Camping With Triplets

During the September school holidays, we went camping with triplets.

If you think we are a crazy, I would agree with you.

But here is why I decided to.
a) It was only one night.
b) There was very little accommodation available at an affordable price that would fit our family.
c) The Accountant has been wanting to go camping. I have been objecting. I thought this might be a good chance for me to illustrate why I object.
d) It was only one night.

We needed to travel to the coast because next year my husband has a major milestone birthday (!) and he wants to have a small party at the coast. This was a reconnaissance mission. A fact finding exercise in order to find a venue for the event.

Before you think that I’m incredibly brave – let me tell you that there are triplet Mum’s out there who camp – and do it well – with their young triplets. I know, how amazing! How organised. How very not me! There are also many of us HOMmies who don’t!

If you are wondering about the pros and cons, Let me list them for you.

1. Even for an overnight trip, (bringing nothing to feed your family) your car will be full to overflowing, including the roof rack.

2. The children will not be helpful while you are pitching a tent.

Especially after being confined to a car for 3 hours.

3. If after chasing toddlers who have split up and running in opposite directions to neighbouring campsites and on service roads, you let the three one year olds play in the car while you set up the tent, expect chaos afterwards in the form of squashed food, tissue boxes deconstructed, random bags pulled out and the contents scattered throughout the car, every light and windscreen wiper and gadget to be fiddled with. (But on the positive, you will have somewhere to sleep that night.)

3. The children will not want to sleep at night. You on the other hand will be so exhausted by the days proceedings that every muscle will be craving sleep.
4. The children will examine the neighbouring campsites. The neighbours may not be friendly. They may reposition their tent to have minimal contact with you. Hypothetically speaking of course. Cough. Cough.
5. After a night with very little sleep, you will be woken extremely early in the morning.
6. You will need to pack up the tent.

 Expect all the same problems you encountered erecting the tent in the first place. Until you decide to have one parent pack up the campsite and another parent supervise the playground. God bless the husband who packs up the overnight dwelling. God bless the mother who had the patience to entertain five over tired bodies.

1. It is cheap.
2. You are able to go away when you hadn’t booked accommodation at the start of the school holidays and there is nothing affordable left in the region.
3. The kids love it. (And are totally unaware of the first six points.)
4. You prove to the husband that camping with five children, especially young triplets, is very difficult.

And if you are considering to triplet toddlers camping, I thought I really share some hints with you. Even though IF I were to do it again, I would need a ton of hints myself. But nevertheless, here is what I did learn.

1. Book an ensuite site. I cannot tell you how good this was. Oh my goodness. No traipsing to the toilet at all hours with the children. No leaving partners for excessively long times with the children while you shower. (10 minutes is an excessively long time with children.) When Trent was a baby, we went camping and there was no shared space where we could bath him, so I showered with the baby, The Accountant hung around outside the door to the Ladies toilets not trying to look like a pervert until I passed a naked baby out to him while I was adorned in nothing but a towel because there was nowhere to dry a baby, there was no bath. The sinks were tiny and I had to shower with the baby to remove the dirt and sand from the day. Nightmare. Couldn’t do it with triplets. Couldn’t.Do.It.

2. Bringing a DVD player is a good way to divert the kids attention.

3. A DVD player will only temporarily divert attention. Then they will start rampaging through the tent and work on their escape plan.

4. Their escape plan will be executed as soon as they work it out.
5. There will be fights over the DVD player. These fights could disturb your neighbours. Just smile and wave. Smile and wave.

6. Bring lots of snacks. Lots.
7. Lift all bans on electronic devices. That way your children can amuse themselves indefinitely taking crazy photos on their DS and other such fun.

Apparantly this creature used our facilities.

8. Eat out. After all, you’re saving money on accomodation. We had Indian for dinner. We got take-away, took it back to the holiday park and ate it while watching an outdoor movie that the park screened for families. We went to a great little cafe in Noosaville for breakfast.

Note: You will amaze and mysitfy (perhaps frighten) the other patrons. Note the body language of the man sitting at the table beside us.

9. Use the park facilities and let children burn off as much energy as possible. (Works well for grown-ups too.)

10. Bring Phernergan. (I so wish I thought of this.)
11. I might be joking about phernergan.
12. I might not be joking about phernergan.

Are you a happy camper? What are your tips, hints and reflections of family camping?

PS. You may want to head over to my 7 year old son’s blog and read his account of our camping trip! See here

Today I’m linking up with Essentially Jess

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Wet Weather Camping.

Towards the end of last year we bought a tent, thus fulfilling a longtime of The Accountant’s to begin our own family camping expeditions.

It’s rather unfortunate for The Accountant that the year he finally bought a tent the drought breaks and we get the wettest summer in the history of Queensland. You could say that The Accountant has been a little agitated that it has not been camping friendly weather, unless you are a duck.

