Silent Night: CPAM diagnosis for baby #2

It’s been particularly quiet over here and while I’d love to say that we’ve been wrapped up in the holiday hustle and bustle, we’ve actually been wrapped up in something a bit more somber.

A few weeks ago on a regularly scheduled ultrasound our second baby was diagnosed with CPAM, congenital pulmonary airway malformation. A rare diagnosis of 1 in 30,000 but a diagnosis with a good outlook. Instead of normal lung tissue our daughter has a malformation in the lower left lobe of her lung. This tissue won’t function as normal lung tissue and it most likely will need to be surgically removed. Once it’s surgically removed, the life outlook is fabulous with no real restrictions or complications down the line. For this, I am so incredibly grateful. Terrified, nonetheless, but grateful beyond words.

We were scheduled for a follow-up ultrasound to see what the mass would do over the next two weeks. Sometimes they disappear altogether, sometimes they don’t. Her’s didn’t change. Her latest ultrasound revealed that the mass was still there and we are in the process of being referred to a pediatric surgeon.

Whenever you receive a diagnosis, or told there might be a problem, you automatically go through a process of “would-have,” “could-have,” and “what if’s.” There is no rhyme or reason to why a child develops CPAM and they stress that it’s nothing we could have prevented. This does nothing for a mother’s guilt. For my guilt. Immediately thoughts of all my maintenance medications I take for Cystic Fibrosis crept into my mind. Was it one of those that caused this malformation? Was it the daily Dr. Pepper I have been treating myself to? Was it the lack of spinach I was eating? Or was it truly just luck of the draw. I don’t seem to be particularly lucky when it comes to genetic abnormalities.

Needless to say, I’ve been tired. Physically tired. Emotionally tired. Our days have been jammed with daily appointments: for me, for baby & for Emmie (she started twice a week speech therapy). And our nights are laden with quiet anxieties while we toss and turn pretending to sleep. The house and dog have fallen into the category of borderline neglect and an already hardworking husband has been picking up my slack without saying a word or heaving a sigh. Yes, these past few weeks have been hard on everybody.

All we can do at the moment is try our best to go about our daily lives. We’ll be surrounded by close friends and family for the holiday season and there’s nothing more healing than laughter and love.

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A Holiday Maternity Look & Pink Blush Giveaway!

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Just the other day something incredible happened. I received an email. Now, this email was like no other email I’ve ever received. This email was from a company, specifically Pink Blush, asking if I was interested in collaborating with them as a blogger. Say what? Cue the happy dance. No, really, I did an actually happy dance – my husband can testify to this fact, I’m pretty sure he wishes he recorded it as it was a really sweet dance.

Well, not only was this company one I had heard of before, but it was one I actually did a lot of fake online shopping to. Fake online shopping includes picking out items, putting them in your online shopping cart and then when you’ve racked up a huge sum from all the amazing things you’d love to buy, you close the tab and go to bed. Needless to say, I was very familiar with their cute maternity clothes and immediately jumped at the opportunity to work with Pink Blush.

With the holidays coming up this was the perfect opportunity to find something comfortable, trendy and versatile enough to dress up for the holiday festivities but also wear on a day to day basis – because let’s face it, when you hit the 3rd trimester almost everything stops fitting.

It was so hard to choose, but when I saw this dress, I knew it was the one. It was perfect to dress up for the holidays but just as easily dressed down for a more casual look. Not to mention this dress doesn’t make me want to change into sweatpants 10 minutes after I put it on. It is so incredibly comfortable and the fit is spot on. I have plenty of room for my growing belly in this dress, thanks to the stretchy fabric, which is a relief because I swear I’m getting bigger every single day in this last trimester.

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I’ve also rounded up some other amazing options for the holidays on the Pink Blush website which could be yours because Pink Blush has so graciously offered a $75 gift card to their store for one of my readers! Make sure you head over to my instagram to find out how to enter. Not pregnant? No problem! Pink Blush isn’t just maternity clothing, they also offer women’s, plus size, cute baby items, and even things like accessories and shoes! Seriously, what are you waiting for? Go enter this giveaway!

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I received my amazing plaid dress for free in return for my honest opinion. This has been your friendly disclosure statement.

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Dear Emerson

Dear Emerson,

You’re funny, daring, silly, caring, and oh, so darn cute!

You even get me to giggle when you exclaim, “Oh, Emmie toot!”

I love the way you try to negotiate

to increase the pee to jellybean rate.

Or how you count, “Won, two, REE!”

It always gets a smile from me –

But heaven forbid you ever utter “four.”

since it’s your favorite number to ignore.

