Thursday, August 20, 2009

Camping

My family camped a lot when we were kids, and some of my best childhood memories are from our camping trips to Ludington State Park. John and I camped quite a bit before we had kids as well, and we always enjoyed it. I know it's not for everyone, but it's for me. I just love the laid back feeling of it all. I love the smell of the outdoors, campfires, tents and sleeping bags. I love eating meals cooked over the fire or cooked in a single skillet on the little propane stove. I love s'mores, dough boys, and pies cooked over the fire. I love going a few days without a shower and not worrying about who cares! I even love brushing my teeth out of a plastic water jug and squatting in the brush to pee. Love it!

Holland and Eden mentioned that they wanted to go camping for their 5th birthday not long after our big trip to Disney World last year. It was an idea that stuck in my head. After a year with Eden's power wheelchair, I just knew that it was time! The wheelchair didn't necessarily make this trip possible, but it certainly made it more fun and a hecka lot more convenient. She was able to get around on her own, and spent a lot of time rolling around the campground with Holland on her bike. I love the joy and independence that the powerchair gives Eden and wouldn't want to imagine life without it at this point. She is an amazing driver and people stop us to comment on how awesome she is:)

(As an aside, I should mention that Eden's chair got a makeover for her 5th birthday. We took off the old, worn out princess stickers, and put on some new Hannah Montana ones. She is so proud.)

So we loaded up our gear...our new two room cabin tent, power chair, fishing poles, and all, and headed out for our first camping trip. We didn't venture too far from home (a 30 minute drive, just in case). But we got to do everything on our agenda. We went to the beach, rented a canoe, fished, and biked. Our trip was going to be 4 days, 3 nights, but we actually extended it an extra night since we had such nice weather and were having so much fun!

The girls loooooved it. Just when we finished setting up our tent Holland said to me, "mom, thank you sooo much for bringing us here!" At the end of the trip the consensus was that we ALL love camping and will definitely do it again at least once every summer!

27 comments:

Michele said...

Ok...you both are truly amazing parents! You are teaching your girls that they can do ANYTHING...camping...wow...with a wheelchair...wow again! Holland and Eden are very lucky to have you both as parents. They are going to grow up to be very successful in everything they do!
Looks like you all had SO MUCH FUN!!!

Kendra Lynn said...

Let me tell you...that is incredible! My girls both said, while watching your slide show, that THEY now want to go camping! (we've been trying to convince them that would be fun for two years now...) So...next year, that's going to be US! So glad you had a great time.

Lots of love
Kendra

Keely in Atlanta, GA said...

I just LOVE your videos and I have such fun following these fun girls as they grow up!!!!! I always look forward to your pictures and stories!!!

Karen Owens said...

Your girls are so sweet! My 3 year old Son Gavin will be getting his powerchair in a few months (we just got insurance approved). Just wondering how your little girl did with learning how to drive? How old was she?

Do you have any tips? It's very hard to find little ones in powerchairs, but like your little girl, Gavin want's to move so bad, so I think it is going to change his life!

I would love to hear from you!

adamandkaren@comcast.net

Billie said...

Eden got her chair just before her fourth birthday and was a natural at driving from the beginning. It took her a while to learn to stop quickly if someone walked in front of her, and occasionally she still has trouble if there is a lot going on around her because she wants to see everything and forgets to look where she is going!

We have a "kill switch" that we still keep handy most of the time, just in case she gets into an unsafe situation and can't stop in time, but we hardly ever have to use it anymore.

I think how well kids do with driving depends a lot on their cognitive ability, spatial awareness, attention and motivation, as well as how well they are able to use their hands (or head) for driving. Eden seems to have normal intelligence and has good use of her hands, so it was not difficult for her to learn to drive. Age is probably a factor as well. I think 3 is a little young, but if he is really alert and motivated he will likely do fine and it will open up so many opportunities for him! Good luck!

As far as tips...stay away from crowds and try to practice in wide open spaces with lots of room for error in the beginning:)
Billie

Anonymous said...

Wow you have such a beautiful family!

Barb said...

I have to admit that I'm not an outdoor person but after watching your video, it made me want to go camping:) You and your husband are amazing parents! I think some parents try to shelter their children (I did this for a long time after my daughter came home from the NICU, much longer than needed) and I think it is great that you are willing to try to expose them to as much as possible. The dance classes and now camping, that is great:)

Sarah said...

