You might think we’re crazy for doing this, and I might have to agree with you

Nothing makes you appreciate your house (the way it has walls an a roof, for example) like spending the night outside.

Last weekend we took David camping for the very first time.

Two years ago a couple known as Tom and Amanda Before They Had a Baby went backpacking in West Virginia.

We ran into another couple on the trail and stopped and chatted for a while. They told us they had to bivouac camp the night before, which was impressive. They were also  carrying a lot less gear than we were. In the backpacking world, the less stuff you have the cooler you are. If you can manage a weekend in the woods with a fanny pack you would be the Prom Queen of backpacking. They had way less stuff than us…unless you count the BABY the mom had in a carrier. Oh, and their two other children walking along with them.
After this interaction Tom and Amanda Before They Had a Baby decided that they would backpack with their baby, too. Only losers sleep indoors.

I thought about that moment a few times during the night while I was not sleeping at all, and each time it crossed my mind I wanted to smother Tom and Amanda Before They Had a Baby with my sleeping bag.

We went camping with our friends Eddie and Melissa and their two sons at a State Park near Virginia Beach. Eddie and Melissa are experts at camping with their kids. We have a lot to learn.

We spent some time on the beach. The kids picked things up…

…and threw them into the ocean.

Compared to other times I’ve been to Virginia Beach, this spot wasn’t crowded at all.

We walked back to light the fire and start dinner. At this point I stopped taking pictures because it started raining. Because Eddie and Melissa are experts, they saved the evening with a shade tent and a chair for David. The only thing that would have been better is if they had brought warm clothes for my son because I SURE DIDN’T.

Somehow I missed where the forecast said FREEZING COLD, and David was under dressed. The few warm clothes I did bring got drenched when his sippy cup leaked in his bag. David spent the rest of the camping trip wrapped in a blanket and I spent the rest of the rest of the camping trip feeling very, very guilty.

Since the moment we scheduled the camping trip I’d been dreading the sleeping portion of camping. We brought a four-man backpacking tent. Future generations, do not try to fit two adults and a pack n play in a four-man backpacking tent. Tom and I were twisted around the pack n play, contorting our bodies while David took the best real estate in the tent.

David woke up every two hours. Each time he opened his eyes, he saw my face, six inches from his. And what am I supposed to do? Pat his head and tell him to go back to sleep?

Up until now, when David woke up he had no idea that we are also sleeping. For all he knew we were playing Settlers of Catan in the other room. Now he knows, and guess what? He doesn’t care. Even when I wasn’t asleep I kept my eyes closed and prayed that David would just GO BACK TO SLEEP ALREADY. But he never did.

By 5 a.m. he was ready to start the morning.

We stumbled out of our tent with swollen eyes and sore backs. And then? And then it started raining again. It doesn’t matter how good of a time you’re having camping, if it rains that detail trumps everything else.
“How was your camping trip?”
“Well, it rained.”

So maybe if it hadn’t rained. Or maybe if we’d gotten just a little sleep. Or maybe if I’d packed warm clothes for my baby.

The trip was hard, but if I didn’t mention eating bananas with melted chocolate and marshmallows, drinking wine by the fire, sausage and egg muffins in the morning, or getting to know new friends, then I wouldn’t be doing the weekend justice.

Tom and I love camping, hiking  and being outside, but I think we’re going to wait until David is 18 before we take him camping again. Or until he’s sleeping through the night. Whichever comes first.

Before the Eddie and Melissa’s boys went to sleep, I was snuggling with one of them by the fire. I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up and he said he wanted to be a daddy. I asked him why and he said, “Because daddies do all of the yucky jobs.”

I’m not sure I totally follow that logic, but he’s right, daddies do take care of all the yucky jobs.

When we got home from camping, David and I took nearly 3-hour naps. Meanwhile, Tom worked in the bathroom dislodging a clog in our bathroom sink that was causing black sludge to spew in our tub. In moments like that I’m completely ok with the division of labor in our household.


  1. Lynsie May 8, 2012

    Love it! You all were very brave! We have only went backpacking a few times since having kids and we left the kid/s with the grandma while we went. We did a chickfila opening when Peyt was about the same age as David and we had a very similar experience. I’m wanting a two room tent so if we wanted to go camping (not backpacking) they could go to sleep even if we wanted to play settlers of catan in the other ‘room’.

  2. Jackie C Kelly May 8, 2012

    You crack me up! I don’t think camping seems as bad as putting yourself on a 16hr plane with a baby/toddler/child and people do that all of the time! I know because I always end up sitting with them. Kudos to you and Tom. The first time is always crazy. I speak from no experience whatsoever. 🙂

  3. Rachel May 9, 2012

    WE SHOULD CAMP TOGETHER! We have a three room tent- each kid can have their own room, and the grownups can cram into your 4 man tent. After a Settlers marathon, of course.Seriously. Think about it.

  4. Laura @ Mommyrunfast May 9, 2012

    Oh, wow! Kudos to you for venturing on a camping trip with a baby! We still haven’t taken L camping… although she might do okay now… but as a baby, I know we would’ve had the exact same experience!

  5. Grammy May 11, 2012

    Little David Andrew did endure. Being outdoors wears you out. What kind of blue onesies is that?

  6. tomamanda May 11, 2012

    It’s sort of like a romper (one piece, with shorts and short sleeves), from BabyGap I think. It has pandas on it 🙂

  7. Aunt Kristie May 11, 2012

    Every time we talk about backpacking with babies, Jason and I agree: not until we won’t have to pack out dirty diapers. Although we do plan to get on a 16hr+ plane with a baby and a toddler and a child….

  8. jenny ramsey May 11, 2012

    all i can do is smile…oh and laugh a little.<br>but one day, when my kids are teenagers and have never been camping and your babies are all experts, then you can return the favor and laugh at me.

  9. […] would be a baby. It works in most situations. Do you enjoy restaurants? Or airplanes? What about camping? Add a baby and get back to […]


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