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Next Minute We Were On Lot 67

We ran away on his birthday.

Packed big red with all of our survival gear, beer, books, bikes, sun tan lotion, and a huge ass inflatable crocodile.

Chunky watched our house till it disappeared down our street that’s cascaded by a thick summer shade of green leafy trees. I reassured him that his Auntie would take good care of Champ, his ugly fish Hot Dog, and all his things.

He breathed in.

I breathed out.

Then I cranked up the music and we pressed on.

Mom’s of tall nine year old’s – the travel struggle is real


Shawn veered off the highway about a half hour in because the scenic route is “quicker”.  We instantly became a floating arrow to nowhere on big red’s outdated GPS screen and her nagging voice “In 3 POINT 5 KEELomEETores, make a u-turn. REEcalculating…in 4 POINT 5…” was like nails being dragged down a chalkboard so Shawn turned it off. I licked my finger and put it up in the air, “I think it’s that way.”

“Yeah, like I’m trusting you. You get lost in the grocery store.”

Chunky giggled in the back.

We were headed somewhere new and that made me itchy on the inside with anxiety. Last time we went somewhere new, I lost both my nipples to frost bite.



When Shawn mentioned doing something other than camping this year I was ecstatic. We’ve gone camping every year we’ve been together so camping is all I’ve ever expected out of the summer. Well, except for that wild time in Mexico when we got stuck in a three day Hurricane.

“Where do you want to go?” Shawn would poke.

Honestly, I didn’t care where we were going. I was just excited about the thought of getting out of dodgy home life circumstances and spending time in a hotel with an actual bed, a shower, and oh my GOD, a functional toilet.

We started pricing out places like Chicago and…Chicago why are you so damn expensive? The more we waited and budgeted and contemplated where we wanted to go, the more campgrounds were being booked. If you’re a camper, you know that campground sites get booked months and months in advance. 

My husband said, “Well, if we don’t book a campground now, we will be shit out of luck.”

“But I don’t really want to do that. Camp.”

“Well we need to figure out what we need to do like NOW”

“I don’t KNOW what to do!”

“Look this campground is full, and this one, and this one, and this one. We need to decide what we are doing or we aren’t going camping.”

“So you want to camp?”

“I don’t care! We just need to decide.”

“Well, I think we should go somewhere different.”

“Different as in campground different or different as in vacationing different?”


Shawn: It’s not hard. Camping or somewhere else?



Next minute…

We are f**king camping…

….but somewhere totally different.

So there we were on lot 67.

Shawn is building a pop up all by himself and Chase is screaming because there are spiders and I’m literally bawling my eyes out in the bathroom while staring down a toilet at the soup poop.

Turns out, there was a much cleaner bathroom with flushing toilets if I had just turned right.

I will give it to Shawn though. His choice in campgrounds are spot on. The views are always spectacular.

Thick lush trees enveloped our site which provided us with plenty of privacy from our neighbours and the busy walking trail. We traveled that path almost daily to the beach and just simply for an adventure.

t took my husband 20 minutes to blow the crocodile up – by mouth.
It took our son 5 minutes to pop it 
Hashtag: SadDad 
Poor Shawn

I spotted two shooting stars at night and while my boys were the most unimpressed lumps on folded out lawn chairs that uncomfortably burrowed into summer burnt thigh skin, I was overjoyed. The last time I saw one was when I was camping with my own grandparents.

Of course I made wishes.

One for my little fish.

One for all of us.

I’m not going to lie and say that this was our best vacation ever and that everything was fabulous 100% of the time because it wasn’t.

We left our vacation early.

Sometimes as parents you make really tough choices and then you try and do your damn hardest to make it better.

When we got home we made plans to visit a local beach and my son spotted a splash pad instead. Whatever makes you happy kid.

August is a tough month for so many people.

It’s a shift of weather and moods and schedules.

It is winding down and then gearing up again.

It’s thinking of and anticipating school.

And for some people, little people, that can wreak havoc.

(Especially for those kids who had a grade two teacher who bullied them to a pulp. It’s hard to get over that fear.)

Our vacation wasn’t perfect.

It’s like all the things we wanted to leave behind like that chaotic whirlwind, we packed with us.

Think of the movie Oz The Great And Powerful

Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in the middle of that whirlwind, paralyzed, watching it all happen. Other times I’m swooped up, caught in the swirls and being tossed about not knowing what is up or down, left or right.

But the miraculous thing is, beer and a fistful of these dill pickle pumpkin seeds I discovered at a gas station can cure things.

Just kidding.

Love can always reach me in the whirlwind and I know that I can reach out wherever I am and there will always be their hands.

3 amigos.

No filter needed

We teach our son the same if he ever feels like he’s stuck in some Wizard of OZ like tornado.

People who love you are always right there even if you can’t see them clearly. Stick your hand out.


As we end this month, I continue to look for the good in between and hold those bits close.

Try to make the best week last week of summer together – like we always do.