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You can bust a move to any song

and when you’re laughing you can do no wrong-

except for hitting, that behavior is new

Daddy and I aren’t sure what to do.

You never want to apologize

even though tears stream from your eyes.

You’ll tell us, after, hitting made you feel sad

but never what it was that made you so mad.

We’re really hoping it’s just a phase

and that you’ll soon be back to performing your ballets.

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Some days you’re helpful: loading dishes or folding socks –

while other days you’d prefer to play outside and collect rocks.

You love playing keep-a-way with Oliver’s doggy bones

and always demand the “cow game” when you see Daddy’s phone.

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You love the library and each week when we go,

it’s so much fun for me to see how you’ve grown.

When we started you just sat there- so quiet,

and now you’ll sing & dance. Yup,  it’s a riot!

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A little quirk that I find so funny,

anytime you find a penny you say, “Here Mom, MONEY!”

Another oddity that you’ve begun

is requesting random songs to be sung;

a “turkey song,” a “silly belly song,” and “Daddy comes home” are just a few.

Oh Emmie, I do hope you know just how much I love you.

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Being your mother is such a treat,

but watching you get older is bittersweet.

While you test your limits and boundaries for sure,

the love you exude is just so pure.

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You’re special to me in ways you’ll never know

And every single day my love for you grows.

Yes, my love for you knows no bounds-

Emma Claire, you make my world go round.

Love, Mom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lancôme Définicil Mascara & Drama Liqui-Pencil Review

Every now and again I get sent some awesome things through influensterto try out in exchange for a review. This is one of those times. Although I received these products for free, these are my own unfiltered opinions.

An in-depth beauty review of Lancôme's popular Définicils Mascara and two of their top selling shades from their Drama Liqui-Pencil line.

I love makeup. As a teen I would often hole up in my room on school-nights and give myself grand makeovers. Bold and daring lip colors, wild eye-shadow combinations, and trying my hand at the latest makeup tricks from the trendiest magazines. It helped that I had an older sister who paved the way into luxury brands for me. I would often get in trouble for sneaking into my sister’s room to raid her ever-growing luxury product collection in hopes that I could save myself some money but still wear the good stuff.  As I got older and my preferences got more defined, I felt comfortable splurging on high quality makeup products, always with the help and guidance from my sister, the lovely Sephora staff, and of course Youtube’s top beauty guru’s.

Now, as I’m gearing up to leave my 20’s and enter my 30’s I feel very confident and comfortable with my makeup skills and product selection. As a SAHM, or Stay At Home Mom, it’s important to me that I still wear makeup because it makes me feel put-together, confident, and normalizes my life in bouts of sickness. I know I can still look decent even if my Cystic Fibrosis makes me feel like an 80-year old chain-smoker. Because of this, I still love trying new brands and new products I wouldn’t normally purchase myself. Sometimes all we need is a little nudge outside of our comfort zone to discover a groove we didn’t know we had!

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When I was chosen to review some Lancôme products I jumped at the opportunity. A luxury brand that I haven’t ever really dabbled in. I have used one of their mascaras in the past, but that was about it. So when I was greeted with a bright purple eye-liner, I was ecstatic. Just what I needed to leave the comfort of my daily neutrals and vamp up my everyday Mom look.

My go-to for eyeliners that last all day, have intense color, and glide on your face like butter is Urban Decay’s 24/7 line. I’ve tried quite a few other liners but these still win out every time. Imagine my surprise when I use Lancôme’s Drama Liqui-Pencil for the first time and I had to double check to make sure I didn’t accidentally pick up my UD 24/7 liner. The texture was creamy, easy to manipulate and the color payout was fabulous. It was easy to smudge on my lower line and most importantly it stayed put all day long. I even had my daughter poke me in the eye several times for the sake of the experiment. Okay, so that was purely coincidental, but Emmie really did jab my eye lids a few times since she was pretty enthralled with my new purple eyes.  While the purple colored pencil was beyond my expectations, the deep noir color dissappointed me. I had high hopes for a comparable Urban Decay Zero type black, but it lacked the intensity I hoped for. The pencil was also not quite as easy to use when lining my waterline and needed a few passes. Overall, if I’m looking for a colored eye-liner to add to my collection I will definitely be considering Lancôme’s Drama Liqui-Pencils.

