Whole Parenting Family

A family vacation staycation second year in a row


Last year we did this for the very first time: we took a family vacation staycation at my folks’ home in Wisconsin just us. Not to travel for a baptism or a wedding or another family to-do–just for us to bond, be quiet, have temper tantrums in nature, and eat lots and lots of good food.


Being pregnant makes everything harder for my poor kids because I’m limited in my energy and capabilities, but they were troopers and played lots and lots of games with each other and made lots of messes and kinda even cleaned them up!

I actually let our oldest play with a sling shot. Rules and boundaries set in stone ahead of time, but yes, I let him just have wild fun with it. I must be relaxing as a mom.


I’m learning to sit back and watch them. Watch their relationships unfold. It helps that they’re older and not just screaming at each other when frustrated, though that happens too. I can guide them through talking it out, addressing each other, and teach basic empathy skills. And their little minds are developed enough to get it. To get why we are kind and loving. Why we don’t hit and say hurtful things. Why mama is always right—okay, let’s not go too far 😉


And this little 2+ year old really held his own this year. Yes, you may have more oatmeal. Yes, you may cut with your sister’s scissors. Yes, you may that hammer. Yes, you may splash in the creek. He really likes being with the big kids now and will tell you at every possible turn that he’s a BIG BOY, MAMA.



On this trip out to the Lodge, I watched her really grow into the big sister role beautifully. She loves to gently remind him no no no no and tell me when he’s not listening (all the time). She built tons of forts and gritted through the long hikes.


I think she’s a combination of scrappy and gritty.


And our oldest is really growing into a kind and thoughtful little boy. Despite trying to terrorize his siblings during their picnic lunch. He would check and ask me how I was doing if I wasn’t feeling great. He set the table & helped buss it. He even took to reading to his siblings at night!


As a bonus, my sister’s dog came with for the week and he helped run her around and get that puppy energy out.


The week came to an abrupt end earlier than we had planned because my functionality plummeted! Dang being sick when pregnant!! My mom stayed an extra night with the kids so I could come back and rest and get some extra fluids on board. I cried as I packed everything up, except what they’d need for that last day without me. I cried those hot ragey frustration tears because I simply had no control over my body. It wasn’t because I hadn’t slept enough or rested enough or strained myself. It is simply the nature of this (and my other) pregnancies.


A reminder that we’re not as in control as we think.

And that being flexible and humble and accepting what comes is part of life. Part of everyone’s lives, kids and adults. I raged out a little to myself and then sunk into it. Came home and let my husband tend to me. Came home and didn’t clean everything or organize anything or unpack it quickly or do laundry. Came home and just was.

Next I’ll share what we ate!! (Remember last year’s Lodge food? I do!!) But I’m gonna leave you in drooling suspense with this pic:




  1. Laura on August 13, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    It’s so hard not being in control! I love reading your thoughts on how your kids are growing. Mine are currently 4 and 18 months and I am glad that basic empathy skills are on the horizon!

    • Natural Mama Nell on August 14, 2016 at 10:55 am

      It is amazing to see how that part of their brain clicks in!!

  2. Alicia on August 13, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    Looks like a lovely time apart from the sickness. 🙂

    • Natural Mama Nell on August 14, 2016 at 10:56 am

      It was really great. as moms we work so hard to make space for fun to happen! I hope they remember that part and not me being sick.

  3. Tacy on August 15, 2016 at 6:45 am

    Pretty photos! Agh… I can’t believe we were both in WI. I can taste it… so close 🙂 :0)

    • Natural Mama Nell on August 17, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      I KNOW!!