A few weeks ago Price and I packed up the car to go camping with Autumn and Kemper. Yep, camping with a 7 month old.
Our original plan was to go to Pillsbury State Park in Washington, New Hampshire early Saturday morning to stay at a specific camp site but it is one that can’t be reserved and, unfortunately, someone beat us there and was staying the weekend. So it meant for a change of plans. We sourced some books and searched online and ultimately found a spot at Sand Pond Campgrounds in Sanford, Maine.
Normally we are very organized and have everything packed up properly the night before we go away or go camping. Well, not this time. Of course. Unfortunately, one of our rabbits died that day and Price discovered it when he went down to our den to get camping stuff and feed them. So our productivity on Friday night came to a screeching halt. Instead, it was all about crying, feeling sad, saying good bye, and burying him. All of that meant we threw in the towel before we were done packing and decided to finish it in the morning.
People- don’t do that! I hate to say but we should have sucked it up and finished packing because then we would have (probably) had our act together and wouldn’t have needed to make THREE different stops the following morning. Yep, three. Sigh.
Anyway, after leaving an hour later than expected (hey, not so bad) we headed up to Sand Pond Campground in Sanford, ME. Because I can never resist an opportunity to go to Sonic, we stopped there for breakfast burritos and drinks.
While we left later than planned we still managed to arrive before 8.30am giving us plenty of time to get checked in and begin to get set up.
As we brought a baby and a dog with us, they put us in our own field. Thankfully, it was a quiet weekend and we were only 1 of 2 families tent camping. They have 2 fields for tents so they put us in our very own field, which meant we basically had 4 campsites to ourselves so we wouldn’t be disturbing others (as much) compared to being put right next to the other people. This consideration was so nice as it allowed for us to relax a bit more.
While we unpacked the car and set things up, we put Autumn on a picnic blanket. She loved it. She also loved pulling the blanket up and ripping up (and then eating- ugh) grass.
Did your awful parents forget a bowl for you so you had to drink water out of a pot? yep.
This year we upgraded our 3 person tent to an 8 person tent. We used our 3 person tent for the past few years but with the baby and the dog we knew that we wouldn’t fit in there. I was thinking we would get a 6 person tent but Price decided to ‘go big or go home’ and picked out a Coleman Montana 8 Person Tent.
It felt funny setting it up as it was just 2 adults, 1 infant, and a dog but we all have a lot of stuff for each of us -bags for clothes, bags for cooking stuff, my pumping bag, stuff for the dog, etc. All of that stuff takes of a lot of room, and even when they say ‘sleeps 8′ they show the people in the diagram practically touching each other so I don’t feel that bad about such a big tent for all of us in the end. The tent was pretty easy to assemble so it made for a quick set up.
I took Autumn to the pool for a bit so she could splash around and play. There were a few families there but it was pretty mellow and quiet. It was a smallish pool but there was plenty of room for adults to hang around the edge while kids played in the deep end (not deep enough for diving!). There aren’t too many umbrellas so be sure to to bring plenty of sunblock, sunglasses, and a hat for you and your family.
Price later on enjoyed some solo pool time so that he could cool off and relax a bit while I sat back at the campsite enjoying some sun while Autumn napped.
Kemper enjoyed swimming around when we were at Pillsbury State Park last year, which is part of the reason that we selected Sand Pond this year. We wanted to give him that same opportunity this year so having a place for him to swim was one of the factors involved in picking out the campgrounds.
After 1 jump from the dock that resulted in him going under the surface, even with the life jacket on, Price would lower him into the water so he could swim out to the sticks we wanted to retrieve. He definitely got spooked going under the water so I’m really glad we had a life jacket on him to make him come up quickly and to have something to grab onto to get him out of the water quickly. Once he caught his breath he was ready to go again!
After Kemper did his swimming adventure… he was exhausted!
Well, we were all tired. :-)
Autumn loves to be outside. This little camping adventure was right up her alley.
For dinner we ate hot dogs and store bought side salads. We enjoyed the leisurely pace of the evening as we hung out and walked around with Autumn. The sunset was really pretty but the best part was that we went during the full moon. We purposefully planned that when we were planning on when we were going camping during the summer. A gorgeous big moon, camp fire, and s’mores make for the best kind of night outside under the stars. Shoot! I didn’t even mind the squeaky bats that danced and darted above our heads. Thanks for eating all those pesky bugs guys!
