Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pioneer Day Holiday Camping Trip

Over the years, I've transformed from a backpacker who used to hike into the mountains for days and filter my own water . . . to a mom of three that appreciates the conveniences of a trailer.

I am lucky to be involved in a Spina Bifida Moms' group where I gather ideas and support from other parents who have children with unique needs.  The timing of our first meeting was perfect . . . I called Jeff on the way home to discuss the need for Gavin to have his own private bathroom and toilet.  We were nearing the final stages of our house plans and had drawn in one bathroom for Gavin and Gage to share.  After talking to the other moms, I realized how critical it would be for Gavin to have his own, uninterrupted space . . . especially as he grew older.  And, we were able to quickly make a change to our blueprint.

The other realization from that initial meeting was that our traditional style of camping would be transformed as Gavin aged and his bathroom needs changed.  There are certain things that you just can't do with a cooler of water and a bottle of sanitizer and a shovel.  So, we began the hunt for a trailer to accommodate our changing family needs.

The trailer is an integral part of our developing family plan.  I was fresh off of a day away at a Power of Moms conference with 100 other moms, Richard and Linda Eyre (NY bestselling writers of various parenting books who I absolutely LOVE), and other members of their family, where we discussed the importance of family identity and culture.  And, we had just been privileged to visit with Aaron Hicken's cousin's family, an amazing family, during Spring Break, near St. George. Jeff visited them once before on a dirt bike riding trip.

Within an hour of being at their home, I started asking them a million questions to learn their family secrets.  They are everything I hope to be as a family.  Their teenagers even hung out with us willingly, virtual strangers, on a Saturday night.  And, their answers were somewhat simple . . . they said something I won't forget. "We just love spending time together as a family."  And, the kids adamantly shook their heads in agreement!!  They have a fairly structured schedule, specific days of the week where friends can play, chores that are expected, and very regular family trips in their trailer.

They are exactly the kind of family we want to emulate.  So, Jeff and I made some decisions.

I'm not so naive to think that getting a trailer alone is the answer.  It's the decisions you make as a family to spend time together.  We asked ourselves, what do we want our kids to remember about their childhood when they leave our home.  And, we want them to remember us being together.  Making memories the old-fashioned way, with sticks, dirt, marshmallows and a frisbee.

Of course, we would have been absolutely content with our massive Costco tent.  But, we don't have a typical family . . . we do have special needs.  And, we want to do whatever we can to ensure Gavin has the same experiences that every other kid should have.

So, Pioneer Day/Weekend was our first trip together in our new (used) trailer.  And, it was wonderful (minus the mosquitoes and the most aggressive flies we have ever encountered).


  1. Loved this post! Karen, when your kids are grown and reflect back on their childhood, one thing they WILL always remember is that they had/have parents who LOVED them. That is obvious to anyone that spends time with your family! Keep up the amazing work!

  2. Ok, that was from Sherry NOT Jory!! Sorry, didn't realized he was signed in and not me! Oh well, just tease him about his sappy comment later. he he he...

  3. It takes time to make memories but it takes lots of time and effort to make great memories. I think you and Jeff are making great memories for your children and yourselves.


  4. Camping with the Petersons, I have really great memories!!!! You make the best breakfasts when you camp! we were th-is close to packing up and heading down to visit you this weekend but we thought we should stay put and wait for nate's license. Maybe Fall conference we can sneak down for the weekend. Miss you guys...