08 July 2009

the camp out

this was a fourth of july celebration to remember. we were lucky enough to spend time with our families and soak up lots of fresh air outdoors in the mountains. we ate piles of pancakes, sung fun songs, played silly games, got dirt underneath our fingernails, smelled like campfire and introduced the small one to what independence day is all about.

being together.

when you make one stop and that one stop is costco it means you find yourself buying the largest jar of sauerkraut in the world. you might reconsider, but knowing your family and dan's hot dog roast, you don't want to disappoint. gladly, it was well received. thanks to jacque for getting the darn thing open. and thanks to pete for taking it off my hands (so glad you and your friends love sauerkraut and who knows, miss anna may start craving it in her third trimester).

these sweet photos were snapped by my bro-in-law, scott who really should start up a photography blog. i could've posted a hundred more of his shots.

since we arrived a day or so late to the annual camp out, we benji got the most glorious hello i've ever seen. we pulled up and parked. and suddenly dozens of children literally came out of the woodwork, running over to us, yelling our names in their squeaky sunshine voices. the cousins club gave us an official welcome. all asking questions and giving hugs and telling their tales and showing off their beaded crafts and giving benji loves all at once. that settled it, i love being an aunt. the warm welcome starting things off with a bang and gave me the biggest warmest heart i've had in a long time. it made the loooong drive and all the packing and all the did-i-remember-the's so worth it. next time i am feeling low, that big hello will be my go-to memory. i loved every bit of it.

family camp outs are the best.
i think it's unanimous.

camping with kids checklist.
i've received a few emails inquiring about camping w/ kids, so here goes. i am a novice about camping with small ones, but i've learned a thing or two from my older sister. heidi and her husband have camped with their - oh so darling - 4 kids (in tents, mind you) every year since their family began. this year included her two year old twins. if they can do it, so can you. here are some ideas i picked up.

details. let loose and be flexible. give the kids each a place to sit. heidi brought her itty bitty princess camp chairs; perfect for the girls to roast marshmallows and minimized quarrels over where to sit. i brought up our small portable high chair for benji (it was perfect for keeping him from swallowing sticks). use off wipes to keep bugs away from li'l ones. bring sunscreen and lots of it. set up your tent in daylight and put the rainfly on, just in case. put a port-a-crib inside your tent for the baby (keeping him off the ground means he feels warmer and is lot more like home). pack all the baby food / spoons / bibs together in a separate ziplock gallon size baggie, it will be no nonsense to fix up when he gets hungry and anxious. oh and there are even coleman battery-operated fans available to attach inside your tent, perfect for hot afternoon naps. what will they think of next.

gear. invest in excellent gear in the first place, you'll use it for years. my dad got his coleman stoves in the 70's and still loves cooking bacon, warming cocoa and making oatmeal each and every year with it. good hiking shoes + muddy flipflops are my footwear of choice. pack warm ski socks to sleep in. take along rain jackets. oh and bring an extra tarp; chances are, you'll use it.

play. prepare a box full of kid friendly games beforehand. my mom loads a tote full of magnifying glasses, stories, wooden pop guns, coloring books, bubble gum, madlibs, and treasure hunt ideas for collecting bugs and seeking out the beauty in nature. my bro-in-law jacque always designs the best games for our family; this year was a full rendition of family feud. a little preparation goes a long way. and when all the other games have fizzled, the guys seem to be endlessly entertained playing what can we burn next.

work. this year we went green and used a lot less paper products. heidi brought up a giant tub (for washing dishes) and a fantastic large mesh bag for loading clean dishes in to dry. use a Sharpie to mark your items (you can divy up later). when it's time to pick up, play fairy godmother and tap each kid on the head with a stick and give them a special job to do. when the adults are busy taking down tents, folding tarps and stuffing sleeping bags, give someone the task of entertaining the kids with songs, games and stories. grandmas are overly qualified and very good when surrounded by grandchildren. this is their forte. let them have at it.

misc. bring along special treats from the bulk foods, pull them out at nighttime, when you're in need of a prize or as a perfect bribing mechanism. tie up a hammock (my brother's seriously brilliant idea). keep chapstick and kleenex at the ready. plan for the unexpected. brush up on your current events for lively conversation. be sure to pack a sweatshirt, a cozy blanket for the campfire, a bandana for crazy hair, a notebook, a camera, and a flashlight. and don't forget the sauerkraut.

if you have a camping tip or two, do tell. happy camping.


Dawn said...

This whole post warmed my heart, thanks for letting me vicariously have a camping trip through you! :) I love all the photos, especially of the children, they are all so happy and fulfilled. Absolutely beautiful!
xo Dawn

ellen said...

I love the camping photos! I go camping every year in Vermont (ward campout) and I made note of a few new tips. Thank you!

Crystal said...

That last picture is adorable!

Anonymous said...

Camping is wonderful and you throw in a mix of family, friends, and kids and it totally turns magical - most of the time!

Glad you found someone who LOVES sauerkraut! WOW, Costco is DANGEROUS at times!

Karen said...

love the tips, love the pictures! I may actually be willing to go camp with my family after reading this post. maybe.

Anonymous said...

i love your family photos! you are all so wonderful!

Jessica Tingey said...

your little one is adorable - that last picture is just precious!

Sarah said...

A broom - for when you are all done you don't have to take half the campsite home with you.

Travelin'Oma said...

A grand miracle is that kids come perfectly clean after a week in the dirt. With that in mind, you can relax and have fun.

melissa deakin said...

all of these photo collages make me so happy!
love them, marta!

The White House said...

Sounds like you guys had Such a great time!! Loved all the tips. I have to remember them for when Brad and I venture with baby Jake. :)

summer said...

these tips are brilliant! oh, wow. and those photos are so full of camp charm. you truly have this 'capturing the moments' thing down to a science, marta. i need to be more like you.

whit said...

cute pics..that boy of yours sure has that marta smile. looked like so much fun. need to see you soon.

SoulPony said...

those photos are beautiful. nice to meet you on the road to unravelling.

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