Camping Vacation and Goodbye Summer

soft serve ice cream cone against blue sky

camping pancakes with fresh fruit

giant camping tent with lyndsay and teddy

It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to this summer. She was a real beaut here on the West Coast. Sunballs every day practically! We ended our summer off with a camping trip – our first time camping with Teddy! Freshly turned 2 years old and a mini energy ball, we definitely had our concerns – would he sleep? What would he sleep in? Would WE sleep?? Haha… the first two nights we tried to do our usual bedtime routine of 7:30pm bedtime… at the first busy and noise and light filled campground, NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! Teddy scream cried and we tried again and again to calm him and put him down… only to realize… we had to relax it up with his routine… and roll with the camping punches. So Teddy became a nighttime party dog, going to bed at 9, falling asleep to Rich singing him Joni Mitchell Blue.

sleep sack camping hotel lake

Long underwear, fleece with hood and double sleep sack for this little nutbar!

lakeside motel office

After our grand Teddy sleeping realization, the trip was a cool breeze on a hot day – a real blast! Teddy stayed up til it was dark, and we had fun just lazing around with him at night, reading story after story, and in the day time, running around, swimming, playing with giant sticks and rocks and exploring the beaches and trees. My favourite part was making food. We were in such a rush before leaving that I didn’t think much about too much cooking equipment or utensils – or even nice dishware for my food styling obsession! (even camping, haha!). I had a blast cooking on our tiny one burner campstove and mini BBQ.

miracle beach throwing rocks

Miracle Beach, BC – a sweet provincial campground, really well maintained and private wooded campgrounds and lots of families.

rathtrevor beach in parksville

Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville BC – so fun for kids! Big playground, huge beautiful beach and free weekly movies with popcorn and soda by donation at their ampitheatre.

fisherman's wharf victoria seal underwater

Seals! At Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria, BC. This guy was SO close to me!

smores on a green picnic table camping

S’mores on floral Poppytalk For Target forks and homemade cookies at Lakeside at Hotel Lake, BC.

little boy looking at seal underwater

Gliding, chubby grey speckled seals – Teddy wanted to “go in!” Um, no.

father son boat on a lake

Dada, I got this! I’m on a boat

father son in BC woods

Here’s what worked for us for camping with toddlers (Teddy just turned 2): 

1. Throw the routine out the window. We ended up “car-napping” Teddy – we’d go for a drive around Teddy’s usual nap time, and Teddy would conk out in his carseat and Rich and I would get to explore the little towns and cities and beaches around where we were camping while Teddy was lulled to sleep by the long monotonous stretches of highway.

2. If your kid sleeps in a crib at home, try the pack and play – the comfort and security of the crib that they’re used to. Next year he’ll sleep on a blow up mattress with sleeping bag but he doesn’t quite get that blankets aren’t for playing “fort” in!

3. For sleep time, dress them warmly in layers and cover their head. We were concerned he wouldn’t be warm enough but we found that long underwear on the bottom, with a warm fleece with a hood and two medium-weight sleep sacks did the trick.

4.Camping is for exploring! We let Teddy roam at a safe distance and pick up and explore things in his surroundings – big sticks, rocks, leaves.

5. Bring books! Teddy barely played with any of his own toys – but we read a crapload of his books every day. It was a good way to calm him whenever he got overstimulated/overtired and it was fun to snuggle on our air mattress and read book after book without having to worry about anything but spending time with our son. Bring some old faves and a few new ones!

6. Try to relax! Once we relaxed on the routine, things got so much better. “Roll with it 2014” was our motto, ha!

father son in a tent

We never camped much as a kid so I didn’t grow up going on camping vacation – but sleeping out in nature with tall trees and bodies of water close by was super tranquil and relaxing. I hardly felt at all like coming home and sitting slumped in front of the computer madly blogging or writing about cakes. It’s trips like this that make you want to quit it all, move out of the city and open up a tiny cafe in a small town. As we drove back into town Rich and I wondered out loud why people stay in Vancouver when it’s become so bloatingly and garishly expensive to live here. It made me truly wonder if we’ll stay in the city forever… What about you? City dweller or country dweller??

11 Responses to “Camping Vacation and Goodbye Summer”

  1. Puanani

    Aww. What a lovely post. Summer Love.

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      thanks so much for stopping by, puanani! ^__^

  2. Sandra

    I love both – the big city (NYC, Toronto, Chicago) and the “country” which for me means rustic lake cottage with an outdoor shower. I love the energy and creative inspiration and the arts of a big city and I love the quiet and the simple life of cottaging.

    Yin and yang.

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      oh yes.. rustic lake cottage and outdoor shower sounds dreamy… i like the idea of both, too – it’s just sometimes the city feels very exhausting and then the country or nature beckons! :)

  3. movita beaucoup

    I’m definitely a city gal, and would describe myself as “at two with nature.” That said, I’m also an ocean girl. Born and raised by the sea! And somehow, in my mind, that’s different than the rest of nature.

    Loved this camping post. I read an article recently about how good camping is for sleep cycles as when outdoors, people get tired, tend to want to go to bed when the sun goes down (which isn’t that late) and rise with the sun. Obviously, your child is incredibly smart and figured this out immediately. Your photos actually make me want to become one with nature, and go camping.

    Just kidding! I still hate dirt.

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      aw – rachael, i was born and raised in the city too – but have a strong affinity for the ocean as well! ha.. yes it feels nice to go to bed when it’s dark and rise when it’s getting light!

      haha – dirt!! camping definitely has it’s share of dirt – i had never seen my kid so scrubby before! but he had fun. ^__^

  4. Lis

    Nice to see people embrace nature. My kid went to Forest Kindergraten ( look it up if you have the chance…). She knows more about nature than I do…knows what is edible, climbs trees, collects snails, knows all the names of every plant and animal, and loves sliding down the mud slide ( a hill that gets muddy when the rain comes in)….endless! It was a gift to have her in that kindergarten and lucky…there IS a waiting list to get in. I’ve heard of cities now having them in parks…so you don’t have to live in the country to get on in. Just wanted to share and inspire… Rubber boots, rubber jacket, rubber gloves and rubber overalls are a must for muddy wet days….but it totally frees a childs sprit to be allowed to experince nature and dirt! =)

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      wow very cool! i am definitely going to look up Forest Kindergarten – and great tip of course with the rubber jacket/overalls/boots! we were lucky we had no rain on our camping trip – but i bet it would’ve been a much different experience had it poured on us! :) thanks for stopping by, lis!

  5. Jackie

    For me and my family it is the country. We live in a area where our closest neighbor is 1 mile away on both sides. I grew up in the city and never had any idea that there was anything else, (although when I grew up the Big city wasn’t as big as it is today), I married a southern country boy and boy my total outlook changed. I would love to use my wood cookstove and my summer kitchen cookstove. I love to can and do all types of country things. Would not live in the city if you paid me.

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      that’s pretty great – i love the community of country life, the smaller towns are so friendly – i try to spread the smiles and friendliness in vancouver but there’s a lot of grumpiness and people rushing around a whole bunch… it would be fun to devise all sorts of recipes using a wood cookstove! thanks for sharing jackie. :)

  6. miko

    I loved reading this, Lynds!! So funny and informative. We still haven’t gone camping with S. Maybe next year…


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