Yes…hell yes…if there is a kid’s camp…immediate yes. I should just end this post here.
Awhile back my husband and I were discussing our plans for fall break. It was complicated because we have 5 kids, all with different activities going on and we realized getting away for fall break was looking difficult. We decided that if any of us were going to get away we may have to do it in shifts. We decided that my husband would take his older boys away for a few days and then I would take our little ones. Our oldest daughter was not able to go this time.
I found a great ranch 2 hours away from us because we didn’t have time to travel far. They advertised having all kinds of activities for the kids. The little ones especially, but also activities that I thought our boys would like (travel with teenagers is difficult…they are not impressed by much). I saw that they also had a kids camp, but wasn’t sure my kids would be into it. We would make a game time decision when we were there as to if I would sign them up or not.
So my husband and the boys went first. When my husband and I spoke on the phone they were really enjoying it! They said the food was good and he and the boys had some activities planned. The next morning they were going to go mountain biking through the mountains. Then they were going to rent an off road vehicle (UTV) that afternoon to explore the mountains in the area.
They ended up having a blast. They enjoyed the mountain biking and the scenery around them, and also had a lot of fun tearing it up with the UTV. They had to figure out the trails as they went, but that’s good for them. Life skills for the boys. The boys each took turns driving also. They were sweaty and dusty and hot when they were done, but had a blast…real man stuff:)
They came home and we showed up. Well, first off, we pulled into the ranch and saw about 100 horses…I was all ready hooked. We got out of the car and immediately ran over to check the horses out. They were beautiful, and most importantly, looked like they were well taken care of. I hate when you show up at for a trail ride and the horses look mangled and malnourished. The last thing I want to do is get on them and ride when they look sickly, but then I also think, “Well…they may need the money and then they can take better care of them?” Not an issue with these horses…they looked healthy and well cared for. This was going to be fun:) The mountains and scenery around us were gorgeous and I was starting to feel more relaxed all ready.
We then got settled into our room. That is when I realized that there was no TV in the rooms and I panicked a little. No TV?! This was my first time traveling for multiple days with my little ones by myself. Having no TV made me very nervous. I needed something going in the morning to keep the kids busy while I got ready for the day. I needed something at night to help them wind down while I got ready for the next day. Basically I needed a TV to be a temporary babysitter for me. In the end, it was not a problem. We had some games that I had brought with and their iPads. Thank goodness:)
Once we toured the place we started looking at all the activities they had to offer. Wow. It was a lot. But kid’s camp definitely looked like the best option. They had activities planned for them all day long. I would drop them off at 8am and pick them up at 4pm. I was sold. My kids needed some convincing. They were young at this time and not all that advernturous yet. The worst part was that they would be separated. This made me nervous. I knew that they would have much more courage to do the camp if they could be together. Well, I managed to talk them into it because we met another family at dinner whose kids were all signed up for camp the next day. That made them feel better. And low and behold the next morning I dropped them off at camp! Hallelujah!
I wanted to jump for joy. I kind of didn’t know what to do with myself at first. It reminded me of the movie Hotel Transylvania 3 when they all go on a cruise…a “monster vacation”. The wolf parents with a billion kids go into the kid’s camp. And they say, “What is a kid’s camp? So you just take our kids?” And the staff says, “Yes…that way they can have a good time and you can do whatever you want.” “Whatever we want?” They ask. “Yes..whatever you want.” They run out of there screaming “We can do whatever we want!” That is what I felt like. I could go horseback riding, lay by the pool, get a massage, go mountain biking, hiking, play tennis, take a nap…WHATEVER I WANT!! I picked the kids up at the end of the day and they had an absolute blast. They couldn’t wait to go back the next day. Damn…it really wass a win win situation. We had found our happy place.
To this day, we have been back several times because it is so damn enjoyable for everyone! Whenever we have a long weekend, we opt for the ranch. It feels like a true vacation…not just parenting my kids in a different location. I am going to hang on to this little gem for as long as I can:)
I want to note here that I did check in on my kids several times throughout the day. I actually come from a long line of worriers and I do not leave my kids with very many people. The resort had their schedule for every day laid out and they stuck to it carefully. I knew where my kids were at all times and I checked in at least 3 times a day to make sure they were happy and comfortable. That allowed them to feel like they weren’t being abandoned and left me with peace of mind to enjoy myself.
*Note: I realize that when you read this blog you may feel like I don’t enjoy spending time with my children. That is not it at all. I love and adore my children. Buuuut….I had a full and happy life before children as well and really value free time…like ANY free time I can get. Being a mom of 5 is at times overwhelming. I need quiet time to get my head right. And that is not always easy to come by. My children are amazing, but you know what else is amazing? Free time. I remember that I was struggling with my transition into motherhood after marriage. I was talking to my dad about it, and he nailed it on the head when he said, “You know, most people get to ease into it. You have one kid and get used to that. Then you have another and get used to that level of noise and busyness and so on and so forth. You just got thrown right into the chaos of 3 kids.” Yes…all of that. I was never eased into anything. Single one day, married the next with 3 kids (half-time). I don’t know why I was ever hard on myself! That was a hell of a transition…birth by fire actually. I went from reading books and watching movies by myself at night to relax; to the constant, and I mean constant, noise of 3 kids…and then 2 more. I kind of did things backwards. So…yes…I love all of the kids, but damn do I need, and rightfully deserve, that free time.
“An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly.“Unknown
Sincerely written on this day,