110°F…..that was the high here in the Valley of the Sun on Friday September 1st, 2017. I called Jess to remind her of our reservations for Sunday at Fort Tuthill. I was looking forward to the break from the heat. But more importantly, I was looking forward to our first camping trip as a family. I was excited yet nervous about what was to come. Being trapped in the wilderness with a soon to be 2 year old and a soon to be 4 year old felt like a cruel game of hot potato using time bombs….
During the phone call, Jess and I got our logistical plan together. As I’ve stated before, Jess usually handles the bulk of the planning. All of my life, I have had someone plan trips for me. Mom and Pops took care of the planning when I lived at home and Uncle Sam was kind enough to handle the rest of my travels after turning 18. Thank goodness I found someone that actually enjoys organizing and planning things as much as Jess does….otherwise, I would just show up to random places at random times with nothing to wear and little to no agenda. Now, I don’t want that to sound like I sit back and let her do the work while I get to enjoy all of the fun. I know what my jobs are…gather the heavy bags, pack the car, and drive straight until told to turn….
So….what did I learn about camping with toddlers?
- Trust me….you forgot something.
You undoubtedly forgot something that “you can’t live without.” For us it was Ella’s tennis shoes. But guess what….Her sandals pulled through. Plus, we were not about to pull out a twenty mile hike, so all was well. The worst thing that came of it was a few dirty piggies.
Let me tell you something. Toddlers move when they sleep. At one point during the night I sat up to cover Emma back up and I watched Ella reach across and slap Jess as hard as she could. I couldn’t keep myself from laughing. We also made a huge error in our preparation. We thought an air mattress would be a good idea. Turns out, it’s a terrible idea. If one person moves you all move. There is no way to avoid it.
Embrace the happy accidents.
While pulling in to the camp ground, I was a little taken by surprise at how close the County Fair was to our campsite. This had me worried about what was to come with the night ahead. However, it couldn’t have worked out better. We were easily able to walk to the fair, enjoy some fair food and let the kids ride some rides, play some games, and pet some animals. All the while, not worrying about loading everyone back into the car right after a 2 hour drive, finding a parking spot, and again loading back up once we were all done. Because everything was within walking distance we were able to enjoy more of the night and each other.
Slow down and disconnect.
I think I got cell phone reception at the campground, but maybe I didn’t. Being in the woods and around the family I was able to put all the Tech aside for a while. Jess brought her Cannon EOS 6 camera and I think that helped as well. Having it prevented us from having to pull out our phones each time we wanted to take a photo.
Remember, this is all brand new to your kids.
I think this is the most important thing that I can stress in the post. Keep in mind, however that first trip goes will be the cornerstone for all other camping trips to come. I think the same can be said for a lot of things in life. If you approach everything as positive as possible, then the trip/event is more likely to be a success. I feel if you don’t, than the chances of them growing up and enjoying camping outdoors may be hindered.
As you can see, our trip did not go as planned. However, Jess and I were able to laugh at the things that went “wrong” and enjoy the time we had as a family.