Sleep Deprivation in the Camper

I could just post happy thoughts.  I could tell you all the wonderful things about living in a camper and completely ignore the hard times.  I wouldn’t technically be lying to you…I’d just be keeping it positive.  Right?

Well I’m all for keeping it real and not just painting a pretty picture for all to see.

Today, marks 2 weeks in the camper.  I have to say, there have been some great times.  But mostly it’s been a chore to adjust.

Even after we got over being sick.  It seemed like there was a day or 2 of pure joy.  I think mostly because we were so happy to not be sick anymore.  But things start to wear on you.

  • We’ve all had bad attitudes.
  • Nobody has been sleeping well.
  • The kitchen is driving me batty.
  • We’ve barely gotten school done.
  • Laundry logisitics are not so fun.
  • We ran out of propane.
  • It’s been cloudy and gloomy.
  • Mr. Z is on a sleep strike (during the day and at night).

I didn’t want to write a post while we were in the “funk” so I’ve strayed away from posting any new thoughts.

Yesterday afternoon, I dropped Z off at Alicia’s camper so I could go get the laundry.  Like a good friend she listened to me whine about our struggles to adjust and helped me come to a solution.

I think our biggest issue has been sleep, or lack of.  Z had been sleeping through the night  before we moved out here.

Many parents are adamently against letting your baby cry it out at night.  Did you know there is actually an acronym for it?  I didn’t but it is CIO.

I’ll tell you about my Z though.  IF you let him get up at night to feed him, he transforms in to a raging lunatic who refuses to go back to sleep for hours.  The next night it’s even worse and he might wake up 2 or 3 times.  It seems to be a domino effect with him.  It’s just worse and worse.  He learns that you’ll get him up and he’ll screech and scream until you do so.

Now imagine this scenario in a camper.  With 3 other kids in the same room. Uh huh.

We’ve tried all sorts of sleeping arrangements to try to cope with this.  I tried becoming a co-sleeper with him too, but he just liked to stand on our bed and bash our heads for balance.

I *think* we figured out a solution.  Z has got to CIO.  Maybe that makes us bad parents but I know one thing for sure…we love our kids and if we want them to survive into adulthood it’s pretty important we all get some sleep and soon.

I don’t want to bore you with details but for the time being, the 2 oldest sleep on the pulled out couch and little V sleeps with us.  The “dictator” get’s his own room. We may do this arrangement for a few months until Mr. Dictator sleeps like a baby.  I mean a fake baby. that sleeps well. and through the night.

All this to say that things are looking up.  It’s amazing how perspectives change when you get a little shut-eye.

Today’s just begun.  But we’re off to a GREAT start.

Our Top 9 Tips for Teaching Kids Gun Safety

Now that everyone has recovered from being sick, we’re finding that we have more free time. It’s been nice the past couple days! So nice!

Since Mark was off of work the other day, we decided to fire a few rounds at the gun range.

Black Hills during fall

Kids are posing while their Dad sets up.

The Gun Range

Gun range is a pretty lofty title for the place where we go shoot.  How to describe the “Gun Range??”

It’s an unmanaged unofficial range up on Beretta Drive in the hills.  I don’t know who owns it, but Mark’s co-worker told him about shortly after we moved to the area.

It’s pretty laid back at the range.

So laid back, in fact, the day we went to the range, the cows were loose!  A picture would be perfect right here.

Now all you gun haters out there…don’t be hatin’ on guns. We are not a gun-loving family by any means! But we think the right to bear arms is pretty rad and we choose to exercise that right.

Back to the pasture range…we brought our .22 survival rifle (which is compact and really a cool little gun). And our little itty bitty .380 with a laser that is not sighted in yet.

Survival .22 & .380

Survival .22 & .380

We have started teaching the kids about gun safety and drilling them on how to handle guns. They can answer basic safety questions pretty well and we run a TIGHT ship out at the range.

So here are our top tips for teaching kids about gun safety. And no, we are not trained professionals, just concerned parents.

Gun safety tips for kids

Mark helping L get set up

Our TOP 9 Tips for Teaching Young Children Gun Safety

  1. Never, EVER point a gun at ANYTHING unless you intend to shoot it.
  2. Treat every gun as if it’s loaded.
  3. Do not put your finger near the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  4. Always point a gun toward the ground. And not at your shoe because your foot is in there ~ that is E’s contribution.
  5. If you don’t know what to do, stop.
  6. Slow and calm movements are controlled and safe movements.
  7. The parent assisting must tell the child they are free to fire.  Without our go ahead, they are NOT allowed to pull the trigger.
  8. They (the shooter) yells “Fire” when they are ready to shoot.
  9. Hearing and eye protection are to be worn at all times while at the range, (unless they are in a vehicle).

L show-casing the ear plugs

Mark is always helping them, and right beside them.  One child is shooting, everyone else is in the van.  We go for 1/2 hour or less, short for the kids.  That’s it.

Me & Mr. Z, cozy in the van.

