Friday Faves: Upgrade Your GNO

Living 3000 miles from your besties is NOT the most fun, y’all. We finally, FINALLY got all together for the first time in WAYYYY too long last weekend for 12 hours of Girls’ Night Out goodness. Since this doesn’t happen for us more than once a year or so, we knew we had to make it an extra special one. We splurged for a once a year hotel, once a year photographer and dinner, and a once in a year rocking’ good dose of quality time.  Here are a few ‘upgrades’ you can do with your own squad to make GNO so extra too!b8fd0f48-abdd-41a9-9b27-0b537b307a55.jpg

Photos

You know when you actually get all dressed up, hair did, make up on point and forget to take a single dang picture because you’re having too much fun? Yeah, that’s us… like every time we get together. And while it’s fantastic to have so much fun and live in the moment, it’s also a liiiiittle bit sad to have no evidence that we are still capable of styling ourselves up.This time, we decided to turn it over to some professionals with an awesome service called Snappr.

This company will arrange a professional photographer to come to you, basically anywhere, anytime to take photos for… well anything. It was $149 to have Joshua, an excellent photographer in Washington D.C. come to our hotel, follow us around for an hour and take all kinds of pics. The edited shots were back to us the NEXT DAY. I cannot recommend this enough – not only for a great GNO, but for a bachelorette, a family get-together, if you yourself need professional shots to launch your own #girlboss endeavor, or whatever else.

This is #notsponsored – just actually awesome enough we had to share.

Hotel Slumber Party

You know how it goes – GNO is the. most. fun. ever!!! Until 10pm hits and you all hit that mom-wall hard. And while you might be still having a blast laughing your asses off at all the inside jokes, you know you gotta get outta those heels and spanx. Book a hotel room and BOOM! Party on Wayne! Party on Garth! Go get in your PJs, maybe order some late-night room service snacks and giggle away.

 

pajama-party-stock-photography_csp38155806.jpgEven more of a win? NOT having your kids come wake you up at 6 am when you’re exhausted or, let’s be real here, maybe a tad hungover! Order breakfast in bed and recover, shower, return home ready to face the chaos with a smile on your face. There are a bajillion online services to get a hotel room last minute for cheap – upgrade yo-selves!

Bonus points if you bring along some sheet masks or Hydrogel Patches to erase the night 😉

Liquid I.V. Healthy Hydration

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I don’t know a single mama who has the tolerance they used to back in those glorious early 20s. And, yes, of course we should be mature and moderate in our alcohol consumption and avoid hangovers that way. Drinking to excess is bad, lotsa health risks, etc…. On the other hand, as a mom, I have ended up hungover from 2 measly glasses of wine, so it’s all relative. I know a bunch of women who swear by this stuff. It’s a balanced hydration solution to help you pre-hydrate and then flush the alcohol out of your system. Hungover parenting is a special circle of Hell, try this out next time.

Virtual Visits

15055690_10103380678021019_1639727622399142389_n.jpgSo, an all-out hotel, photographer extravaganza is not always going to be an option. At the other end of the spectrum – if you’re in a season of life where you’re physically separated from your lady-loves – consider a virtual happy hour. More and more businesses are doing their meetings with services like Google Hangouts and Zoom meetings, both of which are free video chat rooms. Why not you? Why not for fun? Why not with a cocktail in hand and your kids plopped in front of a (super educational of course) video?

We have also done this and it’s a BLAST! So much more connecting than the flustered chat or text here and there that is our usual communication. Set a date, pour a glass, and log in girls! Bonus here – no need to dress up, or even be dressed at all.

The best part of girls nights out is that you make it your own. Do canvas painting with wine, go and hike your favorite trail and identify plant species, or literally Netflix and chill with your favorite thriller or Rom Com. It does not matter!

What are your favorite Girls’ Night Out activities?? Comment below with your own great ideas!

5db6358a-4358-4f56-9c9c-fdaeb7c36c8f-2203-000002cb03a3c599 Christiana, Annie, Kristy and Margo are best friends hoping to help you all live your best lives in the REAL world. oxoxo!

 

 

 

There’s wine in my soup

Those of you following us on Instagram may have seen this mouthwatering photo of our homemade Chianti Minestrone pop up on your feed for #winewednesday this week.

