a camper i am not

We went camping this weekend.

I really don’t enjoy the act of camping, but I love my in-laws a LOT and they always manage to make it a good time, so we go on this trip every year.  I think this is our third year going out of the four-year tradition (we skipped 2009 when Eddie was born because I still had a fresh C-section scar).

We always go up Friday night to a campground on the Muskeegon River about an hour north of where we live.  Saturday we canoe all day and then we return Sunday morning.

Did I mention we tent camp?  I’ve blogged about our previous trips here (2008) (with more pics from that trip here) and here (2010).

I’ll have pictures of the trip after I get my canoe camera developed, but here are the things that I learned from this year’s trip…

1.  I have zero camping abilities.  I can’t set up a tent, blow up an air mattress, or enjoy dirt.

2. College kids have not changed at all since I was one.  They are still loud, drunk, and completely oblivious to the fact that there are other people in the campground.  Yeah, I’m looking at you, Rental Camper with the country and rap music.  Oh and you, Band of Douchebags behind the trees setting off illegal fireworks.  And no, I would never forget you, King Douche, for encouraging “Rage Paige” to vomit while sitting disturbingly close to our tent.

3. I can do my teacher voice in the summer.  Just ask the morons who tried to cut through our campsite to get to the “party” one site over.  The proof is the very wide berth they all made from then on.  They didn’t get quieter, but they didn’t come through our campsite either.

4. A sunburned face is indeed not better than a greasy one with more zits due to sunblock.

5. If you throw a football amongst four canoes going down a river?  Someone will lose their balance and fall out.  (he he…Liz).

6. My step-father-in-law will touch what he believes to be bear shit.

7. If told to be careful when picking up the incense stick thingys that keep the mosquitoes away?  Caution should be headed.  (stupid burn welts from ash).

8. Drunk girls will pull a Brittney and use public restrooms barefoot.

9. Prenatal vitamins require bringing a razor along on a weekend camping trip.  Unless of course it was my goal to blend with the woodland creatures. (Hint:  it was not).

10. An air mattress, no matter how firmly inflated, is no substitute for my own bed.

11. I can canoe for six hours without tipping us over.

12. After living on hobo pies and hot dogs, leftover anything from our fridge tastes great.

13. It is odd to not have a two year old around doing a running commentary on what vehicles are in your vicinity.

14.  Campground showers do not get you clean so much as make room for a new layer of filth.

15. My husband has a tough guy voice when it comes to drunk college kids.

16. Two people paddling a canoe is much faster than just one.  But not as relaxing.

17. Personal coolers at either end of the canoe is so much better than a shared cooler out of both of our reach.

18. College kids never miss an opportunity to point out a fart they just heard from a tent…even if they are in the middle of trying to pick up a drunk chick.

19.  It can be too hot to nap.

20. I can have fun camping…but I am glad we only do it once a year. (Thanks, Mom and Ray, for taking us along again this year!)

So…do you camp?  Do you like it?  Or are you like me and would MUCH rather vacation in a nice, air-conditioned hotel with a  big comfy bed?

**we also found out this weekend that we are becoming an aunt and uncle for the first time on Cort’s side of the family!  His sister, MacKenzie and her husband David, have been in the adoption process for about 15 months, and they just found out Thursday that they are the proud parents of twin boys!  Read all about it on their adoption blog, Stepping Stones, and maybe leave them a little Sluiter Nation love.

Top Ten Tuesday: Vacation Memories

Since I am in the midst of the longest stretch of work with no break (from Sept 7 until Thanksgiving), I thought an appropriate Top Ten list this week would be vacation memories.

Lately I have been finding myself dreaming of going far, far away with my little family so that we can get some much needed rest and relaxation together.  These dreams have taken me back to some memories I have of traveling with my family, with my husband, with my friends, and with my little family of three.

So here we go….

10. My mom walking off the dock in Pentwater, MI. I was in high school when my family rented a cottage up north in Pentwater, MI, and my parents let me take my best friend, Tonya, along with us.  This particular cottage didn’t have any private beach, but it did have a private dock that had a lovely wide end to it for sunning and swimming and just having fun in the water.  The first day we were there, my brothers, parents, Tonya, and I were headed out to the dock to hang out.  Everyone was preoccupied with what they were doing.

