Adventure is out there

I grew up camping – my parents took me on my first camping trip when I was 10 weeks old. Johnny was two and a half on that particular trip, so not terribly far off from Hazel and Eliza this weekend. I obviously have no memory of the trip, but I have always loved the picture of me and my big brother passed out in the tent. And the older I get, the more I appreciate that we spent so much of our childhood outside.

Nothing like a nice face pillow for a 9 week old, ahhh the 80s

 Me and my bro, simul-napping in the tent on my first camping trip. I’m 10 weeks old, and I like to bury my face in pillows whilst sleeping on my tummy (still true).

We took the girls camping at Mt. Rainier this past weekend, and took Eliza kayaking on the Columbia the weekend before. Kayaking was pretty great – the whole excursion only took a few hours – the kayak place is 15 minutes from our house – so we had a babysitter for Hazel. We got a tandem kayak with a jump seat for E. She was totally psyched for about half an hour, a big grin plastered on her face and she just kept exclaiming about the kayak and the water. We weren’t doing point to point – just paddling around on the Columbia near the kayak place, because we (rightly) figured she’d get bored pretty quick. Once she did, we went back to the shore and let her wade around and throw rocks, which were excellent activities in her book.

Kayaking bears
Happy kayakers

Playing with rocks

Camping was also fun, but a little more fraught. Rainier is about three hours away, which is a lot of car time for both kiddos. I brought all manner of toys for the car for Eliza (magnets on a cookie sheet! books! crayons! stickers! snacks!) and crossed my fingers that Hazel would sleep. It went pretty well, but man, entertaining a two year old in the car is mentally exhausting.

Once we got there (Ohanapecosh was full, so we stayed down the road at La Wis Wis) and got set up, we tried to get Eliza down for a nap in the tent, but she was having none of it. She loved camping last year, but we hadn’t gone since October or so, and I was anticipating having issues with napping at least. We talked it up a lot – calling the tent a fort (she loves to make forts in the living room) and talking about fun it would be. Kevin tried lying down with her, but she just wouldn’t settle, and didn’t like being zipped in. Eventually we put her back in the car and headed up to Paradise to poke around. She passed out immediately in the car and got a short nap. She had a great time riding in the kid backpack on a short walk to Myrtle falls, and lost her little mind over the waterfall (“Wooooow! Wahfall! Whooooa” all in hushed tones of amazement).

Hiking with babies
Hiking with babies

We got back to our campsite around her normal bedtime, but figured there was no way she would go to bed without major help from us, so we just made dinner and hung out for a couple hours. She did pretty good about not touching the fire pit, or the fire once we made it. She had her first marshmallow (she approved). Then I took her and Hazel into the tent to try to get her settled. I laid with them both, nursing Hazel and trying to calm E, for an hour or so while Kevin cleaned up. Eventually E was so wound up that I had to get Kevin to come in to the tent as well – she was full on tackling me and Hazel and I couldn’t deal with both kiddos. Kevin laid with her for probably another hour and half before she fell asleep finally.

… and then she woke up around 1:00 am, FUH-REAKING OUT. Girlfriend wanted OUT of the tent. She screamed and thrashed for probably an hour, on and off (mostly on). That was pretty rough. I was already awake because Hazel was still doing her night time cluster feeding thing, but I couldn’t feed her AND help Eliza. Not being able to help was pretty frustrating, but oh well. Eventually she fell back asleep, and we all slept till 7:00. Made some breakfast, broke camp, and ended up just heading home. We were all pretty damn tired.

We are now solidly in the Type Two Fun phase of adventuring with children. Most excursions have the potential to blow up in our faces, and they do, about as often as not. But we go anyways. We smile, we take pictures. And we hope that one day soon, we can look back and remember fondly.  That it won’t even occur to our kids, looking at the pictures, that we barely slept, or that they screamed on the long car ride. That they will just think it was awesome, growing up outside.

Sadly, the closest I got to reproducing my mom's picture of me and my brother. And not for lack of trying.
Sadly, the closest I got to reproducing the picture of me and my brother. And not for lack of trying.
E and Pooh, bouncing around the campsite
E and Pooh, bouncing around the campsite
Documentation of Hazel's first Rainier trip
Documentation of Hazel’s first Rainier trip. (Eliza’s is here.)
This entry was posted in little bears, Me me me, milestones, retrospect. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Adventure is out there

