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Things we did while mom was gone
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Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Things we did while mom was gone on 09/01/2013 09:41:04 MDT Print View

A must read for any parent, this post by Craig W had been on my mind ever since.

Left to our devices

Recently, when my wife was out of town for a week, I took the opportunity to have some one on one (one on two?) time with the girls, spending as much time outdoors as possible. As Craig would say (probably much more eloquently)- nothing epic to see here. Just kids having fun.

Championship hill rolling at a local park after school

The highlight of the week was an overnight camping trip to Nordhouse Dunes.

The hike in

I carried all the gear and the girls carried their personal stuff and snacks. While I skimp on my own gear, I don't bother counting weight when it comes to camping with the kids. I'd rather they be happy than ultralight. Between the princess sleeping bags and the multiple changes of clothes, I was grateful for the expedition pack my wife had bought a couple years ago. I did draw the line at all of the stuffed animals I found bulging out of Rowan's pack. (I knew I'd be carrying it too at some point). "No one needs 5 stuffed animals on a camping trip", I advised helpfully. "Why don't you pick your favorite two". "I need 5 stuffed animals to help me sleep", she assured me.

Deer tracks

Nearing the dunes, rest break number 6

One big sandbox

The Lake Michigan shoreline



The girls changed into bathing suits and played in the sand while I set up camp behind the tree line




Running in circles






Heading back toward our campsite

Dubiously studying the bush buddy hot dog cooker

Shared mac and cheese





The well-used princess sleeping bags

Shadow puppets and story time

After making up some stuff sack pillows for the girls, there were no spare clothes for mine. Once the girls fell asleep, I sneakily snagged a stuffed bunny, "Cuddles", and propped it under my head. Guess Rowan was right about these things helping you sleep after all.

A beautiful sunrise



An overenthusiastic headlamp user writes on the beach with a genuine feather quill



Leaving the shoreline

A last look back


Stopping to rest at the perfect rest stop. Too bad we had only been hiking for 3 minutes. "It has a bench, backrest, and footrest, dad!" Fine with me. While my own trips are highly goal-oriented, I try to have no agenda when it comes to hiking with the kids. If their trip is better for taking advantage of the 20 most perfect rest stops on the trail, or studying a deer track, touching a toad, or picking blueberries, them mine is too for getting to watch them light up with unbridled enthusiasm at the experience.

As we drove home, I asked the girls what their favorite part of the trip had been. "Getting to spend time with Daddy", my youngest daughter answered. "When can we go camping again?"


Edited by Ike on 09/07/2013 14:34:14 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Things we did while mom was gone on 09/01/2013 09:50:36 MDT Print View

Great stuff Ike! Thanks for sharing.

BTW, you owe me a disc..... :-)

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Things we did while mom was gone on 09/01/2013 10:02:44 MDT Print View

My heart is smiling. Thanks for sharing this experience.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Things we did while mom was gone on 09/01/2013 10:56:28 MDT Print View

Wonderful trip report Ike! Thanks for sharing this.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Things we did while mom was gone on 09/01/2013 11:25:04 MDT Print View


Roger B
(rogerb) - MLife

Locale: Here and there
Re: Things we did while mom was gone on 09/01/2013 11:34:58 MDT Print View

Wishing you many more happy family times, this report is magic.

Richard Cullip
(RichardCullip) - M

Locale: San Diego County
re: While mom was gone on 09/01/2013 11:41:13 MDT Print View

Excellent stuff. You are building great family memories. I'm sure the girls can't wait to do it again.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: re: While mom was gone on 09/01/2013 14:35:43 MDT Print View

The first photo is perfect childhood.

Cheers Ike.

Leigh Baker

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
re: while mom was gone on 09/01/2013 15:23:00 MDT Print View


Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: Things we did while mom was gone on 09/02/2013 06:57:07 MDT Print View

Lucky girls -- thank you for posting (one of your rare posts without snow or ice)

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re: Things we did while mom was gone on 09/02/2013 08:21:40 MDT Print View

Delightful! And your girls will remember this with joy the rest of their lives!

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Things we did while mom was gone on 09/02/2013 08:54:07 MDT Print View

Well, that made MY morning! Thanks, Ike. I almost feel 5 years old myself again looking at these pictures.

Hoot Filsinger
(filsinger) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Things we did while mom was gone on 09/02/2013 10:03:11 MDT Print View

Choices as parents are many. Spend a small fortune on theme parks, water parks, sporting events, video games, or take a romp into wild places. Rachel Carson said it best.

“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full or wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later year…the alienation from the sources of our strength.”
― Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder



Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Things we did while mom was gone on 09/03/2013 08:45:35 MDT Print View

Very pleasant. Excellent post trip report. Thanks for posting.