What do you get when you combine a tent, a 17-month-old, a 3-year-old, a lot of friends, and a beautiful mountaintop? If you answered, "NO SLEEP," you're right.
If you answered, "A REALLY GOOD TIME," you are also right.
Our church has a yearly tradition where we cancel our "normal" services and have a service up at Mt. Lemmon instead, followed by a huge picnic. We also reserve the campground the night before for anyone who wants to brave the elements.
So, we went - carrying our gigantic 8-person tent, a bag full of diapers and spare clothes, and a cooler of food to be eaten. We played. We explored. We ate S'mores. We went to bed way past bedtime (It rained in the middle of the night!) and we woke up way-way-way too early (Did I mention we woke up way too early?).
"Take our picture, mom!"
"Okay, make a sad face."
"Make a silly face."
"Put your hands on your hips!"
"Say 'We love camping!'"
That afternoon, around 12noon, both girls began sobbing from tiredness. The kind of tiredness where every question led to more tears and hiccuping; where it's not even fair to try to reason.
After relaxing at the tent for a bit, the girls both revived for a second wind. On the way home, however, they collapsed almost instantaneously. We took baths and showers as soon as we walked in the door. And then I fell fast asleep in clean sheets next to my baby at 7:30pm. Tim and our 3-year-old soon followed. We all slept until 8:45 the next morning. Bliss.
Tips for camping with a baby and preschooler? Bring plenty of diapers. Bring sweatshirts (just in case). Plan for lack of sleep (and a bit of downtime). Take pictures on the 1st day when you're still fresh (instead of waiting until you're grimy and exhausted).
Do you enjoy family camping? Have you ever camped with a baby and/or children under age 5? What tips would you add to my list?