On Saturday, June 30th, my family joined Coleman and the National Wildlife Federation at the Lake of the Ozarks. We camped with a bunch of other families using the best Coleman camping gear around! I had the pleasure of giving 4 free camping trips away here on my blog and was even more excited to meet them in person!
Here is my story, answering the question: How was your camping trip?
The drive to the camp site was not bad. We stayed the night in Kansas City so our drive time was only like 3 hours. They were so ready to get out and explore our new tent and David was pumped about helping daddy set it up. Coleman had not just employees but the designers of the gear walking around and helping the campers set up.
Coleman had a full agenda planned for the campers! First, we all got together and cooked in groups of 4 families at each station. They provided the food, we chopped and grilled. It was the most delicious food I have eaten in a very very long time. Squash, asparagus, quinoa – so good and so healthy. I was pleasantly surprised that we weren’t eating burgers and brats!
After lunch, I wanted a nap. But the kids were too excited about the water and the lake and all the activities! Josh took Lizzie horseback riding (and we do not have a single picture of it! argh!) while I stayed at the tent with David and Lucy, hoping to entice them to rest. NOPE! So instead, my friend Jenny helped me take David fishing while I let Lucy put her feet in the water.
Only she wasn’t happy with just her feet. So Jenny took her way out in the water and let her kick and splash and float. I can tell you this – camping with kids so young as mine is definitely a team effort!
After a very hot day of swimming, fishing and horeback riding, it was time for dinner! And we got to cook again! While the kids waited for the food to cook, they kinda fell asleep. It was adorable. I think those Coleman chairs are so comfy! They slept for about 45 minutes or so. I’ll be honest – I enjoyed the peace – they were really crabby right before they fell asleep. Camping is hard work!
The rest of the evening was pretty mundane. I took kids to and from the bathroom a few times (a little hike from our tent too, and yes, they had an actual bathroom thank goodness!). I organized our stuff to make packing up easier and got the beds all made. We were warned about wild animals so I made sure to put everything in the car. Then the kids – believe it or not – stayed up until past 10pm so they could make S’mores! Right after this picture was taken, I went to bed. I was done. And it was still oh, so hot.
I forgot to pack pillows, so I did not sleep very well. I was very thankful for the tent fan they gave us! It helped move air and made it not so bad.
Bright and early the next morning, I was ready to start our journey home! They fed us a delicious breakfast of juice & bagels and fruit. And the helpful Coleman staff lent a hand and packing up went very fast!
And look! We got all our gear to fit in the Jeep Grand Cherokee!! I was dumbfounded. Every single inch of space in that vehicle was used up. Thank you Coleman for being so generous and giving us all we needed for this camp out!
Then…we started our trip home. GPS said it would take roughly 5 hours. Reality? It took nearly 7.5 hours. Given the choice between camping with these kids again and driving with them? I’d pick camping. Even roughing it. Yes, the drive home was not enjoyable. At all. We sure learned the power Lucy has in her lungs!
We made so many stops on the way home! This park in Eudora, Kansas was our last one. We just booked it home after wards. It is a really cute park and the kids loved playing out of the car, but I wanted my bed.
Lesson learned from camping: I need to do stuff with my family. With the kids being so young, it is so easy for Josh and I to split up – Josh takes this one and I take the other two. But it is doing things together that makes the memories and brings us closer together.
The worst part of the camping trip was when I was sitting at my tent, alone, with Lucy and David. Josh had just left with Lizzie for horseback riding. I was tired and had no idea what to do. Then my friend Jenny came over and we took the kids fishing together. I cannot wait until Lucy is old enough to do the same things Lizzie can. Family activities will be done together!
Thank you Coleman for an amazing and unforgettable camping trip!
Please go check out all the photos from our camping trip on the Coleman, USA Facebook page! (the first 6 photos in this post are from those albums and there are some really beautiful shots of some happy campers!)
Disclaimer: Coleman provided my family all the gear for our trip. We provided the travel. And the whining children. All opinions are 100% my own.