We managed to kick off summer with an overnight camping trip to a nearby (2 hours) state park.
While the kids were a bit more squirrelly than usual, we had some fabulous outside time including a 2 mile hike along a trail sprinkled with wild blueberry bushes.
We still haven't backpacked with them, but I think that day is finally coming. So far we have only car-camped, selecting sites along the edge of the campgrounds that back up onto the wild of the park, a trail, or stream. I have to say that I have been spoiled by being able to bring a pillow (and all you can fit in the trunk of your car) with me - it makes for a much nicer night's sleep.
The kids are much more independent out there now. And while bedtime is still a chore, gone are the all-night nursing marathons that kept them quiet and rested but left me ready to go home at 5 in the morning. O is now requesting to poop in the woods and after this past trip (with multiple wildlife warnings everywhere we looked) both are well versed in what to do if they encounter a Black Bear.
I love that they are so comfortable out there, spending hours playing with a headlamp or hammock instead of the couple of toys brought along. And I believe that the squirreliness and unexpected whining we experienced last week will lessen with 'practice'.
I'd like to do one more year of the car camping, moving to a 'cart-in' site next time, and then do our first backpacking trip as a family next summer. I have visions of a hut-to-hut trip in the White Mountains before a true backcountry trip. Hmmm...