Tag Archives: boys

Fun at Jellystone Campground


While the three older kids were pulling handcarts across the rolling hills of Virginia in the 97 degree heat, we were enjoying some more relaxing and cooler activities 30 minutes away in Luray, Virginia.

IMG_7280 (2)

Rather than make two 9 hour drives in 52 hours, we opted to stay close and enjoy a mini camping excursion at the world’s best campground! We had stayed here once before but it had been four years since our last visit. Tyler didn’t remember it and Ozzie had never been there before.

IMG_7271 (2)

In the days leading up to our trip I went back and forth as to whether I felt brave enough to take these two kiddos camping without a husband or older kids to help. I took a leap of faith, banking on the fact that at Jellystone they would be too busy having fun to fight.

We arrived and set up camp. The boys were motivated to work quickly so that they could start enjoying all the amenities that come free with our campground stay. We love Jellystone campgrounds for that very reason. They are always so clean, so well run, and filled with kid friendly fun which is free to their campers.

IMG_7500 (2)

This particular Jellystone however, takes the cake! It is the nicest campground we have EVER stayed at!

The location is breathtaking!

IMG_7465 (2)

Check out these views!

IMG_7486 (2)

It also offered a huge amount of fun for kids of all ages. We kept very busy boating, bouncing, golfing, swimming and sliding while the big kids were trekking.

Here is some of the fun we enjoyed at Luray’s Jellystone Campground:

The water area was awesome. There were two pools and a fun splash playground to keep us cool…which was a blessing because it was HOT!

IMG_7334 (2)IMG_7346 (2)IMG_7326 (2)

There was also a fun water slide that the boys each slid down about 100 times.

IMG_7353 (2)

Located next to the pool was a lake that offered fishing and paddle boats. They were thrilled to find out they were old enough to take the paddle boats out alone, without a grown up.

IMG_7437 (2)IMG_7435

Behind the pool was a play area for kids. There were basketball hoops, Gaga ball courts, playground equipment and two huge bouncing pads.


We spent A LOT of time at the bouncing pads.

IMG_7290 (2)

IMG_7309 (2)IMG_7302 (2)IMG_7301 (2)IMG_7375 (2)

There was also a mini golf course where we enjoyed a competitive game of golf… which this Momma won.

IMG_7410 (2)IMG_7408 (2)

In addition to all this built in fun, the campground also offered fun/free hourly activities like games, crafts, scavenger hunts, hayrides, Yogi Bear meet and greets, and outdoor movies.

While we were there we walked over to meet the animals at the petting zoo that was brought in for the day,

IMG_7376 (2)IMG_7378 (2)IMG_7382 (2)

As well as attend a reptile class one evening.

IMG_7478 (2)IMG_7483

Then there was the simple fun that comes with camping…things like playing with fire, roasting s’mores, cooking outside and sleeping in a tent. Both boys were in heaven!

IMG_7498 (2)

Really the only activity we paid extra for was a one hour session of laser tag for $5.00. It was a hit! Well worth the $5.00.

IMG_7510 (2)IMG_7520 (2)IMG_7515 (2)

It was a fun mini vacation with my two youngest kiddos.

IMG_7508 (2)

You really can’t beat Jellystone Campgrounds when it comes to an all-inclusive, family focused, budget friendly vacation.

A few days ago I worried that I was crazy for trying to camp alone with the little boys… 5 hours away from reinforcements…especially given their current struggles.


The experience wasn’t without incident.

We had a few meltdowns and explosions along the way,

But I did it!

And everyone is alive.

And we even managed to have some fun.


 I must say I’m feeling a bit like Wonder Woman.  🙂

wonder woman 2



“He’d Fly Through the Air with the Greatest of Ease”


“Mom, look at me!”


That was the last thing I heard before I turned toward the sound of his voice and saw it…

Tyler flying through the air,

arms outstretched,

shouting an enthusiastic, “Whee!”

My heart leapt to my throat,

and then I heard *THUNK*

From where I stood it looked like a trip to the emergency room in the making.

