Camping with a Baby: Sand Pond Campground- Sandford, ME

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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 Did your awful parents forget a bowl for you so you had to drink water out of a pot? yep.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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After Kemper did his swimming adventure… he was exhausted!

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Well, we were all tired. 🙂

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Autumn loves to be outside. This little camping adventure was right up her alley.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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).

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Price’s mom sent us this ciao! baby Portable Highchair which is PERFECT for camping.

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Price made cornbread just to try out the process. Ultimately, having a lid is key to making it cook properly. Gotta try to learn!

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Hello Bacon Egg and Cheese!!!!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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They had a cute little beach which would be fun for Autumn to play in when she gets in older.

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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.

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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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‘Round Here

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Here’s a long post. And I don’t even know where to begin.

Actually, I’ll start with the crappy, sad stuff to get that out of the way and then get to the fun, good stuff.

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Our rabbit Jack died on Friday.

I was pumping (what else is new?!) and Price was getting our camping gear all gathered up. He ran down to the finished basement/den/whatever you want to call it to get the stuff and came back up a minute later. As soon as he sat down next to me and said ‘Nic’ I knew one of the rabbits died. Ugh, it totally sucked all the energy out of the night. Plenty of waterworks later we figured it would just be best to bury him asap and Price dug a hole in our little yard and we said out good byes to Jack. We are going to put a big pot full of flowers over his little gravesite.

He was such a good rabbit. Super friendly to us and to Bunny, who truthfully is a royal grump, and is exactly why we got him. She was such a pain in the ass and seemed miserable that I wanted her to cheer up with a friend. Well, it turns out that she is just horrible but they fell in love. Or whatever. He was so mellow that the just went with the flow with her, and us. As long has he had plenty of food he was just so happy. We called him a cow because of his black and brown spots on his white super soft fur, as well as the fact that he could hoover anything in sight… including books! But he really loved raisins, bananas, carrots, cilantro, parsley, and tomatoes.

I’m super sad now that he is gone but I really regret that I didn’t spend the same amount of time with them pre-baby vs post-baby. Ugh, and don’t even get me started on my decline in blogging about them- horrible :-(. But it is what it is and I did the best that I could so now I can beat myself up over it or just think back about the fun times we had playing around (even in the snow!) with our handsome model bun. Even Kemper loved getting to know them, and eat their hay (& poop too).

So it’s just us with horrible, yet super cute, Bunny. I just hope that she enjoys the single life again. wahh 😦

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After Friday night sucking so very much because of Jack’s passing, we stopped crying, regrouped, and decided to continue on with our plans of going camping on Saturday morning. We planned on going to Pillsbury State Park in New Hampshire but long story short we ended up going to a camp ground in Maine. It was such a nice escape, a lot of work with Autumn and Kemper for just 1 night, but a nice escape, especially since I would have just moped around about Jack.

We had a great time together roasting hot dogs over the fire, swimming in the pool, taking Autumn on walks, making Reese’s Cup S’mores, watching bats catch bugs at dusk, and sit by the fire in the light of the supermoon. It seems that Autumn liked the whole experience too so I’m hoping her love of camping/glamping grows as she gets old, and stops trying to eat the grass/sticks/rocks… why child? why?!!?

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I got a Fitbit on June 28th. Since then I’ve become an addict to hitting all my goals. So far it’s tracked over 250 miles- I just got a badge for that today 🙂 It has been keeping me motivated at getting off my butt and walking the dog all around. I’ve noticed a change in him too. Now that we’ve been doing 4+ miles a day he is WIPED OUT. Because he doesn’t have all this extra energy bubbling up at the surface he has been much more well behaved.

I was super sore this morning (I figure it’s combo from camping, needing to do some serious stretching) so I didn’t walk him for our normal 20-30 minute walk. Since I’m about 1.5 miles off at this point, I’m not sure if I’ll hit my 10,000 step/5 mile goal for today since I’m need a pedicure and I’m hell bent on getting one tonight. And while I would be super bummed not to fit a goal I figure it would balance out as I got 16,833 steps (6.82 miles) on Saturday and 15,342 steps (6.2 miles) on Sunday. << yeah, prob why I’m a little sore!

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Autumn waved yesterday for the first time. She did it in the mirror to herself which was the cutest. But when she lit up and waved at Price I became a gooey mess and cried. Oh damn, she is just so lovely.