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We got a lot of interest about what’s cooking in our kitchen, and we were asked by a reader (and high school friend! what, what!) to post the recipe. So, without mincing words (see what I did there?) I’ll get straight to the point. Here’s how to make the magic happen.

Homemade Chianti Minestrone with Spicy Italian Sausage

Ingredients:

  • 1 28 oz. chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, sliced into half moons
  • 1 lb hot Italian turkey sausage
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced into half moons
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup of fresh basil, chopped (reserve a few leaves for garnish)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 32 oz. vegetable broth
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup good Chianti (optional)
  • 1/2 water (as needed)
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese (for topping)

To Make:

  1. Coat the bottom of a large soup pot generously with olive oil. Add sausage, onion, and garlic and cook over medium-high heat until sausage is cooked through, and the garlic and onion are fragrant but not blackened. Crumble sausage as much as possible.
  2. Reduce to medium heat and add carrots, cook 3-5 minutes more or until slightly tender.
  3. Add zucchini and squash and saute until tender, another 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for another 30 minutes or so.
  5. Add pasta, beans, spinach, and herbs and return to a boil. Cook for 5-10 minutes and reduce heat to low simmer.
  6. Finish by adding 1/2 cup of good Chianti, and salt and pepper to taste. Sometimes I’ll add an extra 1/2c. of water or so too, depending on how much broth has reduced.

That’s it! You’re done. If you want to go crazy and make homemade bread too, this soup goes fantastically well with my homemade herbed bread, and you can find that recipe here. This makes a LOT of soup and typically feeds us for a couple of meals. I add a bit of water to thin the broth when I reheat it, but it keeps very well in the fridge for a number of days.

Bon Appetit and happy fall soup-ing! (And wining, if you’re so inclined.) Cheers!

fullsizeoutput_658Christiana is a Navy wife and mother of 3 children, attorney and former realtor, world traveler, home renovator and decorator, yogi, fitness enthusiast, and recipe & wine explorer.

Photo credit: Tara Liebeck Photography

 

 

Welcome to Real

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In the beginning

Once upon a time (circa 2000), in a faraway land (Maryland), four young ladies found their soulmates in high school. No, not dudes. Best friends who balance each other in the best way and support each other through (literal and figurative) thick and thin.

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Fast forward 18 years…  We are now a doctor, a lawyer, a doula, and a financial planner deep in the weeds of young motherhood who learned to laugh together, cry together, learn together, and support each other through this season of life via one (in our humble opinion) very real, very wise, and brilliantly entertaining text chain, which is the foundation of much of this blog’s content.

We decided one day, on a whim, to start sharing our collective experience – the good, the bad and the ugly – with other people out there. The core value: keeping it #real with advice on parenthood, health, home, style, money and just whatever else comes up. LockersToLittles was that flying-by-the-seat-of-our-pants adventure and wow, that was somethin’ else!

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That blog life

The last 3 months have been a profound learning experience. We’ve laughed our buns off, cried in frustration and all 4 of us have learned more about ourselves than any of us thought possible. And most importantly, we discovered that there are other people out there who want to share our experience – you!! Wow! Our feedback and followers have blown us away with their support, ideas, and general awesomeness over and over.

We are taking that feedback and blasting off into a whole new level of the blogosphere peeps! You spoke and we have listened are are ready to serve.

To Infinity and Beyond

We are here to help others grow into the best version of themselves, and in the process are working to do the same. The best workouts for moms with no time? We gotcha. Best way to save for retirement no matter what age you start? You bet! Kids won’t eat vegetables? Coming to the rescue! Wondering what’s up with eating brie in pregnancy? #answeredthat. Just want to commiserate about this season in life being hard AF sometimes??? Oh yeah. Between the 4 of us we’ve had a whole lot of life happen and if it hasn’t happened to us, trust us, we know a guy.

People! The sky is the limit. Or is it?

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So if you haven’t visited with us before, then WELCOME. To all our returning followers, THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS. You’ve been with us this far and we cannot wait to share what we have in store with you.

To reach our much desired goals, we need YOU! Please enjoy and visit or lightly stalk us on our various social media outlets. Got a topic you want covered? Give us a comment, girl! Share your experiences, this is #momtribe and #parentlife and we’re all in this together. Oh, and share! ALLLLLLLL the sharing!

