Loving family environment

By Mir
July 20, 2010

The reason we got a camper is because my idea of “roughing it” is raising children. And having a place to plug in my crock pot. Details. Our camper is neither large nor fancy, but it did allow us to have veggie chili for dinner last night (seriously, a crock pot while camping is AWESOME) while sitting in our little air-conditioned box. And that is awesome because it is currently 95 degrees and a billion percent humidity every day here at Myrtle Beach.

[Digression: If I had a nickel for every time I found myself turning to Otto and saying, “Have you MET these children?”, I could retire. Yesterday Otto said it was “just a short walk” over to the boardwalk, and a mile and two melting, complaining children later, we scrapped the expedition in favor of ice cream. Otto was disappointed and somewhat exasperated. I would like to stipulate that in this weather, there is NO SUCH THING as a short walk. I may not whine the way the kids do, but seriously, that was the fast track to heat stroke, right there.]

Anyway, vacation is all about making memories. I have no doubt we’ll be telling the one about how Otto led us on the neverending walk for YEARS! Plus dinnertime is always good for magic moments.

Our camper is what’s called a hybrid, which means it’s a lightweight trailer that has a part that folds out. (It’s a combination of a regular trailer and a pop-up, I guess. Sort of. I have no idea.) The part that folds out, on this one, is our bed. As a result, we have a U-shaped seating area around our table, and then our bed is actually up BEHIND the seating, housed in a tent covering. (The kids sleep in bunks in the back, and due to the ENORMOUS SIZE of our camper, by “in the back” I mean “precisely four steps from the edge of the table.”)

Last night we were eating dinner, and as is our custom, Otto and I finished eating long before the kids did. This is because Monkey needs extra time to wrestle with the age-old conundrum of not being overly fond of veggie chili, but knowing he needs to eat some if he wants some cornbread, which he really DOES love; and because Chickadee is the slowest eater on the planet AND she loves to drown her chili in cheese and then complain that it’s too hard to eat with the stringy, melty cheese on the top. (Hence our frequent declaration that “our child, she is giftatated!” Ahem.)

It had been kind of a long day. Our “short walk” had completely worn me out, and after sitting with the family for what seemed like a reasonable period of time, I hefted myself up and over the dog (who was snoozing on the bench beside me) and onto my bed, which is, after all, RIGHT THERE, so it wasn’t like I was abandoning the family or anything.

“MOTHER!” exclaimed Chickadee, and I figured she was about to scold me for leaving the table. “You just kicked the dog in the face!”

“No I didn’t,” I said, looking at the dog, who had raised her head but didn’t appear to have a bashed-in skull, or anything.

“Yes you did!” she insisted. “You kicked her in the face! You stomped on her head. YOU ARE A FACESTOMPER!”

“You’re a facestomper,” I replied, never unable to resist the classic I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I retort. “She’s fine. Licorice! If you’re perfectly fine COME HERE!” Licorice happily hopped the seating barrier and came and curled up next to me and licked my nose. “See? This is not a dog whose face has been stomped.”

“You totally stomped her,” grumbled Chickadee. “But I guess she forgives you for being a facestomper.”

“How about I stomp on YOUR face?” I asked her, swinging my leg into the general vicinity of her head. “I mean, if that’s WHAT I DO.”

“WIFE!” protested Otto. “You are not supposed to stomp on your daughter’s FACE!” Chickadee nodded, satisfied, and made general noises of agreement. “You’re supposed to stomp on her hopes and dreams,” continued Otto, and we chuckled as Chickadee burst into incoherent protest.

“Well… well… how about I stomp on YOUR hopes and dreams?” she finally asked, clearly pleased with her response.

“Too late,” Otto and I replied, in unison, and then we all cracked up.

It was a magical moment, ruined only by Chickadee then turning to her giggling brother to ask Monkey if he knew why it was funny. (“I’m not sure,” he answered, “but it just is.”)

I’m pretty sure you can’t build these sorts of memories in a tent. I mean, trying to figure out what to do with the crock pot would probably take up all of your time.


  1. Beth R

    The fact that Monkey laughed without knowing why is probably the best part!

    And I can hear that exact tone right now… “Mooootherrrr!” with that little exasperated snort on the end. I still practice :)

  2. Javamom

    Kids. How did we ever do anything fun without kids? Kids!

    We are so looking for a camper. Seriously. Your posts about camping with a camper just reinforces it for me. All I need is money…but then I’m getting a camper! cool.

  3. Suzie

    Hot on vacation is sad. I hate being hot. Air conditioned campers on vacation can only be good. No matter how small, and no matter how many times the dog gets kicked in the face.

    Sounds like a great trip, despite the mean weather.

  4. Amanda

    I’m so jealous of your camper! It sounds lovely.

  5. karen

    I went to Myrtle Beach in July two years ago for a week… the heat was crazy ridiculous.,.. the pool water was bath water, the ocean was the only reprieve but sitting out on the sand was impossible. 95 degrees at 8pm at night!! That’s when i did the grocery shopping, along with everyone else in the county, cause your flipflops would melt in the parking lot if you went earlier in the day. seriously! But you know what was awesome fun? The Dixie Stampede…. you gotta go… it’s right out on the main drag, google it. And, it’s INDOORS!!!!… and they serve you an awesome meal that you have to eat with your hands, but believe me, Mir, it is worth it.

