A Trip to Kidvana


Super-Boopsie swinging-style

We just returned from a few days at Daddy-o’s uncle’s resort in northern (sort of) Minnesota.

This is a trip we’ve made several times before, as we’re fortunate to be able to spend 4th of July with a fun conglomeration of family, friends, and friends who might as well be family.This trip was a little different, though. Although we also spent 4th of July there last year, this was the first time we were there with our own kid. (Yikes, Boopsie is more kid than baby.) And because it was the first time we were there with our own kid, and I obviously wasn’t observant enough before, I came to see the resort for what it truly is: Kidvana.

Boopsie playing in the sand

Wet goopy sand? Yes, please!

First, there’s the setting: a beautiful, clean lake with a sand beach. Ten cabins on 24 acres of pine and aspen land. Next, there are the activities: boating, swimming, playing in the sand, and the all-important beach side swing set. In the evenings pot-lucks and bonfires are common, and over the week of the 4th Nutty “Uncle” Mick from Indiana goes pyro and puts on some awesome pyrotechnic displays.

That brings me to the third component: the people. If I counted correctly, there were 20 kids age 13 and under and another 10 or so who were teenagers. The kids definitely outnumbered the parents. And while the parents socialized, cooked, and watched out for the kiddos, the kids themselves had an amazing time.


Laddie, the official resort dog, and (unofficially) Boopsie’s favorite poochie pal.

We stayed as guests of our dear friends and their two girls – 4-year-old “Lulu” and 1-year-old “Baby A.” Boopsie adored Lulu and Lulu adored Boopsie. Baby A waddled about looking adorable and giving a running babble commentary. It was fun to see them all together. A couple of the “older” (i.e. 6-9 year olds) were quite taken with the wee ones and pushed them in the swings and talked with them.

It was fun to see all these kids unplugged, unstructured, and “free-range.” They were in their natural habitat, as happy and as free as could be. Boopsie loved swinging on the swings (seriously, HOURS), playing in the sand and water, petting the doggies, and being around all of the other kids. She was funny and

Riding on shoulders

Hitching a ride on Daddy-o’s shoulders

exuberantly happy, a true smile machine. It made my heart sing with wholesome goodness. It also made me want to buy a cabin and set up there every weekend. (Not gonna happen.)

Boopsie driving the boat

“Which dock Uncle J?”

Every time I have a vacation experience like this, I find myself thinking about how to transfer that vibe (or at least part of it) to my “real” life. In this case, I think it’s about less TV and screen time (err… I realize I am blogging while I write that… feel free to mock), more time outside in nature, and being more social and cooperative (pot luck anyone?). Cheesy, but I’d do just about anything to see Boopsie that much in her “element” every day.

What do you think? Where have you experienced “Kidvana”? And do you get weird about trying to transfer “vacation” vibes to real life?


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