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Atlanta Recap Feb 24

Well, here goes my second attempt at this blog post. I do everything on a mobile device and everything I had written just went poof. Let’s try this again.

It’s been nearly 2 months since we returned from our camping trip to Atlanta. Just more proof how quickly time flies.

The drive up took a little over eight hours. It was fairly easy, but we did arrive after dark which we had hoped not to do.

It took awhile for us to get the camper situated on our site in the dark, especially since it was uneven and took quite a bit of maneuvering to get the camper level.

Once the camper was set up, we started loading in our stuff and trying to get the heater to work. While everything else that ran on propane worked, the heater refused to. There were plenty of options to keep warm still, so we went about unpacking. We were getting hungry, so we started to fix dinner. Or so we thought.

Something had happened during set up or a previous take down and the drainpipe from the sink was broken. Water filled the compartment that contained the drainpipe which also holds the fuse box for the camper.

So instead of making dinner, my husband and I start throwing towels down in the compartment to soak up the water before it can get into the electrical. As we are pulling out the soaking wet towels, we realized that they aren’t just wet but covered in mulch and dirt and other bits of nature. Now we don’t have any towels for showers for the rest of the trip.

My husband says, “We need a heater, new towels, and I need some tools to repair the sink. I’m going out to find a Walmart.” As true as his statement was, the current state of the camper was starting to make my skin crawl. But he went out to find the things we needed and I just kept going through the steps of making the beds and putting our things away one by one until they were finally done.

It only took about an hour for my husband to find the Walmart, shop and return. He also brought with him food from Wendy’s. Wendy’s has never tasted so good.

We devoured our meals, he fixed the sink, and at 11 PM we finally were able to go to bed. And from both beds, we were able to see:


That was the best $20 I have ever spent. It just melted away all the stress of the day.

The next day went much smoother than the first. My husband is a huge fan of Diet Coke, so we had to go visit the World of Coca-Cola while we were in Atlanta. While the kids were not impressed with the exhibits, they did appreciate the holiday decorations:


We also took them to Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta. This place was AMAZING and I highly recommend it for anyone with kids under 8, for sure, tho my husband and I enjoyed it as well. The kids were moving so fast from one exhibit to another that I don’t really have any good pictures, but trust me they had a fabulous time.

We took a roundabout way back to the campground from downtown Atlanta and stopped at Fox Brothers barbecue. If you’re a fan of barbecue, this is another stop that I highly recommend. The fried pickles and jalapenos are delicious, as is the macaroni and cheese and the ribs. Honestly, in my two visits there last year, I haven’t had anything that I wouldn’t eat again.


For our third day, our plan was to do the events at Stone Mountain Park. They offer Snow mountain at Stone Mountain and, because it was just after Christmas, we could also participate in all of their Christmas events except getting to meet Santa. Because of course he was done for the year. 😉

The kids had a fantastic time playing in the snow! Unfortunately, before the Christmas events opened, it started pouring rain and we spent the rest of the day stuck in the camper watching TV and coloring.


Our final day in Atlanta had no agenda, so we took a short ride through the neighboring towns and then visited the old mill and quarry in the park. Again, the kids were not impressed, but were able to be outside and active and burn off some energy unlike the day before.


On our way back to our campsite, my husband dropped the kids and I off at the playground while he went back to make dinner. They had a blast! It’s amazing what a new playground will do to a kid.


We spent our last night attempting s’mores by the fire and packing up most of our belongings.


Our final morning, we were up early to finish packing and get breakfast. While my husband took down the pop-up, I took the kids to the massive playground on the other side of Stone Mountain Park. It was way too big for them, as well as too wet, but they really weren’t that interested. They knew it was time to go home and were ready.

The drive home took a little over nine hours and ended with pizza and a friend stopping by to welcome us home. It was a great trip and further fueled our desire to do a US road trip in a few more years.

Camping Trip #2 Aug 02

After purchasing our popup, I wasted no time in planning our first two trips – Fort Wilderness in May and Fort DeSoto June 15-17.

I’ve already talked briefly about our trip in May, so let’s talk about one of my favorite camping places so far!

I’m no stranger to Fort DeSoto, my parents took my brother and I there when we were young, but this was the first trip for my husband and our daughters (aged 3 years 5 months and just shy of 8 months). As usual, part of the planning for this trip included studying the campground map to find the “perfect” site and I found it. Seriously. If you’re taking kids under 10 or want to travel with a pet, reserve site 121, 123, or 125. They back right up to a playground and are a stone’s throw from the restrooms. I will be stalking these sites when I plan our next trip there. And there WILL be another!

Just like with our first trip, I helped my husband back into our site, then kept the kids occupied while he set up the popup and awning. Once they were up, I took the bedding and “needed NOW” bag inside, made the beds, and set up the TV so the girls could watch DVDs. I distributed the clothing and food to their homes for this trip and then walked off the back of our site and onto the playground with the girls.

The views from the back corner of our campsite

I can’t tell you how excited I was to have that playground RIGHT THERE, and my oldest daughter felt the same. While she was technically too young for most of the equipment, that didn’t stop her from finding ways to play with the big kids.

Saturday morning we made the short drive to the beach and almost all the parking lots had playgrounds and restrooms between them and the beach. I chose to park near the store in case we needed things and because it was the shortest walk. Since it’s practically impossible to roll a stroller onto the beach the short walk was the deciding factor.

