Before leaving to go camping with our small group last Labor Day weekend, our friend Steve sent us all an article titled, "With Little Kids, You Take Trips, not Vacations." I have to admit, as we packed our car with food, gear, and plenty of diapers, I was thinking, "Is it really worth it?" For weeks, all of the parents had been nervously laughing about how we would get .75 hours of sleep each night (we planned to camp two), and how we'd just have to let the babies get filthy as they crawled on the dirt floor.
And, of course, there would be the Labor Day weekend traffic. We took different approaches to this obstacle, and Steve and I chose to take a ferry from West Seattle to Southworth, on the Kitsap Peninsula. It definitely wasn't the quickest route, but it was a beautiful night and Miles seemed to enjoy his first ferry ride.
When we arrived at the campsite at Penrose Point State Park, it was already getting dark, but our friends gathered around and chipped in to pitch our tent, hold Miles, and help us unpack. I could see right away that even if the weekend turned out exhausting, we were all in it together.
The first night was a bit rocky at times, but I think my stress about what could happen (a domino effect of babies crying) kept me on edge, and I slept very lightly all night. All in all, it really wasn't bad.
The next morning included a delicious camp breakfast and filtered sunshine through the forest. The majority of the group took a walk down to the beach while Tina and I stayed behind while the babies napped.
Later that afternoon, we dressed the kids in matching "Happy Camper" shirts that I had brought. We attempted to take a group photo, but with babies, it's never easy to get a perfect shot.
We were getting closer...
Sure, that will work.
15 month old Anna was the funniest and kept walking toward the camera with the most serious expression.
We took another group trip down to the beach in the afternoon. Out of the forest, the temperature was much warmer, so some of the little ones took a dip.
It was really very warm in the sun, but perfect for reading and laying in the grass.
Poor Miles wore a bonnet because we forgot his hat back at camp.
Dinner that night included chili dogs, vegetable grill packs and salad. We put the kids to bed and sat around the campfire, eating s'mores. I had been looking forward to this the whole weekend (the "adult time" just as much as the chocolate and marshmallows). It was great, but it wasn't long before the adults headed to bed too.
In the morning we shared one more meal before packing up and leaving camp.
The nights were long, and the kids did get filthy, but we did it, and I will dare to say I'd like to do it again sometime.
Really, the weekend went pretty smoothly, and I'm sure that future trips with kids will make me look back on it and even think it was easy. After leaving I felt similar to the author of the "Trips not Vacations" article who concluded by saying, "Suddenly the whole week felt hilarious, and we remembered that we loved each other and we loved our kids and we loved our life."