Raising a Blended Family


on July 7, 2013

Well, the TWW was dragging a little bit too long for us (we’re at 11DPO today) so what did we did to make the time go faster?

We took the kids camping! All five of them! It was the babies’ and Bubby’s first time ever (and possibly L’s too… She says she remembers a different trip with her Idiot but we think that might have just been a one day trip when she was little).

Anyways, it was supposed to be a four night stay starting Wednesday, July 3 and ending today, but we came home a day early because in our third and final night it started pouring and did not stop. We woke up and half our campsite was one giant mud puddle. I am all about nature but with three kids, two babies, and no way to build a fire (wet wood, wet fire ring) and it being virtually impossible to step anywhere without slip sliding (not exactly safe with a baby in your arms!) we decided home was where we wanted to be.

Other than that though, the trip was unexpectedly amazing! We expected to be stressed out and constantly muttering under our breath about how we were idiots for doing this trip (and there were a few moments of that, notably when we were in the shower house with all the kids on the second night trying to get ourselves and everyone else clean… We’re in the handicapped stall bathing the babies and the kids are in the other three stalls yelling, screaming, wanting us to bring them soap, towels, clothes, etc… Holy stressful!)… But for the most part, the trip was wonderful!

The babies did a great job adapting to their environment… We figured out pretty quickly that Addie needed her pack n play to be covered with a sleeping bag during the day in order to take a nap (makes sense since her crib is in our walk in closet at home- no light) and once we got that solved it was smooth sailing from there, sleep-wise (Pax just slept on us while we chilled in a camp chair). The other kids slept wonderfully too, aside from the first night when they were too excited to sleep.

In retrospect, there were a lot of things we did right that made this trip a success with two babies in tow, and a few things I would change next time.

We opted for easy meals (grilled chicken and steak, foil dinners, hot dogs) and did only one hot breakfast out of three mornings so that there was minimal preparation and clean up, and that worked out very well. We also utilized the girls to help watch babies during mealtime preparation (our reasoning being that if they want to eat, they gotta work for it!).

We also brought a separate, popup tent that we used exclusively as a sort of screened-in play area for the babies, which worked well so that we had a place to put the babies down without worrying about bugs and without having to constantly lug the pack n play in and out of the main sleeping tent. We have giant foam interlocking mats that were previously used for the babies play room, that we brought to put under the play tent to cushion against falls and also had enough left over for the kids to use as sleeping mats under their sleeping bags. Even though the babies sometimes cried when we left them in there (not unlike our own playroom at home!) it was worth it to have and I would definitely bring it again.

We brought the twin jogging stroller we have, and when we weren’t on walks, we set it up by the fire and the babies had ready-made front row seats to the campfire action! (Not too close, of course!) I can’t tell you how entertained they were by watching the fire glow. They also were perfectly happy to just sit in it and play with toys, and when we wanted to throw a frisbee or swing with the kids or something, we would wheel it over to wherever they were and they would watch from the sidelines. Overall, it worked really really well and I’m so glad we brought it instead of the other one-behind-the-other stroller we have.

The babies’ swimming related gear- their little popup pool we have and popup spring floats- made lake time a breeze! The fact that they were popup spring ones instead of blow up made packing them really easy as they just folded back up and didn’t take up space.

Finally, the older kids’ bikes were a life saver. We almost didn’t bring them but I am so glad we did because they spent the entire time it seems riding around the campground meeting friends and playing chase- affording us some free time/downtime, which was life saving!

If I could change a few things, I would definitely bring the babies’ blow up ducky bathtub for showers next time! Although there were two of us to wrangle them, there were also two babies, and we were forced to put them down to (quickly) shower/dress ourselves. During that time, they were both making escape attempts… Having naked (slippery!) baby crawling around under your feet while you’ve got one foot in and one foot out of your pants in a shower stall is not the best situation, and definitely contributed to our stress during shower times! I think having an actual portable bathtub to contain them would definitely help with that.

Also, I would bring pax’s bouncy next time. The child is in LOVE with that thing and it would have been nice to have one more place to put him down when necessary. Of course, this is in an ideal world where we would have all the space we wanted to pack the car… That isn’t the case! In fact, the reason we DIDN’T bring it is because we could literally not find one more cubic foot of free space to put ANYTHING, let alone a bouncer. But it would be nice. We’ve got a few more, shorter trips planned this summer (So. Much. Camping!), so we’ll see if we can squeeze it into one of those trips.

Overall, the trip was great and the babies and kids clearly enjoyed camping. I have some really special memories of camping when I was a kid and want my kids to grow up with the same. Excited for our next trip (but happy for some downtime in the meantime!).

4 responses to “Camping!

  1. meridith says:

    I am so impressed. I don’t think I could manage to take myself camping that well, let alone a pack of (admittedly adorable) children. The last time my wife and I went was pre-baby: we took the dog, froze to death, he barked all night, it poured, and we slept in the car. Maybe I’ll learn from your example! Also – is it me or is 11dpo the middle of the longest stretch?!

    • lezbemoms says:

      Ha! Thanks. I don’t think our neighbors were too pleased with us (caught them checking our date tag to see when we were leaving!) but we all survived and had fun. 🙂

      and yes- 11dpo definitely is the longest stretch! I just want to KNOW already!!!!

  2. More Than Words says:

    It sounds like you guys had such a great time and I love the idea of using those foam play squares as sleeping mats – genius! We love to camp too and the last (and only) time we’ve taken Grace was when she was 4 months old. I must admit that we’re a bit nervous to take her now that she’s on the move and gets into everything. But hey, if you guys can do it with 5, we can certainly do it with one. Thanks for the motivation and thank you for the camping tips!!

    Even with the stressful times you shared, I’m sure these are going to be great memories for them just like your camping trips as a kid were for you. 🙂

  3. Isa says:

    Glad to hear it went well! We’re planning a camping trip in September, and I was getting nervous, but this makes me feel MUCH better. 🙂 I’ll send the details in case you guys decide you want to be crazy and come for another round!

    FX for the wait, BTW

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