Simply Healthy Family: Camping with 4 Kids: The Highlights....


Camping with 4 Kids: The Highlights....

I love camping. Love the fresh air. Love nature. Love camp fires, star gazing and sleeping outdoors. I even love the minimalist, don't have to prim and primp or do your hair and shave your legs part of camping. I used to camp all the time with my family growing up and with friends in my early 20's. Of course when I was a kid, I had no idea the amount of work my parents did to make camping an enjoyable experience for us kids and in my 20's I simply grabbed a backpack and a sleeping roll and was on my way. If we caught a fish, we ate. If not, cheese cubes and beer for dinner it was.

So when my husband, my dear, sweet, loving husband asked me why we never go camping anymore I finished changing the babies diaper, yelled over the 2 boys who were squabbling and screaming underneath my feet and asked my teenager to finish his up his latest retort quickly so I could answer him.

'It's just so much work with 4 kids!'

After deciding that we would make the best of it and just go so  the kids could have fun and get dirty and experience all that the great outdoors has to offer we immediately realized that we didn't have any camping gear. By this I mean that the last time we went camping was like 3 kids ago so we needed bigger everything and more of it.

Several hundred dollars later we left Cabellas armed with our new 3 room tent, camp stove, flashlights and first aid kits. We were good to go.

Wait. How the heck are we going to fit all of this crap  gear along with 4 kids in 3 car seats and a 6 foot tall teenager into our car? Hmmmm, guess we should have thought of that.

A few hours later and some very creative, errr   packing by Jim we crossed our fingers and pulled out of the drive way.

Arrived at Starbucks and then we were on our way.....

Until about 20 minutes later when we realized that we forgot to pack wipies for the baby and the road trip snacks for the kids were packed on the very bottom of all of our gear. Pit stop at the New River Snack and Go and we were on our way. Again.

Notice how sweet, understanding and tolerant Britton is about the whole 'Being shoved into the
back seat with Jack, a birthday present and a watermelon.'

Just a short time later we arrived at the camp spot on near the Mogollon Rim. We were excited to get there because it was a family reunion of sorts and lots of our cousins were going to be there to play with.

For the next 2 days, we set up camp. And by 'we' I mean Jim.

While I did other necessary things that all campers do like having a fingernail painting party.

Every respectable teenage girl camper packs a bucket of fingernail polish.

Mona's very first finger nail painting experience. See, I told ya, camping is great!

We also played some camping games like:

'Marshmellow Toss'

Which our team totally ROCKED! Go TEAM 4!

But Britton, Alec and Ben won . ;)

and "Cup Stacking'

Go Olivia!

and  'Bubble Gum Blowing'

Now that's a bubble! Go JoAnna!

But the best part of all was sitting outside and laughing with family. Telling stories
and playing with our cousins.

How many kids can fit on daddy's lap in a cheap-o camp chair?

Waking up to a camp fire breakfast in the fresh air listing to the birds chirping and happy
kids was one of my favorite parts of the trip.

Jack, Nolan and Mona eating breakfast.

We also celebrated Nolan's 5th birthday while we were there. He opened all of his new Star Wars toys in front of about 30 family members singing him Happy Birthday! Fun, fun, FUN!

The first night was freezing cold and pretty miserable. I'm not sure who had a worse night with it all, Rachel and Jim and also Aaron and Joanna in the tents next to us with  sick babies, Jim sleeping on the rock hard, cold ground or Mona and I on the deflating mattress which was soaked in pee.

Dad came through in his usual style by assuring us that his night was just as miserable because his air conditioning in his brand new 5th wheel kept going up and down an entire degree so he had to kick on and off his down comforter and that his new Sleep Number mattress was on the fritz and was off by a number. He also drank to much diet coke from his refrigerator while watching a late night movie on his flat screen and had to wake up in the middle of the night and walk 5 feet in his slippers to go to the bathroom. 

None of us were impressed. At all. ;)


The highlight of the camping trip was waking up to this holy vision.
Alec, adorning his Hugh Hefner robe and slippers with his hot cocoa in hand.
Thanks for that Alec. We all needed a good laugh.



  1. LOL! That's funny....a stop a Starbucks before you hit the road! That summed it all up! I hope it was a grand adventure!

  2. i loved this post gwen. looks like a great time.

  3. Great post. We went camping for the first time since kids this summer. I also posted about the dilemma of needing to get all new gear and then having no place to even put it. You really don't realize just how much planning goes into camping with kids until you're the planner and not the kid!

  4. Um, memory correction, Rachel, uncle Ron and Stacey won the marshmallow contest...runners up were four mega marshmallows behind us. However, I do agree that the highlight of the trip was Alec in his robe.

  5. Jessica @ Barefootbysea10/04/2011

    That's it, you are OFFICIALLY WONDER MOM in my book. I could hardly camp alone, nevermind with FOUR kids....

  6. I stand humbly corrected Rach. You are marshmellow Queen!

  7. cookingwithmysoul10/08/2011

    I Always love these family gatherings. So much fun!

  8. Love your son squished in the car. Looks like a fun time though. I never really got into camping but the hubby just bought all sorts of gear- tents, cots, cooking equipment, etc. Now that I am going to have baby #3 in ~3weeks sounds like the perfect time! Ha!

  9. Poor Britton! It might have been a lot of work, but it sure looked like you guys enjoyed it =) That sounds like a really fun way to spend a birthday.

    Where did you guys get all your equipment? I usually try to save myself a trip out and buy as much as I can from the camping section at Sportsman's Guide.

  10. We got our tent at Cabellas for a great deal w an online coupon and our camp stove at Costco. Our smaller gear I got at Big 5 along w some new Vibram 5 finger shoes ;)


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