Love hits the road

School is now officially out for the summer, and something wonderful has happened.

I’m positively THRILLED.

It’s not that I didn’t like summers, before, but this is the first summer I find myself really looking forward to in, well, certainly in my tenure as a parent. I’m aware that that sounds bad, but hear me out. When the kids were little and I stayed home with them, summer was no different than the rest of the year. When the kids were a bit older but I was divorced and working, summer was rife with guilt over not being able to take time off and relax with them, and then further guilt over not being able to provide them any sort of vacation. Two years ago, summer was all about moving and getting settled (exciting, but not exactly relaxing or without its own problems), and last year summer carried with it a schedule that pretty much guaranteed zero relaxation for anyone involved.

This year is different.

I was walking around the house this morning, doing various things I always do—making coffee, taking my mug back into the kitchen to the sink, putting laundry baskets away—and realizing how many decorations we have around thanks to the kids’ art teacher. For all of the sadness we’re feeling about leaving this school, I feel nothing but profound gratitude that the children had two wonderful years there. They’ve brought home awesome projects from art class, yes, but also amazing papers from other various teachers, and this past week, lots of kind notes from teachers who have not only taught my children all sorts of things, they’ve clearly loved the stuffing out of them in the process.

For all of the ups and downs, I look at my children today and see two kids who had a great school year and are ready to have a fun summer and then take on new schools in August.

And then, of course, there is the mounting excitement due to our new camping trailer. I’d love to tell you that the kids are adorable in their anticipation of heading into the woods, and really, they are, but that would be only part of the story. The most adorable part of this whole camping adventure is Otto. He’s like a little kid, spending every spare minute retrofitting the trailer with shelves and buying just the right plastic storage containers for various nooks and crannies, and making lists and researching campsites. His anticipation is contagious, and despite my initial trepidation about this whole camping thing, I find myself looking forward to the smell of woodsmoke and outdoor games of Uno and seeing parts of the country I’ve never been to before.

I would be doing exactly none of this without Otto. Camping with the kids honestly wouldn’t have even crossed my radar. And now as I watch my husband prepare and plan and watch my children assist him and anticipate the trips to come, I can see how resigned I was, without him, to staying home and never venturing out into places where I didn’t already feel comfortable. I assumed it was too much; too much money, too much stress, too hard for the children to handle.

I’m helping to put together the minutiae we need, because that’s the part I’m good at.

We’ll pack it all up this week, and then we’ll be ready to go… wherever. Whenever. As I watch my family dream of trips already in the works and ones yet unplanned, I love their confidence that wherever we go will be a wonderful adventure. They see the big picture, these three. They know our family will find the way. They see the magic in the journey, wherever it may take us.

And finally, so do I.

Happy Love Thursday, everyone. As Karen put it this week (inspiring my own thoughts on the matter)—here’s hoping we all learn to enjoy the ride.


  1. Summer

    Where you should go: Turtle Beach Campground, Siesta Key, Sarasota, FL. Turquoise gulf waters, the whitest and most powdery sand imaginable, and you won’t need that Bug Off.

  2. Megan

    This echoes so strongly with me this summer – a summer when my Children (some of them) are leaping out of the nest (wings spread out, mum braced for an exhilarating plunge, a bit of a bump and then… flight); when Child 3 is looking ahead to two years of being just Child 3 and not sibling-of-The-Other-Ones and is already doing some tentative but determined wing-stretching of its own; when I’m discovering how nest-bound I’d been myself and how big and wonderful the world still is out there.

    Enjoy your summer journey – I think it’s going to be magical too.

  3. Tracy

    Gosh, now I want to go camping this weekend. Long 3 days in the woods….I don’t care if it’s a 70% chance of rain for 4 days…I’m going to talk to hubby when I get home. It will be the first time we’ve taken the camper out this year—it’s time! There is nothing more relaxing than laying around taking naps on the hammick and eating all that wonder food that is cooked outdoors! Thanks for the post and have a wonderful Happy Thursday!

  4. MomCat

    Hope your new trailer let’s you feel the outdoor love!

  5. MomCat

    (But not too much of it)

  6. Katie in MA

    Happy Adventures to the lot of you! I’m excited *for* you. I vote for letting the kids guest blog one of their adventures. :)

  7. Frank

    Sounds like great fun. However, in the spirit of full disclosure, you should also show a pic of your laptop and wireless, your phone, portable electronics that you KNOW you can’t travel without.
    Besides, looking forward to a blog entry or 2 from the camping road anyway. Trips make the best story fodder…

  8. exile on mom street

    I can’t wait to read about all of the wonderful adventures you are sure to have.

    Also, I’m looking forward to looking forward to summer. Someday.

  9. el-e-e

    Oh, I am so excited for you. And a wee bit jealous. Outdoor games of Uno?? That will be AWESOME. :)

  10. Ani

    LOL…school is still on here for another two weeks.

    I am looking forward to reading of the camping adventures. I hope you have a terrific time.

  11. Heather

    I’m still in that place where summer looks exactly like the rest of the year, except with more humidity, heat, and mosquitoes. My older critter graduates preschool tomorrow and begins kindergarten in the fall… and we’re so focused on getting that started, we had nearly forgotten all about enjoying summer. Thank you for the reminder. :-)

  12. The Other Leanne

    Would you like me to email to you my 8 camping spreadsheets, or did Otto already make his own?

