PTCD: Post Traumatic Camping Disorder

family camping

This last weekend was our annual Church Campout. This is a family tradition that we have been enduring enjoying since 2003. Okay, we missed a few years when our church plant happened, and no one planned the campout. But we have never missed an actual campout. I love camping as a family, I really do.

(Really, Chuck)

This campout we had a brand new experience. Rain and a burn ban at the same time. That’s right, my friends, not only was it raining, but due to our recent wildfires, we weren’t allowed to have a camp fire. That made this trip a bit…challenging and character building. Well, everyone but me got to build character. I was on call for a birth, and there is no phone reception at this campground. I spent Friday evening, all day Saturday and Sunday morning with my family, leaving every two hours to check my phone (I had this prearranged with my client) and spent the evenings warm and cozy in a house. 

But, you know what I mean. 

What’s so bad about cold, damp air, sleeping bags, chairs, tents, food, etc among friends and family?

I recently read a meme on Facebook (what do you mean those aren’t completely accurate???) that said: “For those of you who have trouble sleeping researchers say that one week of camping without electronics, resets your biological clock and synchronizes our melatonin hormones with sunrise and sunset” . Sounds perfect, right? Who wouldn’t want that?

Well, people who live in Alaska, for one…

Where the heck did they do this study? The equator? Tonight, in Anchorage, Alaska, where I was born, the sun sets at 10:51 PM and rises at 5:19 AM. That is 17 hours and 31 minutes of daylight…that leaves, what, 5 hours and 29 minutes if “night”? 

Or consider Kotzebue, Alaska, where I spent several years of my childhood: 

sunset screenshot

While I’ll admit I could probably accomplish much more if my biological clock where synched so I could stay up 24 hours a day…I somehow don’t think that is a particularly healthy sleep cycle…and I am absolutely sure I don’t want my children staying up 24 hours a day.

And lets be honest, shall we? If you have ever camped with children, you know they stay up extremely late and wake excrutiatingly early.  Painfully early. When the sun in shining directly in your tent (or rain is pouring down) it is hard to sleep. And speaking of hard: the ground is hard.

Next month we are going camping for a whole week in Oregon…I’ll let you know how well it does of resetting our sleep cycles.


One thing that would likely help decrease the stress of camping with children, in planning ahead. The church campout started Friday afternoon. I woke up Friday morning and didn’t even have a meal plan for the weekend. But I’m pretty sure I’ll save that for another post.



As I said on my Facebook page, my children are suffering from a severe case of Post Traumatic Camping Disorder. It is characterized by:  emotional outbursts, irrational anger, unrelenting hunger and lots of

There is no known cure for Post Traumatic Camping Disorder. The only course of action is to ease back into life, showers and laundry and good wholesome food.

And time. Lots of  


If you suspect you or a loved one are suffering from  Post Traumatic Camping Disorder, leave a comment on this post. It might just give me the courage to go on.

Coffee Date

Young boy sipping coffee at Starbucks

Recently we attended a church event where both Avi and Tucker won Starbucks gift cards. Unlike a lot of nine and ten years olds, these two were thrilled with their prize. Both have been eagerly waiting their turn to go out for coffee.

Despite have Apollo wake up vomiting (in my bed…of course) we managed our coffee date after dropping of Mordecai for camp. It was just the two of us. We discussed beverage options ahead of time (this kid loves coffee) and how to order. Tucker settled on a Tall Mocha with Whip. 
Young boy sipping coffee at Starbucks

And he savored every drop.

Cactus Jack’s Horse Camp 2015

This blog has been a bit slow because I am still struggling with overwhelming fatigue. I went to my naturopathic doctor a few weeks ago and had a full blood work up done. I was sure they would find something wrong with my thyroid, iron levels, Coffee Deficiency or something to explain the constant fatigue. But no, my blood work came back perfect. My thyroid is fine, my iron levels are fine… Even my cholesterol is fine. 

I can’t exactly pinpoint how long the fatigue has been this bad, but I know I was hoping for improvement when I dropped sugar in January. It is so bad some days, I can barely do laundry, cook and care for my family. I am so tired I could fall asleep at any given moment. And my brain feels foggy. I am so tired each day, I can barely stand to leave the house after dinner…even if its to meet with friends or do something fun.

I am taking a high quality women’s multi-vitamin, vitamin D and Phytisone. I am only averaging 6-7 hours of sleep per night, but even at that, I should be able to function better than I am. 

Enough about that. 

Cactus Jack's Horse  Camp runs every Wednesday in the summer. Bring your kids for free horse rides and a barbecue dinner.

I am happy to say we have made it out to Cactus Jack’s Horse Camp twice this year already. We went once in 2013* and never quite made it again. 

* Grabbing the link for that post, I was struck by how cute the expressions of anticipation were two years ago. Very similar to the ones from last week .Cactus Jack's Horse  Camp runs every Wednesday in the summer. Bring your kids for free horse rides and a barbecue dinner.

Cactus Jack’s Horse Camp is run by a local family who donates every Wednesday evening of the summer to letting kids ride their horses. Not only that, they provide a barbecue dinner (contributions to dinner welcome but not required). Every time I go, I am struck by the commitment of this family. They give of themselves to provide a bit of fun complete strangers. If you are local, you should really check this out. The horse riding is simply being led around a small paddock, but my kids love it since this is their only exposure to horses.

Cactus Jack's Horse  Camp runs every Wednesday in the summer. Bring your kids for free horse rides and a barbecue dinner.

I have been so proud of Apollo! The first time last week he wanted Kalina to walk with him…after that he marched right up and did it himself. He even go brave enough to pet the horse while riding! You should see him climb on. He puts his foot in the stirrup and climbs the rest of the way up. I am always looking for new opportunities for Apollo to stretch himself and work on separation, and this has been an amazing way to do it! He is getting very confident on the horses!

Baby steps, my friends, baby steps.

A New Superhero Project Session!

I want to lead a simple life, its true. I can declutter and downsize every day of my life, but none of that makes life less complicated when:

you have ten children still living at home

you have kids with special needs

run your own photography business

live in the real world without: a nanny, housekeeper, cook or sister wife.

So there you have it, I’m busy.

Yesterday I had an amazing Superhero Project session with two sisters with Down Syndrome. When Esther was born six years ago, her parents didn’t realize she had Down Syndrome or a hole in her heart ahead of time. After adjusting to their new normal with a special needs daughter, they decided to adopt a little girl from Bulgaria who also has Down Syndrome. 

The Superhero Project highlights the inner strength of  special needs children.  

You can go check out there entire session at Little Earthling Photography. 

Six-year-old Esther and five-year-old Christy are just adorable together! Esther really tries to help take care of Christy and “keep her in line”. These two girls are such a blessing to their  family!

The Superhero Project highlights the inner strength and beauty of special needs children.


Here’s a little behind the scenes look at what it was like trying to get photos of the two girls together!


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