It was the best of times, It was the worst of times…

I’d say good ol’ Dickens phrase aptly describes our week of camping in Texas.  We’ve had us some great times this week… saw some beautiful handiworks of God’s creation and enjoyed time away from everyday life together as a family.   I look forward to sharing many such anecdotes and pictures with you over the next few posts, but I gotta admit, we’ve had our “moments” as well.

It was the sickness that got to us.  We all know kids are more whiney when they are sick.  Well, we had sick down pat.  We had coughing, sore throats, painful ears, asthma flare-up, nebulizer treatments… well, it’s been much like what my spring has been like back home, only this time I too was sick (with laryngitis and thus no voice).  Suffice to say it was not the “get away from it all” vacation I was hoping for.  On top of all this, all three kids got pink eye and needed a “goopy eye clean out” multiple times a day and eye drops (met with the reaction of Jack Bauer type torture) 4 times a day for 3 kids.  Only remember, we are in the open with no privacy.  Yep, no explanation for the aghast onlooker as to why two parents are now working together to full out restrain a child who until then was only acting a little bit whiny.  At times we wanted to hold a sign, “it’s  medicine to ease their pain, we promise we love our kids, this is for their own good.”  But no, they got no explanation, just forced to watch from a distance.  Welcome to the circus folks.

You gotta feel for the kids, it’s not fun being sick.  Thankfully though I think we we were able to keep them all about as comfortable as could be expected.  We are working our way through the sicknesses but it is the whininess that comes with sickness that creates those “wanna get away” moments.  Like perhaps when we entered the restaurant at the NP and my toddler threw a 2 year old size temper tantrum b/c we put her down (gasp!)in the high chair.  And oh, at least 45 pairs of eyes were staring us down as we let her sit and cry for the LONGEST MINUTE of my life until she settled down enough for us to enjoy a quiet dinner.   Wanna get away?

Or that same night when we went to pay for our meal and the same adorable little toddler dropped her cup of chocolate milk, which then proceeded to spill all over the floor and drip across the room of the gift shop?  Wanna get away?

We generally like camping.  In fact, if you ask my son what his favorite part of the trip is so far he will say, “camping”.  But the dirty little secret about camping is that you get no privacy.    You see, the sick circus kids, particularly, the sick circus baby, are not so quiet at night.  You can all imagine the mess you get when an almost 2 year old finds out that loud crying elicits an almost immediate response from her parents.  The walls of a tent are not so thick…and the distance to the neighboring tent is not so far.   With no ability to have her “cry it off”, I allowed her to get out of the pack-n-play and literally sleep on my face (pink eye and all), still, she felt the need to cry out every few hours, loudly wailing, while Scott would sing Jesus Loves Me to her and I would offer her my face as a pillow… anything to PLEASE-MAKE-THIS-CRYING-STOP… but I know those people in the tent heard us.  All Night Long.  In fact, I have decided this past week that the worst part about camping with sick kids is not the lack of sleep but rather the fact that you have to face your neighbors in the morning. I kid you not, I never looked any of them in the eye the next morning, just went about trying to get my sick and whiny kids dressed and lathered in sunscreen before we bounded off in the minivan for a day of sightseeing.  Wanna get away?

One of my favorite quotes from the week was when we were setting up camp the first night and I was struggling to get the kids into layers of PJ’s since the lows were much lower than the “averages” we had researched and expected.  I whined to my husband about how the kids whined the entire time and I guess he was tired of all that whining b/c his response was, “Well this is probably why some people think camping with kids is crazy.  But we don’t, we’re not one of them.”  All night long I kept hearing that phrase over and over in my head… “this is why some people think camping with kids is crazy.”  IMG_5768

And for the first time I began to wonder, are we crazy?

Another classic was when we were hiking in the hot sun, and my energy sapped son started to complain about the hike.  I tried to put a positive spin on things by saying, “Ya know the purpose of hiking is just to have fun while your walking… it’s about enjoying the stuff you see along the way and just being together.”  His response…"well I need a new purpose then, because this is NOT fun.”


So, in the interest of keeping it real, I just felt I needed to first share that our first week of vacation was not all smiles and laughter all the time.   Now that that is out in the open, I can post more freely about our fun times (of which there were many) without feeling dishonest.

Yes, it is crazy to go camping for four nights with 3 sick kids under the age of 5.

And maybe this is just the hot shower and spacious hotel room talking as I sit and enjoy my free wifi, but honestly, even though the week wasn’t all we hoped and planned, it was good.  And I would do it again.

Just call me crazy!


  1. Bless you Crystal, I couldn't read that without posting some love in the form of a comment! Our prayers are with you for everyone's recovered health, and for being able to keep finding the fun moments in amongst the pinkeye : ) P.S. totally know what you mean about the camping /coddling the baby/avoiding eye contact with the neighbors the next day!

  2. Wow. our one experiance camping together (The husband and myself) was when The Girl was one and we went down to North Carolina to visit my Step Son. We left to do the 8 hour drive at 2 am. Our thought process went. With an hour stop for food and a few to stretch our legs that should put us at there house about midday, then we can get to the camp site and get set up before dark, and hopefully The Girl will sleep the whole ride down. The first part was true, the second was not. Nor did she sleep any of the nights in the tent... The Husband said he will not do it again.

  3. Sound like you had an interesting time! Hope everyone feels better!

  4. Oh, goodness, Crystal. I am so grateful for your honesty and your patience (yes, I said patience) and positive attitude. I think you have been a super trooper with all that you've had going on during your vacation. I would have been a total crab! I am praying that you all recover from this quickly.

  5. oh! i'm so sorry! good for you for finding the silver lining and the laughs in the midst of everything. may you all have a very blessed and restful resurrection day!!

  6. That sounds terrible...I hope you and Scott don't come down with pink eye as well! Best wishes for the flight home...

  7. And for the first time I began to wonder, "Are we crazy?"

    That one got me! Judi & I were in stitches.

    That quote should be the title of your book or something.

    Then your son's "Well I need a new purpose then because this is not fun"

    Hmm. Your other book-title, The Purpose Driven Hike: A Mommy's Wilderness Guide to the Great Outdoors.


    Please forgive the Pods for laughing at your story. You worded it so well. We've been praying every night for your health. Now I realize we should be praying, "Dear Lord, we hope they can laugh about all this someday"

  8. You are my favorite!

  9. Oh, my! Camping is the best {although we've only done it in our backyard!} You have a great way of putting humor to it, and I'm sure it will be a 'vacation' you'll never forget :) My only comparison to this is having two toddlers tightly confined to airplane seats while we just sat on the runway, and kicking the seats in front of us, crying, whining...yeah, I'm sure the people around us, LOVED us! {stopping by from Pam's! So glad I did ;) }

  10. I hear you!!! I've camped so many times! ONCE with 4 kids, and a 6 week old baby on a heart monitor!! I'm as crazy as you to keep doing it!! ;) love it!! kids love it!! sure is alot of work though!


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