You Haven’t Lived Until…

…you’ve taken your 4 kids camping for 4 days.

Holy crap. I’m not sure I’ve seen so much dirt in my life. And all of it was on my kids’ faces, clothes and feet.

So this weekend there were 2 events going on: 1) My VERY good friend Jessica’s bachelorette party in Seattle and 2) Danny’s Overland trip he’d been planning for months. And months.

There was no way I was going to ask Danny to skip this trip he’s been planning, but I knew that finding someone to watch my 4 kids (one of them not really done nursing) for 3 nights was going to be difficult and expensive. My mom and dad were gone this weekend, so they were out. Kara is still in TN. Cenone and Andy were on some really stupid wine tasting trip (I mean, whatever…Napa Valley? Psh….). So I was unable to go to Seattle for the girls’ weekend, but since I didn’t want to just stay home alone, Dan and I decided we’d pack up all the kids and head to the Overland Rally.

We started out Wednesday night in Leavenworth. Leavenworth is such a neat little town — everything is totally German. There are a zillion cute little shops and yummy places to eat. We had a blast. Maria’s favorite part of the entire vacation was being licked by a baby mountain goat on the side of the road at the mini golf course because “Hewey doesn’t lick me…”. Andy and Cenone, please remedy that.

So here the ragamuffins were in Leavenworth:


Get a good look because even at that, that’s the cleanest you’ll see them all weekend long. After eating breakfast at Sandy’s Waffle Haus, we went to the skatepark of course.

Alice took a nap…


…while Daddy shredded it up.


Then we headed to Plain where the Overland Rally was taking place.


Here is an overview of what the Overland Rally is.

In my words, it’s basically a bunch of guys with a few women mixed in who own 4×4 vehicles (like Land Cruisers, Range Rovers, all kinds of Toyotas, etc.) and like to go on trail rides and get them super dirty and almost kill themselves going over cliffs. They also spend lots of money making their ‘rigs’ really cool with pretty over-the-top camping set-ups. They are all super friendly and so willing to share tips and tricks and how and why they have the set-ups they have.

I’m sure Danny was slightly embarrassed by me and my very limited camping and 4×4 knowledge (“I’ll be able to charge the iPad, right?”) but he didn’t let on. This was completely his trip and his thing, but he catered to me and the kids the whole time.  Because he’s like that.

The kids are used to camping with Daddy, though.


I’m pretty sure every camper (well, the non-pregnant ones) should have this with them for each night, if not 2 for each night:


How awesome is that? I bet it’s really high quality vodka, too.

I learned that when you go camping with a one year old, it’s okay to let them run around without clothes on.



Because Danny didn’t say a thing about it, so I went with it.

Apparently it’s also okay to never wash your face.


This kid was dirty the entire time.

I also learned that camping food doesn’t have to be hotdogs. Danny never takes the easy way out and if he’s going to be roughing it, he at least wants to eat well.







Day 1 we had steak kabobs with grilled veggies and rice.

Day 2 we had this:









He chopped up parsley and onion and made a little parsley salad to go atop bruschetta. Bone marrow bruschetta. I didn’t eat it (because I’m not stupid) so he made me goat cheese bruschetta. But according to Dan and our camping neighbors, it was delicious. Doubt it.

We also made fried rice with white rice, bacon, onions, egg and soy sauce. The kids got hotdogs while Danny made some brats simmered in onions and peppers for himself.









For Day 3, I was in charge so Alice and I walked down the street to get pizza.  I’m not kidding.

I’ll hand it to Danny. His kitchen set up is pretty bomb. A bunch of his stuff is from Snow Peak which is a company that specializes in high quality camping cookware. The knife comes in a box that doubles as cutting board. The pots all have the same wooden handle that screws in and out. The stove top folds up into a tiny little package. It’s pretty awesome.

This little sink thing? It’s ingenious.


He got it at NRS and even though it seems like a silly thing to spend money on, it’s worth it. You step on this little pump and it pumps water through a tube and out a spout at the top, making handwashing and dish washing so easy.

Our morning meals consisted of cereal…



[awesome hair]


…because we needed to get ready quick for the trail rides.

What’s a trail ride? A trail ride is when a group of guys go on super scary trails up the mountains.  Sometimes they are so long that their pregnant wives’ bladders almost burst and their children have drained the iPad battery in the first hour so that the remaining 5 hours are full of, “Are we back at camp yet?”….they’re fun.

[we were in the last 10 or so group of vehicles…lots of ’em.]

[the socks are not for fashion’s sake, let that be known….we were eaten alive by bugs]

On the way to the trail we had to stop and get some knives custom made. Standard.



The scenery was amazing, so it made the bumpy trails completely worth it.

The first trail ride was on Friday morning and it was only 2 hours long. It was a beginner’s ride, so I drove and it was uber easy. Nothing scary or hard or anything like that. The 2nd one? Scary. 6 hours. Lots of steep dropoffs right out my window and bumpier than Indiana Jones at Disneyland.

That’s bumpy.

But like I said, gorgeous.






The kids had a blast, of course.



Jamie thought the best part was how you could just drop your pants and pee anywhere. He didn’t say ‘pee’ of course…bad word. But he did it. And Maria was horrified each time.


Are they they most adorable Overlanders you’ve ever seen or what?




[at exactly 16 weeks, the tiniest one got in on the action, too]


And Jamie found so many light sabers it was amazing.


After the trail rides, we were all pretty sick of being in the car, so we packed (back) up and headed to Lake Wenatchee.




We discovered that Lake Wenatchee was too crowded and too windy, so we took a detour next time and went to Nason Creek. Ridiculously beautiful.





Danny made a little pool with a bunch of huge rocks so Charlotte could sit and play in the water.



[baby bottoms are the cutest]


Charlotte got tired, though, and sat with Mama and watched the big kids play.




And this picture is so 100% Jamie. I caught him by himself, completely in his own little world and perfectly content.


They had an absolutely blast at the creek. We all did. The weather was perfect and the water was clear and crisp and wonderful.

And after all that…all the wonderful meals, fun trail rides, amazing creek swims and campfires (with prizes!), by day 4 we were ready to go home. We had been bit by way too many bugs.

Check this sucker out:


And we were running out of clean clothes.


And it happened just in time because the Overland Rally was done.

Danny packed up his trailer (another sweet setup…which he kinda constructed himself because he’s so crafty like that)…



…we packed up the kids…


…and said goodbye to Plain.


We really did have a great time.


And I learned yet another thing from Danny (because he’s always teaching me things without really meaning to).  It’s worth it to go on adventures that require a lot of work and a ton of time.  It’s worth it to let your kids go 4 days without a bath (yikes) and just let them run around and get as dirty as they want.  It’s worth it to do something you might not think is fun, because in the end it totally ends up being some of the best memories you’ll ever make.


I think the dirt ring around the kids’ bathtub is proof.


2 thoughts on “You Haven’t Lived Until…

  1. Danielle Bradshaw

    I LOVE your posts. You are so cute and so fun. Where is the Pregnancy post? I had no idea that you were pregnant… Congratulations! I am so happy for you. You are an AMAZING mama. Good luck!


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