Kids Gone Wild — Adventures in Camping

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MEMO FROM THE OPC (OFFICE OF PROPER CHILDREARING)

Dear Unskilled Perfectionist,

It has come to our attention that you have violated several key tenets from the OPC during your recent camping trip.  The charges against you include but are not limited to the following:

Improper Language
Upon approaching Cinder Cone and realizing that your husband’s plan was to hike to the top of the giant volcano, you blurted, “Get the f@$% out!”  Yes, your disbelief was motivation for your kids and they powered to the top, but horrible language is frowned upon by the OPC.

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Complete Disregard for Proper Nutrition
We have reports that you fed your children so much stuff cooked on a stick over the fire, that when they passed a café at the Lassen Visitors Center, they begged for an apple.  An apple!  It is also our understanding that you let your children invent something called “The Ultimate S’mOreo” — a stacked monstrosity that includes: graham cracker, roasted marshmallow, bottom of an Oreo, another roasted marshmallow, top of an Oreo, yet another roasted marshmallow and another graham cracker.  We’re pretty sure the road to childhood obesity is paved with Ultimate S’mOreos thanks to you.

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Engaging in Activities Unfit for Children
Really? You taught your children how to play poker?  It doesn’t matter that they won.  Poker is poker.  They chopped wood with an axe, whittled with a pocket knife, put bait on their own fish hooks and wandered down to the lake without an adult trailing them warning “be careful.”  We also have a report of child labor violations as you made your daughter paddle the two-person kayak while you kicked back and took pictures.  Shameful.

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Inappropriate Clothing
Your children played in the snow while wearing shorts and t-shirts.  Yes, it was 90 degrees out and the snow was a welcome break during a long hike, but children in the snow need hats and gloves – no exceptions.  And what’s this rumor about skinny dipping in a lake when you forgot to pack bathing suits?  Ok, just a rumor.  We’ll strike that from the record.

In conclusion, despite your children’s claims that this was the “best trip ever,” those of us at the Office of Proper Childrearing hope that this warning will prompt you to make some much needed changes before your next family adventure.

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True Colors

Although I took this photo a couple of years ago, the image of that ballsy orange tree letting its freak flag fly in a mountain of green has stuck with me.  A good reminder to join the ranks of brave souls offering their true colors for all the world to see.

Post inspiried by today’s Shutter Sisters prompt: reflection

Flaming Marshmallows

Perhaps the best byproducts of a good road trip are the epic tales of adventure that get told again and again, becoming family legend.  Here’s a peek into our first camping trip and the nicknames that everyone earned along the way…

Firestarter

Nothing good could come of his two favorite camping activities: whittling a stick with a pocketknife and poking roaring fires.  This kid seemed bound and determined to finish our trip with one less eye or finger than he started with.  Near misses included: pulling the knife straight towards his face while whittling; flipping a flaming log completely outside of the fire pit onto a pile of dry pine needles; and purposefully igniting his marshmallows so he could wave his hands and shout “IT’S ON FIRE, IT’S ON FIRE!”  I’m packing bubble wrap and safety goggles for our next trip.

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Happy Camper

We were floored to discover the vegetarian who’s afraid of spiders is a rock star camper.  She embraced it all — the dirt, the wildlife, the meat cooked on sticks (especially the meat cooked on sticks).  She dug through the dirt to choose the perfect worm, created a 9-hole pine cone golf course on our campsite, and happily sprinted for a bucket of water when Firestarter flipped the flaming log onto the pine needles.  Most impressive was the extreme skill with which she roasted marshmallows: fifteen minutes of patiently rotating the skewer to create the most perfect golden, melty treat.  She’s found her calling.

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The first morning of our trip, my husband left for what has to be the camping equivalent of a Saturday morning tee time: the early morning fly fishing expedition.  The kids and I ate cereal, played cards and wandered to the camp store to buy postcards.  Our intrepid fisherman returned home happy but sorely lacking in fish.

Later that afternoon it was the kids’ turn to fish and they each plucked two from the lake.  Emboldened by the adrenaline from hooking their first fish, they started talking smack.  “Wow, we both caught two fish, how many did you catch this morning, dad?”  “Zero fish.  We should call you bagel.  No, we should call you donut.”  “Do-nut.  Do-nut.  Do-nut.”  With the donut chant ringing through the pine trees, he grabbed a pole, added a worm and bobber, and a few minutes later, caught a fish.  It didn’t matter, the nickname stuck.

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The family decided my name had to be Cookie, as in the grizzled character who made the camp food in all the old Westerns.  Turns out, I love cooking in a cast iron skillet over an open fire.  I don’t know if it was the smoke or the abundance of bacon grease, but everything tasted so good and was so much fun to make.  I considered it training for when we undergo a kitchen remodel and are cooking on a hotplate for two months.  I think we’ll be ok…

After four days we headed home a changed family.  We were campers, nature lovers, fish hunters and hikers.  We were Firestarter, Happy Camper, Donut and Cookie.

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