My Initial Reservations

In the beginning, I didn’t go with two older kids and I didn’t want Mark taking them to the range. But because our kids are fairly well behaved I wasn’t concerned with them not listening to us.  I think it was more the stigma associated with firearms and just fear of something going wrong.  Let me tell you…

Stigmas are stupid.

AND something can go wrong anywhere.

The benefits – which I’ll cover – outweight any negatives.  Truly, it’s been a positive experience.

Kid's Gun Safety Gear

Here is E with his hearing and eye protection

Why This is Beneficial for Children.

  1. We get to demystify guns and take Hollywood out of guns.  Remove the mystery.
  2. This allows us to squelch the desire to “play” with guns because they can appropriately use them under our direct supervision.
  3. They get to learn how to safely shoot them (at an age-appropriate level).
  4. They understand guns are dangerous and we are instilling respect for firearms.

So there you have it.  Any tips or benefits you’d like to add?

Potty Training, Vomit, & Cat Poop

Since we bought the camper new, it was pretty important to us that we kept it nice.  It was going to stay pristine really.  Really.


We didn’t want to drill any holes in the walls, or make any permanent changes and most definitely we didn’t want to wreck anything.

Well that is just a feat all in it’s own.  You see you have to install hooks, shelves, and spice racks. So we got over it.  We screwed in screws and started making things our own.

Still we didn’t want to get it dirty with cat poop tracked in from neighboring RVers or throw up, or bathroom accidents.  Which leads me to potty training.

Our 33 month old, Eva, is not yet potty trained.  She has the super-human ability to hold her bladder and we’ve tried potty training her several times.  And I’m not talking about taking a couple days. I mean weeks at a time we’ve worked on potty training her.

Have you ever watched when a spillway of a dam is opened and they are releasing water??  Well that was kinda like little Eva’s bladder when she’d have an accident.

It became a HUGE priority to potty train her before we moved into the RV.  We took 1 week off of school so I could focus on just her and this “pee pee in the potty” thing.  I was certain we were going to get it done this time.


Attitudes were great.

By day 3 I hadn’t cried – yet.

BUT by the night of day 4, I was wearing thin.  Pressure.  We were running out of time.  We’d had some successes but in the end I think she just did NOT want to do it.

So day 5, I put a diaper on her.

Fast forward a few weeks.

The last night spent in our house Eva came down with a stomach bug and was throwing up every hour, sometimes less.  After moving in the camper, she still had some issues but then it spread to Zander (who was also seriously in throw up mode), then Ellie, and Eli.

So much for my pristine camper.  I slept on the floor with Zander so I could hold him over the puke bowl.  Never…have I ever…seen a 9 month old throw up!  Poor guy!

We had 1 day of peace and then I ended up with it.  Funny how things don’t turn out like you think they should.

A couple of nights ago, at the height of my misery, I told Mark that I regretted moving and I wished we were in our house again.  I may or may not have had a few tears well up and “poor me” moments.  I have to say, that was the only time that thought crossed my mind much less I verbalized it.  Now I call my whining fever-induced craziness.

At the time Mark lovingly reminding me that we’d have trials in a regular house too. Yes.  True.

Lastly Mark got hit and fared amazingly well.

All this to end with the statement that we made it.  Our little “idol”- the perfect camper, is perfect but not because it’s never been puked in, but because it’s our home and we’re together.

And yes we did have cat poop tracked in the camper yesterday.  Blasted cats!

Homemade Baby Wipes

When I had Zander this past winter, a friend brought over some homemade baby wipes.

I loved them!

How did I NOT know about homemade baby wipes before my 4th child?!

I was shocked.

Not only are they cheap and easy to make…they are also waaay better for your chubby baby’s bottom than the store-bought wipes.

What you need

  • 1 roll Bounty (must be Bounty – I tried another brand against my friend’s advice and they were terrible)
  • A very sharp knife or an electric knife works best (*UPDATE* We found a much better way by using a Miter Saw)
  • 1 T. baby wash
  • 1 T. coconut oil (you can use other oils but coconut has lots of good benefits so it’s a good choice)
  • 1 C. water (make sure it is hot if you’re using coconut oil so it’ll melt)
  • 1 container the appropriate size to house the wipes (the one pictured came from Dollar Tree)

Remove the cardboard roll inside the paper towels and cut the remaining paper towels in half.  (as noted below by Amber, you can leave the roll in there and remove it as the final step…which ever works best for you)

Mix the baby wash, oil, & hot water around to make sure the wash and oil are evenly distributed.

Pour the mixture into your wipes container.

Add the cut paper towels and let sit for about an hour until all the liquid spreads throughout the paper towels.

Pull wipes from center.

To make them more travel-friendly, I take a hunk out and put them in a quart-size ziploc.

It’s unbelievably easy!  And I simply love this particular brand of baby wash which I bought from Target.

Best part about these…they do not contain alcohol and they are super-soothing for those delecate areas, especially if you’re dealing with a diaper rash.

Just make sure you get the right size Bounty.  I bought rolls that were too big once and I couldn’t fit them in my container.