Sunday, June 26, 2011

Camping trip

Our church had its annual camping trip this week from Thursday until yesterday (Saturday). We went to a group campsite near Prescott, AZ, which is a good 2-hour drive from here. The elevation is over 6,000 ft, so the weather is about 20 degrees cooler. Most of the area consists of pine forests. 

 Anna snoozing in the tent

 There is a larger mattress under the one she is sleeping on, and I left the window down to check on her and make sure she wasn't rolling off. She usually just lies still and looks around for a few minutes after waking up.

Personally, I am not a big fan of camping, but my husband and the kids love it. This year, we had NO rain, so it really was very nice. I think my favorite part about going camping is when we first arrive at the campsite, and I get out of the van and smell that wonderful mountain/forest air. It's also nice to be without any watch or clock, without cell phone reception, and without doing laundry and errands for days on end. In all, I would have to say this was my favorite camping trip ever.

 The sun setting from our tent window

Our tent has two "rooms". Everyone except me was on one side to stay warmer and to keep from rolling off the mattresses. 

 The other "room", where me and Annie shared a mattress and sleeping bag.

One of the days we were up there, most of our church group was able to spend the day at a nearby lake kayaking. Our family brought hot dogs for our lunch that we grilled at a picnic area right near the water, and my husband and I took turns watching the kids by the shore and going out on the water. I did one long trip to the opposite side of the lake with Solomon, Isaac, and John. Way back on the other side, we saw a man who was trapping crawdads. The boys were fascinated, and Isaac found the head and one claw of a HUGE dead crawdad. Ew! I have no clue where his trophy is now, and I probably don't want to know, either (just as long as I don't reach into his pockets when I check the laundry before washing it, and find THAT in there).

One thing I did new this year was to dress all of our kids in matching color shirts each day. Seems pretty obvious, but I just caught on to that this year. We had a total of 21 kids (all age 9 and under) between all of the families at our camp, so having all mine in a certain color made it a lot easier to count heads and keep tabs on them all.

right before leaving on "Day Orange"

Other than all the outdoor fun, one of the main attractions of our church camping trip is all the great preaching we get to hear. This year was no different. 


Solomon holding Annie

Then of course there is the special camp food, and I must say that doing dishes in the outdoors is a nice change. There are some foods that taste best cooked over an open fire that we only ever make when we are camping.

  My husband didn't actually cook. He just stirred the food a couple of times.

 Isaac waiting for the bacon to finish cooking

The campsite we use has no electricity or running water, so all the kids were pretty dusty and dirty the whole time, but they were all enjoying that a lot, it seemed. Last night, after we got home, all the boys took showers, and Miriam and Becky took a bath together. When I drained the tub, there was sand all over the bottom of it, and also after little Anna when I gave her a bath separately.
 Becky at the lake. She was the grubbiest of all of our kids by far.
We often have friends of our church visit from other states just to join our camping trip. Some of them have gone camping with us every year. A pastor friend of my husband and his family have been there every year, and he is my favorite preacher beside my husband. Another family from New Mexico has a little daughter Miriam's age, and all year long Miriam looks forward to whenever we go camping or they come to Phoenix for a visit.

 Becky and Miriam with their friend.


  1. Zsuzsanna, I'm so glad that your family had such a nice time on your recent camping trip! It really is wonderfully refreshing to take a break now and then.

    Great photographs! Loved Becky's adorable, grubby face!

  2. Looks like soooo much fun!!! The food looks delicious too! :) Anna sleeping in the tent is sooooo sweet!

    We are going camping next month...I can't wait! I not a super huge fan either, but I love it for certain reasons: time away with the family, being surrounded by peace and quiet and God's creation, cooking over camp fire, Bible time and Hymns around the campfire, etc. I guess I just dont care for sleeping in the tent with little ones...Thats probably the only part I dont care for...that plus no showers :)

    Well, I am glad everyone had a great time!

  3. It's actually the opposite for us, I LOVE camping. As a girl growing up my friends and I would spend all day in the bush biulding cubbies and exploring and stuff. My husband, who's family put a huge emphasis on books and silence and other such 'boring' things, says he will only camp if it has internet access. I'm working on changing his mind!

    I was wondering if you had any ideas about keeping baby warm and safe in the tent if you do not co-sleep. I'm one of those people who actually has rolled out of bed, more than once, and often wakes up in the morning to find I've cut off circulation to some body part in my sleep, so for me personally, I wouldn't feel safe co-sleeping because the evidence of awareness while sleeping is stacked against me. So do you have any ideas? I suppose summer would be easier, here it's too hot to even have sheets in summer! But I was hoping to make the trip early spring.