Welcome to REAL AS A M*THER!

xo, Annie, Christiana, Kristy and Margo

 

Pregnant, MD: What’s Safe in Pregnancy Myth vs Fact, Part 1

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Photo Credit: Fiona Margo Photography

Hey mamas and mamas-to-be! There is a lot of confusing and alarmist information out there on the interwebs about the safety of lots of things everything in pregnancy. We all want to be safe, but also to not be deprived of allofthethings for 9+ months. This post is a quickie guide to set the record straight on some of the most common questions we pregnancy providers get. This, like all my posts, are not ever meant to replace the personal guidance of your own health care provider – when in doubt, as them! I’m breaking this down on the following very non-scientific scale:

Myth – Mostly Myth – Kind of Fact – Mostly Fact- Fact

No Coffee – Myth

Our family lived in Portugal when I was in Kindergarten and first grade, so that was about the time I started drinking coffee. No joke. So, when I was learning about pregnancy, you better believe I looked up all the information on this topic! I can’t tell you how many people I have talked to – even other doctors – who are under the impression people have to stop drinking all caffeine the moment they conceive. That’s just cruel.

My actual face if you told me not to drink coffee while pregnant.

The truth is, The Cochrane Review looked at the research and the best studies have shown no difference in pregnancy outcomes with moderate caffeine intake. What’s “moderate caffeine intake”? About 200mg caffeine daily. That’s one tall Starbucks brewed coffee or an espresso drink with 2 shots. Strong black tea has about 50mg per cup and regular or diet soda (bad for other reasons….but) about 35mg. Energy drinks vary widely – if you want to look up your specific fave bev, check out Caffeine Informer.

No Hot Tubs – Mostly Fact

This one is legit. Studies have shown that raising your core body temperature can increase the risk of miscarriage in early pregnancy and other complications later on in pregnancy. This is true whether it’s a high fever from being sick or you are in a hot tub, sauna, hot yoga, or even hot bath or shower at home.

Does this mean you can’t take a quick hot shower ever? No! You can go in any of these warm environments for a little while. What’s a little while? As soon as you feel hot, break a sweat, or of course if you feel light headed at all, leave and cool off immediately. If you can’t trust yourself to make that judgement, avoid altogether.

No Hair Treatment – Mostly Myth

The old types of hair treatments for dying and perming had toxic chemical derivatives which were potentially dangerous, especially in first trimester of pregnancy.

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Definitely got my hair did before these pics.

Newer dyes should be free of these chemicals and are ok. Highlights that aren’t applied to your scalp are also fine – just stay in a well-ventilated area because your breathing can be more sensitive during pregnancy. Perms and straightening treatments again vary – ask your salon if they offer safe, natural alternatives to the older more harsh treatments. More info HERE on American Pregnancy’s Website.

No Nail Polish – Mostly Myth

You can get your nails did with no worries as long as the salon uses good hygiene practices. One of my favorite midwives from my training at UCSF, Judith Bishop, wrote a great summary HERE on this. Any kind of polish and even fake nails are ok. Beware though – the chemical smells might make your sensitive nose and stomach unhappy!

No Cheese – Mostly Myth

The key here is *pasteurized*. You can get Listeria, a dangerous bacterial infection that can cause miscarriage, from unpasteurized dairy products. Pasteurized cheeses that are within their expiration dates and have been properly stored are fine. Even soft cheeses. Most restaurants should be able to tell you if their cheese is “raw” or pasteurized – if they can’t skip it.

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No Lunchmeat – Kind of Fact

This again is due to Listeria concern. You should avoid lunch meat unless it’s been heating to steaming in the microwave, stovetop or oven. Not sure how you feel about warm lunchmeat, but this preggo is NOT for it! Opt for grilled chicken, tuna salad (no more than 2 servings per week though) or other choice if you don’t like warm sliced meat.

 

No Fish – Kind of Fact

Speaking of tuna…. The main concern with seafood is about mercury. Check out and print yourself THIS PDF from American Pregnancy if you want a quick guide to which fish are “highest mercury” aka, avoid entirely or just “high mercury” aka have no more than 2 small servings weekly or lower and you can enjoy at will.

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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

What about sushi?? So, cooked sushi is always ok as long as you are paying attention to mercury issues. Raw sushi *theoretically* should all be flash frozen based on USDA safety regulations and therefore should NOT have the parasites that are of concern in pregnancy. However, you are putting your trust in the sushi fish purchaser and preparer in this care, so approach with caution.

