June 26, 2012 10:00 PM

Taking a moment with Zev – Courtesy Marissa Jaret Winokur

We’re thrilled to welcome Marissa Jaret Winokur back to our celebrity blogging family!

As you may recall, the Tony-winning actress, 39, beat cervical cancer 11 years ago, underwent a hysterectomy and later welcomed a baby boy with the help of a surrogate.

Her son, Zev Isaac, is now 3½ and Winokur is back on the small screen, starring on TV Land’s Retired at 35, premiering Tuesday at 10 p.m.

She can be found on Facebook and on Twitter @MarissaJWinokur.

For her first blog back, Winokur writes about what happened when she and husband Judah Miller took Zev camping … er, glamping!

First of all, I am very excited to be blogging for PEOPLE.com again! Last time I did it, my son Zev was 2 years old and now he is about to turn 4 next month.

I remember all the wonderful comments and some of the not-so-wonderful ones, too. Both, however, are okay. I believe there are many different ways to raise a child, and I never claim to be the best mom. I’m just doing the best I can. Some days better than others. 😉

I wanted to come up with a fun blog to maybe spark some ideas of things to do over summer vacation. Imagine my friends’ surprise when I Tweeted in May saying that I was going camping! I read comments like, “Wait … camping? Seriously? Where is the girl I know and love … she wouldn’t camp.” And “Why aren’t you GLAMPING???”

Glamping? GLAMPING! (A combination of “glamorous” and “camping.”) I had never heard of that!

My husband grew up going to Skylake Yosemite Camp and they were having a family weekend. I knew we had a “lean-to” or something that wasn’t exactly a tent to stay in. How hard could it be?

Zev is almost 4 and he loves being outside. “LET’S HAVE AN ADVENTURE!,” I thought. That’s the phrase I usually regret. It’s like I know it’s gonna suck so I call it an “ADVENTURE” to make it sound less sucky.

We pull in at 5 p.m. with the sun still out so we can see where we are setting up camp, but it is uncommonly cold! It was 48 degrees out — and mind you, I live in L.A. and feel cold on a 65-degree day. So we all put on our jackets and start unloading the car to our cabin — our cabin with no real walls, just mesh to keep the bugs out, but not the freezing wind!

Now when you go camping, you should always bring a sleeping bag, right? Well, I bought Zev a Buzz Lightyear sleeping bag that’s more for pretend sleepovers at home. For me and Judah, I brought the blankets off our bed and an air mattress!

Holding this caterpillar was a big deal – Courtesy Marissa Jaret Winokur

At bedtime it was 38 degrees. I was so cold I huddled with my son and husband in the pitch dark and freezing cold. I woke up at 1 a.m. and totally freaked out. You would think I would save my child from the cold as well, but he and my husband had all the blankets and were fast asleep.

EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF! I ran to the car and turned both the heat and the seat heaters on! I left the car running for about an hour and a half and then finally turned it off and slept in the front seat! I Tweeted at 2 a.m.: “Camping in yosemite, didn’t bring sleeping bags! I’m in car now with heat and seat heaters. I was the first voted off!”

At 5 a.m., my sweet little boy and my husband — whom I hated for taking me camping to die — knocked on the window. They got in the car and we drove until we found a cheap motel.

We did return to the campground for the wonderful activities, but at night we told Zev that “EVERYONE was staying in the same motel with us because it’s insane to sleep outside in the cold — only bears can do that — and everyone will return in time for breakfast!”

The great thing that happened during this trip was that I met the boy Zev’s teacher talks about. I don’t know about you, but my son’s teachers always say things about him and I’m like, “Sorry, are you sure you’re talking about Zev? Because that doesn’t sound like my boy.”

I never really believed or understood what the teachers meant, but during the weekend of “glamping,” I saw what they were talking about. He was game for everything. He wanted to have a true ADVENTURE.

The adventure Zev wanted included hiking and kayaking — and most of all, to be left alone with the big kids! It was so amazing. He really jumped into whatever the camp was doing. The boy who hates bugs and was scared of worms even held a caterpillar. He was so loving, he would just grab my face and kiss me because I think he was just so happy!

Zev had such a wonderful time that we arranged to go back in August. I am sure it will be 110 degrees in the shade and I’ll sleep in the car using the air-conditioning. Or maybe I’ll reserve a room at the same motel. After all, taking a shower after a long day of tie-dying and horseback riding really does make it more of a fun adventure!

Where else can I charge my phone and Tweet from and blow-dry my hair and sleep on a mattress and … OKAY YES, YOU HAD ME AT SHOWER!

Arts and crafts at camp – Courtesy Marissa Jaret Winokur

Follow me on Twitter @MarissaJWinokur for late-night tweets!!

— Marissa Jaret Winokur

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