  4. This looks SO FUN!!!!! I have to admit, I have never gone "real" camping. RV-ing and all the youth camps I've been to do not count as "real" camping. That said, I know I am missing out.

    Camp food on the fire, sleeping outside, and outdoor activities...sounds fabulous!!

  5. So glad you had a nice time. I am not a camping fan but I sure wouldnt miss that if we lived closer!!!! :) Your children are precious!!!!! Anna has grown so much. Take care!!


  6. We enjoy camping but haven't gotten to go in years. Maybe this year.... :-)

    Whatever was cooking in that pot looks tasty, Kielbasa? Corn, red and green bell peppers? It must have smelled good too. :-)

  7. You will want to check your carseat's manual to make sure of this, but when you have a carseat in a rear-facing position (like Anna), the harness straps should be coming out at or below the shoulders. When you move them to forward facing, they should be at or above shoulder height.

    This is something I have just recently learned, and it surprised me to learn that was safer. Like I said, you will want to check your manual to make sure ;)

  8. I have so many questions about tents, because my husband and I are thinking of buying one. I have camped my whole life, but in a camper on wheels... It looks like you had a great time! Fun! And the kids getting dirty...what's the saying, " A little dirt never hurt!" It just made bathtime that much better!! :)

  9. I have some WONDERFUL camping memories from when I was a child. We always had a BLAST! I love the looks of your cozy! And Anna looks so cute too. :)

  10. Sarah,

    thank you. I so loved reading about your family's trip to Dublin! The pictures were adorable, can't wait to read about the rest of your trip!


    I think you hit the nail on the head about showers and comfortable sleeping - those ARE the only things I don't like about camping. I like to be all soft and cozy and warm at night. Have fun on your camping trip!


    I certainly agree that some people cannot safely sleep with a baby close by. Is your tent large enough to accommodate a playpen/portacrib? That is what I would use in ours if I wanted the baby to sleep in her own "bed". You could keep it right next to you to check on her easily during the night. As far as staying warm, you can get tent heaters. If that is not an option, you could put your baby into one of those sleepers that are like blankets and zip up, to make sure baby is not getting trapped under blankets or inside a sleeping bag. A hat and long PJs would probably be good clothes. I have found that our kids (even Annie) stay much warmer in their sleep than I do. Long after I wake up in the middle of the night shivering, they are fast asleep, with their sleeping bags zipped open, felling all toasty and soundly asleep. I think kids must have higher metabolisms or something.


    I would LOVE to go camping in an RV! In fact, I'd love to drive up and down the country in one.


    I miss your blog... sniff, sniff... :(


    yes, those were the ingredients. The dish in not done yet in the picture. I will be blogging the recipe soon.


    thank you for your concern. I almost left a caption saying that Anna was NOT in her own car seat, because I figured someone might notice how the straps are much too big on her. We did not bring anything for Anna to sit in on the camping trip (such as a Bumbo, swing, exersaucer, swing, or playpen), so I parked the van in the shade right next to where we would eat and cook, open all the doors, and set Anna in Becky's car seat to watch what we were doing. In the picture, she was playing with a spoon in Becky's car seat while I was cooking a few feet away from her. Anna still rides in a rear-facing infant car seat. But thank you, I really do appreciate your concern.


    we bought this tent at Sam's club 2 years ago, and I LOVE it. It is walking height all the way inside, which makes it very nice. Personally, I love to buy all of our stuff used, but I would never buy a tent used. There is just no way to check if everything is there and not damaged.


    thank you ,that is so neat!

  11. It looks like you had a great time! Thanks for posting pics.

    I am one who absolutely adores camping. My dad took my sister and me tent camping every summer, and then we upgraded to a pop-up camper and traveled across the country several times. One of my most precious childhood memories is when we camped in the Grand Teton mountain range. I have to admit that it was much more comfortable for us when we had a camper to sleep and cook in.

    What a fun annual outing this is. And I love how grubby your kids are; the more dirt, the better!

  12. Ohhh I love love camping. It looks so nice there.

  13. wow you do so well and just go with the flow! Such a good mother you are!

  14. This reminded me of the picture book-When I Was Young in the Mountains. It also reminded me of that true Australian story about the Seventh-Day Adventist woman and the Meryl Streep movie about it. She received money from the Australian government. Please be careful. I know there are no dingoes in America but we still need to be careful. My son recently found some deer ticks on him(Lyme disease) here on Long Island. I told him to stay out of the woods and tall grass. We know a few people that had to go on antibiotics.


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