“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.”





12 thoughts on ““Camping is an Attitude”

    • I would NEVER do this just David and the kids and me. But with a whole group it’s worth it. For me, I need the community of cooking meals together and socializing. (Clarification: I *would* camp with just my family. But I would NOT camp in these conditions with just my family. And I PREFER to camp with other families.)

  1. That is a lot of mud. We like camping too, but haven’t been in about a year. Now, I’m afraid we may have waited too long – it’s HOT here.

  2. I am going on a camping trip with a few other families in July & August and I am so excited. I think it definitely adds an element of fun and “worth it” feeling when you have more people there. Glad you guys had a good time!

  3. We also have been camping every year, mostly just our family but sometimes with one or the other set of grandparents. We took Kieran on his first tenting trip at 6 weeks, and again at 3 months for 2 weeks. I went camping when I was 32 weeks pregnant with Lexi – that was more challenging, for sure. Lexi’s first trip was at 8 months old (she was born in late Sept so we didn’t take her camping until the following summer).

    It is so much fun to watch the kids explore the campsite and take them hiking. We haven’t camped in that much mud before. The kids would be in heaven, but I’m not sure I would be. You’re made of stronger stuff than I am!

  4. Um, you say you’re whiny yet you CAMPED in MUD while PREGNANT? Friend, I can’t even handle one of those conditions without whining; if I had to handle all three I’d probably have enough Bad Attitude to negate the other sixteen adults’ positive vibes! I say you’re a trooper. Or in possession of that magical “state of mind” which I have thus far in my life found elusive re: sleeping outdoors. At any rate, I’m glad you had fun and that the turquoise pants came clean!

  5. I am just laughing, laughing, laughing as I read this post and look at the photos, because never in a million years would my husband be up for this. He is steadfastly Anti-Camping even in good weather, and camping in mud and rain? No, no. No.

    I admire your tenacity for not demanding to be taken to the nearest hotel, and it really does look like you had fun! We used to camp all the time when I was a kid, and I have lots of great memories from those family adventures.

  6. Did you camp when you were a kid?

    See, I totally blame my parents: we did NOT camp AT ALL when I was a kid. My dad doesn’t do bugs. Or sleeping bags. Or sitting on the ground.

    I camped in, uh, CAMP. And I camped a little as a single 20-something (making out in a one person sleeping bag = CRAZY). But we have yet to camp in tents (only cabins) as a family.

    We dare to dream. And I too think you are a trooper to camp while pregnant. You are officially NOT a fussy pregnant sleeper, no matter what you’ve said in the past. I DON’T BUY IT. (Even if you brought your special pillow.)

    (You did bring your special pillow, right? 🙂 )

    • I didn’t camp much as a kids (we did the cabin thing a few times, and my grandma had/has a camper), but I LOVED church camp. Then, growing up in the Black Hills, I camped with friends in high school. I also camped with (different) friends in college, and then I married someone who ALSO liked to camp… We’ve gone tent-camping every summer since meeting, sometimes on hard-core canoe trips to the BWCA.

      They key to tent camping with kids is to have a HUGE tent. Big enough to stand in, and have air mattresses for everyone. If you have a big tent, it’s not that different than cabin-camping; but it’s cheaper and more versatile (more places have tent site than have cabins).

      And ah, YES, I DID bring my special pillow. Times three. Yes, THREE. I brought three pillows camping (just for ME ME ME), and I’m not ashamed to admit it. 😉 Actually, a fourth would have been nice…

  7. I’ve been reading but not commenting much. (SO far behind in everything.) But I had to say you are very brave for camping out in the condition you are in. I am in awe. I wouldn’t have done it fully healthy and pain free! Hope you guys have a wonderful summer.

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