Life Lessons from Camping in the Rain

We spent the weekend camping as a family, and most of the time it rained except for small breaks on Saturday and all day Sunday, when we were packing up to leave. As one can expect, the weekend had some highs and lows, but all in all I’d still call it a good one. When I thought about it, there definitely were some life lessons that could be gleaned from camping in the rain:

  1. Life’s Messy – you’re GOING to get dirty, especially at a muddy campsite that has soaked up rain for 15 hours! We have this screened in entry way into our tent, and it just had puddle and mud from our shoes all over. I kept trying to wipe a bit up with towels, but just had accept that it was going to stay dirty until it could dry out. Fortunately everything DID get cleaned up, multiple loads of laundry later. So go ahead and accept the dirt! There will always be a load of laundry to do.
  2. You’re not in control – This is a big one for me, as someone who loves to plan. I look at my lists and pack as best as I can for camping, but you certainly cannot plan the weather, as much as we’d like to. We woke up to rain Friday night that continued practically ALL day Saturday. This changed our hiking plans, and so we found a small coffee shop, where we grabbed breakfast, hung out, and later drove to meet my parents for a visit and lunch. We found joy and fun in the unexpected, reminding me to embrace whatever life and weather brings!

    beautiful latte

    When it rains, go enjoy a latte! This one was so pretty & delicious.

  3. Good Things Take Time – Everything takes longer when you’re camping, and in preparing meals, this is so true. Some of our most memorable meals are when we’re camping. This summer we grilled salmon and red potatoes over the fire. We’ve had elaborate breakfasts – omelettes, fried potatoes, bacon & toast over the fire or on our camp stove. Plus there’s nothing like a perfectly toasted marshmallow on a s’more! It’s all so good eating al fresco and well worth the wait!
  4. Unplug – We didn’t really occupy ourselves or our kids with electronics the entire weekend, even with the rain. My daughter and I enjoyed coloring pictures together at the coffee shop and in the tent. Daddy O. and the kids fished in the drizzle. We played games as a family and took a hike when the sun finally came out. We hung out around the fire. It was good, quality time together as a family….and not that we didn’t have our “moments” when the tent became a time-out location because we did. Cram four people into a tent and moments will teeter between harmony and discord. It just happens.

    Mama O and family camping on a sunny day

    One our our first camping trips as a family. We were on a nature hike in this picture and loving the sunny day in the great outdoors!

  5. Appreciation for Non-camping – We came home last night, started unpacking and cleaning up. My shower felt so luxurious compared to the 3 minute shower I took at the campsite. We slept great in our own beds without a 3am wake up and walk outside to the bathroom. I returned home with a thankful heart, feeling blessed for the time with these precious people in such a beautiful setting.

Though we’ve only been camping for the last three summers, I know it’s something that we will continue for years to come because it’s such a valuable, relaxing time to be together as a family. Simply put, it’s good for us all, mind, body, and soul.We always walk away thinking, “Next time we should pack that,” or “let’s try this camping spot next summer,” so we will be at it again with new places to explore and more memories to make together.

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Parenting Tips Needed? There’s a Berenstain Bears Book for that

As I’ve mentioned before, we love reading together. We did 1000 Books Before Kindergarten and have read and own many Berenstain Bears books. Upon looking at the back cover of any Berenstain Bears book, I realize what an awesome collection there is to address many circumstances that kids may experience. Many valuable lessons and parenting tips can be learned from this sweet bear family.

Berenstain Bears Books

So…what’s going on in your family? I’m sure there’s a Berenstain Bears book for that!

Here are some of the titles available:

  • New Baby
  • Go to School
  • Go to the Doctor
  • Visit the Dentist
  • Moving Day
  • The Sitter
  • Go to Camp
  • Get in a Fight
  • In the Dark
  • The Messy Room
  • Trouble with Money
  • The Truth
  • Too Much TV
  • Mama’s New Job
  • Meet Santa Bear
  • Too Much Junk Food
  • Forget Their Manners
  • Learn About Strangers
  • No Girls Allowed
  • Too Much Birthday
  • Get Stage Fright
  • The Week at Grandma’s
  • Go Out for the Team
  • The Trouble with Friends
  • The Bad Habit
  • Trouble at School
  • The Bad Dream
  • The Double Dare
  • Get the Gimmies
  • The In-Crowd
  • Too Much Vacation
  • Trick or Treat
  • The Slumber Party
  • The Prize Pumpkin
  • Trouble with Pets
  • Don’t Pollute (anymore)
  • The Trouble with Grown-ups
  • And the Golden Rule

And we even have a cute mini-storybook called The Berenstain Bears and the Wild, Wild Honey.  More titles are available in that format as well.

While we don’t read the Berenstain Bears every night, I do like to pull out specific titles every so often to help remind my kids of good behavior!  In particular, I’m thinking of the Golden Rule book!

To My Oldest Child: Stay Little, Stay Sweet

I can hardly believe that my firstborn, my daughter will soon be six years old.

Six years ago I remember celebrating my own birthday, thankful that I’d still have my own birthday to myself. Yet as my due date passed, I remember crying, thinking that my baby would never come! (Dramatic, I know, but hey, I was very hormonal).  Two days later, we met our firstborn, surprised and excited to meet our baby girl. Today I can’t imagine my life without her.

My baby girl

Sweet first pictures of my firstborn. As parents, we had a lot to learn together!

Lately I’ve been looking at her, thinking what a beautiful, sweet little girl she is becoming. I cannot even call her little anymore, as she responds, “Mom, I’m medium!” She has been spontaneously giving me hugs and saying, “I love you Mom.” So precious. And she’s thriving in kindergarten, just blossoming in her new setting with new classmates and learning new things. I’m so incredibly proud that my heart feels as if it will burst. It’s so wonderful to sit back and reflect with Daddy O., thinking, “Wow, we have done something right as parents, and to think that six years ago, we didn’t have a clue.” We’ve grown as parents right along with our daughter and younger son.

This fall - My medium girl is full of hugs - even if her brother doesn't want them.

This fall – My medium girl is full of hugs – even if her brother doesn’t want them.

There were some long days way back in the birth – two year old stage, when I thought we’d never get past blow-out diapers, then potty training, crazy tantrums of our strong willed girl, or whatever the drama of the day. But lo and behold, we did, learning a lot together as a family and enjoying many milestones (including these) and many million dollar moments. You probably wouldn’t believe that she once growled at people as a three year old!!

Today it is so much fun to spend time with her and watch her grow up. In the rough times, I wanted to hit fast forward, but in the good times, I find myself searching for pause.

As she continues to grow, and as we celebrate our birthdays in the next few days, my wish for her is to stay little, to stay sweet. Keep up the spontaneous hugs and “I love you’s.” Keep wanting to spend time with your parents and brother. Keep willingly posing for pictures. Keep talking to us and sharing the highs and lows of your days at school. Stay close to us as you continue to grow up because I know there isn’t a way to pause this precious gift of time. Love you, my medium girl!!

I see a pattern in writing “growing up” posts like this one on my blog, so here are some additional posts for your reading enjoyment: