When your children grow up and you get to camp alone--No seriously, either I have mellowed out a little bit since camping last year, or the fact that I don't have a sweetly oblivious, prone to tripping and falling in the fire, and up all night crying 1-year-old to take along this year has made camping more fun.
Generally speaking I enjoy camping. I especially enjoy the idea of everyone, not just me, having dirt and food on their clothing. It makes me feel like I belong.
Besides dirty pants, I've always liked cooking outside, sleeping in a tent, hiking, seeing the stars, being deliciously cold in the dead of the summer, and smores. Smores are almost on the same level as Peeps. Oh, how I love your marshmallowy wonderfulness.
Last weekend we took our first camping trip of the year. Despite the fact that we have all grown in the past year, surprisingly, our car did not. It seemed to have shrunk.
Mike has been really good at humoring me lately, so when I requested that we stop by the thrift store on our way up to Mirror Lake for the Chambers family reunion to buy a "small" inflatable boat, he said, "Okay." I was sure it could fit in the one tiny space we had left in the trunk. Well, Mike might be plotting to kill me with one of the oars of that boat now, since he had to carry it on his lap the whole way there. That is now my definition of a good sport, someone who will allow you to buy a boat and then carry it on his lap for a two hour drive. To further Mike's image as a saint, let me add that I also insisted on packing our cute, completely sanitary little potty. Mike completely configured the packing around that potty. Hannah wore a diaper the whole time and went in the porta-potty. The little potty sat outside our car and served as a mascot.
Stacie and Shirley arrived shortly after we did and they helped us set up our massive tent and entertain the girls. Last year, Mike's Aunt Leanne told me that for every camping trip they bought a bag of toys from Deseret Industries and then their kids were entertained for the camping trip, it didn't matter if the toys were ruined and they were recycled at the D.I. on the way back. While I was buying the large boat at the thrift store on base, I also spent $1 on a bag of miscellaneous toys. It was a hit. The girls had a great time discovering the toys. Another fun thing I brought along this time was play-doh. The girls entertained themselves by smashing it onto a rock (later we had a lecture about preserving nature and trying not to kill the squirrels with play-doh). Good times.
That night we had awesome dutch oven potatoes, corn, watermelon and bbq'd chicken. We eat better when we're camping than we do at home. Afterward we sat around the fire and what else? Made smores. This year not as many of the family was able to come up for the reunion. We enjoyed talking with Lyman and Lonnie, Brad and Lori, Grandma Folks, Gary and his date, Lorraine and Lance, and some of Mike's younger cousins. I still can't believe Grandma Folks survived raising 11 kids and has such a cheerful disposition. (Maybe that is where Mike gets his sainthood from)
Grandma and Hannah hanging out in the tent. We bought this huge tent and I intend for it to last for-ev-er. (Said in the same tone of voice as that kid in "The Sandlot")
Stacie, Mike's sister, captured one of the best Smore moments I have ever seen, as Hannah enjoys her first campfire Smore.
Mike and Kenzie hanging around the fire.
Grandma and Hannah cuddling as it gets cold.
Kenzie loving her new bracelet and other goods from the traditional "Fairy tree." They also got to hit a pinata. The girls were in heaven.