This is only partly true.
On Thursday, our family readied itself for our first camping trip of the summer. Rob took a couple of days away from work and we were all excited to finally have a long weekend to ourselves. We returned to our favorite Jellystone Park campsite in Wisconsin. It’s only an hour away, but honestly, it feels like we are a million miles from home.
We hit the road late afternoon, but midway through the trip, Kellan matter of factly came to the front of the RV and announced that he had to throw up - which he did quite neatly into our trash bag. I suspected that perhaps he had a touch of car sickness, but after the 4th or 5th time, we realized that we had an actual stomach flu on our hands. Summoning our pioneer spirit, we forged ahead with our trip and set up camp after settling Kellan into bed.
Around 2:00 a.m., Eliza began to pace the galley of our RV complaining of stomach pains. I tried to soothe her, but after an hour, I was delirious with exhaustion and called upon Rob to sub in for me. He was already up however, and complaining of stomach pains himself. Rob and Eliza spent their entire evening outside the RV taking turns being sick The next day as nearly 50% of the family convalesced, I set off a Lysol bomb inside the camper and then fled for the pool with the healthy children. Even though it was nearly 97 degrees and there was not an ounce of shade to be found, my preference was to risk skin cancer over vomiting….that’s how much I hate throwing up. Plus, I hoped that the heat would burn off any residual germs!
By evening I was spent, but the infirmed appeared to be rebounding. Vacation on!
The next day Eliza felt well enough to go with me, Kellan and Riss to wake up Yogi. Although Larissa has loved this event in the past, this year she decided that she wanted nothing to do with a giant cartoon bear, so we stood on the outskirts of the event while Kellan and Eliza participated. Afterwards, she was more than happy to take a picture with Yogi’s less animated facsimile.
Dear Kellan, I apologize for your ridiculous PJs. They were adorable when you were 3 and a half. I promise.
Also? People are lunatics. See that crowd behind us? Those were the folks who’d brought their kids to wake Yogi. Parents were literally throwing their 2-year-olds over the rail of Yogi’s cabin porch so their child could be that much closer to the bear. Ridiculous. Sometimes it’s really hard to like the general public.
The following day, everyone was healthy so we all headed down for a day at the pool. When I say Larissa LOVES the water, I mean, I think she is 75% mermaid. Eliza too. Me? I could spend all day there as well, especially now that the kids are all solid in the water and I can sneak in a few chapters of my book. Now the boys? They much prefer to sit in the lounge chairs pilfering from the snack bag and pestering us for arcade money. They are lame.
Happy pool girls:
Lame pool boys:
Forced smiles because I threatened them with no money for tokens if they didn’t let me take a picture.
We managed to enjoy about 4 hours of blissful family time before Larissa ate a popsicle, immediately declared a tummy ache, and proceeded to vomit spectacularly all over my beach towel. Another one bites the dust. We quickly fled the pool and took our newest plague victim back to the RV. Thankfully, she was only sick twice before falling into a deep sleep and was spared the prolonged agony that the others had endured. Good thing too, because later that evening Cindy Bear stopped by to deliver cookies and milk. Cindy is Larissa’s favorite!
Hopefully Cindy wasn’t overcome with belly cramps later as a result of our contagion!
(and uh…I don’t know what Kellan is doing with his hand, but I just realized it kind of makes or breaks the photo…depending upon how you look at it!)
Our little trooper even perked up for glow sticks and sparklers. Hey! Where are the older boys? Why they are inside the camper watching a DVD (because you cannot do that at home!!)
Action shot courtesy of my always impressive camera work. You’re welcome.
Eliza is a good egg. She is always up for anything.
We had to spend 20 minutes to talk Kellan into holding this.
Although it wasn’t the ideal trip, it was a good trip. You have to be able to laugh these kinds of things off when you have a large family. The law of averages insists.
I have read several blogs over the years where normal families just like ours sell their homes, store their belongings and head out on the open road in an RV to explore the world. I used to think that sounded nuts, but not so much anymore. There is something to be said for paring things down. Camping requires the bare essentials, and it’s amazing how freeing it is to be away from all your “stuff” for a while - whether that stuff is your schedule or your errands or your stress or your laundry room. Half the time, all that stuff I think is important doesn’t really matter much at all. It’s easy to forget that.
At home, there’s too much space for all of us to escape from one another. There are too many activities to be attended to, too many “things” to keep clean or organized or in order. There are too many distractions that keep us from enjoying the moments that are simple and good — from enjoying our very own company. While bad things can happen when you are on a family vacation, thankfully lots of good things can happen too.
Midday naps with tangled legs and blankets.
Glow stick “unicorns”.
Sharing stories and a can of cherry Pepsi as the sun sets.
Playing mini golf in swimsuits.
P.S. In case you were wondering, Weston started throwing up about 45 minutes after we pulled into our driveway Sunday night, leaving me and Hayden as the only survivors (So far. Knock wood.).