Annabel has been begging us to take her camping for at least a year. My dad once said something to her about camping in their backyard, and she was completely enamoured with the idea. Unfortunately for her, my parents don’t have a backyard anymore, and we don’t have a backyard with grass. Also, I like air conditioning, running water, and electricity. I’m old-fashioned like that.

For my job at Mommy Nearest, I got the opportunity to try out a “backyard campcation,” where a company comes to your house and sets up an entire campsite in your backyard. I knew Annabel would be all over that, and I felt like the proximity to my house would also make it doable for me.

One of my favorite things in life is surprising people, so I jumped at the opportunity to surprise Annabel and James with the backyard camping. My parents took the kids out while the whole thing was set up, and Annabel’s reaction to seeing everything was awesome.

omg camping!

can't wait to ge tin the tent

James was also excited, but was easily distracted by the books and glow sticks.

distracted by toys and books

After they tried out all of the beds…

backyard camping

night night

…it was time to eat! We had hot dogs for dinner, and after Annabel decided roasting them over the fire was taking, “way, way too long,” I just went in the house and microwaved them. 21st century win!

nummy dinner!

Also…I don’t think I can properly state how stressful it was having James near a fire pit. He kept saying, “Touch it! Touch it!” He is insane.

backyard fire pit

On the flip side, Annabel was not into the fire at ALL, and would only go near it once it died down.

making s'mores

It also helped that marshmallows were involved. They can be quite motivating.

gimme dat s'more

The camp set up came with a bunch of children’s books about camping, perfect for bedtime.

story time

While Mike was reading to the kids, I was like, “Hey…you guys all look mighty comfy in there…what if y’all just stayed in that bed and I just sacrificed everything and stayed in the house?” But Annabel said, “No, Mommy! I’m going to sleep in my cot!” It wasn’t that I didn’t want to sleep with all of them, I just didn’t want to also sleep with all the bugs. I made sure to zip up every single possible bug opening before I doused myself in deet and then covered myself in mosquito netting. Okay maybe only one of those things actually happened.

And honestly? It was nice sleeping outside. Sure, Annabel thought every sound was a bear, and yes, Rigby growled at every falling leaf, but it was still very peaceful (once Annabel and Rigby were asleep, of course). I was worried about my insomnia, but that cool night air helped put me to sleep rather easily.

Annabel is already asking about having another campout, and I think it will definitely happen…maybe next time with some of her friends. I am willing to make that sacrifice.