The 4th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge is almost over. We have made it to day 6! It is once again an open topic day for the bloggers who are participating so you will have to visit their blogs to see what they are writing about today. Some of you may be ready to give up, don’t do it! You’re very nearly there! There are times when I really don’t feel like doing laundry, but just managing that preliminary rinse and putting your laundry in to soak is already making so much progress, and once you’re started it’ll be easier to get back into the groove.
Today I want to talk a little bit more about our camping experience. We’re having so much fun, and using flats and handwashing our laundry helps me get into that “back to nature” mood all the more. We are utilizing more luxuries with this trip than I have in any of my past camping experiences, I wanted to make the experience as fun and comfortable as possible for my family since this is their first time.
Earlier this year we wandered past a steeply discounted tent at a big box store and I stopped to investigate. The tent was enormous, with zippered partitions to create two bedrooms and a main living area. The center of the tent was high enough my tall husband could stand up, and there was even a front porch area (floorless, so we needed a tarp to discourage critters) for our shoes and front mat. We made it our family Christmas present and I’d been itching to try it out ever since. We set up an inflatable mattress for the two of us and borrowed a pack’n’play from my best friend for Harper (I’m too nervous about the fluid and unpredictable nature of inflatable mattresses to co-sleep in one, and it ended up being a perfect solution to get her to sleep at her normal bedtime and give us a few hours alone with the campfire).
Throughout the day we kept the partitions unzipped and drawn back, with all the windows and the porch sashes open to let in maximum airflow, but at night having that tiny bit of ripstop and zipper in place was enough to let Harper feel she was safe in her room and we were able to go in and out of the tent without disturbing her.
My biggest tip for camping with a baby is to bring toys she hasn’t seen lately. She loves these toys but they found their way into her toy chest and she hasn’t taken them out recently. Seeing them in the tent made them seem brand new again, and she went crazy for them. I also found having lots of blankets and rugs was helpful since nearly all of our activities together took place on the floor. It saved both of us a lot of discomfort.
My neighbor generously passed on her nephew’s old water table for us to use, and I filled it with fresh spring water for Harper to splash with. She’d never seen a water table before, and loved dunking her plastic toys and cups in the cool water, dropping them on the ground, then washing them clean again. Nearly all of my laundry time has been thanks to her occupation with this toy. It took up a ton of room in the Jeep, but it was well worth it.
Harper is a very curious and adventurous little girl, and wants to be involved in everything we do. I used to struggle with this, as my stacks of folded laundry would turn into piles on the floor within seconds. Now I’ve learned to embrace it, and do my best to give her little fun chores that she can do by my side. As I’ve mentioned before, helping me soften her line dried flats is one she’s really pretty helpful with. She also likes passing me clothespins and other small objects (I just have to make sure it doesn’t matter if they get dropped once or twice). Even with larger tasks we let her help in whatever way she attempts, even if it slows us down a bit, as long as it isn’t dangerous or overly messy. She was THRILLED to help unpack our camping supplies with us, and I love seeing that look of pride and accomplishment on her face, even at this young age.
I apologize this post isn’t more diaper related, I just really wanted to share our experiences so far with you. Tomorrow will be our last day and soon it will be back to life as usual. I think it’s key to really write down your experiences as best you can now so you’ll remember them later. I’ll be back tomorrow with our very last flats challenge post.