 

 

 

 

No Strenuous Exercise – Mostly Myth

There are no strict guidelines regarding exercise in pregnancy because this is highly variable as to what is safe and normal for YOU. There are elite athletes who’s “norm” is to run 10 miles or lift hundreds of pounds of weights on the regular. There are couch potatoes who get winded walking up a single flight of stairs.

Seriously, though… Exercising in pregnancy is actually key to having a healthy pregnancy, easier delivery, and – get this – fewer stretch marks! The main guide here is how the exercise makes YOU feel. Yes, that’s right, you have to listen to your body. This is not the time to “push through” and override your body telling you it is hot, too winded or  overworked. You will need to be more cautious with yourself because your blood flow is altered, your body shape is changing and your muscles, ligaments and tendons will be affected by relaxin hormone eventually.

No Sex – Mostly Myth

OK, think about it. If having sex while pregnant was dangerous, do you really think humans would have survived this long? A lot of pregnant woman have their libido skyrocket thanks to increased blood flow to the lady parts (though if you don’t that’s nothing to worry about). It is ok and GOOD to have sex if you want to in pregnancy. Get. It. On.

A few words of caution though… If you have pain or bleeding during sex, stop. Have your doctor check you and tell you if it’s safe to continue having intercourse during your pregnancy. And if you’re pregnant and single – you need to be ultra careful about not contracting an STD. They can cause severe birth defects, miscarriage or stillbirth if contracted while you are gestating. Safe sex – good. Unsafe sex – bad.

No Smoking – Fact

This includes ALL smoking. Smoking cigarettes and being exposed to second-hand or even third-hand (if you smell it even though no smoke is around, that’s third-hand smoke) can cause complications in pregnancy. If you are smoking when you conceive, talk to your provider right away about how they can help you quit. If people around you are smokers, same goes. It is NOT sufficient for them to just go outside. If your sensitive sniffer can smell the smoke, you’re being exposed. 

What about pot? It’s legal now and stuff, and doesn’t it help with appetite? NO, not safe in pregnancy. Marijuana has been shown to increase rates of ADHD, anxiety and other cognitive disorders in children who were exposed in utero. Stay away.

No Alcohol – Mostly Fact

Saved the most controversial for last! So, here in the USA, all of the official guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, etc… go along these lines, “There is no amount of alcohol known to be safe in pregnancy”. So, pregnancy providers will tell you to abstain completely from the time of ovulation if you might conceive through birth.

The Royal College of OBGYNs (Britain’s version of ACOG) takes a slightly more relaxed tone, saying “The safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all if you are pregnant, if you think you could become pregnant or if you are breastfeeding. Although the risk of harm to the baby is low with small amounts of alcohol before becoming
aware of the pregnancy, there is no ‘safe’ level of alcohol to drink when you are pregnant”. None of the large studies done recently showed negative effects on the baby or child with having a few drinks per week. However, the risk of preterm birth with alcohol exposure and of the devastating fetal alcohol syndrome makes pregnancy providers approach this with significant caution.

I know you are looking for a straight forward “yes you can have a glass of wine now and then” or “no, alcohol is truly dangerous”. We don’t have that yet. As a health provider, I follow the lines of saying, no amount is safe. As a woman physician, I know a whole lot of doctors who have read the studies and comfortably go ahead and have a drink now and then in the later parts of pregnancy. Ultimately, you’re in charge of making that decision for yourself and your unborn. Think about whether the anxiety when your kid seems hyper at age 3 that maybe they have subtle effects because you had a glass of wine at that dinner party is manageable vs the benefit you’ll really get from said glass of wine. You should for SURE never get drunk or even tipsy – that’s a no-brainer.

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Photo Credit: Fiona Margo Photography

What else?

This is why I called this Part 1… Please, comment away with questions, Myths you want busted, funny examples of crap your mother in law told you was unsafe in pregnancy! Part 2 will be based on your input. Whatcha wanna know??

Dr. Annie is a married mom of 2 with 1 more on the way (bump captured by Fiona Margo in the above pics, if you’re in the PNW look her up!!) and family physician in California.

Wine Wednesday: Sancerre

What we’re drinking right now: Sancerre

Sancerre is a region of France that produces some of our favorite white wine of all time for splurge nights. According to Wine.com:

Marked by its charming hilltop village in the easternmost territory of the Loire, Sancerre is famous for its racy, vivacious, citrus-dominant Sauvignon blanc.

