Packing for the Lake with a Toddler
We are getting ready for our weekend trip to Lake McConaughey in Nebraska. I'm so excited for this trip because we are going with friends and we get to spend the entire weekend on the lake. I have not been to this lake before as I have been to many lakes in Texas and Oklahoma.
In my "Life is Better at the Lake" I briefly shared some essentials. This crazy list comes from life with a 2 year old, who is unreasonable and considered the head of our household. If Lincoln ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. If Lincoln ain't sleeping, guess what ain't NOBODY sleeping. We recently had a camping experience that was less than enjoyable. We packed plenty to last for one night, or what we THOUGHT was enough for ONE NIGHT. I'd like to share with you what happened in a nutshell.
About 3 weeks ago, we drove to a campsite in Twin Lakes, CO. It's roughly 2 and 1/2 hours away. We went with our neighbors, who do not have kids. We packed the tent, air mattress, sleeping bag, blankets, pack n play, and penguin. We always bring api (pacifier) as Lincoln still sleeps with one. Everything was great, we ate lunch, played with the soccer ball, chatted, it was relaxing. Our first red flag was when Lincoln refused to take a nap. We tried for about an hour, we gave up and went about the day. As his 8 p.m bedtime approached it was still light out. We tried lying with him, desperately to load Paw Patrol on our phones to no success. We did not have anything to help the sounds of nature. He's used to a fan, a humidifier and lullaby music with a night light. We ended up packing up the campsite at 11:45 p.m with small flashlights because Lincoln was wide awake. He kept saying all done, all done, and crying hysterically! He refused everything we tried to get him to lie down. We got home shortly after 2:00 a.m where he finally fell asleep in his room, in his crib, and woke up the following morning perfectly happy. Insert face palm, eye-roll and all the above to fit the misunderstanding and frustration.
Now back to packing and being prepared for an overnight or multiple night stay away from the comfort of your own bed. First of all, living in the mountains with crazy, crazy weather I check the weather of the spot we'll be staying at. If you're not prepared for rain, what will you do with a bored toddler who is stuck inside? What if there in no TV or WiFi? As a lesson learned, life with a toddler at home is difficult enough to keep them entertained and happy. I feel I'd rather have too much than show up without enough, have a meltdown end up drinking too much and having to pack up to leave in the middle of the night. Here's my two cents on the subject.
So what if it decides to rain and spoil outdoor time?
- Books. I mean maybe 3 or 4 max. Lincoln is all about books. He reads in the car, during the day, as he lies down for nap time. He can read all the time. He can also read the exact same book 30 times a day and have just as much fun as he did the first time he read it.
- Crayons, paint and paper. How long can Lincoln color? Until the paint is all gone. He loves to paint more than read! We use the super watered down paint. I throw down a towel and boom he'll have a ball.
- Games for the adults. We love to play card games, board games, you name it we'll play it. If you haven't played Quelf yet, I highly recommend. It is HILARIOUS!
- Movies. You never know if theres going to be satellite, DVD player or even a VCR. Yes, I've had this happen. Load a few movies on the Ipad or laptop some good books and episodes of your favorite show! I could watch Friends all day errrr day. Wait, I already do that.
Out on the Boat
- Must bring a lifejacket for Lincoln. I also like to bring a float or arm floaties in case we stop and swim for a while. What if we stop at a beach? He'll need some sort of toys he can play with in the sand.
- Snacks & water. I have a small insulated cooler I bring with me. You never know how long fun in the sun may last.
- Change of clothes and a blanket, along with Api (pacifier) and penguin. What if we decide to stay out well into the evening? A beach bag can hold all of these items no problem!
- Extra diapers, wipes and even extra swim diapers! He may decide to take a rest and get back in later.
- Sunscreen, bug spray, sunglasses, and a sun hat. Too much sun is too harmful for anyone.
- Alcohol and snacks for the adults, swimwear, coverups, and towels. Sunnies are always in the bag along with a hat.
- He needs his own body wash and shampoo. We don't worry about toys as we cut them short while on vacation.
- All the essentials for us too! We have to pack it all in case the house does not have most items. I can usually go natural, to help eliminate but if we have dinner reservations I must have items to get ready as normal.
- This can be a total disaster if not planned correctly with all parties attending. Everyone needs to be aware of any food allergies, dislikes and preferences. We try to keep it simple, but there have been times where someone prefers to step it up a notch and cook a gourmet meal. That's perfectly acceptable if they agree to purchase the necessary items.
- Alcohol and drinks of choice. Not everyone only drinks coffee in the mornings. Personally I do NOT like coffee. Even the smell is too much. What does everyone like to drink instead of cokes, beer, tea, etc. The kids may need milk before bedtime, or juice.
- Deciding on what each party will bring and what meal they will be buying for is the best way we have found. One party is responsible for all breakfast foods, the other lunch and so on.
Enjoying the Stay
- Don't forget to relax and enjoy the time spent with family and friends. This is so rare anymore with how busy everyone gets during school and even summers can be hectic. Set the phone down unless you're snapping pictures of memories and great times to share. The outside world can wait until after the fun is done or early mornings.
With kindness & love Kenzie