Tuesday, August 09, 2011
A Camping We Will Go...
So, here is more of a play by play. (Yes, I have pictures. No, I don't want to take the time to get them off the camera, downsize the file, and then upload them here. So, if and when I do, I will add them in later. Don't hold your breath- lol).
We were loaded and ready to leave around 12:30pm. I was hoping to be gone by 11:00am so we could stop and see my sister who was running her Petals, Pens, and Pots booth at an event in Roosevelt. However, wanting to be at the camp site before 5pm, and having to stop in Price to pick up last minute items for our meal we were providing for the group, we were not able to stop on the way up. Thankfully, the event she was at would still be going on Saturday. I called and told her we would stop on the way home to visit.
We made it to the camp ground around 4:30pm and went about setting up camp. My wife's parents were already there and so was my wife's sister-in-law and one of the sisters with their families. (Nichole and Jennie and their families were unable to attend this year). We found a spot and set up camp. Knowing my luck (and looking at the growing dark, ominous clouds hanging in the heavens) we decided to just put all the bedding on our air mattress and make sure nothing was touching the sides. Sure enough, as we were waiting for dinner to finish cooking, the storm hit. It rained for at least 20 minutes and probably closer to 30 minutes. I am not talking about a rainbows and butterflies sprinkle... we are talking torrential downpour complete with strong winds, thunder, lightning, and buckets of rain. I was very grateful for the pavilion that we were all huddled under. Well, okay, the kids were still riding scooters, trikes, and running around. They thought it was great. The last family attending (my wife's sister and family) arrived just as it started to rain. All I could think of was that our tent would be drenched and the entire camping area would be a mud puddle.In fact, in the beginning of the storm when we were trying to round up the herd of children, my four-year old son made it to the pavilion with only one sandal on his foot. He said he lost it by the "bear den" (the name they gave one of the many forts that had discovered/built in the short time we had been there). After the storm I did look, but the wet grass was more than I cared to deal with (we are talking about grass that came to my waist and soaked me through pretty quick). My son went barefoot or wore his tie shoes (which got trashed very quickly).
Dinner was fantastic. Every year, we start the reunion with a Japanese style dinner in honor of my wife's brother that was killed last year. After dinner, we just hung out and visited. It was nice. There was also a guessing jar activity. My wife's sister who was in charge of the reunion, filled a HUGE glass jar with candy, puzzles, toys, etc. Each person got to put in a guess with how many items were in the jar. (More on this later). All the kids except my two-year-old put in their guess and anxiously awaited the announcement (which wouldn't be until the next evening). We did discover that one tent (not ours, thankfully) had had the top rain cover blow off in the wind and the tent was soaked inside and out, and another tent had had water come up through the floor and soak the sleeping bags. I wouldn't say that really anyone slept wonderfully that first night (well, anyone that was over the age of 10).
The day broke sunny and warm. One thing I truly loved about this camping site was the fact that even though there were some serious bugs around (I mean we are camping... it is to be expected), there were NO mosquitoes. For our kids, that was a true blessing. I got up and got dressed and wandered down to the pavilion. It was soon after that the entire family herd was up and going. Breakfast was started and the inviting smell of dutch oven cooking filled the area. After enjoying a filling breakfast (thanks Adrienne and Justin) we decided to do family pictures. There was a neat wood bridge across a creek that we used as the "stage". Each family that was present had their picture taken (and with three of us taking pictures, SOMEONE had to get a good picture- lol). On a positive note, I did find my son's sandal a midst a huge clump of grass in the middle of no-where.
After pictures, a game of baseball was started. The bad news... my son broke his new found sandal and we had to throw them away. When baseball ended, a water fight was begun. I was ecstatic that I was NOT involved. I did, however, enjoy watching the younger kids with Uncle Justin attack grandpa and the older uncles. Everyone that participated showed signs of doing so- ripped clothes, scrapes, scratches, and soaking wet clothes. I think that it was a huge success. I was content to blow bubble for my two-year old who thought that bubbles were about the coolest thing around.