It also happens to be the wine drunk frequently by one Mr. Grey throughout the 50 Shades books, if you were paying attention…

If you like drier whites, and you happen to find a Sancerre for under $30, buy a case. This one by Robert Cantin Les Pierblancs has a rating of 92/100 and is priced at $22.

We love this one paired with your favorite seafood appetizer like local raw oysters or shrimp cocktail.

This one was $25 in store

My husband and I splurged on a $52 bottle during a date night suggested by the local Restaurant known for its raw bar selections and pairings.52$ in restaurant $25 in store.

Certainly not at our price point for the day-to-day wine consumption, but well worth it for special occasions.

It was worth every penny. We’d never had a Sancerre before, and boy did we swoon!

Happy Whining! Wining!

Try and enjoy responsibly. (Which means uber)

The Tale of the Contaminated Pool

My family and I just had a wonderful camping week at the beach. The sun, swimming, tiki bar (what what?), and nights by the wonderful campfire with extended family were all relaxing and rejuvenating.

We reflected on the the fact that the only things we took away from camping were wonderful memories, big smiles, sun-kissed skin, and a better understanding of a need for personal space.

“Well,” we thought. “That one day was weird when we had to leave the pool because it had been contaminated.” We had just thought some kid (even though “it” happens, amirite?🤣) had pooed, which is awful in and of itself. But what it turns out to be, oh, is much worse.

Resuming daily activities Monday morning is when I quickly realized that sunsational vibes were not the only thing we brought home with us.

Phone rings: 10:00am

“Hi, Mrs. Wright…….little #2 has HEAD LICE and needs to be picked up immediately”

<Screech screech screech horror movie noise>

Those who really know me understand that I have an incredible visceral repulsion and hair-trigger panic button when it comes  to flying insects and now also to tiny creatures you can barely see that latch on for dear life and suck your bodily juices for sustenance.(Is that too graphic?)

I panic. BIGTIME. We’ve never had lice in our house before!

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It’s coming from INSIDE THE HOUSEEEEEEEEEEE

I immediately stop my work and go to get her, all the while assuming I am going to pick her up and she’s going to be covered in these horrible blood thirsty pests.

A little History with my bug hysteria can be explained in the flea “epidemic” of 2015 when my dog had two fleas. I assumed the whole house had been taken over and went a little nuts and replaced all our carpets and our couch, bought a Dyson cordless and vacuumed six times a day. Totally normal behavior…

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So, I vow to go immediately home, burn all clothes, shoes, beds, pillows, couches, carpets.

“That won’t be enough. The whole house will have to go up in flames. BURN IT DOWN”

So instead of going back down the road of epidemic, I reassure myself that I should assess the situation first, then react. High fives for rational thought.

Restoring my wits, I remember the thousands of other parents/kids/humans that have dealt with this issue in the past. And I got a lovely suggestion from our daycare provider (who was an angel and bagged two to educate me since this was our first time dealing with it) for a service we have here in Virginia called “The Nit Fairy”  They searched for, treated, checked me and my daughter and scheduled a follow up with us! I paid for it….$300 to be exact…but the peace of mind that someone did a thorough job in finding them and treating them while teaching me what to do step by step feels priceless to me. Hopefully y’all have this in your area as well! It’s worth the search.

Now…..the aftermath. As soon as my son and husband get home, they are checked and treated. I use the OTC RID lice treatment on both, and vacuum and spray all carseat heads, and regular seats, seat belts, bike helmets with the home spray included in the kit.

Now, we wait….

24 Hour Report: So far so good. All have been checked several times with combing twice.  Bug and egg free for today.

1)Mental itching and feeling of bugs all over level: expert.

2)Shampoo game: on point

3)House cleaning status: laundry done, things bagged and tagged, brushes/toys/ shoes drowned for two hours and counting.

What Do I Do Now?

I am not going to lie to you, looking through photos to show you what one of these things looks like made me throw up in my mouth.

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HOWEVER! For the sake of me never wanting YOU to have to question “what the heck do I do?” upon the words “Mommy/Daddy, my head itches.” arriving at your door, here is a guide on what to do:

Step one: Saddle up, you’re riding this suck fest for two weeks plus.

The average lice egg takes up to a week to hatch. Meaning, if you don’t get the nits (lice eggs) out, you’ll have a brand new harvest in a weeks time. You’ll have to go through the WHOLE rigamaroll again if they go unnoticed.

