We did it!

We went camping all weekend with a 6 week old! I was really not sure if it was a good idea. I really wanted to go, but it was supposed to be cold. And she doesn’t sleep through the night. And all four of us sleep in a tent together. But we survived and it went pretty well, thanks to a very involved Daddy, a cooperative big brother, a borrowed snowsuit for warmth and lots of grandmas, grandpas, aunties and uncles who helped with both kids–especially with Carson when I had to disappear into the tent frequently to feed Little Miss who likes to take her sweet time.


This was our 7th annual family campout to Still Creek, near Government Camp on Mt. Hood. check out Mike’s blog for some great pics. We look forward to this trip and plan for it all year. The truth is, the trip is not as relaxing and laid-back as it used to be. We used to just spending time in nature–reading, talking, eating, hiking, boating, etc. The addition of SIX kids has changed that! Unlike at home, where there are some physical boundaries, like, you know, doors and walls, camping kind of requires a one-on-one offense for the three toddlers who move quickly in separate directions–especially considering the swiftly flowing, freezing cold river about 20 yards away. The campground is pretty rugged; there is one outhouse down the road and next to it is a faucet of ice-cold water. Other than that, you are on your own. Fortunately, the Jagger/Bunch families do not camp like most people: we camp in STYLE!
For example: please notice a plethora of plastic toys, potties, tricycles, slides, swings, picnic tables, shovels, etc. We eat well and big at every meal–and usually in between as well. We had 7 large tents and 3 large canopies on–I kid you not–what has to be the world’s LARGEST campsite. (Actually, 2 of the tents were on the adjacent site, but STILL!) We also have a campfire burning about 19 hours a day, which was really nice this year because it was extra cold.

Sometimes people ask me (and sometimes, when it starts to drizzle, I ask myself) why we choose to spend our vacation time like this, when we could go for something more along the lines of warm hotel beds, sandy beaches, etc. I heard a comedian once say he doesn’t work all year to spend his vacation living like the homeless. 🙂 But there’s just nothing like it! For three days, I didn’t hear a phone ring, hold a remote or look at any kind of TV or computer screen. Better yet–our boys didn’t see one either. Instead they played in the dirt, hopped off of and climbed over logs, threw rocks in rivers and ran around ALL DAY. Yes, it was a lot of work. No, it was not relaxing. Yes, it was freezing cold a lot of the time. But this is TRADITION! I’ve always enjoyed it, but it’s meaning even more as we introduce it to our kids.

Grandmas and grandpas get to spend time with their grandbabies…

…and pass on some lifestyles and passions to a new generation.

Little boys get to live like little boys: be dirty and pee in the bushes…

…and young dads get to use an ax and a frisbee more than they use their laptops.

Here’s a shot of all the Tompkins’ stuff. I think we need a bigger car next year.

But for those of you who still have a hard time wrapping your brain around the camping experience, I filmed a little tour of our Mt. Hood digs. Just think of it as MTV Cribs with fabric walls. (And for those of you who DO camp…aren’t you always a little curious what the inside of other people’s tents looks like? Now you know about ours.)


  1. Wow! What a great experience. That picture of Sydney is soooooo cute! I agree. Some traditions may sometimes require lots of effort, but the investment in our kids is certainly worth it. Just think, Carson will be carrying out this same tradition with another generation of Tompkins.

  2. I love this, and I love that you share in such detail. We camped with Alexa at 8weeks, and it was freezing. It was also Halloween, so I had packed her “pea” costume, complete with stem/hat. She spent all weekend in it, slept like, well, a baby. And we had the time of our lives. Such great memories. I wish it was our yearly tradition!

  3. I’m thoroughly impressed. I love to camp but Dave is not a camper, mainly because of all the stuff you need to pack. With that in mind, I will never show him this post if I have any hopes of a future in the wilderness. : )

    I agree that it’s a lot of work but so worth it!

  4. Wow, that’s awesome! Quite the kid set up you had! We go houseboating every year with Ty’s family, and every year it gets 10x more difficult, but you’re so right, it’s worth it!

    You’re also right about timing, Lucas’ first birthday pictures were going to get taken this weekend…but since he has a big goose egg, they will be post poned! 🙂

    PS It is so much fun to see your whole family getting bigger…long way from the old BCC days :P)

  5. Oh and I didn’t even notice the video! LOVE IT! Can’t wait to show Elisha and get her pumped about camping out. I did have to laugh though because seeing your digs reminds me of why my dad calls camping “cramping”. Nothing like the whole family zipped shut in one piece of vinyl! Still, you do it with such style!

  6. Wow Jen! I’m impressed too! I had to show Jon those pictures because he is Mr. Outdoorsy-man and he loves to camp, but he’s a minimalist. We can’t even bring a lantern when we go…serioulsy!! Needless to say, I don’t go w/him very often. 🙂
    I’m glad to see that you took Sydney and survived. We are going to Florida to visit Jon’s parents Labor Day weekend. I am very nervous about it, but Jon’s dad bought our tickets to surprise his mom. So..we’ll see how it goes!
    Btw,Syndey looks adorable!!

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