summer camp 2013 {part one}

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I'm pretty sure that before this summer, the last time I went camping was nine years ago.  It was in the fall of 2004, and I was five months pregnant with Nina.  I remember not sleeping at all on that trip because number one, I couldn't get my pregnant body comfortable on the tent floor, and number two, I was completely freaked out when I heard a furry creature of some sort brush its warm body against the tent right next to my head.  Raccoon? Skunk?? Bear???  Heart racing all night...

With nearly fourteen years of babies that would never sleep in a tent, and/or toddlers that I feared stumbling into the fire, I've had little motivation to get out into the wild overnight.  Although I have actually missed it a lot. When I was young, I remember camping with my family quite a bit.  Sometimes in a tent, sometimes in our trailer.  I remember waking up in that mini-bunk bed in the trailer to the cozy smell of the heater kicking on, mixed with blueberry muffins my mom topped with sugar before baking.  More than once when I was a teenager, my dad took me and my sister, Cami, on week-long backpacking trips in the Wind Rivers in Wyoming.  He believed that we were as tough, if not tougher, than the boys we were traveling with, and we never cared about getting dirt under our nails on those trips.  It was to be expected, and so was peeing without the luxury of an outhouse!  Playing UNO and laughing in the tent while thunder shook the towering cliffs around us was such a good time.  Thanks to my amazing ideal-Scout-master of a dad, I learned to love roughing it.

Before we had kids, Clayton and I went camping all the time.  When we were engaged we opened a registry at REI {ha!}, and my friend Emily threw us a camping shower!  Camping in the Uintas for our first anniversary couldn't have been better as we cooked our usual camp combo of Stovetop stuffing, canned turkey and cranberry sauce over a propane stove during a rain storm.  When I was five months along with Ben, my oldest, we backpacked through Switzerland.  One night, we had only a package of Swiss cookies and a peach between us, but I don't remember being hungry.  We listened as cuckoo birds called to each other in the night, and it was there on the side of a steep slope that Clayton felt that baby kick for the very first time.  Shortly after that, a storm drenched our tent and everything inside it, including us.  The BEST memories.

Does it make sense to say that I was excited to finally feel excited to go camping again?  Clayton has been such a fun dad and has taken the kids camping on his own every summer, while I've stayed home with the littlest.  But now, this summer my littlest is old enough to stay away from the fire, sleep all night in a sleeping bag, and entertain himself by collecting sticks.  It made me feel so good when Clayton and the kids lit up when I said I would go with them this time!

We found a perfect spot in the Uintas, up above the river {love to hear the river while going to sleep!}, and surrounded by tall, green trees and dark, dirty dirt.  Olivia and Will came to camp in their flip-flops, and Olivia decided to play in the sooty fire pit first thing, so these two were filthy from head-to-toe right from the start.  But who cares?  We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire, laughed and laughed, sang stupid songs, smelled wild pink roses and tiny daisies, saw more stars in one little patch of sky than I've seen in years, read by flashlight in the tent, enjoyed an amazing breakfast as a moose waltzed through our camp, and I fell in love with camping all over again.

P.S. The fat air mattress that Clayton added to our pile of camping gear didn't hurt either.