While everyone was drying out, more visiting and relaxing took place. (Yeah for that!) A tradition in the Millett Family is a Whirly Pop popcorn contest. Each year, families seek out the best tasting popcorn recipes to make. A trophy was made a few years ago and each year it is awarded to the family that wins with the best tasting, best presented product. It is always top-secret and everyone refuses to discuss their plans right up until cooking time. The family that wins becomes the judges for the next year. Anyways, everyone started their creations and put them out for the judges to taste and score. The judges this year were my wife's parents. There were some great entries. My wife made a cinna-bon flavored popcorn that was to die for. The judges made everyone leave, or quit watching, did their thing, and then it was time for dinner. Cassy and Reed was in charge of dinner and it was elegant. She had some amazing food including fresh corn on the cob, mix-your-own lemonade with fruit, chicken sandwiches, and more. YUMMY! She used antique items to display and serve from. It was really fun to be a part of one of her famous dinner party events. In fact, it was first for me. So thanks for that Cassy and Reed.
After dinner was finished and cleaned up, it was movie time. Adrienne and Justin has spent hours and hours converting the Millett family home videos from VHS to DVD. They had made a DVD with highlights from the videos and we had a great time watching the family in their younger years. In fact, each family got a copy of the DVD at the end. The winner of the Whirly-Pop was announced. And, the winner was... US! lol. We have really never tried in years past. This year, my wife was determined to win... and she did. So the trophy is now sitting on our mantle for the next year. Wahoo!
The winner of the estimation jar was also announced. The top 6 closest guesses were announced. My two-year-old was one of the ones announced. I laughed. And then, he won. He was so excited and my wife is excited to steal the huge glass jar to use in her scrapbook room. My other kids were totally green with envy. The funniest part is that I told my wife what number to write on the paper. So how we won is a mystery to me... I am the unluckiest person alive when it comes to raffles and drawings.
After all the excitement, everyone started to fade out to bed. It had been a wonderful and full day and the kids were exhausted. We all slept really well (including the baby, who really enjoying camping).
I was up pretty early, thanks to the call of nature. I decided to just get dressed. I spent about 30 minutes picking up garbage around and in the pavilion. I tried to put items that belonged to families in piles, and get things arranged so the breakfast assignment could be started easier. After that, I was STILL the only one awake, so I took our camera and wandered around taking pictures. The sun was just coming up and the mountains and surrounding area was beautiful. I am sure the pictures I took won't do it justice, but I tried just the same.
Breakfast was great. Traditional breakfast foods and very tasty. Of course, camping style breakfasts of pancakes off the hot griddle, eggs in the dutch oven, and other delectable items of the dutch oven type are hard to beat. With breakfast over, we moved in to the family meeting we hold each year. This meeting is held to discuss payments for camping spots, who is in charge next year, and any other "family business" that needs to be addressed.
After the meeting, we all piled into cars and headed out to the fish hatchery that was located about 5 minutes from our camp site. That was neat for the kids to see all the different size fish. They even got to feed the bigger fish and they thought that was totally awesome. It was fun and funny to watch them ohhh and awww over them and have them run screaming away when the fish splashed water all over to get to the food. (I personally enjoyed seeing a flush toilet and hot running water in the restrooms at the hatchery the most... lol).
After the hatchery, we headed back to the campsite and had lunch. We cleaned up, packed up, and headed out. It was a great reunion.
We were able to stop in Roosevelt and see my sister for a while. She has such amazing products that she hand makes. Totally worth checking out (see link above in this post). My daughter LOVES to go to Aunt Paula's booth. So many girly-girl things to see and dream about owning. Of course Auntie Paula spoils my kids rotten, so that doesn't help...lol.
We finally made it home in the late afternoon, got everything unloaded, the kids and us showered and in fresh clothes, and then just vegged on the couch. (Thanks mom and dad for turning on our air so we didn't have to come home to a toasty house).
And that concludes another year of "A Camping We Will Go..."