For the past month or so I have been slowly preparing for the annual family camping trip. My Mom and Dad, my Brother and his wife and their two boys, and Ryan and I go every summer. It took me a few months to decide whether or not Ryan and I would be attending this year since we had Juniper. I just wasn't sure if I was ready for all that with an 8-month-old. After going back and forth with it, I decided I didn't want to miss out on the family time and made the decision to go camping.
The months leading up to camping I spent scouring Pinterest for tips on how to camp with a baby, and shopping on Amazon for all baby camping necessities. I bought a fold up rocking chair for the tent, a battery powered fan for nap time, a collapsible play yard for out door play, and started to mentally prepare myself for everything that could go wrong. I was also very excited to introduce Juniper to the great outdoors and to spend time with family.
On Wednesday we packed up the car and set out for our 2 hour car ride to Calaveras Big Trees State Park in Arnold, California. We tried to plan the drive during Juniper's usual nap time. This was Juniper about 15 minutes into the drive,
Despite the heat and bugs, Juniper was doing great. She loved playing in the play yard I bought and it was nice to be able to put her down and her not be covered in filth or eating weird things.
Day 2 went pretty much like Day 1. Most of the day we spent at the site waiting for my brother and his family to arrive, but finally we were so sick of the flies and wasps we decided to head into town for a break. My brother and his family drove in just as we drove out, but that was fine because it gave them time to set up and get unpacked. We got back to the campsite and hung out for a bit, then started dinner. Yep. More Yellow jackets. We bought a trap at the store but it did nothing. While we were trying to eat, my 1 1/2-year-old Nephew Anthony accidentally got one of those little #@$%ers in his mouth and it stung him on the lip. Poor kid. Anthony was fine after a little love and Tylenol, but his Mother and Grandma were pretty traumatized. No matter how many wasps we killed, there were about 15 more to take its place. I love nature and all, but at this point I told Ryan that I felt like Nature was saying, "get the eff out". We went to bed and Juniper woke up about every two hours that night. Not to mention it started to rain around 3am. Everything we left out was soaked the next morning. Her toys, our shoes, and our chairs were all wet. It wasn't too bad, just another FU from nature. That's when I made the decision that we would be heading home that day. I love spending time with my family, but everything was just to difficult and exhausting and the bugs were out of control this year. It made it more stressful than fun and we were done. Despite all that Juniper was still doing awesome. I was so worried about how she would do, and I ended up being the one with all the issues. Go figure. Having a baby is hard, and camping with one is even harder. I also brought up the idea of renting cabins next time. I'm just too old for this "roughin' it" shit.
There were good times, sure, but it's really just not worth all that work. I go camping to have fun and relax and enjoy my family and I wasn't able to do much of that.