DD1 touched the sand and promptly threw a tantrum. At the moment, she has a fear of the water and it took several minutes to convince her that she didn’t have to go near it if she didn’t want to. DD2 had her suit left behind at the campsite, so she crawled all over the sand in her onesie, spilling Daddy’s Diet Coke and trying to squash his pyramid sand castle. To distract her, I took her into the Gulf of Mexico and we practiced her swim skills. Since the beach is in a lagoon, the water was as still as a pool and she did awesome! It’s amazing the skills they can learn at such a young age.

We did have a scare that afternoon when DD2 fell off the bunk end in the camper, but other than a bruise, she was fine.

We cooked on the outdoor grill twice this trip, hamburgers and marinated chicken, and I made pancakes Sunday morning, which has become a kind of tradition on the last morning of vacation.

Take down of the popup seemed to take longer, but that might just be because I was chasing both girls around the playground while trying to avoid the sun. (DD2 and I got minor sunburns at the beach. 🙁 )

The worst part about this trip was the 2 hour drive. Apparently DD2 can only occupy herself for an hour and a half, and since she still eats roughly every 3 hours during the day, we couldn’t quite make it there or home without me sliding into the backseat to give her a bottle or help to occupy her. The middle seat between the car seats is NOT a comfortable place to ride.

The best part (other than the awesome location) was a better packing organization system. I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and bought Real Simple Cedar Insert Storage Bags. I bought the 2 pack of large and made one for linens to be used now, and the other I had extra sets of linens that now live in the popup. I also bought the 3 pack of medium and used one for me, one for my husband, and one for the girls for clothing and toiletries. These are the perfect size for a 3 or 4 day trip, and I always overpack. I also purchased a laundry bag that is only for camping trips. These purchases really helped to minimize the clutter. We’re still working on a good food storage solution, which will help us reduce the clutter even more, and when DD2 is done with formula and DD1 is potty trained, there won’t be a huge bag of diapers, wipes, and formula to deal with either.

**Disclaimer: Fort Wilderness, Fort DeSoto, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Real Simple have no idea who I am and I was not compensated by them in any way for mentioning them in this post. These are places and things that we paid to use and wanted to share with others.**

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Let the Fun Begin! Jul 17

I figured since we’ve already completed our second journey with our popup, I should probably fill you in on our first trip! 😉

We packed up the popup and the girls (ages 3 years 3 months and 6.5 months) and headed to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground May 4-6 for our inaugural family camping adventure. Everything having to do with the popup went smoothly, and it is something we will be doing as frequently as possible.

Anytime we’re out and about with the kids, my job is to keep them distracted or entertained as necessary while my husband runs around like a crazy man until we’re settled in. After I helped him back the popup into our site, I hopped back in the car, checked the status of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse dvd and gave DD1 a snack. It took about a half hour to get the popup itself set up, and another half hour to get the awning, screen room, and “patio” setup.

Once the popup was up, I grabbed bedding and the “needed NOW” bag and made up the beds. Once that was done the girls came inside with me and watched Disney channel on the TV (yep, the TV. Altho most campgrounds do not have cable connection like Disney does.) while I tried to put the rest of our stuff away. For this trip, that wasn’t real successful, but now I have new ideas about how to proceed next time.

Take down went almost as smoothly as setup, altho the kids were a lot fussier in the process. I’m not sure if it took longer, or if they just weren’t in the mood to be strapped into carseats so early in the day, but there was a lot more of me running around the car to help each child and to double check things with the husband.

Now that I’ve given an overview on how the popup handled the weekend, let’s talk about how we humans DIDN’T handle the weekend.

We left on Friday, and the first issue started with DD1 the Friday before. Yet another stomach bug. Then, the Tuesday prior I had a stomachache so bad that I had to have my husband come home from work early to help take care of the kids. My stomach issues continued for a full week, and later I realized DD1 had been kind enough to share her stomach bug with me. So that’s 2 of 4 who aren’t feeling so hot before we even got to Friday. Then, Friday morning while DD1 was in preschool, DD2 decides to go from this slight sniffle to full blown head congestion and a horrible swollen eye. So a trip to the pediatrician was in order before we could leave town. Then, once everything was set up Friday and we’d had some time to play around on Saturday, we took our annual passes over to Magic Kingdom and tried to have some fun at the parks. But my husband aggravated an old knee injury and DD2 just could not get cool in the heat, so we returned to the popup.

We cooked our first meal inside and generally had a great time just enjoying the newness of it all. Fort Wilderness is a fantastic campground with enough activities to occupy the whole family for a week without ever setting foot in a Disney park. While we do not yet have a return date set, we WILL be camping at Fort Wilderness again.

One last note… I’d love to include pictures from this weekend, but apparently the stomach bug was so distracting that there aren’t many and the few that there are just don’t go with this post. Hopefully this won’t be the case when I get around to posting about trip #2!

**Disclaimer: I received nothing for talking about Disney in this post. We spend a lot of time and money there and I hope that my ramblings here will help others plan vacations there.**

Category: Disney, popup  | 2 Comments
Squeeee!!! Apr 17

So, last Friday (Friday the 13th!) the husband and I packed the kids into the car and did something mildly crazy.

We found a local dealer and bought a 12 foot pop-up camper.

This one, to be exact…


It came with a HUGE Campground & RV Park & Atlas, and, travel geek that I am, have spent the last few days staring at national and state park information, and interesting ways to roam the U.S. For example, did you know you could circle the 48 contiguous states using 4 interstates? In my case, I-10 west, to I-5 north, to I-90 east to I-95 south. Of course, that doesn’t include my drive to get to I-10, that’s just the route.

We’ve already planned 2 weekend camping trips, and are looking for a 3rd weekend. I’d also like to make plans for our first big trip, but I don’t think my husband has enough vacation time available if we keep the other plans we had already in place. I guess we’ll see how everything works out!

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