Friday night Eliana went to sleep around 8 or 9 and cried for 30 minutes at least before passing out (new place and it was still light out). She got up at 7am, which for her is REALLY early. She napped for maybe an hour that day. Saturday night she went right to sleep at 8pm and slept til 8:30am. That's still a bit early for her, but for us being camping and it being cold and light out, I was impressed. To help with sleeping we had a sound machine on pretty high and the tent next to us did as well so there was decent white noise (although the morning crows were still much louder). I had purchased a Coleman tent fan/light for the ceiling of the tent for $30 at Target. I was hoping it would add more white noise but it was honestly a waste. It added zero noise and we never used the light. I'll be returning it today. We also had a dark colored queen sized sheet we put over her playpen once she had fallen asleep. It helped keep out light in the mornings and maybe the cold, too.
Mealtimes were easy. Each part of the 4 family group brought something for the meal. Like for chili someone brought the chili, someone brought cornbread/honey/butter, someone brought fritos/cheese/sourcream, etc. Made life simple for the mom's to only have to bring a portion of it. The little kids ate jarred baby food (way easier than making your own camping) and the two 'older' kids (21 months and 3) ate whatever we were eating along with other kid-friendly foods we packed. For Elly I packed: mandarin orange slices, peas, hard boiled eggs, lunchmeat, cheese, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, milk, filtered water. We brought her high chair that mounts on a regular chair at home and just put it on the ground at the campsite (yes it did get filthy and yes it all washed off :) ). She did great, ate whenever she was hungry and meals weren't an issue at all. Craig did have to go buy more ice on Saturday to keep the dairy stuff cold.
In hindsight, I should've brought Eliana more toys. The other mom's came well prepared and Elly played with their toys all weekend.
A few musts for camping with children:
~Clothes for heat and cold as the temp is dramatically different at night from the day (Elly had her winter coat on in the morning and then shorts and a t-shirt by the afternoon and then was bundled up again at night)
~Lots of blankets, snugglies, baby dolls, stuffed animals, etc- whatever makes your child feel safe and at 'home' for sleeping time
~More clothes than you think you'll need- they get SO dirty!
~Tons of wet wipes; you'll use them for much more than baby's hiney
~High chair (or Bumbo if they're not in a high chair yet)
~Toys, buckets, shovels, etc (a plastic tub filled with toys seemed to work great)
~ Sound machine with new batteries if your child is used to a quiet sleep setting (ours was $20 at Walmart and we use it every night at home)
~ Basic first aid kit; tylenol, band-aids, neosporin, etc
~ Clean water
~ Snacks you can take with you (granola bars, fruit, etc) for walks or leaving the campsite
~ A book or something for mommy to do while baby naps
Eliana was a good age for camping and did pretty well just hanging out and playing. We had to watch her like a hawk by the fire of course since 'don't touch that it's really hot!' is still a vague concept, but 21 months seems a good age for camping. On our camping trip there was an almost 3 month old (nursing full time, slept well, camped great), a 7 month old (bottles, jarred baby food, used a Bumbo, ate, slept, and camped great), a 9 month old ( had a huge blankie covered in toys for her to play on, ate in a high chair, did wonderful), a 21 mo old and a 3 year old. Wow, right? They all did great though and it was a fun trip. Hopefully we can also go next year. Baby 2 will be 7 or 8 months and probably not crawling yet if she follows her big sister's footsteps which would make her the ideal age. It's tough when they are crawling and not walking since camping consists of dirt, grass, bugs, rocks, etc.
We got home around 1:30 yesterday and I finally finished the laundry at about 1pm today- so yeah, lots of laundry! I can't stand the campfire smoke smell once we're not at the campsite. But despite the laundry and unpacking we still managed to all take showers/bathe, and head to Red Robin for dinner. Craig and I both ate free since our birthdays are 6 days apart and we get the free Gourmet Burger coupons- total steal :) http://www.redrobin.com/eclub/default.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1 That means we got dinner for $5 (Elly's meal) plus tip.
And I have to add about our camping experience that it's mostly my husband who puts in all the hard work. He loaded everything up in the car, unloaded everything at the campsite, set up the tent and playpen, filled our queen size sleep mattress, unpacked and put all the camping stuff away at home, and vaccumed out our car. I just packed and unpacked our clothes and the food- he did the real work :)
Eliana and Anneliese playing. Elly totally looked up to Anneliese and always wanted to copy her. (Notice the organized dish washing area? Thank you Tawny!)
Look closely and you'll see 4 tents.
Eliana and Anneliese making soup by the Dosewallips River.
Gorgeous sunbathing mama's! Wait, is this an Ergo ad? :)
Daddy and Elly. She just had to sit on the log like daddy. She looks so tall here.
Ok, this pic looks like barf to me; no makeup, no shower, etc. but it's proof that I was in fact there (and baby number 2 at 22 weeks) :)