Get a treatment kit either OTC, call for a prescription from your pediatrician on what they recommend, or go to a place like I did that treats you there. To decide, think about how you feel about chemical OTC treatments versus using an oil based solution such as a blend of Rosemary and Tea Tree Oil in a carrier Olive Oil.

Step Two: Treat yo’self and your WHOLE FAMILY

Get enough kits for your whole crew. Even if you don’t SEE anything on them, chances are there at least one. After you treat, wait seven days and treat again.

********Always follow the FULL instructions on how to treat in the pamphlet. Better yet, call your doctor and ask them!***********

This Comb is pretty legit as a replacement for the normal comb! Not necessary, but made me feel like I was doing more to alleviate my irrational tiny bug abhorrence.

Step Three: Housekeeping Diligence

The second most important step is to be violently and insanely diligent with cleaning up anything that anyone treated has touched in the last two days before finding the, gulp, infestation.

Wash: All clothes, sheets, pillow cases, hats, princess dresses, gloves, blenders, miniature schnauzer-doodles, goldfish… I don’t care ….WHATEVER THE KID(s) or y’all HAVE TOUCHED, wash it in 130 degree water. High heat for 20 minutes and roast the little things.

Dry Clean: Anything you cannot wash at 130 degrees and put on HIGH heat in dryer for at least 20-45 minutes, should be dry cleaned. Comforters, pillows, dragon pillows, fort roofs, fort sides, fort anything.

Bag: Anything else such as toys, tiaras, magic wands, and seal it for FOUR weeks in a bag and shake it like a polaroid picture when you take it out before use.

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Vaccuum: Everything. Everywhere. All the time. Carpets, floors, couches, mattresses, headrests and car seats, your desk, headboards on bed. Just get an iRobot and call it a day.

Step Four: Pete and Repeat.

You know the old joke, “Pete and Repeat were on a boat. Pete fell off, who was left?” Yup…..basically you can clean and wash and vacuum for as long as you want. But everyone needs to be checked daily until you see no more lice or nits. Up to two weeks after last treatment. If you still see lice or nits after the two treatments, get your butt to a doctor cause you’ve got a superbug.

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You could also just shave your head if you want. Believe me, in my initial freak out mode I told the day care provider that I was going home to shave everyone’s head. I mean, why not?

Please Share what has worked for you and your family to rid yourself of these evil effers that can hold their breath for TWO HOURS under water. Unless you say Powdered Sugar is delicious and the lice hate the sugar. (name that movie??) download (8).jpeg

<Kristy mumbles “holding their breath for two f$%king hours?” BLEEECCCHHHH >

Hope this helps you not to freak out like I did. Do as I say, not as I do:)

48 hour report: One sluggish bug found……Repeating steps above….AGAIN.

Godspeed good soldiers…

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Kristy, Au Naturale: Survival in the woods, aka tent camping with kids.

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Camping is one of those activities that our family has always enjoyed doing together. Being in nature, grounding ourselves, and slowing down for a weekend has been really effective in helping us reconnect and bond when daily  life seems so busy. We camp with extended family as well, which, for us, has always been an amazing time.

Our camping journey started in a tent for seven people. There were only two of us and a puppy, so that made it roomy and doable. Our spacious luxury camping getaway quickly became a cramped space when we had our first kiddo.

When little #2 came around, that seven person tent turned into a giant canvas bag of emotions!

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So, we bought a Pop-up.

 

Now at least we had a roof overhead, a stove, and heat and air conditioning!

“What a step up!” we thought until even that became cramped with “baby stuff” and then the space above began to feel like more like this…

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Our camping nights started to become very very difficult. It was almost like going back to newborn stages for the first two nights every time we took a trip.

8 pm: Honey, the cloth diaper blew out, we need to go to bathhouse to hose the baby off.

10 pm: Mommy, I have to potty

Midnight: Dangit, now I have to pee

1am: diaper leaks onto mattress

3 am: Mommy I have to potty (again)

Suffice it to say, we…never…slept.

Now that we are GLAMPING it up in a tag along trailer with a bathroom, queen bed, and kitchen, I can look back and give a list of all the things necessary for tent camping with tiny kids. (If you’re not wanting to totally give up on it like I admittedly did)

Kristy’s no bull survival guide to tent camping with kids:

A large tent: 

Don’t want to pay $250 for a large WATERPROOF tent? Well, sorry Charlie, you’re gonna be cold and wet in a cheaper one. They can leak, not hold up in the wind, and have a tendency to be crackly and loud when the wind does blow.  Better investments equal better experiences in my opinion. This tent is big enough for your overnight bags, the essential change of clothes needed for any accidents, and extra towels/wetbags for any messes or laundry. Dew will make everyone damp and miserable even if you’re not rained on while camping.

A Sleeping Pad

Content_Team_081417_71478_Choosing_Sleeping_Pads_lg.jpgIn addition to a specific sleeping bag meant for outdoor slumber, you’ll need a buffer between you and the ground. TRUST ME, even if the beautiful weather during the day is warm, the ground at night gets cold! Putting a pocket of air between you, your littles, and the ground can help insure a better night sleep for you all. You can also use a camping pad, or an air mattress (but good luck trying to get the kiddos to sleep when you’ve basically just blown up a bouncy house in a tent!)

Pillows

One of the things people don’t usually think of, is how bulky pillow can be in the car ride and especially in a tent. They make specific camping pillows that have their own cases for storage when you’re out and about during the day and need more room in your tent to move around.

Proper Footware

What shoes you will need for your kiddos depends on time of year, and typography of your campground. We usually do a water based (crick, creek, or lake) campground so our kids can explore, fish, and collect shells and rocks. So we select our favorite Keens that can be amphibious. They are also great on hiking trails that aren’t too rocky. You’ll want an option that’s easy to slip on and off for those bathroom breaks.

Fire Utensils

Whether you’re roasting hot dogs or marshmallows, let’s be real…who knows who has let their dog pee on a stick nearby! I usually resort to bringing my washable Roasting sticks for all things S’mores related.

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For fire stoking, do yourself a favor and have a proper set of fire gloves incase you need to adjust any logs or one goes astray.

For cooking, we use this adjustable tripod that cooks veggies, meats, and will even toast bread right over the fire! It breaks down and goes right back in the box as well for easy traveling.

Lighting

You’ll obviously need flashlights for when you’re walking around at night. We always have these solar lamps hanging around as well, for use inside the tent as well as around the site itself. Kids and adults alike do well with headlamps as well. Just make sure you teach your kids not to shine it at your eyeballs.

Snacks

Overestimate the snacks you bring – basically double what they would go through at home. Pick things unlikely to melt/squash like nuts, dried fruit, whole grain crackers and peanut butter, etc…. One of the worst possible camping situation is running out of food. While you’re at it, pack yourself some extra adult beverages.

Cooler packing hack: Prep ahead of time by freezing water bottles, juice boxes or pouches, and squeezable yogurts. Use these along with ice packs and bags of ice. These will keep things cold in there for longer and also be nicely chilled when your kiddos or yourself want to eat them.

And the Piece De La Resistance

The Toilet Tent

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I cannot stress to you enough how important this little bugger is. You think, “Oh, we are camping, there’s a bathhouse right there that I’ll walk to” or “I’ll just pee in the woods cause I am woman hear me roar!”

Awesome thought. Really, it is.

HOWEVER, 9 times out of ten when your kid wakes up, you wont want to trek the 100 yards to the actual toilet when they are freaking out about the dark walk or first thing in the morning when the entire campground is sleeping and your kid is screaming that they have to go.

This tent is taller as well, so you can change in it without the hassle of ducking, if you’re tall like my family.

Putting The Fun in Family Time

We like to stay at campgrounds with lots of activities. Crabbing on piers, shark tooth treasure hunts, easy hiking, wagon rides with water balloon fights, splash parks, gem mining, local watering holes and breweries with picnic style seating can be all great things to look for. When hanging fireside, though, we always love to add magic to the experience of being outside and away from home as a family.

These amazing fire color packets change your campfire into a magical rainbow of colors that can spark the imagination of even the curmudgeonist of curmudgeons.

I hope this helps some of y’all get your family out and exploring your area or surrounding areas in order for more tiny humans to learn to appreciate and love this earth that sustains our lives. I know I am awed by the majesty of its landscapes, and weather patterns every time we go.

Oh, and no light pollution of rural campgrounds equals amazing star gazing! (Throw in a little romance for you and your partner as well!) Or some educational constellation spotting with your science kid! (There is an App for that)

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Night breezes seem to whisper “I love you”