What I Learned from Family Vacation

This past weekend my family and I embarked on an adventure.  Seven of us (my wife, my 2 daughters, 2 sister-in-laws, my nephew, and I) went camping in northwest Michigan.  We were smart enough to get two tents, but there were still seven of us traveling together so we had no idea what to expect from the trip.

The primary worry I had going into the trip was sleep.  Would our little ones (Mikaela, 31 months & Juliet, 14 months) sleep in a tent?  Would they need their naps?  Would the rest of us get any sleep?  Would the weather allow us to stay in our tents or would we have to spring for a hotel?

In the end, sleeping was not a problem at all.  The girls went to bed in the tent in the same way they go to bed at home—made a little noise, but soon they were silent and asleep.  The difference was that Mikaela wasn’t restricted by being in a bed, so when we opened the tent to join the little ones on the first night we found Mikaela sleeping just inside the tent door.  We had laid her down at essentially the opposite corner of the tent.  She continued to move into random spots throughout the night, but she stayed asleep so we were happy.

Beyond the worries of sleep I was looking for some time with my family where I didn’t have to worry about work or “the real world”.  I even managed to only use my phone as just a clock, camera, and crazy enough a phone until we were two-thirds through our drive home and needed GPS.  I had a great time.  I felt relaxed, and I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything.

We did so much in such a short amount of time, but more importantly we shared so much time together and learned so much about ourselves and our girls.  We learned …

  • we can camp as a family.
  • we like minivans (Bettina was very skeptical before the trip, but we rented one and it was fantastic).
  • the girls can handle swimming in cool water.
  • the girls love the beach.
  • we need to let the kids stay up late every once in a while, because you never know what you’ll be privy to. We had a fire going outside the other night and I was holding our oldest in my arms while we sat around the fire.  She looked up and said, “Do you see that star? It’s like: ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’ …” and continued singing through the song.  It was awesome and adorable.
  • we are all here for each other. If either my wife or I starts to get down the other is there for a pick up, and if necessary our girls are there with silliness or a hug to perk us both up.
  • dune sand will follow you everywhere you go.
  • McDonald’s really struggles with coffee orders sometimes. I mean they really struggle sometimes; they kept thinking we wanted orange juice at the speaker and then handed us food at the window.
  • transitioning back to reality is no fun, but vacations can’t last forever.

I’m really glad we took that trip out of town.  It was a great experience, and I hope that we can do it more often moving forward.  Now that we know the kids can make it through two nights in a tent we might be able to put together another trip down the road.  I don’t know when it will be or where we will go, but I’m already looking forward to it.

In the meantime I’ll try to incorporate bits of our trip and bits of what we learned into our regular life, so we can enjoy regular life even more than we already do.  Some aspects may be easier than others.  I truly enjoyed what we had up there and I enjoy what we have here as well, so if I could mesh the two together it could be amazing.  I think that’s worth a shot.


Side Note—Bettina’s Motherhood Perspective post was supposed to be posted today, but instead it will be this coming Sunday so stay tuned for that.


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