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It’s finally springtime! This time of year is when my little family starts planning our summer trips! Almost 90% of our trips are usually spent camping somewhere, so if we need to make campsite reservations, we like to do it early.

We have two daughters who are two and four years old, and another baby that will make its debut in August. Every year, we go camping. We go whether or not we have a little baby, whether or not our kids don’t sleep at night, and whether or not the campsite is 30 minutes or seven hours away, we still go. We go because we love it and our girls love it, so it’s fun to enjoy it together.

As you can imagine, we run into some difficult times camping with young kids, like the time we had to leave the campsite early because our youngest got sick, or the time we had to walk around campsites with our (then) 11-month-old in a stroller at midnight trying to get her back to sleep. We had a trip when we lost our daughter’s most prized possession, her binky, and the worst of all, when our oldest daughter fell and hit her tooth on a picnic table and we almost had to make a trip to the emergency room.

Since we have only been parents for a few years, we’re still learning. We’ve learned simple tricks like giving them baths in storage totes when we don’t have showers, putting dirty clothes in a hung-up garbage bag, and to always bring several pairs of socks for each kid. We’ve learned to plan extra peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in case they won’t eat dinner, and we’ve learned that sometimes you just have to call it early and go home.

Even though there are hard times, the good times far outweigh the bad times. The times spent together drinking hot chocolate around the fire in the morning, looking up at the stars before bedtime, driving past a herd of buffalo in Wyoming, or showing our girls their first waterfall, makes all the “hard” moments worth it. They’ve learned to appreciate the birds in the morning, the smell of pine trees in the woods, and a freshly made S’more (or at least as much as a two-year-old and four-year-old can appreciate those things).

Even though our girls are still small, they still remember our trips, and thanks to this current day and age, they have A LOT of photos to remember the trips by. I know there will be a day when our daughters won’t want to spend multiple days in “no service” areas with their super cool parents, so we’re going to savor the time when they don’t have a choice.

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