all sorts of crazy

i get the comment, "i just don't know how you do it all?" a lot. like, every time we go out. my standard answer, and the actual truth, is "i don't." i learned a long time ago (aka 21 months ago) that i am in a season of saying no to doing things, and therefore saying yes to more sanity.

but my husband and i realized we are not so sane. having four kids in under five years makes you a little nutty. either you have to be nuts to have the kids or it's in having the kids that you become nuts. either way? that's us.

one thing we are crazy to say yes to is camping. we have been going camping for a year now with the kiddos. and we are about to do so again. last year we had an eight month old and that was c-a-razy. she just ate sand the entire time. so so gross. this year we will have a three month old. i actually think it will be easier than last year. but then again who am i kidding, it's going to be a mess.

my husband grew up camping as a family vacation, me not so much. i have come to learn to love it. i love what it allows our large family the ability to do. make memories. we can't afford to go to a hotel or stay in a condo on the beach. but we can afford a beach front spot with our trailer. it's not a vacation. let me make that very crystal clear. not. a. vacation. it's so much work. actually harder than having the kids at home because of all the sand and dirt and not having things readily available to me at any moment. however, it's a ton of crazy chaos which we are big fans of and my kids love it.

people have asked me how we've gone camping or how we are planning on going camping with four little kids this is my advice...

1. do any and all prepping at home.
i meal plan my little heart out every two weeks and camping is no different. the only difference is that i prep and make as many of my meals as i can the week before and then freeze them. this is great because now they can help keep the cooler cold, thaw by the time i want to use them and then we just grab the bag for that nights dinner! all our snacks and such i also like to prep ahead of time. that way if they want to grab something they open the cupboard in our trailer and grab a bag of whatever they'd like.

2. do not save your packing till the night before.
i have been packing the kids for a few days now. as the laundry gets done i have their bags in the nursery and i put what i need from it in them. my packing list sits on top and i can cross of what goes in so there is no guessing. i have totally shown up to our camp site with no undies for the kid. or no pjs for myself. or no toothbrush. which is way worse than no pjs. yuck yuck yuck.

pack extra pjs! we play half of the day in our jams and then change into our clothes afterwards. i'd rather have one pair of pjs per day than two full sets of clothes per day. less is best. 

3. invest in or borrow some big time essentials.
if you have littles like myself there are some key items you are going to need.

a go pod!
 we got a go pod like this one last year after we had gone to the beach. we have used it since then when then the babies are littler and it's awesome. you can put toys or even their sippy cups and snacks attached to it. SO helpful when you hate sand as much as i do. 

a legit high chair!

i hate. hate. hate having a toddler free to roam around at meals times. hate it. they are hard enough to convince to eat, but when they can move around it's the worst. i have a smaller high chair in the trailer, but when we want to enjoy the beautiful weather and amazing view we can't attach it to the picnic bench. therefore a portable high chair like this is so helpful. we are also using it to strap her in when we are cooking since the beast is too big to go in the go pod anymore. 

a carrier!!!!!

i have toddler/preschoolers who must be holding hands. therefore i need to be hands free when holding the baby. having a carrier for when we walk to the shake shack or even walking to the small park by the campsite is a bigggggg necessity. i use both of these all the time. i personally prefer the moby when they are little babies. it's so soft and snuggly. the ergo has way fewer steps. as in you buckle it, rather than wrapping what seems like a miles worth of fabric around your body. i can however get the moby on in under 3 mins. and probably with my eyes closed. cuz' i'm cool like that.

something to block out the sun!

we put a tent up like the one above for toys and playing in when they need a break from the sun and we are cooking. 
the ez-ups we use on the actual beach. or camp site.

kiddie pool!!

we got ours at k-mart last year and it was so helpful. we brought the water to them one of the days. the other we dumped it out and just put sand in it. the other day we just put the baby in it. have i mentioned i love containing my children? it's kinda the only way to survive when you are out numbered and there is an open flame and large body of water readily available for your strong willed sassy pants kids to go explore. they have to survive. it'd be frowned upon for me to come home with less kids than i started with. 

4. in the words of elsa, "let it go."
 it's going to be dirty. they are going to eat sand. you are going to feel crazy. but its so much fun. we just laugh at how dirty the kids are, for one thing they are like that all the time anyway. i love that my kids have been talking and talking about going to the beach for weeks. this is what family and making memories are all about. 

i hope that was helpful to anyone thing about camping with littles. 

how about you? are there any tricks, tips or tools you can't live without when making memories with your kids?? do share!! 

clicking on the photos of my essential items will take you to an amazon affiliate link. you can purchase them from amazon and our family receives a small percentage for sharing our opinion. click don't click. buy don't buy. just thought you should know. 

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