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Our little miss didn’t sleep that well while we were camping (Saturday night) but we figured it wouldn’t go well anyway, so no big. It probably was the combination of change in routine, new place, different noises, and general baby stuffs. Well, she went down fairly easily last night, and I woke up rested this morning. Which brings me to this funny (for me) convo Price and I had on the way to daycare this morning…

ME:  “You know, I can’t believe she slept through the night.”
PRICE: “She didn’t.”
ME: “What?”
PRICE: “I got up with her!”
ME: “Oh, how many times?”
PRICE: “Like 3 times.”
ME: “Sorry, you should get me up.”
PRICE: “Oh I tried…”

 AND I WIN!!!!

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Price took these photos of little miss Autumn over the Fourth of July weekend. I just love them so much!

Weekend camping at Pillsbury State Park- Washington, NH

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Price and I had been talking about going camping this summer for a long time. We finally found a weekend that would work and off we went to Pillsbury State Park for a little camping weekend.

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We had been talking about going to Pillsbury State Park for about 2 years but we made it work this weekend since we knew we wouldn’t have another chance. Plus it was pushing my limit of going camping while pregnant. Kinda something related to peeing 10x a day and using a campground toilet.

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Pilsbury State Park is located in Washington, NH, about 45 minutes West North West from Concord. It is is comprised of 8,100+ acres that surround 3 large ponds. Open from the end of May to the end of October, the campgrounds have 41 tent sites that are either accessible along the main road through the campgrounds, by foot on a short hike, or canoe across the ponds.

When I called on Thursday the campgrounds were booked up, except that there are few campsites (5, 8, 9, 13, 21, 31, and 34) that are not reservable so we still had some options available. I learned that the state park opens up at 8.30 and by 9.30, after the rangers have done a drive thru to make sure it’s all clean, you can reserve the available campsites.

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Once ranger Tracy went through the grounds she came back to inform us that we had 5, 8, and 13 for us to pick from. I picked campsite #8 since it was a solo campsite so it would provide us with a bit more distance from the others, which would be helpful in keeping the dog quiet. As well, it was a very quick walk to the cluster of sites 9-19, which had toilet facilities and a water spigot. Plus then we discovered that there is a little creek just off from the side of the campsite. Kemper loved it.

We unloaded all of our stuff and set up the dog on a stake so he could roam around the site a bit while we set up the tent.

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And then off we went to check out the rest of the campgrounds, which include a jungle gym and big, open picnic area overlooking Mill Pond. Then we continued on to our hike up Balance Rock Trail. The trail is 1.2 miles each way from the start of the trail head and is a easy hike for families (and dogs!) that climbs up 550 feet up as it winds up and around Bryant Mountain.

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So yeah, this was the typical scene on the trail with the dog looking down at me like “why are you taking so long?!?” He didn’t really care when I was trying to explain to him that trudging up the trail at 6 months pregnant took some extra time. He was breezing up the trail on climbing up rocks, boulders, and hoping over downed logs. Quite the show off.

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Not Balance Rock! Just some balancing rocks. Price put on the top one.

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The best part of the trail was this overlook on the east side of Bryant Mountain right before you reach Balance Rock. I can’t even guess how far we could see since it just seemed to go on and on. It looked over the North Pond in Pillsbury State Park, the hills of Monadnock Sunapee Greenway Trail, and way beyond.

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When did he get so big?

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Some sweaty photos at the overlook.

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We finally made it to Balance Rock! It was a nice 3-mile hike (from our campsite and back) but we were saying that if there was no overlook we would have been a big disappointed just to reach the big rock. Don’t get me wrong- it was so cool so see this big rock deposited by glaciers on this ledge, but I’m all about the views. That being said, I would totally go back and do this again later on in the season (next year!) so we could see the stunning fiery oranges and reds filling up the changing forest.

We all took a nap once we got back to the campsite. I just love opening up all the vent flaps on the tent and letting the breeze blow in. Plus any chance I can take a nap is awesome with me.

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Obviously, we woke up super hungry since we had not eaten since breakfast (smart). We left the state park and headed north about 11 miles, stopping off at Violette’s Supermarket in Newport, NH. The small market had a nice selection of beers, fresh bakery breads, meats, and all the camping supplies you’d need. We bought some cheese, crackers, and pepperoni for a snack to have as our chicken sausages we picked up for dinner cooked over the fire.

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Price had to work really hard to get the fire going but kicked some ass and finally got it going so we could enjoy it for several hours. We enjoyed dinner and roasted up some marshmallows for dessert. Kemper was so tired that he fell asleep in my arms as we sat in front of the fire. 

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At 6.30 the next morning we walked down to a public boat (kayak, canoe) launch into Mill Pond, located between campsites 10 and 11. We quietly stood there and watched the mist burn off the pond as the 4 windmills spun in the distance.

