Camping Vacay (With Little Kids) 2013


It's the post you've all been waiting for - the one about camping with kids two years old and under!  Get ready, because it's going to be a long one.

So this vacation had an unusual start.  The weekend before we left on vacation we went on a little trip to my grandma's house with my parents and siblings, and we left Harvey at my parent's house because they have a nice breezeway where they could keep Harvey for us.  When we got back, Harvey had destroyed the gate that was keeping him in the breezeway, and he broke through one of my parent's window screens and chewed up their custom blinds to get into their house!  Turns out there was a thunderstorm while we were gone, and he's terrified of thunder.  All the repairs kind of cut into our vacation budget, so our plans for our week-long camping trip went out the window.

I was pretty disappointed, but we made plans to go spend another couple days with my grandma and then camp a couple nights and then come home.

Unfortunately I had been feeling weird all week, and the day before we left I figured out that I had Shingles.  Shingles! I thought I was too young for Shingles, but apparently not. It started out with weird shooting pains in my ear area, then developed into painful swollen lymph nodes and a tingling scalp, and then on the day before we left I finally developed an itchy/painful rash.

It was pretty awful.  My doctor told me I'd probably have a mild case since I was so young, but if that was a mild case I'd hate to have a severe case!  It hurt!  I had to use calamine lotion for the itch (which made my hair all greasy because it was mostly all through my scalp) and I stayed on my tylenol and anti-virals the whole time.

Thankfully after the first couple days I started to feel alot better, but it made for a stressful start to our trip.  But no way was I going to cancel, so on July 4th we left for my grandma's house! We stopped in the town where she lives and walked around a carnival and got ice cream first.

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The petting zoo - Wyatt loved it!

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Out for ice cream!  I got a chocolate soda float, and it was really good!

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Later at my grandma's house in our patriotic garb for the 4th of July!

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The next day we kind of just hung around my grandma's house, and then we went into town for dinner that night.  We wanted to take Wyatt to splash in the river, but the weather ended up being a little rainy, so we just walked by the water instead.

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My grandparent's with Wyatt and Gwen!  We had such a nice time visiting with them.

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The plan was to go camping the next couple of nights, but last minute we decided to change our destination and go to the Grand Canyon! It turns out the weather in Arizona was going to be a little cooler over the next few days as well, so we didn't even have to worry too much about the kids getting overheated.   We made the long drive there and made it just in time to set up our tent before dark. We camped in a nice KOA campground!

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 I was a little nervous about our first night in a tent and whether Wyatt would like it or not, but he loved it!  Gwen, on the other hand, was up 2-3 times during the night, but she was that way at my grandma's house too, so I think it was just because she wasn't in her own bed.  In the early morning I just snuggled Gwen under the sleeping bag with me, and when we woke up Wyatt and Derek were gone - they came back a little later with donuts!  It was refreshing, waking up to the nice outdoor air, and it reminded me of the summer I was a counselor in teepee camp.  I decided then and there that I really liked tent camping!  I hope to go again next year.

Happy girl, all snuggled under the covers!

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Happy boy, with his donuts!

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The plan for the day was to drive to the Grand Canyon!  We got there and walked around the visitor center first.

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It was gorgeous!  It's been a long time since I've been there, and it really was amazing to look out at this vast canyon.  Looking at something like that just always reminds me of how much bigger and more awesome God is than anything He's created!  I'm glad I serve a God who can do that.  It's amazing.

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We wanted to drive around to the north rim, but when we figured out how far it was we realized we probably wouldn't have time because we wanted to see if we could drive up and see Antelope Canyon while we were in Arizona.  But then we found out that the road to Page (where Antelope Canyon is) was closed!  I'm wondering now if it was a fire or something?  It would have taken us another couple hours to take the detour, and honestly, we felt bad keeping the kids in the car for so long.  So we decided to just head back and hang out at the campground the rest of the afternoon.  I was bummed we didn't get to see Antelope Canyon, but we made the right decision.  Maybe next time!

Back at the campground.

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I got so much reading done on this trip!  I think I read 5 books cover-to-cover, minus a couple chapters that I started before we left.  It felt good!

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We had fun just lounging around in the tent!

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Derek made us hot dogs and beans for dinner!

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Wyatt played with his bubbles while Derek heated up our food.

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Gwen fell asleep in the tent - she was pretty cozy in there.

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Wyatt talking on his "phone".  He was having a very serious conversation.

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We did realize that we were right next to Route 66, so of course we had to take a drive!  Yes, we took pictures next to an auto park sign.  It was the best Route 66 sign available.