1) love the new look of the blog (since I usually read on RSS, I have no idea when you changed it).
2) You guys rock.
3) Nice tent. (it looks virtually identical to ours!)

karla said...

I'm assuming you don't live in MI anymore. I live RIGHT by Ludington State Park, and I have triplets that were born at 28 weeks. One with mild CP. Same age. Would love to get together some time, if you are still in the area. I also am working towards getting licensed in Counseling. It seems like I remember you saying you live somewhere else? CA? But thought it was worth a try if you ARE in the area. :)

La said...

Awesome. I love camping. And the challenge is the biggest part of the fun! :)

Anonymous said...

that is awesome!!! how fun!!

Anonymous said...

Billie - I had to laugh at this after reading your birthday post. Are you sure that the fact that you enjoy "squatting in the bushes to pee" is "socially appropriate" for a woman your age?!?!?! LOL I am so glad that your girls have the freedom to be who they are, not who others think they should be.

Julie Balge Williams

Billie said...

Karla,
We live in SE Michigan, about a 5 hour drive from Ludington. My parents and sister and her family just came home yesterday from a week at the state park. I wanted to go but couldn't work it out with our other plans! Let me know if you are ever in this part of the state!

And Julie,
Very funny!
Billie

Anonymous said...

I love your blog. I check in regularly to read what you are up to and your amazing girls always put a smile on my face.

Thank you for sharing.

twinmama said...

You've totally inspired me! My husband and I are huge campers and we haven't been out yet with the girls but are dying to go. I think they key is having the right gear which you guys seem to be all dialed into. Looks like they are having such a great time-nothing like fresh air and nature to keep kids smiling! Good for you!

Erin said...

Very cool. The girls look like they had a blast... I did just watching them!

Clare said...

So happy to see one of the girls has a Disney Cars sleeping bag my three year old daughter is mad about the film!!

Looks like you had a fab time

C x x

http://www.babyhomepages.net/keeleycharlotte/index.php

Anonymous said...

Hi Billie. I've been reading your blog for three years. Beautiful pictures of the girls and you too! What a nice low-stress vacation!

Melissa Locke said...

Great Video! Your girls are beautiful! You make camping look like soooo much fun (and I am not a camper)!

theharrisfamily4 said...

I just stumbled across your site and I have to say that it has offered me new hope. My daughter was born at 23 weeks 1 day gestation and had grade IV bleeding on both sides of her brain. While the past year has been hard, we are blessed to have her. We don't know what the future holds and just the other day I was thinking about vacations. You have shown me that you can do anything you want to in life no matter the circumstances. Thank you for being such an inspiration.

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

I am definitely not a camping girl, but it looks like you had a wonderful time. Loved the slide show.

Jacqui said...

It looks like you had so much fun. It's presently winter here though warming up quickly. I'm counting the days until Moo's casts come off so that we can go out and enjoy ourselves in the beautiful weather. Camping is definitely on the to do list.

Sherry said...

That was the cutest thing. The girls looked like they had the best time ever! I love the laptop sitting there. I always take all kinds of electric gadgets with me when I camp:)

Alisha said...

Billie, I just read your blog from beginning to end. I laughed, I cried, I took a trip down memory lane. My son is almost the same age as your beautiful girls, and was a micropreemie at 27 weeks and a tiny 1 lb 14 ounces. He too has CP and we have walked down many of the same roads as you. His diagnosis came late, and we are really struggling to make up for the lost time. I feel like Im really coming into my own as mom the last few weeks, and sharing your family's journey today really lifted my spirits. Its so refreshing to hear another mom tell it like it really is, to share her joys and pain and fears and frustrations. You have an amazing family, and you are a very strong woman. Thank you so much for everything you have shared with all if us!
If youd ever like to keep in touch admist all your craziness, you can reach me at alishahaynie@yahoo.com I know youre terribly busy, so if you dont have time please know you really made my day and you and yours are in my thoughts and prayers.

-Alisha

Dianne said...

What a great trip! We're off on our first camping trip in a few weeks and also looking forward to the adventure (and problem solving of a kaye walker in a campsite, on sand etc!).

Cris and Liza said...

Truly inspirational....thank you for providing insight into how important and possible it is to LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST despite physical 'limitations'. Me and my boys will be going camping next summer for sure. Thanks for inspiring me!!

Anonymous said...

Very very cool!!!! Big camping fans. Is it a trip you would do again? If so we should all go together. Love campfire stories.
Looks like you had lots of laughs and made great adventure memories.
Love ya, Laura