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Stunning.

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We made breakfast of bacon, eggs, and blueberry pancakes over our Propane 1-Burner Stove while we sat in front of another fire that Price made to finish off the 4 bundles of wood we had purchased.

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Then I said I would lay down for 5 minutes and, of course, Price had to wake me up an hour later. When I downloaded the pictures from the weekend, I discovered these photos of the sunlight casting through the trees that he took during my ‘quick’ nap. 

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Right before we left we let Kemper do a bit more playing around in the May Pond by the Park’s lodge building. He is fearless and just runs and will take off swimming for sticks we throw him.

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On the drive back we stopped at Winter Hill Farm Market.  The Farm now has a market in the old Withington Antiques Barn building and it is just darling. I was so in love with the store from the decor to the local produce and products they sold. I picked up a bottle of maple syrup and 2 locally made sodas for our ride home. I want to go back to check out what foods they have and get some ice cream from their air stream out back.

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Kemper was drunk tired afterwards and fought sleeping in the car for fear of missing something out the window. He finally settled down and then basically crashed for the rest of Sunday and Monday.

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Well, we were all really tired. 🙂

Price and I will definitely go back to Pillsbury State Park for camping and for visiting. It was a fun weekend at a beautiful, clean campgrounds. There were plenty of things to do there from canoeing, kayaking, picnicking, and hiking. As well, the campgrounds were quiet enough to really step back and relax from it all.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Bring cash with you as you need to pay a small fee to visit the park.
  • The toilets are just pit toilets so there were no sinks to wash your hands so be sure to pack some anti-bacterial hand gel.
  • I would not expect to stay more than 2 nights as there are no shower facilities, unless you really like to rough it.
  • While the park does say not to bring in outside wood we had picked up an extra bundle at the grocery store, which worked out well since that was much drier than the wood at the campgrounds. We ended up starting both of our fires using the grocery store wood and once that was going adding in the campground wood. So either break the rules or be sure to bring a lot of fire starters like newspaper, cardboard, candles, etc.

8.9-11: Weekend Recap

{Friday Night} leave work early | lots of rain ends | Price gets home | made breakfast for dinner | DRV’d shows | clean basement | pack up the car | send emails and work on blog posts | go to bed

{Saturday} kemper woke up at 4.15 | get out of bed at 5.30 | shower  & get ready | pack cooler and finish packing up the car | leave at 6.30 | head to Pillsbury State Park |  dunkin’ donuts for breakfast | arrive at 8.30| get camp ground assignment at 9.30 | unpack and set up tent | walk around the camp grounds and hike the balance rock trail – about 3 miles total | 1 1/2 hr nap | grocery shopping for dinner | set up dinner & Price bought 2 more bundles of wood | set up fire & have snacks | make dinner- chicken sausages | hang out by the fire | Kemper fell alseep on me | roast marshmallows | go to bed

{Sunday} wake up early | check out the pond at sun up | start fire | make breakfast- bacon, eggs, blueberry pancakes | I took an hr nap | help Price finish packing up the camp site | leave at 10.30 | stop off at market | drive home | home right before 1pm | relax & watch NASCAR race | shower | go to the mall for baby clothes shopping | continue watching race | dinner | watched DVR’s shows | give Kemper a bath | make pudding | bed

snarls

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Camping by Numbers

1 weekend camping on Lovell Island

23 total campers

our group of 4 had a TON of to lug on/off a ferry

2 coolers of food

25 pounds of ice

5 gallons of jungle juice

15 minutes until price lost his contacts in the water

2 boys looking for us. Price and Jason walked all around the island looking for us. We were just on the other beach.

2 bathing suits

4 gallons of water- 1 gallon per person per day

1,000. Number of times Natalie yelled at me to get in the water.

0. Number of times I went in the water.

2 Frisbees

1 brand new flip cam

74 photos

hookah. Yes, our friend Essa brought that, along with its peach tobacco, tin foil, and charcoal. We thank him for it.

spf 12 for my body (oops forgot my back!)

spf 45 for my face

75 pumps of hand sanitizer

1 avocado. yes it is necessary to bring 1 camping

0 paper towels

1 bottle of rum to go with Dr Pepper and Coke

1 headband. Price’s hair is so long that it is always in his face. Natalie was kind enough to gift her headband to him.

8? refills of sangria and wine in brightly colored cups.

12 seconds between fog horn bellows. Price counted, I slept.

3 hour nap once we got home

PS- totally stole this #’s thing from Emily Frame’s blog- Ruffling Feathers