Then he popped up with a huge grin and a fist punch of victory,


It was only then that I realized how my mini superhero achieved his feat of bravery:

Couch cushions…

eight of them behind the chair,

lined up like a squishy runway to catch his falling form.

Once I realized that the risk of a broken bone was minimal

I grabbed my camera to record the show.

Now Presenting

for your viewing pleasure…


IMG_1324 (2)


IMG_1327 (2)



I love having boys!

Life is NEVER boring. 🙂

Cub Scout Motto

Ozzie and Tyler- cub scouts and brothers.

Ozzie and Tyler- cub scouts and brothers.

Being a brother is hard. It is hard in the best of circumstances. Having to share is hard…share toys, share attention, share activities. I never fully understood the complexity of a brother/brother relationship until we adopted Tyler. You see, my brother only had sisters. Rusty only had sisters. The relationship between a brother and sister is an entirely different beast than the one that grows between two boys. There is a physicality that I am unfamiliar with and a bit uncomfortable with. The rolling and wrestling is something I never saw with my own brother or saw with Rusty and the girls. The intense competitiveness and love/hate relationship is all new to me as a parent two little boys. I am still learning to navigate these uncharted waters.

The relationship between brothers becomes even more complicated when you take two wounded souls, with their own stories, own pasts, own birth families and try to meld them together into a new adoptive family. The results are sometimes touching but often they are just explosive. Ozzie and Tyler are still learning how to be brothers and go from being best buddies to mortal enemies with a single look.

They are both vying for dominance. Ozzie is older therefore feels he has earned his place as alpha dog. Tyler, who has been part of our family longer, feels like he has earned his spot as top dog. The battle continues, the war wages, and I hold my breath, uncomfortable with the display, and yet recognizing that this is all part of bonding as brothers.

Wednesday was a big night for the boys. Tyler joined cub scouts. This will be the first extracurricular activity they have shared as brothers. I could tell Ozzie was struggling with mixed emotions…resentment over sharing this part of his life with Tyler as well as excitement at the thought of being able to be big brother and show Tyler the ropes.

Tyler was also feeling mixed emotions on Wednesday night. He was excited to have his first cubs meeting ( he was ready hours before it was time to go, dressed in his new uniform with his cub book in hand) but also nervous about what to expect.

As we drove to the meeting Tyler expressed, in a rare display of vulnerability, his nervousness. Ozzie, eager to play big brother and Tyler allowing him to step up as big brother, promised to walk him to the meeting and show him what to do. My heart melted as I listened to Ozzie reassure Tyler. Well, you can just imagine the hurt that then followed when upon arriving at church Ozzie jumped from the car and raced toward the building without backward glance. Tyler was visibly hurt and shouted at Ozzie, with venom in his voice, “Ozzie, I guess you don’t care about the cub scout motto!”

I thought for a moment, racking my brain, trying to remember the cub scout motto that Tyler and I had been studying and tried to figure out what Tyler was implying.

“Be Prepared?”…hmmm…no that was Rusty’s Boy Scout motto.

Oh yeah, “Do Your Best.” That was it.

I was trying to figure out what message Tyler was trying to convey when he yelled to Ozzie, “Remember the cub scout motto!” because as far as I could tell Ozzie was “doing his best,”

to get away from Tyler, that is. 🙂

I looked at Tyler and asked what he meant. I didn’t have to wait long for clarification. As Ozzie ran into the church Tyler shouted the motto (as he remembered it) at Ozzie’s retreating back,

“Cub scouts never leave anyone behind!”

I think he was thinking of the Soldier’s Creed but I didn’t have the heart to correct him. 🙂

As I ponder this hard road of adoption perhaps the values called forth in the Soldier’s Creed aren’t too far off the mark.

Perhaps, as a family,  we need to embrace some of these values in the battles we face every day,

as we fight for these little boys’ hearts and unity as a new family…

“I am a warrior and a member of a team.”

“I always place the mission first.”

“I will never accept defeat.”

“I will never quit.”

and of course, the most important promise of all,

“I will never leave a fallen comrade.”

We are a family


“Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten”  🙂