This week his level of anxiety for the lack of camping climaxed and he bundled us all into the car to go camping at the beach. We had been watching the weather all week at the Gold Coast. It had looked extremely promising, mostly hot and humid with minimal showers – only a 2 or 3 ml. We were even wise enough to leave it until the last minute to book, since the weather has not been too reliable lately. Unfortunately that was no guarantee of promising conditions. Within hours of booking the weather report changed to ‘storms’.  Undaunted, but perhaps even more agitated that his plans literally had a dampener, we drove to Nobby’s Beach at the Gold Coast. The Accountant was remaining optimistic. The weather radar that we had checked before leaving had no rain actually at the Gold Coast. (Just surrounding it and slowly heading down!)

Had we not got lost  taken the scenic route once we got to the Coast, we may have even managed to put the tent up before it rained. Instead, as soon as we unfolded the canvas, it started pouring. At least we hadn’t started to try and erect the tent. We folded the tent in half so the waterproof side was up and waited for the rain to ease a bit. By this stage we had chucked a whole heap of bags throughout the car, so the J Bomb sat in the corner of the boot, I squeezed into the front of the car and The Baby pretended to drive and get into all the spare change and throw it throughout the car in gay abandon. The Accountant had noticed our umbrella’s weren’t in the car when he was packing, but for some reason hadn’t gone searching for them to include in our packing. Luckily I had packed The J Bomb’s umbrella, so The Accountant stood miserably by the car sheltered by a small Buzz Lightyear brellie.

Lucky for us, the rain did ease somewhat. So we put the tent up in drizzling weather rather than in a storm. The hippies  in the campsite opposite us seemed to enjoy watching the show, but mustn’t have been the “Help Mankind” breed of hippies because they choose to continue playing their guitars, singing folk songs and smoking while we put the tent up.

Here’s some J cam of us when we were just about completed.

Who knows why The J Bomb chose to photograph my lilly white legs. I’ve included it since the shoes had a blowout a bit later and were deposited in a bin at Harbour Town once I acquired a new pair. I did like those shoes…

We then went for a walk up to the beach. We discovered that a large majority of the beach had been washed away making it difficult to wheel the pram down to have a walk along the sand, so we stared at the grey ocean. The Accountant took the boys down for a quick play on the sand, while I guarded the pram against nasty pram thieves. (I’m sure they are about.)

We then headed back and bathed the boys. Well, The Accountant showered J Bomb, and I really did bath The Baby. There was a pink bath built probably in the 50’s – or whenever it was that pink baths were in vogue, in the ladies toilets. It’s actually a great inclusion for kids. The Baby had no appreciation for historical baths, and hated. He viewed the pink bath with great distrust and made it the shortest bath in history.

We then walked across the road and had some lovely Thai for dinner. It was a great recommendation by a friend who used to holiday all the time at Nobby’s Beach when she was growing up. I even had her late Nana’s favourite dish of chicken cashew nut. (Apologies to Nana that I enjoyed the Massaman Curry more.)

Back in our canvas mansion, it really is, as far as tents go. You can stand up and walk around in it. No stooping for us when we ‘glamp’. And it has three rooms, so we had a whole room in between us and the boys! It took awhile for the boys to settle down and once they did, we collapsed ourselves. Throughout the night, it absolutely bucketed down rain. The canvas mansion was wonderful. No leakage at all and thankfully it also did not blow away in the big gusts of wind that shook it from time to time.

I have to say I felt a little bit smug when I emerged from the tent to discover all the other tents (excepting the camper trailer, which was mansion even finer than ours) had not fared so well. All of them had lost their flys and the poor Muslim couple and their little girl next door to us had been flooded and spent most of the night in the car.

It was not a restful night’s sleep though. Our air mattress was fine, but heavy rain is very noisy when there is nothing between it and you except a bit of (very good quality) fabric. Plus, being situated next to the Gold Coast Highway probably isn’t the most serene of camping spots. It also wasn’t restful being awoken by one excited 4 year old boy at 4:30 in the morning yelling, “It’s morning time, we can all get up now. What’s for breakdast?” (Cannot convince him that an “f” is in breakfast.) The Baby was the only one to respond with any type of enthusiasm to this morning call. The Accountant and I tried to ignore the rabble for as long as possible. Eventually I got up, (The Accountant is NOT good in the mornings), and fed the baby. The J Bomb had eventually gone back to sleep after our refusal to go to the beach.

When everyone was breakfasted and fed at what is considered a reasonable hour for camping, 7:00, we all put on our cossies and headed to the beach. The beach was again a disappointment. It was high tide – once again no good for the pram – and we couldn’t swim in it because there were blue bottles everywhere. So back to the holiday park swimming pool. The boys didn’t mind at all.

After showering we spent the day at Harbour Town outlet shopping. (If you are going to take an accountant shopping, discounts will always improve the experience.) A quick trip to the beach and then another dining out experience. This time at a restaurant called, “Transylvania”. I ordered the traditional “piglet on a spit.” That little piggy was particularly delicious, however, there was a lot of him, and unfortunately the traditional accompaniment was pickled vegetables, which I was not a fan of.