  6. Crista

    Mrs. Otto the Facestomper. Now there’s a business card title for you :). Or maybe you have a new career in pro wrestling.
    Glad you’re mostly having fun, but most importantly, building those lasting memories. Whether or not you want them to last, lol.

  7. Caroline

    Even funnier (to me anyway) was that when I saw the title of this post, I just knew it was going to have something to do with some fantastic sarcasm. And sure enough you didn’t disappoint!

  8. diane

    Are you sure you don’t want to adopt a single 51 year old? Look at it this way, you’d have a built-in babysitter. Your family certainly knows how to love on one another, in all sorts of ways! I can hear Chickadee telling her kids, when her family is camping -“did you know your grandmother was a facestomper?”

    Myrtle Beach during the last week of February was too hot for my cold northern bones – I cannot imagine it in July.

  9. Tracy

    I love the thought of chili in 95º weather…honestly, I do. I love gumbo year ’round, too. (Honestly, I’m not being a smarty britches) It’s funny how the more I say, “honestly” the less convincing it seems.

  10. Kelli

    Oooh, we have a camping “let’s take a nice walk after dinner” that turned out to include jumping a small stream, walking a dry river bed, and “hills” that needed the older brother to help the younger brother – story. Yes, dad’s idea. Yes, you will talk about it forever. And remember it fondly. :)

  11. Kelli

    uh, help the younger brother *climb*.

  12. Therese

    Our best vacation memories were made on our camping vacations. There was the time the refrigerator dropped off the camper onto my toe, my daughter fell off a swinging vine, the hammock broke when my husband and I were laying in it, my youngest fell off a stack five lawn chairs high, oldest son ran smack into someone’s truck while playing football, and middle son had some many bandaids on we couldn’t keep track of his injuries. And this was all on one camping trip! Those were the good old days.

  13. bonuela

    If you had a nickel for every time you found myself turning to Otto and saying, “Have you MET these children?”, you could test them all with the kit from the dermatologist. (sorry. couldn’t resist.)

  14. Katie in MA

    In a tent, I’m sure there would be much more complaining of facestomping, but I think the funny retorts would be lacking. Whether that would be because you had to eat un-delicious food (no crock pot) or due to the fact that the foot would still be in (on?) the face (no wiggle room to move the foot elsewhere) is up for debate. Campers are CLEARLY the way to go.

  15. Scottsdale Girl

    I am setting out this weekend on a camping trip (tents and air mattresses) with a new boyfriend and his 13 yr old son.

    I will let that sink in…

  16. Diahn Ott

    We have a hybrid camper, too – but both ends fold out so it is 5 steps between the beds. I know you’re jealous now.

    And I swear we have the best time cuddled up together in that teensy little space – there’s just something magical about it…

  17. Anna

    My grandparents are part-time roadtrippers, and their observation is that the larger dogs come from the tiny trailers and the tiny dogs come from the giant bus-sized charter coach trailers. :)

  18. mom, again

    When it was us and my girls, we camped with two seperate 2 man tents. It worked out great for hubby and me, but we were regularly awoken by my younger daughter yelling at her sleeps like a (rolling) log sister to get OFF, MOVE OVER, and STAY ON YOUR SIDE! By the time we could afford a great big two room sleeps 6 family size tent, our bigger problem was the older sister now had teenager never sleeps at night must try to sneak out syndrome. Her younger sister was still an effective alarm system. (the older reads here, and should note I am not yet ready to deal with information contrary to this.)

    Perhaps, now that we are older parents with a decent income and but the one son, we shall get a pop-up camper. My oldest is married and threatening us with grandchildren and I think anyone old enough to be a grandmother deserves AC and a crock pot while camping.

  19. Brigitte

    Ah, you (and your family) bring a smile to my face in the wee hours when nothing else would.

  20. Lelia S in TN

    If you aren’t already camping there, you and the fam would probably really enjoy Huntington Beach State Park just south of Myrtle. Also, directly across the street is the fabulous Brookgreen Gardens. A must see if you are in the area. We go on the swamp boat excursion every year and always see at least a few baby gators.

  21. el-e-e


    Best part of the story, hands-down. Does he do that a lot? Makes me think of Mike Myers. What fun you must have!

  22. Megan

    B-b-b-but… if you have a camper how will you do the my-air-mattress-lost-all-it’s-air-HEEEEEELP at 3 a.m.? Or the hour of arguing whether or not wadding up your USED old smelly hiking socks is or is not disgusting if you plan to use them for a pillow? OH! Or what about “it’s just a drizzle! We don’t need to bring the wood in to keep it dry!”??

    Dang. I miss camping.

  23. Heather

    When I was growing up – many many many years ago – prior to condos at Myrtle Beach – a tall building was 5 levels and people still had actual houses on the beach – we used to go in June since it was awful due to the heat in July. Howver we did not camp – my mother’s idea of camping is a hotel without a pool and as I got older – it was a hotel without an indoor pool. I wanted to second visting Brookgreen Gardens, even as a child I enjoyed going there and it was prior to swamp boats.

    I am glad that you had a good time and I hope to make those type of memories with my daughter some day. At the present (she is only three and half) she doesn’t understand the grown ups laughing when she asked to go back in the big pool – it was Lake Michigan.

    Have a great end of the summer

  24. Leandra

    Funny, we went on one of those kinds of walks too. Our half mile trail ended up not taking us where we thought it would (the beach) so we ended up doing a mile and a half to get back to our camper. Good times. Especially with me in flip flops.

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