June 15, 2024

Estes: Camping at home

Last week, my husband and I decided to take the family on vacation and decided on camping — in the backyard. He thought it would make for great practice when all eight of us go on trips throughout the years to come.

Secretly, I think he did it because he wanted to try out the 12-person tent that we had given him for his birthday. Whatever the reason was, we did have a family night camping in the backyard, complete with a campfire and marshmallows.

All the kids seemed excited, except our 6-year-old, who said there is no way she was going to go camping. She is a bit of a free spirit, but also very girly.

When the night came for our outing, the kids were excited all day and kept asking when it was time to go camping. However, when we finally said it was time, they all wanted to rush out right away, but the tent wasn’t even up yet.

All the kids wanted to help, but just like there can be too many cooks in the kitchen, there were definitely too many helpers to put up the tent.

While I worked on a craft project that we were going to do that night, my husband and the two boys worked hard to clear a space for camping in the backyard.

After about 90 minutes, the tent and “camp area” were all set up and the kids were beyond excited to set up their sleeping bags and claim their spot in the tent for the night. Once they had done that, they were excited to make the craft, which was using spray bottles and water guns filled with tie-dye mix to make cool patterns on T-shirts.

When the craft was cleaned up, they were excited to have dinner and let me tell you the peanut butter sandwiches I made were the best they had ever had, the kids said, even though I had just made peanut butter sandwiches earlier in the week for lunch and the kids then either said they didn’t want them or the sandwiches had too much crust on them.

To stick to somewhat of a bedtime schedule, after dinner we started the fire to roast marshmallows for s’mores. We also tried to pop one of the containers of popcorn kernels that are specifically made to go over a fire — let’s just say, we did not have “popping” results.

Once the s’mores had been made, which was actually less of a mess than I expected, the kids brushed their teeth and snuggled into their sleeping bags.

A little bit of a disclaimer, I did not have to camp overnight on the hard ground. That was because our youngest, Reagan, who has a feeding tube, has to sleep in a specially made bed and have her feeding pump on.

Overall, I think the camping trip was a success, given that only one kid came in before the morning — and the only reason the others came in at 5:30 a.m. is because David forgot to shut off the water sprinklers the night before.

I count it as a win, especially when the 6-year-old, who absolutely did not want to camp, was the first asleep and snoring and did sleep in the tent all night.

Ashley Estes

Ashley Estes

Field Editor