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Mascara is another item that I am ultra picky about. I have decently long lashes, but they’re pretty thin. I like my mascara’s to be volumizing, dark, and non-clumping. I aim for a very natural look. If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s clumpy, flaky lashes. I am also pretty picky about my brushes. I find that the little spiky brushes lend themselves well to my goal of natural-looking lashes. Lancôme’s Définicils Mascara claims to be a lengthening and defining mascara for a natural, yet striking look. It definitely lengthened my lashes but one coat was not enough to cover my need for volume. I swiped on 2-3 coats. There was minimal clumping and hardly any fallout over the course of the day. My biggest gripe was the brush. I found it awkward to use and hard to manipulate my lashes to get an even coat. My final verdict is a pass. I love that it stayed on all day, but it just doesn’t suit my specific needs for fuller lashes. If I needed luxuriously long lashes I would be singing a different tune!

 

*this is a referral link: if you sign up via this link and I get points. Points for what? I don’t really know, honestly, but I figured if they have a referral link, why not use it? And this has been your honest disclosure statement *

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Date Night at Home: Build a Terrarium

DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night!

Hubby and I had fallen into a nighttime rut. It consisted of putting Emmie to bed and then going to our respective electronic devices to play games, read blogs, and browse the internet.  With baby #2 on the way we both felt we needed to spend more quality time together, sans electronic devices, but we didn’t have the energy, or money, to hire a sitter every weekend for your average “date night.” We looked into subscribing to a “date in a box” type service but being the crafty DIYers that we are, decided that we could come up with our own versions of date nights that could be done at home after the kids are in bed. And so, our At Home Date Night series was born.

I rounded up some ideas, wrote them on some big Popsicle sticks and placed them in a jar. Each Monday we pick out a Popsicle stick so that we have the week to prepare anything needed for an “at home date night.”  Our first date night in this series was “build a terrarium.” Building a terrarium was something both my husband and I had wanted to do for a long time. It was the perfect date night for the long weekend. We spent Friday evening rounding up our supplies. On Saturday we tucked Emerson into bed, put on some music, poured some wine (well, juice for me) and built our terrariums.  We had such a blast and it felt great to be doing something with each other rather than spending the evening zoning out in front of the TV or computer.

Having date night at home hasn't been easier. A fun, easy way to date your spouse without leaving the house!

Here’s how you can create your own DIY terrarium date night!

Gather your supplies:

Terrarium Container: Glass jars, vases or bowls work well for terrarium containers. You can decide if you want your terrarium to be an open container or a closed container; both work well.

Plants: Gather plants that have the same needs. You shouldn’t mix plants that require different levels of water or light. Succulents do well in open terrariums, but look for other plants if you’re aiming for a closed terrarium. Grab a bag of sheet moss for covering up the open spaces between plants, which helps the plants retain the right level of moisture.

Rocks: You’ll need some type of rock so that you’ll have a nice drainage layer. We chose some river rocks as our big drainage layer, and then layered some aquarium pebbles on-top of that.

Activated Charcoal: Activated charcoal can be found in pet stores with the fish supplies. This helps filter your terrarium to keep it clean and your plants healthy & happy.

Dirt: Choose a high quality potting soil.

DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night! DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night! DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night!

   Build your terrarium:

Step 1: Set up your draining layer, aiming for the biggest rocks on the very bottom and smaller rocks on top, about 1″ total. Add a layer of activated charcoal about 0.5″ deep to finish it off.

Step 2: Put in roughly 1-2″ of potting soil

Step 3: Arrange plants in your terrarium container, filling in spaces with more soil as you go

Step 4: Add moss on top of any open dirt, surrounding the plants

Step 5: Add enough water to moisten the soil, then admire your new terrarium!

DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night! DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night! terranium-9DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night!DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night!DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night! DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night!DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night!

Keep following along so that you’ll never miss a new At Home Date Night. 

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Halloween Recap

Halloween is officially over. We’ve packed away our spooky decor and gorged ourselves on tasty treats. Emmie had a nice time trick-or-treating this year with her friends. She was slow and shy in the beginning but as the night wore on she turned into a pro: running up to houses, yelling “trick or treat,” and remembering her manners with a thank-you…well, most of the time. She had so much fun that after every house whenever we’d say, “Okay, let’s go,” meaning onto the next house, she’d cry out, “NO! No go home!” She loved wearing the Princess Sofia costume I made for her, so much so, that she’s worn it every day since. I think it’s safe to say Halloween was a success this year.

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How To Get The Most Out Of Your Pumpkin Patch Experience.

7 simple tips to getting the most from your pumpkin patch experience.

Over the weekend we crossed another Fall Bucket List item off of our list. We went to a pumpkin patch! Pumpkin patches, or farm fall festivals are a perfect way to spend a morning or day together as a family. We especially lucked out as we had a chilly morning that lent itself to the perfect fall vibe we had going on. We donned our long sleeves and set out on our adventure.

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So how can you get the most out of your pumpkin patch? Try following these tips!

