Our family has gone camping every year for pretty well the last 8 years. This is a tradition carried on from my hubby’s family from when his mom was a very little girl – going back more than 50 years! As our family has grown, we’ve found it becoming more and more different, with difficult and enjoyable parts across the board. I was SO looking forward to going this year, even being 5 1/2 months pregnant – the kids ALWAYS have a blast, playing with cousins at the beach and in the dirt, and as long as the weather is nice, we tend to enjoy ourselves as well.

This year’s trip was a huge challenge. After last year spending nearly 10 days camping, we decided to just do a long weekend instead. I was a bit disappointed because everyone else for the most part was staying over a week, but I listened to my hubby’s reasoning and my already aching back. We almost didn’t go after checking out the weather (3 out of 4 days rain!), but I’m glad we did after all, since only 1 day was raining, and the rest was just pure gorgeousness.

Yes, it was difficult. And I’m not sure I’ll go camping again while pregnant (my back and air mattresses are not friends). But I realized, as much as I was looking forward to it, that I did a LOT of complaining – some thinking, some verbalized – and in doing my 1,000 gifts challenge this morning, I was able to find a lot of the positive things that came out of this camping trip. So I thought I’d share them with you today for Top Ten Tuesday –

Why I’m Glad We Went Camping After All

1. The weather, which constantly changes by the lake, was purely gorgeous. Yes, it was hot. Yes, a couple of the nights it was near impossible to sleep. But when you have the option of going to the beach every day and just sitting in the sand or water, it’s pretty hard to see anything negative!

2. The kids got to spend some great time with cousins! 7 boys and 1 little girl – we’re rarely together for long periods of time other than camping, so it’s a real privilege.

3. Did I mention the beach? I’m glad we don’t live near one, because I might get sick of it. I truly love spending time at the beach!

And so do the kids!

4. Let’s go fly a kite! My brother-in-law brought his kite out on the last day and that thing was up for HOURS! Everyone had a chance at flying it, and it brought back great memories of my Granddad who used to build kites, and when he came to visit, he would bring us ones he had made for us to fly.

(This isn’t the kite he brought – I didn’t have my camera on the last day! But someone else was also kite-flying :D)

5. Even though there was a fire ban on because it had been so dry, the positive side of it was that there were literally NO BUGS! If you know me, I will get eaten alive in the great outdoors, while everyone else is fine. So I was tremendously grateful for no bugs. And even though we couldn’t have a campfire, we still managed to make s’mores ;0)

6. Sleeping in. Well, for everyone else that is. I am usually up by 6 no matter where we are, which meant I could take some really nice quiet, morning walks (and not get eaten by bugs :D). A couple mornings I spent on the beach, just soaking in the sun and the calm.

7. Beach. Oh yes, I said that already. But I forgot to mention the water. Since there was little rain the water level was so low (it’s normally a bit on the low side) we could walk forever and still be only up to our knees!

The kids had a blast snorkeling, digging pools, swimming, boogie boarding, and daddy even got in some wind surfing!

8. Rain. Torrential rain. It does that at least once every year (one of the side effects of being so near a lake I guess!). But the positive side was that we all stayed dry, AND since it was raining most of Sunday morning, we decided to drive the hour and a half to Harvest Muskoka and check out their new location. It was well worth the drive to spend the time in worship!

9. Family vacation. Somewhat of an oxy moron as anyone with kids knows that “vacation” with family is anything BUT a vacation.

There is not much relaxation when camping, or on vacation with kids, but the change of scenery and schedule and time spent together is what builds the memories.

10. Conversations. On the beach – of course :D And walks with sisters/mother-in-law, kids around the campground, enjoying time together we don’t normally get with nothing to keep us busy.


Have you camped or vacationed with extended family before? What is one of your favourite memories?

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings