5 Ways Camping Helps Your Family Grow

I know that not everyone loves the great outdoors. But, if you don’t, bear with me here for a minute. Have you been outside??

Early last year our little family bought a little trailer on a little campsite by a decent sized state lake. It fit our budget, and the lot rent is reasonable. The summer before that we had done some short camping trips in a tent and discovered that we loved it as a family. This seemed like the obvious next step. And the most affordable way to guarantee that we would use it…or waste it. If the latter happened, we agreed to sell and run.

I think the biggest bonus of having a site that we can return to and land that we are responsible for, no matter how big or small, is the sense of community that you can get. We also (okay…I ALSO) love the heat and the air conditioning. I love storing things there and not having to fill the van so full every single time we go overnight. The downside being that we didn’t do any other camping last year so we didn’t experience any other campgrounds. But, that is a whole different post. And maybe it will happen since I seem to have a lot to say about it.

Camping, in any form, has been a wonderful experience for me. It wasn’t something that I did much as a kid. Let me just sum up how it has made us more tight knit as a family with these simple five conclusions. I am even going to count down for the maximum effect:

5. Good scenery feels like a reward.

Hiking, swimming in a lake, playing “baseball” in a field, riding our bikes, going for a walk…all of these things generally produce pretty darn good scenery. People pay good money for that! And sometimes they pay good money to have the fake version of that. Think: white noise machines, sounds of the ocean on cd, rainforest noises to calm down, pictures of scenic overlooks scrolling on our home screens. Heck, you can even choose an option on most email systems to put an ocean scene or the Grand Canyon in the background.

How does that bring us closer, you ask? Easy. We are calm and happy. How could we argue with views like that? How could we not feel closer to God or whatever it is that you believe in? Mother Nature can give us the ultimate peace. Combine that with experiencing it all together and BAM. Instant family therapy.

4. My husband and I can show off our goods.

Okay. Perv. This is a FAMILY vacation. Not those kind of goods. I am talking about the stuff that we are both really good at doing that we don’t get to do all the time. I, personally, tend to rock the coolest comfiest camping clothes like it is my business. And in those I am totally relaxed. I get to remind him how incredibly cool it is of me to be all “No Make-up, Messy Hair, Don’t Care.” Then I cook with limited tools and that’s it. He falls madly in love with me all over again.

For him, he wears sleeveless shirts and kills a lot of bugs. Not to mention all the fire building and s’more making. Damn.

This is good marriage material. Just saying.

3. My (Your) kids are soaking it up.

Just skip this one if you don’t have kids. But, I suppose you could apply some of it to your four-legged kiddos! There is so much to learn outside. Here are some things that we have tried or have on our list:

Plan a scavenger hunt, start a soccer/Frisbee tournament, sit around a campfire and tell stories, make s’mores, learn about the different kinds of birds together, breathe cleaner air, get out flashlights and hunt for leprechauns, have great books to read and learn to appreciate the quiet time.

And, for goodness sakes, let them get DIRTY. This one is a must. Just dance in the rain, I promise it can be fun. I have no doubt this will make them happy, which will also make your family happy. We have done it. And it does!

2. NO WIFI.

I can not stress the importance of this one enough with our family. We get to unplug. We have just enough service that we can make or get emergency calls. My advice- let everyone know that you aren’t AVAILABLE. Seriously. That is a thing!

How many times a week do you look up and your whole family is together but they are all on their phones, laptops, iPads, xbox, minecraft computer weird I can’t understand it game? Force them to be with you without a screen. I think it’s the only way, force. You are their only hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi. (Only slight sarcasm.) They scream boredom? Good, right? That’s means they will have to play cards with you.

1.  You ARE closer- even in sleep.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder? Not in this tent or tiny trailer! We breathe the same air, use the same sink, table, water tap, heck- even sleep pretty much in the same ROOM. We are in this TOGETHER. I get bit by mosquitos? Possible my son gets the same bites I do. We can even compare.

