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Archive for the ‘Tenting’ Category

Tenting Togetherness

P8040578While we’re riding more separately, with Noah on his own bike, we’re still sharing the family tent. I love our conversations at night, and we’ve worked out a sleeping arrangement that works for us.

The kids sleep on the sides, with the parents in the middle. And every night Tom and I trade places. So one night I sleep next to one child, and the next night the other, and I always get to sleep next to my husband. It works great and allows for varied snuggles and back rubs from the person next to you.

I love tenting as a family. I think we’re close to teenagers preferring their own tent, but meanwhile I’m savoring the fun of all being together.

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Camping Counts

p8170797I’ve been wanting to count our number of nights spent camping in 2008, even before 2009 kicked in. So I got out my calendar and my journal and started adding. Then I realized I needed to further define what I was counting. Just using a sleeping bag doesn’t count as camping, I decided, you need to be outdoors. When I decided nights-in-a-sleeping-bag didn’t cut it, I did not add the night we spent in a Mountaineers Lodge on Mt. Baker in February, the 2 nights Dana was in a cabin on her school’s outdoor education trip in June, the 4 nights at our friends’ cabin on Waldron Island or Noah sleeping on his friend’s boat in July, the kids’ sleepovers at our house or a friend’s, or the trojecito we slept in before climbing Paricutin. I did hesitate a little about the boat and the floor of the most rustic cabins.

I then decided every night in a tent counted, even the night we pitched ours in an unfinished house in Mexico. No electricity, no heat, no bathroom, with bare cement walls and floor? We’ll call it camping.

We did have an amazingly unusual year, with our 6-week bike trip (5 nights non-camping between staying with friends and a hotel in Los Angeles) and our September – January family sabbatical to Mexico, which included a month of traveling with backpacks and our tent. Check out our Traveling Simply blog stories if you want to hear more about that. I love tenting with my family, and I love sleeping out when bugs and weather allow, and I love that our total was 59 nights for 2008. Plus two more for me from my North Cascades backpacking trip pre-summer bicycle tour. Don’t know that we can break that record in 2009, but it’s worth tracking.

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Santa Comes to the Tent

pc250385An interesting aspect of spending the Christmas holidays in a tent on a beach in Mexico, is deciding how to tweak your traditions. We began with family discussion on what people’s expectations were. Or actually, we began before that by opening with “things will be a little different this year” and “we’re going to have to think small and simple here, don’t you think?”

At home we make snowflakes with scissors and white paper, but this year we made them out of shiny silver potato chip bags. We hung the snowflake art inside our tent and on the flowering trees near our tent. The other campers and staff at the area smiled. And the tropical sun glinted nicely off the silver.

Then we agreed that Santa would most likely leave little items in the gear loft. And that’s what happened. Although there were also notes there saying “look at the end of your sleeping bag,” where each kid found two books, one in English and one in Spanish.

We didn’t make a gingerbread house in December as has been our tradition for years, and we didn’t go to lots of holiday parties. We had a rather quiet family day, made sure we greeted people on the beach, and went snorkeling. Next year when we tweak our traditions, I think I’ll carry forward the silvery snowflake-making, wherever we are.

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