A blog named BETTY

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Swiss Family Black

Our annual ward campout was last weekend. This is an event that is spoken of with great reverence in our house, because it is the culmination of all that is good and right in the world. The little shnookies ADORE the ward campout. If it came down to a choice between a day at Disneyland with David Archilleta all to themselves and going to the campout, they would choose the campout. (But first they'd try to get David to come camping with them, because surely he would rather sleep on rocks than be at Disneyland. Who wouldn't, for crying out loud?!!)

This is the 3rd year in a row that we've attended. It's been at the same place each time, and it truly is quite the ideallic situation. Gorgeous location, all the food provided and cooked for you, and all our neighbors there to talk with/play with. Barring a campout at the local Marriott, what could be better? We can never get there early enough for the girls, and they're disgusted with us every time it's time to go home, even though we're the last to leave every year.

One would think that with all of this wildlife fever, we'd be avid campers. Well ... one would be wrong. First of all, Hubby grew up in L.A., and he's gotten way too used to room service in all his travels. I, on the other hand, practically grew up in a tent, waiting for my mom to finish frying the pancakes over the open fire. I get a little jumpy when I insert myself as the mom into that picture. (Yes, I know...it doesn't have to be that way... we could hit MacDonalds on the way in. I never claimed to be RATIONAL, people!) And now while the girls believe that there is no camping outside of ward campouts, why ruin that?? One little excursion on our own, and they'd be hounding us nonstop!

I was actually hoping to invest in a new tent this year, secretly thinking that it would PUSH us out into the wild more often. Somehow, somewhere, I think Hubby picked up on my secret agenda (I guess he's been paying attention a little during our 12 years of marriage after all. Hmm.), so the second he discovers that R.E.I. will RENT tents, he's all over it. Humph!

So we were the ones at the campout in a rented tent. FINE. I was secretly hoping it would be disgusting and defective, but it actually worked quite nicely, even in the rain. I woke up dry and warm. Dangit!

BTW, I'm still buying a tent. But now it'll be a 15-man tent with running water and servant's quarters.

This year was especially special in its specialness because it was Shnookie2's first year being able to attend (which is why our current 4-man tent wouldn't fit us and we needed a NEW one). Typically, this campout is held in July, which is when the older shnookies are in California. We were beside ourselves when they announced it would be in August because that meant we could ALL go! Naturally, Shnookie1 had to work that night (he swears it's a coincidence, yeah right), so he was missing. And Shnookie2 ended up sleeping with a friend in their own tent. SO, things looked pretty familiar in the end.

Although Shnookie3 ended up just a titch bored this year (her friends are getting past the running wild stage), Shnookie4 was practically manic still in her enthusiasm. In the midst of a very animated discussion about nature, she told hubby, "I think camping is my hobby. I just love it so much." Gotta love those all-consuming once-a-year hobbies. Here's one of the chipmunks she fell in love with, eating a left-over piece of pineapple:

Before we left, I had to get a picture of someone performing a requisite Tom Williams outdoor ritual. He never could resist the opportunity to stand on a stump or rock and do a Tarzan call while beating his chest. Can you believe that my kids wouldn't do that for me in front of their friends?! So, here's me, in all my morning-after glory, paying homage to my father: (It took 5 tries cuz the photographer couldn't get her act together through her totally uncalled-for laughter.)

I have to say, it's not just the little girls that love the ward campout--I look forward to it every year too. Two years ago, when I was barely recovering from chemo, we took the leap to attend, and it was like a rebirth for us. There are no words for what it meant to me to be able to do that for our family. Seeing the kids run, bonding with our neighbors, breathing the fresh air, sleeping under the stars...it's all so perfect. So, basically, it could rain and flood and hail poisonous snakes and we'd still be there, just to celebrate and commemorate the fact that we are whole again, and we CAN!!


Crabtree Family said...

I miss ward campouts! Your's sounds amazing. We missed camping altogether this year, totally bummed. Love the PJ's and the Tarzan call.

Jen said...

My soul yearns to be camping with you! We don't brave it when we have a child under the age of two (which has been almost our whole married life) so I just don't get to fill the camping need! I'll live vicariously through you.

PhatNat said...

Love ward camp outs too! When I was a younger we accidentaly left sibling #7 behind at a ward camp out! We didn't worry-much- someone in the ward would hold on to him until we got there!
Love a ward family!

Anonymous said...

You look funny beating your chest and yelling like Tarzan? Of course not. HAHAHAHAHAAHA!

Mary B said...

You're SO funny! I love the way you write. And I love camping. It really is such a refreshing family experience. Ahh, Nature. Trees. Greenery. That's it. Come on, kids. We're going CAMPING!