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I thought it was fun to drive and see all the motels, but it was a little sad too.  I've decided if I ruled the world, I would make all the businesses along Route 66 retro-1950's-themed to make it a fun touristy attraction.  There were some buildings left that still had a 50's flair, but I think it would be fun if they were all more over-the-top!

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In the evenings when we camped we all snuggled in the tents and watched movies on the laptop (I know, we were really roughing it).  The first night we just watched some of Wyatt's Veggie Tales show, and the second night we watched Marley and Me and ate chocolate.  It was fun to have our own little movie night!

All snuggled in the tent the next morning!

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Unfortunately this still had to be a short trip because of the whole Harvey-chewing-up-our-budget issue, so we had to pack up our tent site and head out.  The drive that day was a little nerve-wracking too, because our power-steering fluid decided to leak!  I'm glad I have Derek around, because I would have had no idea what to do.  If we had known we were going to drive so far we would have gotten a tune-up for the car before we left.  We didn't break down though, and we did stop by Four Corners!

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We had to wake the kids up from their nap to see it, so they were both really grouchy and hated the wind and the sun.  I didn't even pay attention to where I was standing when it was our turn to take a picture, and only later did I realize that we weren't in the exact middle!  Rats.  Wyatt and me are in Colorado and Derek and Gwen are in New Mexico.  At one point Wyatt and me were in New Mexico and Derek and Gwen were in Arizona, and vice versa.  I don't think any of us made it to Utah.

The plan was to camp one more night on the way home, but when we finally got to the place we were planning to camp we were all too exhausted to bother setting up a tent and decided to go to a hotel.  That ended up being  mistake though, because Wyatt hated it!  I think he kept thinking we were going to leave him alone in the hotel room or something, so we didn't get to do too much.  Looking back, we should have just camped after all.  Oh well!  I'm actually glad we didn't go for a whole week.  I think five nights was about the limit for the kids.

We also stopped by Focus On The Family as part of our vacation!  We missed the last tour for the administrative buildings, but it was worth the trip even without the tour.  The downstairs is entirely for the kids, and it is amazing!  They have all kinds of stuff to play with, plus a soda shop.  Of course, my favorite was the bookstore.  I could spend way too much money there if I let myself.  We escaped with a new movie for Wyatt, more Arch books for Wyatt and Gwen, and a marriage book which we're both looking forward to reading.

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I love going on vacation and I'm so glad we decided to make the trip and go somewhere we had never been before!  But I have to say, it felt good when we got home.  Even when we were greeted by this:

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We're just going to budget to send Harvey to doggy camp next time we go somewhere.
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10 comments

  1. Such a cute post! All your pictures were great! Sorry about the dog :/

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  2. This looks like such a fun trip, Callie! It makes me want to go tent camping - although I would need to buy a tent first! I also want to make it back to the Grand Canyon. I haven't been since I was in middle school, I think. It's awesome that you are close enough to drive there!

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  3. You guys always get the cutest pictures of your kiddos! :) Glad you guys had a good trip...I am amazed at how great you looked after tent camping! And that last picture made me think someone tried to break into your house...but your dog sure did some damage. He must have really missed you guys!

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  4. Looks like the kids LOVED camping! Hated about you getting the shingles though!!! And wow..Harvey needs some doggy disipline it looks..lol!

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  5. I love your Grand Canyon pictures. Gwen is so cute in the tent!

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  6. You look soo cute in all of these pictures!! :) SO sorry to hear about the shingles! I hope that you are feeling better!
    :) Rebecca

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  7. Sorry to hear about your dog disaster and shingles, but good for you for sticking it out and making some great memories despite the rocky start! Your Grand Canyon pictures are amazing - I've never been but it's definitely on my bucket list! And it looks like the kids had a great time!

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  8. Wow! That was an adventure! I am so sorry to hear you have shingles and I really hope they are shot lived and never to return for you. My grandfather had chronic shingles for the last 15 years of his life and I saw the pain he was in every single day. I wouldn't wish that for anyone.

    Camping is so much fun! And what a great idea to watch a video in the tent!! Once the kiddos get tired, camping can be challenging, but a movie could solve that!

    The Grand Canyon brings back to many sweet memories!! I love your pictures!!

    And your outfits are absolutely adorable! Who looks that cute camping?!? Certainly not I.

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  9. Wow, you faced some major stressors but I'm so glad you had a great family vacation! Your post made me miss the west soooo badly. I love it out there and we want to take a road trip out that way SOON! :) Just need it in the budget . . . .

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  10. We're thinking about camping next month and I'm NERVOUS so I was interested to read this! We just stayed two nights in a hotel and Kylie hated it, too. Interesting that Wyatt did better with camping!

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