The Worst Campout Ever

Last weekend Mountain Dad and I were excited to get outdoors on the first campout of the season. That excitement blinded us to the fact that camping with a two month old, three year old and six year old in the rain may be a tougher task than we were able to handle. We so wanted to get out! So what that the forecast called for rain all weekend. Surely it wouldn’t actually rain all weekend?

Thus began the worst campout ever. It started with rain while packing up, a registration mistake requiring a trip to the DMV and indecision on the destination. Our camping confidence was artificially inflated and instead of taking the downpour and DMV as omens of a terrible weekend we plowed on, thinking of the promises made to the preschooler and kindergartener.

We had decided to go to Fruita, Colorado because of its off road and mountain bike trails. Then the weather made us consider a destination in Southern Utah, but we ended up in Fruita after trusting too much on our phone’s up to the minute satellite weather report and taking a detour into a blizzard. Well, not quite but pretty cold and slushy.

We arrived late and hungry, set up camp and had a fire. I spent most of my time taking care of Mountain Baby leaving Mountain Dad and his brother to start a fire, set up tents, prepare dinner, cook, wash dishes and entertain Big E, little g and their cousin Eden.

Over the next few days the problems continued. We got lost. Little g refused to use the pit toilet. Rain kept us in the tent. One morning Big E puked. Mountain Baby needed to be held, fed and changed at the most inconvenient times. Kids fought. Parents were exhausted. We packed up in the rain. And on the drive back I had a minor accident, bending the metal on the trailer’s wheel well, just to add a rancid cherry on top of an already putrid cake.

Never before have I had such a hard time camping. Our family enjoys camping. We’re normally good at it. We have good gear. We eat good food. We all have fun. But sometimes it’s just not worth the extra work. Now I know. There is a point where getting outdoors just isn’t worth the extra effort.

I’m counting this trip as a learning experience. It would’ve been better to disappoint the kids and stay home on this one, but we couldn’t have known that when we started out. Now I’m implementing a three strikes policy. If three unforeseen problems arise on our next camping adventure it’s a sign that it’s not meant to be.

For the Love of Mom Contest

What is a blog if not a place to brag and what better person to brag about than Mom?

I’m proud to be a winner in the For The Love of Mom blog post contest hosted by Tales of a Mountain Mama. My guest blog post I’ll Always Need a Mother is live today. Please go check it out!

While you’re there make sure to enter Amelia’s awesome Mother’s Day Giveaways. Just nominate a mom in your life for some amazing prizes.

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

Three Ways to Get Outdoors This Summer

Can you feel it? The weather’s warm and school’s almost out. It’s time to get ready for SUMMER! If you’re looking for ways to get outdoors with the tots here are my top suggestions.

Join an outdoors play group. The new site Forest School For All is a resource for anyone looking for an outdoors play group. If there’s not a group in your area consider starting one – details are on the Forest School For All website. You can also find groups for all of your interests at Meetup or just get some friends together and start your own adventures.

Visit a National Park. There are so many amazing places in the United States and Canada. Why not plan a family vacation to experience them? Our favorites include Yellowstone, Denali and Arches National Parks. But if those are too far away why not try your State Parks? Several have great day trip locations including lakes, forests and wild spaces.

Commit to Life on the Outside. A friend of mine introduced me to Waldkindergarten, a movement common in Germany where preschool is held outside no matter the weather. Meals, lessons, play all happen outdoors no matter if it’s raining or snowing or hot. This has led me to ask myself if four year olds can do it, why not me? What daily activities could I accomplish outside? Summer’s a great time to find out.

What are your summertime plans? How will your kids be entertained and involved?