Back to the canvas mansion for another restless night. The folk song lovely hippies had transformed themselves into just your typical long haired louts who liked thrash music. Luckily they still must have had enough peace and love to turn the music off at a reasonable hour, so I didn’t hold a grudge against them until about 11:30, when they decided to have a mate over who drove his van into the campground, shone his headlights right at our tent and then get out and talked loudly on his phone for half an hour.

Then just as we were drifting off to sleep a camper trailer pulled up, did a 50 point maneuver to get into position and set up camp. I had to wake up at 3am. for a toilet break, nothing so delightful as a midnight stroll to do a wee. It was good timing as there was another nice storm after I got back.

The boys were kind enough to let us sleep until 6am. We drove to Burleigh Beach (no blue bottles there) for a swim and the boys played on the playground in the rain.

We then packed up. Luckily the sun shone while we did, just long enough to dry the tent before we had to pack it up and head home.

It can take ever so long for parents to pack up and is most excruciating to wait when you have been promised a swim after the pack up.

So that is the tale of our 2nd trip family camping trip. Camping isn’t my preferred holiday mode, but it is still great to getaway but more importantly the kids and hubby love it. It’s always good to create some family memories.

Yes, I am wearing a Moo Moo. I know it’s not the most fashionable thing to wear, but gosh it’s comfy to slip over one’s togs!

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Happy Campers!

I met The Accountant in 1996, and I think ever since the start of our relationship The Accountant has always been trying to convince me of the merits of camping. I’m just not a camping type of girl, my family didn’t go camping on our holidays and I like my creature comforts. The Accountant has many fond memories of camping with his family from weekends up at the coast fishing and four wheel driving to heavy duty camping for months as they travelled around Australia.

This weekend was a momentous occassion for our family. We bought a tent!

The Accountant’s reasoning for camping has been making more and more sense now that we have a family – particularly with two sons. We will be able to getaway more often for short breaks since we don’t have to pay hefty accomodation costs, very important to the Accountant. Most people I talk to who did camp as kids have many fond memories of the experience – unlike my memories – I think you just need to get into your camping groove. The J Bomb had picked up on the talk about tents and camping and has been super excited.

We decided to go camping last weekend, however because we have been so busy lately, we didn’t have time to buy a tent. Some would then reserve the weekend for buying the tent and postpone the trip. Nope. Not the Accountant. He has waited a long time for this event. We went into town, after The Baby had his sleep – The Baby is still sick, and not a particularly happy chappy. Bought a tent after going to two stores, then back to the first one. We decided to go all out, this was a long term investment after all! We got a three room tent with 100 denier fly, so it shouldn’t leak in the rain.

Went home, chucked clothes into bags and anything else we could think of, loaded the car up and headed to Caloundra! Setting up the tent went smoothly. The boys loved playing in the dirt while we were setting it up. They are starting to get to the stage where they want the same thing. There hasn’t been full fights yet, but The Baby certainly yells, cries, growls when J takes something off him. The point of contention was the little shovel with a pointy end. I don’t know why The Baby formed an attachment to it, poor J kept trying to substitute other things, because he was trying to dig, and the point was better. The baby refused to share though.

It was 5:00 by the time we were all set up, The J Bomb was keen to try out the pool, so Daddy and him had a quick swim, followed with a walk on Dicky’s Beach. After showers, we wandered across to a gourmet fish and chips store for a tasty meal of prawns, beer battered chips and fish. Mine was barramundi with a pesto and Japanese crumb. Totally delish.

Back home to our three rooms.

Not the greatest nights sleep, The Accountant had forgotten to pack the port-a-cot, so the baby was with us, and had a tendency for constant movement and wanted to cuddle up close. Of course he slept, well, like a baby. Mummy and Daddy not so much.

J Bomb and I woke up early the next morning, so we headed down and checked out the beach. Then we bought some muffins and juice from the bakery for brekky.

We had a lazy Sunday morning on the beach and in the swimming pool before packing up the tent. I had been worried about setting up the tent, and had not even considered the complexities of pulling it apart. I tell you, folding the fly was such a challenge! Our bag full of tent gear was considerably larger then when we arrived. No doubt we will perfect the process in time. While we were there folding it all up, while the boys played happily in the dirt. I looked at the Accountant and had a flashback of all the times I had played “Mummy’s and Daddy’s” as a girl. I had such a sense of contentment and awe that we weren’t just playing anymore. We were the Mummy and Daddy, and we I feel a profound sense of gratitude to God that we have been given these roles.

Lunch at the surf club at Kings Beach. The J Bomb had a play in the water spouts on the esplanade. Then onwards home with two tired happy little campers in the back.

So am I a happy camper after our debut family camping trip? Well, during the overnight trip, I did have many flashbacks of why I don’t like camping. Shared toilets/showers, (even if they were clean), noisy campsites, lack of privacy, guys spewing over walkways from the big night they had, lack of sleep, dirt… But when I looked at the happy smiles on my boys faces, (Accountant included) I think that the lack of creature comforts are a small sacrifice for the great opportunity to create family memories. So, my camping days have begun, and I’m actually looking forward to the next chance we will have for a getaway.
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