After a February trip to Disney World, our vacation fund is pretty much tapped out, so we've decided to go car camping more often. I know that to some of you that sounds about as fun as picking the lint out of your belly button, but I'm a family camping convert. We haven't mastered cooking with a cast-iron dutch oven or figured out how to use a pie iron for more than grilled cheese, but we have had two lovely weekend camping trips so far, and plan to go on at least a couple more before the end of the summer. So far, we've been to Deep Creek Lake State Park(pictured, with our palatial REI Kingdom 6 tent) and to Little Bennett Regional Park, both in Maryland.
Highlights from our back-to-back trips to the great outdoors include watching the kids make s'mores, enjoying our good friend Dave's campfire lattes, using iPhones to look up lyrics to Broadway hits (so we could have a proper sing-along), catching up with Jen, letting the husbands cook (I highly recommend marrying a man who's an amazing outdoor chef), and allowing the kids to catch, stare at and then release a lovely spider we later realized was a black widow (who knew?!).
Mami certainly didn't raise me to appreciate camping. Her idea of camping was staying somewhere without a full restaurant. It's not that she was a snob who only stayed at the Ritz (no offense to those of you privileged enough to stay at 5-star hotels on all your vacations), she just wouldn't have wanted to dress down, sleep in a tent, and sweat/get dirty unnecessarily. I, however, roll up a bandanna, cover up the frizz, wear lounge pants and plain T-shirts, and just kick back on a camp chair. There's something pretty magical about unplugging (OK, except for the iPhones) and just hanging out with your family and friends.
I know that before I was born, Mami and my father took my siblings to cabins in the Catskills with a half-dozen other Colombian families in their circle of friends. There's even video footage of those vacations, where my mom is shown looking like one hot mama in a black one-piece, lounging by a pool. I wish those trips were part of my history too, but I grew up with Widowed/Remarried Mami, not Married-to-Papi Mami. Oh what I wouldn't give to see my mom in a cabin!
So to all of my girlfriends out there who think they're too princessy to enjoy camping -- try family camping. It's not at all as difficult as backpacking, and your family *will* love it. You will too.