Throughout the camping trip I would sneak away to the car to pump. Ah, the joys of pumping! I could have brought my battery pack with me to pump in the tent but I figured I would enjoy some AC in the car so I just brought the car adapter. Plus, it always gave me a chance to charge my phone which functioned as our clock, alarm, and always at hand camera. (I did bring my big Nikon as well.)
We brought a cooler for our food and for my to store my milk. We just made sure we had plenty of ice and it was simple to keep things safely stored for all of us.
We survived the night!
Of course, right as I was putting Autumn down in the tent a bunch of fireworks went off (off camp property) so she was spooked and took longer to get down. As well, she was up more at night as it was an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar sounds and smells. Thankfully, we didn’t have any close neighbors, but we still didn’t enjoy her crying so quickly brought her onto our sleeping bags (she was on her own at the start) to snuggle. Well, she mostly just batted me in the face!
Price made us breakfast!
Autumn was fussy and I needed to pump so I ending up giving Price some morning peace and drove around with her while I pumped. Plus, I grabbed some coffee’s from Dunkin’s which is just a few miles away (Thankfully, if you forget anything while camping here you can just drive a few miles and grab what you need at the grocery store or (the dreaded) Wal-mart).
Price’s mom sent us this ciao! baby Portable Highchair which is PERFECT for camping.
Price made cornbread just to try out the process. Ultimately, having a lid is key to making it cook properly. Gotta try to learn!
Hello Bacon Egg and Cheese!!!!
In the morning I took Autumn on a long walk around the campgrounds to get some exercise and kill some time while Price tidied things up around our campsite so we could pack up and get on the road early.
On our walk we kept looping around the campsite checking out everything that Sand Pond had to offer. One thing that I really enjoyed was that they have really clean, well organized facilities. There are 2 locations for restrooms and showers, one being by the pool. As most of the people there are in RV’s, which have bathrooms, the facilities were quiet and extremely clean. Even pretty of bugs as the screen doors are on closers so no one can forget the door open and fill the restrooms full of bugs!
They also have spaces for events and places for kids to play around. The playground had a jungle gym and a basketball hoop. Great for kids (even adults!) with tons of energy.
They were hosting BINGO on Saturday afternoon. I didn’t play but it was fun to walk by all the action.
They also host other events throughout the summer, for example, there was a blueberry bake off on the next weekend. Bummer to miss that!
They had a cute little beach which would be fun for Autumn to play in when she gets in older.
After the walk we broke down the tent and chucked stuff in the trunk and we were on our way home. We prefer to just get home and properly unpack/repack thing later. Like the tent was covered in dew so it would have been gross to fold up and put away in it’s case, we unpacked it, let it dry out and then packed it up later that afternoon.
Thankfully we have a car seat cover for our car since Kemper was filthy!!!This Kurgo cover is a lifesaver when it comes to keeping the car clean with Kemper.
We were all pooped when we got back. That is when you know it was a very successful camping weekend. So much fun!
So, we survived our first camping experience with Autumn and are looking forward to going again. Things will be very different next year with Autumn running around but I think it will just make it even more fun! So exciting!
Tips and Tricks for Camping at Sand Pond Campground
- Bringing small bills with you will make it easier to pay for firewood. They do accept cards so you can use that for your fee but if you need wood later having cash makes things easier.
- If you are bringing your dog then you HAVE TO bring a current copy of its rabies papers. The tag is NOT enough.
- As there are a lot of trailers here, there are a lot of activities here to keep the people who summer here busy and happy. This is either your thing or not, just keep that it mind.
- Dogs can’t go swimming on the beach but there is an area for dogs. They can use the boat dock but if your dog is not a jumper they might have difficulty getting in the water as there are canoes strapped off the dock inhibiting easy access in that area.
- There are small wooden fences prohibiting you from driving up directly to your camp site so be ready to carry things back and forth as you unload/reload your car.
Tips and Tricks for Camping with an Infant
- Bring lots of wipes!
- Bring a hat and sunblock to protect your little one’s skin.
- Use an all natural bug spray, as needed.
- If you need to pump, bring a car adapter or a battery pack charger with you.
- I suggest this ciao! baby Portable Highchair to make this easier for meal times.
- Have some patience! It’s a new experience for you and them. There are all new things to look at which is fun but overwhelming too so they can get over stimulated quickly.
- Try to pick a campsite that has bathroom facilities in case of accidents- make for washing things out and cleaning up easier, one that is fairly close to a store incase you forget something that you need, and one that isn’t too far from home just in case you need to ditch your plans and get home quickly. Be flexible. :-)
- Know where the closest hospital is and how to get there. Better to be prepared and never need it then have to scramble later.
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