  13. dad

    Don’t ever forget, wherever you go, it’s all magic.

    Four kids in a trailer…Let the bonding begin along with the lifetime of memories.

  14. StephLove

    Happy Trails to you!

    I have to say I’m not really looking forward to the kids being out of school (June 4 for the little one, June 16 for the big one) and it’s getting uncomfortably close. I hope to get to where you’re at someday.

  15. Flea

    Love the skull boo-boo stickers. :)

    The Ozarks make for pretty camping. And they’re only a couple of hours from ME! But I’m guessing you’ll explore closer to home? We spent a couple of summers camping in the Smokies and LOVED it. Fontana Dam is a great place to spend a week or two. The fireflies in summer are to DIE for! And Tail of the Dragon? Be grateful Otto doesn’t have a motorcycle.

  16. ChristieNY

    I’m excited *for* you!!!!!!! Happy camping with your family! =)

  17. Half Assed Kitchen

    Camping might be okay with one of those pop-ups… But I’m happy for your anticipation!

  18. divrchk

    I’m so happy for you that this summer will be so much less stressful than last summer. I felt for you with last summer’s crazy schedule of shuttling the kids back and forth with no relaxation whatsoever. Happy travels. I can’t wait to read the stories from the campgrounds.

  19. The Other Leanne

    It is better to travel hopefully than it is to arrive.-Robert Louis Stevenson
    Happy Trails!

  20. Amanda

    You NEED to go to Lanier’s Campground in Surf City, NC. Here is a link:

    We have a camper set up there year round but we LOVE it. It’s close to the beach (just 5-7 minutes driving time) and it’s got a pool. It has a lot of activities and so much fun!

    Surf City is beside Topsail Beach which is WONDERFUL. The fishing and just sun bathing is fabulous here.

    COME ON… you won’t be sorry…

  21. Scottsdale Girl

    I have never packed Cleaning supplies to camp. Not once. Apparently I am not doing it right.

  22. Debbi

    You will be giving the kids such wonderful memories with the camping!! We go away every other summer and drive across country and I LOVE LOVE LOVE hearing Bubby talk about it to all of his friends. May you have a truly wonderful summer!!!

  23. Amelia

    what a beautiful team y’all make. enjoy your time together!

  24. Little Bird

    Don’t forget to pack toilet paper!!! You can do without nearly everything in that picture, but you will NEED the toilet paper!!!
    Oh, and Off makes these new clip-on bug repeller things so you don’t have to douse yourself in bug spray. I don’t know if they work though.
    Have a blast this summer!

  25. Burgh Baby

    I hear Pittsburgh looks fantastic out a camper window around this time of year.

  26. Pam

    You bring back all the memories of our many years of camping when our son was young (he is 36 now). The fishing, campfires, smores, frogs, and bugs!!! You will love it all whether the sun is shinning or the rain is falling. God bless you and yours and all the love filled memories that you will be making. Get going!!!!

  27. Lady M

    So lovely! I think the reason why I’d love a trailer is figuring out where to perfectly fit all the necessary items (in cute, portable sizes, of course). Have a great summer, and think about driving out to California.

  28. Sheri

    How exciting. I can’t tell you how lame I feel when I get so excited about our trailer. It’s nice to know someone else is that excited too. And, I totally understand the thrill of summer — we’ve never had that here either. When my daughter was small it was just ho-hum every day. And then, summers got taken over with camp and appointments and a hurried vacation at the end. This year I said, “NO” and booked the whole summer for fun. One camping trip after the other. I haven’t been this excited since I was about nine. I hope you have a BALL. By the way, what kind of camper do you have? We have a 1971 Spotty Sportster and we’re trying to get to our first vintage camper rally. How fun will that be?

  29. Otto

    I am pretty excited. When I was a kid, we spent the entire summer camping – eight or nine weeks hauling a 30 foot travel trailer around the country behind a massive Ford Gran Torino Country Squire station wagon. Complete with the vinyl seats, lime green paint and unbelievably-fake wood siding.

    It was awesome.

    And it was something I never thought I would get to experience again. But since we decided to get hitched two and a half years ago, I’ve had hope.

    So I am pretty excited.

    (who doesn’t have an eight page spreadsheet, but does have five pages of info stored on his iPhone)

  30. Jane

    I am a big fan of family magic. You seem to have an abundance. Looking forward to enjoying your posts from the road.
    Also, do you have the shortest school year in the ENTIRE country?

  31. mama speak


    And I really, really, really need this today. Thanks.

    And Otto, I love your description of the station wagon. Awesome!

  32. Jo

    Good luck! We still have 3 more weeks of school before our vacation starts. Camping definitely is easier with older children and a partner who knows what he is doing. You will have a wonderful time!

    Here is a good checklist site to see if you forgot anything.

    Though I doubt it if you have an 8-page spreadsheet.

  33. Karen


  34. Amy-Go

    LOVE IT! Where are you headed first?

  35. Stephanie

    I’ve said it before, and I mean it more than ever, now…you are one VERY VERY lucky woman, Mir! Enjoy your children, your husband, your summer and your wonderful life together!

  36. Julie

    You have Dad AND Otto AND two beautiful children11?! Lucky, lucky girl!! I know you will have a beautiful summer…

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