Seriously though, in the great outdoors there are many ways and places to find some alone time. But, at the end of the day, we are together. And that is what keeps us that way.

 

All my love of camping and all things family,

Mama. Imperfect.

 

 

 

Potty Training. What a Freaking Nightmare.

todays-adventure_the-potty

I don’t want articles. I don’t want advice from other moms. I don’t want to be told I am doing something right or wrong. I just want a perfectly potty-trained toddler that is happy. And healthy. And isn’t traumatized by some method that I read about that worked for some other child.

Here’s the thing. Dude is 3.5 years old. Almost. Nope. I just calculated. He is 3.5.

Without sounding all “my son is better than other sons”, it is important in this situation to comment that D is a smart kid. I mean, he spells his own name, knows all his letters, spells at least 5 other words, knows colors, knows what colors make other colors, and definitely knows that he is not a baby and that big boys use the potty. He knows where animals do their thing, he even knows that he can stand and use the potty and that Mom can’t. He knows because he has DONE IT.

He refuses. No underwear, no pants without a diaper, no peeing outside, no using the potty or the kiddo potty. Nothing. “Just give me my diaper, you are forgetting my diaper,” is his only argument. And he is serious. And completely adamant that he belongs in one.

Today. We “threw away” our remaining diapers. It is a beautiful February day but we aren’t going anywhere that is beyond our yard because we are determined to give it a go.

It’s time, little dude.

Please say a prayer for my sanity. And also a prayer that I am not scarring the boy for the rest of his life. This might be the story that he tells in therapy when he is an adult.

All my best,

Mama. Imperfect.

Seven Things You May Have Rocked Today

lets-be-mermaids

There is a meme that I keep running into on social media that says, “I’m done adulting. Let’s be mermaids.” Truthfully, it makes me kind of giggle every time I see it. In a recent texting convo with a girlfriend, we asked each other what made us want to grow up so fast when we were kids. Was it legal drinking? Loss of curfew? Freedom? Our own family? Even though “adulting” isn’t a real word, it certainly does seem like it should be, right? Being an adult can be super hard, and parenting is like a different level of crazy.

Thing is though- being a parent is pretty outrageously awesome. Some of the hardest days are the, “Are my pants on fire? I don’t think I would even notice because I am so busy,” kind of days. These are the days when I am positive that we all need to pat ourselves on the back for the simple things that we accomplished.

Let’s discuss a few things that might have been epic for you today.

  1. Your kids leave the house with matching pants. Heck, I think their socks actually matched as well. And you are really lucky if they caught the bus without running.
  2. Tonight’s dinner may have been ordered at a drive thru, but your family ate! They let you use an expired coupon and you opted for the salads instead of the french fries. And you were actually able to help the oldest with his history homework with the time you saved. Huge pat on the back for that one, even if you did have to ask Siri what year Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
  3. You pooped alone. I’m just going to leave that one right there. Anyone with a toddler knows that this is an incredibly fantastic 5-10 minutes of your life, however rare.
  4. The soccer uniforms were clean and all you had to do was turn the dryer back on to get the wrinkles out. Their cleats were in the right place and your mom van got them to the field right on time. Props, Parent of the Year. And keep rocking those yoga pants to practices. None of the other moms are really going to the gym tonight and they are comfortable.
  5. Lunches for school tomorrow are packed and the living room floor shows no evidence of Captain Toy Tornado that is finally fast asleep. You are multi-tasking the laundry that needed folding with that show you really wanted to catch up on. Those things easily go together. And, heck, it kept you out of the snack zone. Score.
  6. There are no kids in your bed and you are pretty sure they are all still in their own. It is super quiet. They look like princes and princesses in their sleep. And so quiet.
  7. You are in bed before eleven. It could be a record. And you are truly exhausted.

The best part about it? You are ready to tackle it all like a superhero again tomorrow. Mermaids are overrated anyways.