  1. Plan your visit. The first step to ensuring a wonderful experience is making sure the pumpkin patch you choose is age appropriate. We looked into a few different farms and found one geared more towards toddler-elementary aged kids. There were some other options with activities more appropriate for older kids, and while they looked like a blast, we felt we wouldn’t get the best experience there.
  2. Pack snacks.  This step is vital. We actually packed a picnic lunch. It was especially key as we arrived shortly before our normal lunch time, and were all feeling a little irritated from having spent an hour in the car. We ate first thing so that we could boost our moods and have plenty of energy to spend on all the activities. A full toddler is a happy toddler. By eating first we didn’t have to stop or drag our toddler away from activities to get her to eat. Setting up our picnic lunch first eliminates any distractions (have you tried to get a toddler to eat who just wants to keep playing??) and curbed the desire for the not-so-good-for-you snacks and treats the farm offered.
  3. Bring Cash. Normally a lot of fall festivals, local farms or pumpkin patches only accept cash. Even if they do accept major credit cards you might find some of their local food vendors or paid activities like pony rides, only accept cash.
  4. Bring a camera. There will be plenty of cute photo-opts during your visit.
  5. Participate! Many places offer fun activities such as hay rides, corn mazes, duck races, scare-crow stuffing, and more! It’s a great time to try something new, like burying yourself in corn kernels or feeding a goat.
  6. Pick out a pumpkin. This is the best part of a pumpkin patch. Searching for the perfect pumpkin. Encourage your children to pick theirs on their own. We had Emmie help find our pumpkins by giving her specific things to look for, “Can you find Daddy a pumpkin with a big stem?” but after she helped us we gave her free reign to find her own. The result was a very proud toddler and a very cute photo.
  7. Lastly, dress appropriately. Dress for the weather. If your child is cold, they won’t have the best time. The last thing you’ll want to worry about is not having fun because you’re either too warm or too cold. When in doubt, dress in layers! Another great tip? Wearing shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty is usually a good bet.

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If you’re searching for even more ways to maximize your pumpkin patch experience you can bring things like themed books, hot cider in a mug, or a pumpkin patch scavenger hunt checklist. It also can’t hurt to bring extra wipes because sometimes you just get dirty. But a dirty kid, is usually a happy kid. I mean, just look at this cutie. She was covered in head to toe dirt, from falling, pumpkin hunting, and wiping her face, but she was in her element.

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Fall Bucket List & Free Toddler Scavenger Hunt Printout

A toddler inspired fall bucket list and free toddler scavenger hunt printout.

Fall is here and with it cooler temperatures. Living in Florida means we’re still going swimming, but we’re no longer swimming in humidity. <Okay, okay, no more bad jokes> Just because our fall weather looks a little different than what we’re used to, we’re still planning on having a lot of fun this season! Here’s a peek at what’s on our Florida Fall Bucket List:

Collect pine-cones

Decorate for Halloween

Wear boots!

Pick out a pumpkin at a ‘pumpkin patch’

Visit a farm

Go to the fair

Carve a pumpkin

Roast pumpkin seeds

Go trick-or-treating

Have a fall scavenger hunt

Drink apple cider

Eat apple pie

Go camping

Do a fall-inspired craft

Have an outdoor fire

We have already started checking off things on our list, and some activities we’ll be checking off again and again. (Apple cider anyone? Yum!) What’s on your fall bucket list?

Toddler Scavenger Hunt

Don’t forget to download your very own Autumn Scavenger Hunt for Toddlers to join in on our fun!

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10 Surefire Ways of Getting More Much-Needed Sleep in Pregnancy.

Having trouble sleeping in pregnancy? Try these 10 easy ways to get more sleep during pregnancy.

I’ve hit that stage in pregnancy where sleep has become oh so elusive. You better believe I’m implementing every strategy I know to get more sleep! If you’re having trouble getting enough sleep during pregnancy try out some of these fail-safe ways get more sleep:

1. Body pillows: As you progress in pregnancy you’re no longer supposed to sleep on your back. You can’t sleep on your stomach, because, well, you’re pregnant. And they recommend you favor your left side. You can use body pillows to support your belly while also supporting your knees. Having a second body pillow can give your backside some support as well. Basically make yourself into a body pillow sandwich.

2. Sleep by yourself. Pregnancy is a time when rolling over takes a momentous amount of strength. Sharing a bed makes this even harder. Space is limited and your partner’s movements could keep you awake. If you’re really struggling, kick out your significant other. You’re growing a human, it’s hard work and you need sleep. You might find you sleep so much better solo.

