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Those of you who know us well know that we don’t believe in deprivation camping.  We believe in a fine red wine, steak on the grill, dessert smackdowns, queen air mattresses, and down comforters.  Until recently, we also camped a whopping ONCE every year.  The sleep deprivation, despite the down, was just too much for momma DINK to handle.

Well, in 2010, we took all this luxury camping to the next level.  Pop-up.  And not your basic 2 double-beds tent-on-wheels kind of pop up.  We are talking 2 king beds (with flannel sheets and down comforters, of course), power lift, furnace, hot water heater, 3 burner stove, full Yakima rack on top, outdoor shower, refrigerator, bump-out dinette, and a loo.

Long back in January of last year, Mark, Junior, and I wandered down to the Ketelson Camper sale….just to look.  Knowing full well that we hardly ever “just look”.  Two months later, we hauled our new baby home with Mark’s aging Land Rover. (Yep, you guessed it….new car in his future, but that story about a half acre of car will wait for another day).  In early April we were on our way to our first pop-up camping trip to the Pawnee National Grasslands (REALLY glad we had that furnace)…and we never looked back.

The final tally? Twenty-five nights.  We camped in Wyoming twice, for 11 nights over two trips at Buffalo Creek, Mesa Verde National Park, and Sand Dunes National Park.

We camped with neighbors, friends, old and new, and friends of our friends’ friends (all 60+ of them at the annual BC pilgrimage).  We camped with the dog,always brought our mountain bikes, and despite my whole-grain leanings almost always had half a cooler full of graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows.  In short, we had some amazing DINK adventures this year and we can’t wait to hit the road again in a few short months!  Give us a ring, and come along!

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The DINKS are back…..

After more than 18 months’ hiatus, we’ve decided that the DINKS have been hibernating (on the web at least) for too long.  The last year has been a bit insane, with a change in jobs for MaryBeth, a whole new grade for Junior, the constant debate about whether one kid is enough (it IS, thank you very much) or if Junior should have someone to share the love, 25 nights of camping in the new popup, ski team, 2 seasons of little league, a new mountain bike for Mom, the death of a much beloved dog, an ever-growing garden, and the coming and going of three, yes 3, “wives” to help us out.

While we are not necessarily any wiser, we are older.  And we’ve decided that this blog is the best way to memorialize the happenings in our little family….heaven knows we’ll never make a scrapbook!

So….we won’t promise daily posts, or even weekly posts, but we hope you’ll subscribe, or re-subscribe, and learn a bit more about life in the world of DINKS…with Kids.

On one of our many 2010 camping adventures

 

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We’ve Hired a Wife!

So much got done while I was at work today, I can hardly believe it!  The dogs went to the vet, the dog poop got cleaned up in the yard, dry cleaning was picked up, laundry was folded, and the dishwasher emptied.  Phew!

No….I wasn’t “working from home”.  I hired a wife.  Though I suspect the politically correct term is probably “personal assistant”, “wife” is so much more precise, not to mention catchy.  

Now the only question is, “What took us so long?”.

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T-Ball 101

Say “Hi” to Coach MaryBeth.  And no, this isn’t a life-long ambition fulfilled at last – sorry, no bucket-list check-off for this one.  It would be more appropriate to put this in the “No good deed goes unpunished” column.  Either that or “Naivete has its price”.

yankees_team_photo

Who knew (we didn’t) that Little League coaches were in such short supply!  So when MaryBeth signed Junior up for Tee-Ball, she innocently checked the box on the registration form that said she would be happy to act as an assistant coach on Junior’s team.  Ha!  No other parent fell for that trap, so now we have a Coach in the family. After the shock wore off,  she realized she really was glad to help, and was looking forward to a little special Mom-Junior time.  But seriously…..the YANKEES?  Many apologies to her extended Red Sox Family…..

MaryBeth’s initial jitters about being a good coach and teaching the kids the finer points of the game quickly vaporized when it became clear that for T-Ballers, the finer points include learning which way to run around the bases.  And the fact that you have to run around the bases.  In fact it turns out that coaching T-ball is as much about herding cats (look at the huddle ball happening, far left in the video) as it is about teaching skills, though we do slip in some basic safety skills so the kids don’t get beaned by the ball…..too often.

Fortunately, 5 and 6 year olds are a little like sponges when it comes to learning new skills.  We are half-way through the season already and it is amazing to see the kids get better so quickly.  Turns out, MaryBeth is having a blast at her coaching stint.  And since there are no outs, no score is kept and all the kids get to bat each inning, everyone just gets to have fun….and there is nothing for the parents to get worked up about.  We’ll save the dreaded “Little League” parent for the distant future.  By then MaryBeth’s coaching career may have come to an end.  And if it hasn’t, she can no longer blame naivete!

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Double Dark Chocolate from Glacier – the perfect remedy for a bonk on the head!

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In one of our very first posts on this blog, we talked about Trading Kids. We put that system to the test a couple of weeks ago when Mark and I went to Steamboat for 5 days of ski heaven. Without Junior.

Before we left, I let both our Nederland friends and Junior’s preschool know that Jr. could call us any time. Since Junior now has my cell number memorized and has been pretty obsessive about using it (he called me the other night to tell me that dinner was ready….I was downstairs in the office.), I expected at least one call a day. Um….no. Not one call…at all!

Finally, I caved and called him four days into the trip. I half expected a meltdown when he heard my voice, but after we talked for 2 or 3 minutes about how much we loved and missed each other, he casually said “Did you have anything else to tell me, Mom? OK. Bye.”. Other parents might have been offended at this blatant dismissal. I prefer to think that he is simply comfortable and secure…and apparently enjoying his own vacation from his parents!

(photo courtesy of our very own Rich Seeley: www.pix2love.com)

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While the girls get along nicely in the coop that came with them, the design wasn’t quite right for this “shorter” mama. Egg collection required squeezing my entire head and left shoulder/arm into the tiny coop door while simultaneously trying not to inhale the chicken poop that was invariably on the threshold.

Enter my two handy boys, who promptly fashioned a couple of large doors on the back of the coop. While this might be a tad cooler for the chicks when we get a westerly wind, it was a necessary modification! And it makes cleaning out the nesting and roosting areas a whole lot easier!

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