screaming at full speed down the road before—naturally—falling again, 3) running angrily and bloodily into someone else’s camp in order to whale on their tent, causing the nearby family to stop en masse during their dinner and stare at us, forks paused halfway to their mouths, and 4) having to be carried back to our camp shrieking like a firebell where we stashed him in the truck until he could calm down.

Oh, and also he woke up at dawn and shattered the perfect calm silence of a sleeping campground with his angry howls about god knows what. So our exit was a bit on the rushed side, to be sure.

But really, I’d say the outing was at least 85% fantastic, which is a pretty damned good weekend percentage.

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M.Bailey
12 years ago

Seeing your photos reminds me that our recent epic camping trip with a 5 and 7 year old was fun and that I really should TAKE MY CAMERA next time.
And really, ‘one day’ should be everyday. Good on you for seizing the moment. Even if it is crazy.

Kim
Kim
12 years ago

We just went camping with our daughters, ages 2 and 4. Unbeknownst to us, 4 y.o. left a window open in the camper and about eleventy bajillion mosquitoes feasted on the kids’ faces all night. Except when our 2 y.o. awoke with a fever and then barfed everywhere. Good times! (We are going again next weekend. Gluttons for punishment, for sure.)

PS You have really, really great legs.

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

Oh! How wonderful! And the family photo fourth from the bottom should be your Christmas card. Amazing!

Heather B.
12 years ago

1) I still cannot believe you were so close yet so far away.

2) I still cannot believe that the only thing I saw of your town was that fucking convention center.

3) Everything I wanted to do while there will have to wait until next summer but I’m already making plans. (Want to come to Oregon with me?)

4) I’ll see you in two weeks and show you photos and genuinely express how much I loved Washington. Convention center and all.

Jo
Jo
12 years ago

Gorgeous photos and looks like an awesome spot

Sarah
Sarah
12 years ago

Oh Smashley… I love that last photo. (Also, *awesome* rock thrones!)

Ness at Drovers Run
12 years ago

Oh my hat, you guys are SUCH a beautiful family, and OH HOW YOUR photographs make me miss the pacific northwest.

…and yes I will say that that awesome forest shot *totally* made me think of the Twilight Saga…did it cross your mind? Even once? Maybe? While you were camping? Tee hee.

Frank
Frank
12 years ago

Love the last picture of Dog. Very cute.

Amanda
12 years ago

That looks like some kind of amazing. Good for you for swallowing the fear!

Kelly
12 years ago

We’re a camping family as well and for the most part things usually go well. Our kids are 12 and 4 now and the good news is things definitely get easier as they get older. We recently returned from a camping trip in Destin, FL. We were scheduled to be there for a week, but returned after 4 days because of bad weather conditions. That was not a fun 12 hour ride home because the kids were completely bummed out. BTW – I love the family shot!!

lisa-marie
12 years ago

Wow, that first photograph is amazing!!

Kristine
12 years ago

My husband has been gunning for a family camping trip as well, and I keep deflecting. Our boys are about the same age as yours and I keep thinking: “it’s gonna be like NO sleep, plus DIRT and BUGS.” But that’s fairly prissy of me, I suppose.

Maybe I oughtta relent. This way I can blame it on you if it all goes awry.
:)

Love that family portrait!

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

Adorable pictures of the family but OMG that last picture of the dog is the GREATEST!

rachel pomeroy
rachel pomeroy
12 years ago

Hey, an Ironman isn’t as hard as the 24 hours you spent there. Seriously…you COULD do it very easily, esp since you already did a marathon. Don’t rule it out.

Elle
Elle
12 years ago

That picture of the dog is AMAZING!!! I love it.

Oh, and the family photo is really awesome too.

sheilah
12 years ago

Seeing your pictures makes me MISS THE NW!!!!!!!

Damn you…

Yodel
Yodel
12 years ago

But really, I’d say the outing was at least 85% fantastic, which is a pretty damned good weekend percentage.>>

Wonder what the nearby campers thought, though, post-early morning screech-fest…

lisa
lisa
12 years ago

So jealous. We tried camping last year with a 4yr old and not-yet-walking one year old. Everyone thought I was crazy and my feeling was I had been putting it off long enough: we love to camp, we dragged all our stuff to the other side of the world with us so we had to go at least once. We camped on the beach which was, uh, sandy, to say the least, but it was peaceful to listen to the waves all night long. That being said- I miss home (Colorado). Camping there is the best. :) So glad you gave it a shot! And so glad dog was there with you!

Jenine
Jenine
12 years ago

That picture of you on the rocks by the stream is totally Hot Mama. Glad it was a good camping experience!

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9 years ago

Nando shirtless is always a eyecatcher!

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