Camping with Kids

Each time we go camping with kids, we discover another way to make it easier or more fun. Plus, as the kids get older, there are more activities that are appropriate for us. This weekend we went to our friend Jack's parents' place on the Juniata River. We've been going up there every summer for many years....since before M and I got engaged and that was in 2002! M asked me to marry him there, actually, while we were on a canoe. His parents used to have a house there, but they sold that and kept some of the land next to it. Now there is a pavilion with a fireplace and a bathroom with plumbing, but everyone sleeps in campers or tents. Jack's sisters were visiting with their families as well, so there were lots of kids to play with and it was a really fun weekend.

We still haven't purchased a big tent that we can all sleep in. We have two backpacking tents that are in good shape, and even though we're doing a lot of car camping right now, I think we will probably do more backpacking style camping once the kids are bigger. Right now, M usually sleeps with Marko and Laurel in the tent and I sleep with Max in the truck.

We bought a water proof bag to put on our roof rack and this has made it so much easier to pack. Now we don't have things jammed into every corner and falling on the kids. Plus there's more room to bring various baby containment devices for Max. He's too heavy to hold all the time, so I brought his pack n play. A standard sized crib sheet fits perfectly over the top of it to provide some shade and protection from bugs. Also, it recently occurred to me to pack an EMPTY duffel bag for our dirty laundry. This way it was easy to keep it separate and nobody accidentally put on dirty underwear. Ahem, Marko. I also borrowed my friend's pop up sun shelter and that was perfect for Max to crawl around in when we went to the lake.

Now that the kids are older, there are lots of water activities that we can do. The kids went paddling in kayaks and swimming in the river. Laurel is getting to be a decent swimmer, but I keep her in a life jacket anyway and probably will for a long time (it's the law anyway, if she's in a kayak).  (Also, for PA residents, you have to have a safety whistle in addition to a life jacket now or you will get a fine!) M bought some fishing poles. Laurel is pretty good at casting! Marko likes the idea of fishing more than the actual activity, but he does like hanging out at the river bank.  They only caught one fish, too small to keep, but I like the idea of acquiring a survival skill and maybe getting beyond just fishing in stocked lakes.

As per usual, the kids didn't sleep quite enough, but that was partially due to the fireworks that were going off everywhere. We also did a terrible job of packing food and spent way too much money at Sheetz. However, that's part of the River House fun for us, so I'm chalking it up to passing on traditions to the kids.

We are getting so much better at unpacking and putting stuff away, so most everything is clean and dry and hung up and we're ready for our next camping adventure!

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