We went camping a few weeks ago with the whole crew, and let me tell you, the learning curve is significant!
I was somewhat prepared, having researched “camping with toddlers” and making all of the lists, but am very grateful that our friends helped chase the kids around. We were initially going to bring Osa, but decided against it even before we would have realized that she wouldn’t even fit in the car. It was an intense packing situation! Shout out to my MIL for watching her over the weekend.
Our family of 5 and a couple friends (thanks, vaccines!) stayed at a campsite that included a “shelter” in Martin Dies Jr State Park. I had never heard of this park, located in Jasper, Texas, but it was beautiful and spacious. And in case you are like me and have no idea what a “shelter” is within a campsite, it’s a screened in patio with a picnic table, light, and one electric outlet. Having an area to store all of our food stuff was super helpful, as was the outlet, obviously.
After discovering we would have access to electricity I purchased a tiny little fridge, with just enough space for the boys’ milk prep. The cool thing about the fridge was that you could flip the switch and make it a warmer, which was helpful for the boys’ meals, too. Lila is a lot easier. 🙂
Food temps might not be an issue in the summer, but we had nights down to 55F and days that ranged between 75-80F. Sebastian and Lila don’t mind chilled food and beverages…it’s Alaric who is pretty picky about his milk temp.
I packed multiple heavy blankets and thick pajamas for the boys. Lila’s sleepover bag kept her nice and toasty, too. Daniel and I probably could have used a third blanket. And a couple hats. 🙂
Daniel chose the last spot at the back of the park, so we were a decent distance from the other campsites, which was nice, but close enough to the restrooms, too. He pitched our 8 person tent, where we fit a queen air mattress I had recently purchased since we no longer have a guest room in our home (LOL), a kid size air mattress for Lila that a friend lent us and I have since purchased, and the play yard I very fortunately purchased from Facebook Marketplace. There was still a bit of space to walk around even after all that!
My school district had that Monday off, so we decided to camp from Saturday to Monday. Saturday was pretty busy. Almost every campsite was occupied. The public bathroom on Saturday night was hoppin. We got into the habit of wearing our masks in the bathroom area to be safe. It also blocked some of the smells. ha!
Bedtime on the first night was pretty rough. We had a white noise app, but we didn’t realize that the farthest site was also the closest to the freeway passing through. The sound traveled over the water and through the grove of trees a bit too well. The second night was easy peasy, though. I’m sure the boys were worn out plenty by then.
Sunday check out was noon, so we were by ourselves most of the day! One other family arrived in the evening. You’d think it would be so cool to be the only ones camping? Ya, no. It was super creepy! The only spot that was really busy on Sunday was the day area. It was a swingset with a sand pit that the boys loved, and then an area of the lake for swimming (brrrr) and picnics. Lila kayaked and swam with Daniel while the boys played in the sand for the first time ever. They absolutely loved it.
Okay, here’s my momma bear story. After Lila swam for a while, I dried her off and put a shirt on over her bathing suit. The boys came over to eat, and Lila made a friend in the sandy area. After chatting from afar, they decided to build a sand castle together. This is when Lila came over for her mask. She heard me mention it to Daniel and came over by herself. She doesn’t care and she understands its purpose.
A couple other little boys joined them later, and apparently teased her about not wearing pants (they were also in bathing suits) and about her mask. The little girl she was playing with defended her mask use (“we wear them in school”). When I called her over to explain what was going on, she said they were teasing her about not having bottoms on. I told her she had her bathing suit on just like they did so she didn’t need to wear pants. She loved that she had an explanation and walked over with, “My mom says…” Being a mother and a teacher would have put those boys in a very lecturey place. 🙂
We didn’t have the nice play yard pads at the time, but have since purchased them. That will come in handy at bed time. The only additional items I would bring are a few new toys to keep the boys better entertained when they were restricted to the play yard. I also recently purchased a bubble machine that would have been a lot of fun, too!
The park was such a nice surprise. Evenings after the boys were put down were chill, and we had a camp cat that kept coming by. We will definitely be doing it again, but will be purchasing some type of roof storage. 🙂