“Camping is an Attitude”

This past weekend we went camping.  Anyone that’s been reading here for a while knows that our family loves to go camping.  We’ve gone while I was pregnant with twins, with infant twins, with toddler twins… with preschooler twins and another infant.  Basically, we’ve gone camping every summer, usually more than once, since we’ve been together.

We’ve never gone when there’s NOT a chance of rain at some point.  We’ve been evacuated to storm shelters at least twice.  We once hopped into our vehicles and bailed on the whole deal– leaving our tents right where they were, coming back for them the next day– because of a severe storm moving through.

But we’ve never camped in so much mud as we did this past weekend.  Behold:

And actually?  This photo does not do it justice, AT ALL.  What you can’t see is how deep and squishy that mud is.  On the grassy paths surrounding our site (paths we needed to use to get to the outhouse and to where some of our tents were), the mud was so squishy that it came up to at least your ankles.  The soil was more of a clay, which made the mud slippery, too.  Within minutes of arriving, we were all COVERED in mud.  (Rain boots for the kids were a life-saver.)

But no worries; David brought his Big Ass Tarp, so we’d at least have a dry(ish) place to eat if it rained some more.  This sucker is 20×30 feet.  We pulled several picnic tables in there and set up our camp Dining Hall.

(Tarp assembled with nothing more than some branches and some rope and perhaps a few bungee cords and the ingenuity of these two men.)

When we arrived on Friday evening, the rain had stopped.  Things were wet, but we were not actively getting rained on.  We set up camp (finding a “dry” spot for our tents was hilarious!), ate dinner, and even enjoyed a campfire.  We were all so muddy that we literally had to strip off our pants (and in the case of some of the kids, EVERYTHING) before entering our tents, but since it wasn’t raining any longer, it was doable.  Enjoyable, even.

(Marin enjoyed using an umbrella, even though it wasn’t raining.)

Saturday dawned bright and sunny.  The kids spent their day poking sticks in the fire, hiking (both a real hike and “pretend hikes” around the campsite), and catching worms.  Oh, my, did they ever catch a ton of worms.  They spent HOURS doing this.

(Sadly, they had just changed into cooler clothes, so they look fairly clean in this photo.  Those aqua pants Joan is wearing?  They were so black and dirty by the end of the day that there was no turquoise left showing.)  (And yet they came clean!  Hurray!)

I’d like to note with great pride, that it was mostly GIRLS on this worm-digging adventure.  MY GIRLS, digging in mud and playing with slimy things.  Hell yes.

Camping while pregnant– even only 25 weeks pregnant– has its challenges, especially when you’re a somewhat whiny pregnant lady such as MOI.  I was mostly worried about sleeping on an air mattress (read: hips aching), but it was way more comfortable that I had anticipated.  If only the pregnancy-insomnia would’ve abated, I would have slept great.  It turned out the bigger challenge was finding a comfortable place to sit.  (Hint: Camp chairs sit you at an angle that isn’t great for ye ol’ tailbone.)

A friend said to me before we left “Camping is an attitude”, and I couldn’t agree more.  Despite what some would consider pretty horrible conditions, we still had a wonderful time.  And considering how large our group was (14 adults and 17 kids), there was an awfully high amount of Good Attitude going around.

And we’ll always remember “The Year We Camped in the Mud.”