Camping on the coast with kids
Camping with kids can easily be among some of the most memorable and low key trips you take with your children. However, when I say low key I am referring to once you are to your destination, not the planning, packing, getting there, tending to everyone's needs or staying organized part. After a successful camping excursion a couple weeks ago we decided to really be adventurous and take Jasper on his first backpacking trip. Bringing him along meant a few extra clothes, plenty of finger food and a lot of extra weight to carry. In the end, the getting there was actually much easier than we had anticipated. Since we are accustomed to hiking with Jasper we have developed stronger back muscles and the actual carrying him in addition to our gear wasn't so bad after all.
Once we were there it was a tag team effort of distracting Jasper so he would not feel the need to help with all the set up. Jasper is in that magical phase of childhood where he not only thinks he can do everything himself, but wants to. Put up a tent, build a fire, make dinner, you name it he thinks he can do it. And for the most part he is probably correct, but this trip we let him kick his feet up and spend hour upon hour throwing rocks, splashing in water, playing in the sand, poking sea anemones, lapping up sea water and even sucking on some rock kelp every now and then.
Our home away from home.
Although we wanted to be conscientious of the amount of weight we were carrying, I made certain to bring lots of fresh fruit and veggies for us to snack on. Other than that we ate soup and cursed the fire ban for ruining the rest of our meal plans. Note to self: the sun can warm up chocolate, but it can't roast a marshmallow.
In an effort to keep with routine I brought along one book for bedtime. After I watched my little bookworm flip through those pages time and time again throughout the day I was disappointed I hadn't brought along more books for him. Next time, I will bring along three or four books.
One of my favorite parts of the beach is all the textures. There is no shortage of things to explore or photograph.
Whenever we travel in the car for long periods of time I try to dress Jasper in as comfy clothes as possible. In an effort to keep him comfortable on the first day I forgot to put him in his quick drying clothes. In subsequent days I made certain to dress Jasper in quick drying clothes so it did not matter how many times he got his butt wet from crouching down too low in the tide pools. I also packed twice the amount of clothes he would probably where in the event he got things wet and they did not end up drying. Rather than bring his pajamas along, I had him sleep in his long underwear which could double one day as an outfit.
I am happy to report we are still going strong on our no television policy. As a result, I have never seen Jasper bored or lack the ability to entertain himself. Over the past few weeks his imagination is really starting to soar. I have eaten pretend popsicles, witnessed him making traffic jams out of sticks and turning the couch into everything from a roller coaster to a cruise liner.
Aside from all the textures, the changing light is one of my other favorite parts of the beach.
Jasper has the tendency to be a little cautious around other children his age or at playgrounds, but when he is out in nature he runs wild and free and it makes my heart happy.
Between all the wildfires and the amount of time Jasper spends in the kitchen he kept referring to the fog as either smoke or steam. We tried to convince him it was neither, but he just was not buying it. Smoke, steam or fog he isn't a fan either way.
I will be the first to admit Jasper consumed more KIND bars, granola bars, trail mix and cereal than I would have liked this trip, but I kept feeling guilty every time he asked for something I did not have like yogurt, milk or cheese. It is hard to eat really well when you are camping for three days in the wilderness without refrigeration.
There is something inherently centering about creating order out of chaos. Often when we are at the beach I spend my time collecting rocks and making patterns out of them. I love how all these colors of rock are present if we only take the time to bend down and look.
I am grateful for this little family of mine who keep me smiling and who are up for whatever adventure I throw their way.