  1. Holly Ritger says:

    Oh Sweetie, I’m so sorry your camping trip to Rainier didn’t go better. Who knows, maybe Eliza will be better the next time. You got some good photos and I admire your spirit to keep trying. That’s the only way to go until they get a little older. We found that going within an hour of home (easy for quick retreats) worked well sometimes. Our most successful early outings were to Lake Lanier, where we got lakeside campsites and had a little sandy beach for you and Johnny to play with the sand and water. And, if it rained all weekend, we just left and went home for naps and returned to the campsite later. I don’t know if you guys have any place closer to home where you can camp. I’m excited that Eliza was in awe of her first waterfall… May she experience many more. : )

    • admin says:

      I had no idea y’all would go home for nap time, that’s hilarious! I’d still say we had a fun weekend. I’m ready to do it again and it’s only been a few days, hah. A co-worker clued me in to some closer campgrounds, with the additional advantage of staying warm enough well into the fall. So now I just have to convince Kevin :D

  2. Mikal Rosendahl says:

    This sounds like my summer (minus one child). I have a two year old and we did the kayaking thing for the first time a few weeks ago (no one jumped out of the boat, success!). And we are trying out our first camping trip this weekend. I had dreams that we would be out camping with a small baby, but our baby hated sleeping for a long time and there was no way we were taking a baby who was guaranteed to have middle of the night screaming on a camping trip. I want this weekend camping trip to work out so badly but who knows what will happen. The campground is an hour away and our backup plan if it goes badly is to retreat quickly.

    • admin says:

      We took Eliza a good bit last summer, and it was pretty easy because we could just stuff a bottle in her mouth if she woke up. She doesn’t take bottles anymore (and never nursed), so our only middle of the night option was snuggling. It worked eventually, but wasn’t as peaceful/easy! I found some closer campgrounds that we can hopefully try before summer ends. I think the biggest thing is getting her used to it, and hopefully she’s big enough now that she’ll remember for next year! Good luck with your camping trip, let me know how it turns out!

      • Mikal Rosendahl says:

        Camping report! It went fantastic. We went to a campground that was about an hour away, and the campsites are just a short walk away from a nice little sandy beach. Corbin is 2.5 and he was great, he mostly puttered around playing in the dirt at the campsite while we set up and broke down and cooked meals, followed the instructions to stay away from the fire pit (we drew a line the dirt with a stick). He slept ok-ish (he was in a pack-n-play in our tent). We thought the sunrise wakeup Saturday morning sucked (6am) but then we were greeted with “I SEEEE YOUUUUUU (repeat times a million)” at 4am this morning. So we had breakfast and packed up and were back home by 9am. More than two nights would have been too much crappy sleep, but everyone had fun and Corbin started to cry when we left b/c he was sad to say goodbye to the campsite and my husband and I are excited to go again, so huge success. I’m very impressed you made it one night with TWO children camping!

  3. Jennie says:

    Looking back and remembering fondly is why I do about half the things I do. I’m lucky that I’m addicted to nostalgia. I can miss something that wasn’t even all that great a mere month after it happened. So, you know, this looked wonderful to me. (And I bet it’ll look wonderful to you too, soon.)


    • admin says:

      I am so totally addicted to nostalgia as well. To the point that I sometimes feel the future nostalgia before I even DO something, while I’m just PLANNING it. And yes, I already feel like I had a great time last weekend, and I’m asking Kevin when we can go again!

  4. Erica says:

    I love all of this. Traveling with kids is hit or miss but worth it. My husband isn’t a camper so we will skip sleeping in the great outdoors but I love changing it up and seeing new places, even though it can be challenging to step out of the routine.

  5. april says:

    This is awesome. I keep wanting to take my kids camping but C is worried. Now I can point to this and say yes! it was exhausting! But they lived – our kids are 3 and 5, can we try PLEASE?? :)

    • admin says:

      Do it! I’m a camping evangelizer. Just think how excited they will be about a campfire and roasting marshmallows and running around and oh, they will love it!

  6. HereWeGoAJen says:

    You get a thousand points for going camping with two babies! Plus another thousand points for having s’mores.

  7. Hillary says:

    Eliza and Hazel are going to love that tent picture some day.

  8. Erica says:

    We went camping all the time when I was a kid too and I haven’t taken the girls a single time yet and I’m faaaaaaiiiiiilllllllling aaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuugh.

  9. K says:

    Hot damn I’m impressed. I just…I can’t. Not with the sleeping outdoors and with small children, but you make it look so easy and good. Maybe I just need to pull the rod out of my can and give it a try. (Ugghhhh.)

  10. Your mom commented on your blog, that is the cutest (for real, I’m not being a jerk). I LOVE outdoorsy stuff and can’t wait to do more with the girls, but Justin isn’t really a fan, which sucks. I’m making him go anyway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>