Car unloaded, washing machine going, campfire smell showered off and kids scrubbed and cuddled up with books, I'm seizing a moment to reflect on lessons learned over our first family camping weekend:

1. Gather everything outside before I start packing it into the car and pay attention to what is going in, instead of just the satisfaction of Tetris-style making it fit. One last walk around could have saved me the dreaded realization as I started unpacking at the site that our tent was still on the dining room floor. And never say as we get on the road, "you know, I don't think I forgot anything..." 

2. When I don't micromanage my husband, he is perfectly capable of retracing the route to that Canadian Tire we passed and buying us a palace of a tent on sale, even though he's never camped in his life. 

3. Always invite loved ones who will chase my kids, make me laugh, and share conversation, food, beers, effort and bedding (when it turned out the bag with the sleeping bags was next to the tent in my dining room...)

4. Anything tastes better when you're camping. And corn cooked on a campfire is amazing. (Also, bringing ghee, which doesn't need refrigeration, for that corn was a good tip.)

5. I can choose to un-plug. There was actually cell phone reception where we were, but I chose not to look at my phone. I can create those boundaries here.

6. Fly more kites.

7. Even though Z hasn't napped in a year, he still needs some daily downtime, and might ask for it by acting like a crazy, inconsiderate little punk. After some peace in the tent with books, he was brand new, relaxing by the fire in his little chair, and the conversation that followed was one of my favourite moments of the trip. "Uncle Taylor, what are you afraid of?"

8. Adventure is a state of mind, and it doesn't take a plane ride to be somewhere that feels undiscovered and magical.

9. I tend to procrastinate doing something for the first time (like organizing a camping trip.) Be less daunted by new tasks. This weekend was well worth the effort.

10. My bed is damn comfortable.

 There it is...

There it is...

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