3. Essential oils: A soothing scent can help relieve stress and help you drift off easier. Lavender is known for it’s calming effects. Not a lavender fan? Try a mix of orange, clove and lemongrass.

4. Hypnosis apps: If you don’t have an issue falling asleep at the beginning of the night, but anxiety or restlessness keeps you up after those early morning wakings, try a hypnosis app. Having a soothing guiding mediation can help keep your mind off whatever it is that’s keeping your brain awake. It’ll help you focus – just enough– to relax back into sleep. Don’t want to wake your partner? Try these Cozyphones.

5. Limit hydration at night: Curb those nighttime wakings for frequent bathroom trips by limiting drinks in the evening. Stop drinking a couple hours before bed.

6. Exercise: Keeping up a regular exercise routine can help you get a more restful night. Short on time? Even something as simple as a quick walk or a gentle 10 minutes of yoga before bed can help you fall asleep easier.

7. Use white noise: Tune out those background night noises with a white noise machine.

8. Keep a cool room: Your blood volume increases by 1/3 during pregnancy so you might find yourself running warmer than usual. Keep the bedroom cool and comfortable for sleeping. A bedside fan could be just the thing you need for a more restful night.

9. Receive a massage: Have your partner give you a quick rub down. Even something as simple as a 5 minute back massage can help release any tension your body may be carrying that would prevent easily falling asleep.

10. Have a bedtime routine: by creating a simple bedtime routine, and sticking with it, you set your body up with these cues that help signal it’s bedtime. This can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

11. Take a nap: Sometimes you just can’t log enough ZZZ’s during the night. Make time during the day to catch up. A power nap has been proven time and time again to increase concentration, focus, and productivity.

12. Skip the caffeine: If you can, cut out caffeine completely. If you can’t live without your morning coffee, make sure you cut off your caffeine supply no later than 2pm. This also includes things like chocolate!

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Camping with Toddlers & Free Camping Checklist

5 Tips for Camping with Toddlers plus free downloadable camping checklist

We went camping with Emerson this past weekend and she loved every minute of it! The weather was perfect. Warm during the day but cool at night. We cooked on the fire, went hiking, and swam in a chilly river. I wanted to share my top 5 tips for camping with toddlers:

  1. Always pack a well equipped first aid kit, including remedies for your baby/toddler. The time you think you don’t need infant ibuprofen is the one time you will need it. It’s always better to be prepared in terms of safety than to be under prepared. Your kit should include things such as: band-aids, gauze pads, medical tape, antibacterial ointment, anti-itch cream, tums, acetaminophen/ibuprofen, pepto-bismol or similar stomach medicine, allergy medicine and other baby related medicinal items such as Aquaphor or teething tablets.
  2. Bring any favorite sleeping items. This is a must. Sleeping in a tent is so exciting, but at the same time you’re also abandoning the comfort and structure of home life. We made sure to pack items that would help Emmie feel secure when falling asleep in the tent, just as if she were falling asleep at home. We made sure to pack her very own pillow, her favorite sleeping blanket and both sleeping security items (lovey & sleep star). We extended bedtime and all went to bed together to help eliminate any bedtime anxiety while camping.
  3. Bring easy to serve snacks/drinks/foods. We like to cook our food over the fire pit but this means it can take a while before everything is ready. Toddler are notorious for having little patience when it comes to waiting for food. We made sure to pack easy to serve foods and drinks. We had things like single serving fruit cups, granola bars, cheese sticks & milk boxes all for easy serving. We packed a prepared jar of grapes for a quick healthy snack. We stopped any whining or fussing simply by having quick, nutritious snacks readily available.
  4. Pack versatile layers & store some in the tent. Temperatures drop overnight so while you might be comfortable and cozy in a packed tent, the moment you step outside you’re greeted with the chilly morning air. Packing versatile layers is essential for keeping toddlers happy. I made sure to bring an extra long sleeve shirt & sweatshirt into the tent when we went to bed knowing I wouldn’t want Emmie to leave the tent before layering up in the morning. As the morning warmed up we were able to strip down layer by layer and didn’t have any issues with being too cold.
  5. Get a toddlers version of everything. We bought Emmie her own sized camping chair, her own water bottle and she brought her very own owl lantern. I also had a small flashlight for her to use but she stuck with her lantern. By giving her her very own camping items she was much more apt to leave ours alone. It helped her feel like an equal part of the camping crew. Having her own items definitely eliminated any tantrums over “needing” something that we didn’t want her to mess with.

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We enjoyed camping so much that we have already booked a longer stay in a few weeks. There’s even been some talk at attempting a backpacking trip! If you’re looking to go camping with your little one anytime soon make sure you download my free camping checklist below.

Family Camping Checklist

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