We had a truly wonderful time on our third annual huckleberry picking trip. It is our third year going as a married couple, but the St.Hilaire family has been going for over half a century! All my worries about camping with a toddler were for naught (see my own tips below). We drove down to the Mount Adams vicinity last Monday, picked berries all day Tuesday and headed home Wednesday morning. I was looking forward to this trip all summer and now I am sad that it has come and gone.
I think it was a great success! We picked four pies-worth of berries, which is really good, considering we were toting along our wee-one. Last year we picked only three pies-worth, but we went home with five because Mom and Dad St.Hilaire generously donated two. So this year wasn't too shabby in comparison!
The weather and bugs were also good this year. Our first year going was really rainy. We even had to dig a trench around our tent to keep water out. Then last year we were swarmed with yellow jackets... but this year was just perfect!
The best part of the trip was being with our family! It is always so wonderful spending quality time with our dear relatives!
To follow up with my concerns about camping with John, here are some of my own tips for camping with a toddler:
1. Bring A LOT of clothes! - John got really dirty, so it was nice having a bunch of clothes as a back up. I also recommend socks and close-toed shoes. The first night he was wearing sandals and his feet got really dirty and we had to clean them with baby wipes before he went to bed. The next two days he wore shoes and socks and that made clean up a lot easier!
2. Bring baby wipes - I used these a lot to clean his hands and face, they definitely came in handy!
3. Bring an umbrella stroller - I had no clue that John would cling to this stroller and entertain himself by pushing it around. That is basically all he wanted to do. I'm not kidding either. Aside from entertaining him and keeping him out of trouble, we also used it as a highchair at meal time and strapped him in it when we were sitting around the campfire. This thing was a lifesaver! Now my only problem is when we pass by it in the garage, John cries if I don't let him play with it...
4. Try to stick with your routines but also be flexible - For bed time I tried to have a similar routine for John so that he had the cues that bedtime was coming. I also made his sleeping area really cozy and familiar with blankets, his pillow, and a stuffed animal. The first night was rough because he thought the tent with our air mattress in it was his own personal blow-up fun house! He was very hyper and it took a lot of effort to get him to settle. Finally he did, but later I made the mistake of tying to comfort him when he stirred during the night. He basically ended up sleeping with us the first night. The second night went a lot smoother. He was not as hyper and I was able to do our routine, which was read a book, pray, shadow puppets (not normally part of our routine!), and then I sang him to sleep. He actually wanted to go to the little area I set up for him. To my surprise and delight he slept the whole night in his spot and didn't join us on our mattress until about 6am! I had to be very flexible with nap time tough... he basically snoozed in my baby carrier and it wasn't a very long nap! =(
5. Let them get dirty and explore - I wanted John to have a lot of fun, so I tried to be more relaxed about what I let him get into - as long as he was safe. He picked up rocks and put them in his stroller, touched tree sap, crawled in the dirt, walked off the trails... all sorts of things that made me cringe a little inside. But I know he had so much fun and now that I had that experience of him getting really dirty, I think I am a little more relaxed about it at home in our own yard. Kids need to be kids after all!
|My darling picked probably three whole pies-worth of berries on his own!|
|Getting ready to go pick berries!|
|There was a neat cave near our picking area!|
|Looking out from inside the cave|
|Our sleeping arrangement|
|John's best friend|
|Relaxing at the campsite|
|My handsome men in flannel!|
|We visited Multnomah Falls on our way home|
|I love John's expression here!|