  1. I have never gone camping, but would love to one day. I definitely agree that August can be a tough month. Our schedules change during this time since school starts in August and we have to go back to a routine during this time. Although it can be a tough month, it is also a very productive month. Thank you for sharing. Have a great week.

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      I still can’t believe that school starts for some parts of America in August. That’s wild! Then again, it’s probably wild for you guys to see us still in school all the way until the end of June!

  2. We didn’t get to do any camping this summer thanks to a camper that won’t pop up and a house that needs rented out. Sigh. Hubby is hoping to pull off a miracle in September. I like your picture of reaching out of the whirlwind to those who love you.

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      Ours almost didn’t pop up – we got a part just before we left, thank goodness!

  3. We’re not much for camping but I totally feel you. I’m struggling with the start of school because I wasn’t ready for summer to be over. Damn it…I need more summer!!!! Oh well…trying to make the best of things and looking forward to a three day weekend! Woot!

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      Oh we were not ready for summer to be over either. Where in the world did that weather go *writes me sitting huddled under all the blankets*

  4. Oh, my goodness….


    But then you also juxtapose the feels with soundbites about how you nearly froze your nipples off and I’m back to giggling like a little schoolgirl 🙂

    You are a wonderful storyteller.

    This is excellent. I’m glad you had THIS as a vacation. And that you created all kinds of beautiful and special memories and that you were able to see shooting stars, even if your party guests were less than thrilled and that Sean’s efforts at inflating a croc inflatable weren’t in vain because Chunk had five minutes of bliss–I’m sure!

    Sounds like a wonderful vacation and I love your photos so much. *HUGS*

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      Thank you so much Charlotte. I’m kind of glad that we had this vacation too – even though it wasn’t what we had expected. I think that we will look back and laugh. xoxo

  5. I love how you tell it like it is. You had good moments but it wasn’t perfect. And that’s ok. Not all vacations can be Disney World. The views do look spectacular so I’m glad you had some of those moments. I am sorry you left early though. And I hope that this coming school year is better for Chunky. I hope that you can make the most of these last days as well. Breathe in, breathe out, right? <3

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      I hope his new school year is better too. We have a meeting set up with his principal, vice principal, new teacher, and aides and whatnot to work out a learning plan. Hopefully, this will be a great year for him. He works so hard it’s just the system that keeps failing him. Particularly that school. They’re a dumpster fire. But it’s a new principal, new VP and I just have a better feeling.

  6. I’m glad you had a good time camping, even if it wasn’t a completely new vacation. Yes, Chicago can be crazy expensive! It’s insane!!

    I hope the end of summer is fantastic for all of you!

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      My husband went to Chicago – I think 3 times already? – but he split the expenses with friends. I’ve been itching to go for a long time. I will get there one day!

  7. Mia Mia

    You had me at frostbitten nipples. Ha! Seriously, though, I love your writing. Glad you guys were able to get away and celebrate before the end of summer. xo

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      HAHAH! I loathe the cold girl. I really do. I am that person who wears 15 layers to every event…just in case it gets chilly!

  8. What a beautifully written piece. You capture the complexity of family vacations. The joy of being with family; the agony of unexpected problems; the struggle to be happy in the midst of it all. This is a really exceptional post — and, I suspect, one you’ll look back on in the future with much fondness. Good job!

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      Thank you so much! I think we will look back on this one with frustration and fondness. It wasn’t what we had expected but in the end, we made the most of it.

  9. I just love how supportive and encouraging you are for your little dude. You are the exact kind of parent that this world needs more of. Having compassion, kindness but also knowing when it’s appropriate to push just a little… You’re such a good mom, Kim.

    Where abouts did you go camping?! Looks really nice. Is that out by Tobermory?


    P.S. Is it just me or does it all of a sudden feel like winter outside? Its’ FKN COLD!!!! Brrrr!

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      Thank you so much Lindsay – this was Inverhuron and it was a little bit out of Godderich. It was absolutely beautiful. We have decided that if we are going to go camping, this is the place that we will go to again. THe park was surprisingly quiet and the lots were very private. Lots of trails around the area too. You’d love it…oh…and lots of dogs!

  10. I am not a camper, but I definitely agree that August can be a tough month. That campground looks beautiful 🙂

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      It is absolutely gorgeous. We have decided that we are going to give this campground another try next year. YEs. Camping again. But this place was beautiful

  11. Aw, yes the end of summer is always bitter sweet, Kim. I’m sorry to hear you had to cut your vacation short, but the pics look like you were making the most of it. Best thoughts to Chunky on his first day back coming up.

    You’re so right about reaching your hand out. If we don’t reach out, how does anyone know we’re in that whirling tornado of life?

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      Thank you so much Lisa. School is always rough on him but his teacher is – so far – really good with him and that makes a huge difference. I fought to get someone that was a good match and to have at least one good friend in his class. It’s sad when teacher’s kids and staff members get whatever they want and everyone else gets dumped on. His school is bonkers.
      And yes, we always have to remember that if we are in the thick of it, we need to reach out. someone will always grab hold.

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