Apparently my mom was so preoccupied, that she didn’t  notice that the dock ended and she walked right off of it.  She tried to play it off like she jumped in, saying things like, “whew!  it’s hot out!  this water feels SO good!”  But Tonya had watched her do it and was laughing so hard she couldn’t breathe.  My mom being totally busted…and soaking wet…was pretty hilarious.

9. Buffalo with my fiance. The year before Cort and I were married we took a trip to New York state to visit friends (oh hey, Phil and Liz!!) who lived in Rochester at the time.  Before we got there, though, we wanted to stop for a couple nights in Buffalo.  I wanted to go to the zoo–which was talked up on their website as being the third oldest zoo in the nation, having elephant washing, giraffe feeding, and camel riding–and Cort wanted to see Niagara Falls (even though I

Monkeys at the Buffalo Zoo

told him it’s just a lot of water).

This story could be a whole post, but I will boil it down to this:  Buffalo Zoo?  Lame.  We did not get to feed any giraffes, wash any elephants, or ride any camels.  We set aside a whole day for a zoo we walked int 20 minutes.  And Niagara Falls?  Cort agreed it was just a lot of water.

But we had fun laughing at our misfortune, AND we had a super time once we got to Rochester!

8. Spring Break in college. The one and only time I ever went on a spring break trip was my sophomore year in college.  A group of friends (Go Broncos!!) and I took a plane (my first jet ride ever) to St Petersburg, FL for a week-long stay.  Every day we sat by the pool and tanned.  Most of us were under 21, so we didn’t do a lot of night life, but it didn’t matter.  We had so much fun just hanging out!  And since there were five of us and only two queen-sized beds?  We rotated the person who slept on the floor. It was just plain fun and crazy.

7. Florida with my family. About four years before the spring break trip to Florida, my family took us all to Orlando, FL.  It was one of the first “big” trips my family ever took together (we usually just rented cottages for a week).  We drove the 24 hours there as a family in a van.  I have lots of hilarious memories from this trip, but one that has to do with me was when we were in the Magic Kingdom and I (an almost-sophomore in high school) was SO crabby, my mom actually made me take a time out!  While my dad and my brothers enjoyed Thunder Mountain?  I was stuck on a bench sipping a diet coke until I could “improve my mood.”

6. Tigers baseball game with my family. We have been to MANY Tiger Ball games together as a family, but one in particular sticks out to me because I. DID. NOT. WANT. TO. BE. THERE.

My family had just gotten down with a trip that included Cedar Point and a drive-thru safari (a WHOLE different memory), we were making our way back through Michigan via Detroit because my parents had gotten us tickets to see a game.  People?  As a 16 year old teenager?  I was done.  I did NOT want to be on this trip anymore.

To show my displeasure, I ridiculed (loudly) everything about the game, I insisted on showing off my new Spanish skills (thank you, high school Spanish II) by ordering my refreshments only en espanol, and I targeted the poor kid who was sitting in front of us.

That was probably the most obnoxious thing that I did.  This kid was a total Ken Griffey, Jr fan and every time Griffey did something great, he would say, “ROOOOUTINE hit for Griffey!”

It was that annoying.

So I started quietly heckling.  Finally, Griffey struck out and I leaned forward and yelled, “ROOOOOOOUTINE HIT FOR GRIFFEY!”

Dining at the Experience Music Project

The kid did not say another word the entire game.

5. Seattle with my hubby. One year after being married, Cortney and I decided to fly (my second time on a jet) to Seattle–the home of his favorite band, Pearl Jam–for a week-long vacation.  He didn’t want to be around for the “anniversary” of his dad’s passing away, and Seattle was some place we both really wanted to visit.  So we went.

We went to a zoo (duh), and aquarium (duh), the Experience Music Project, the Space Needle, the Pacific Ocean, Pike Place Market, and lots of downtown wanderings.

4. Montana for one of my best friends. Because I will do anything for my friends, Cort and I decided our vacation in 2007 would be the trip we were making to Montana for a wedding that I was in.  I blogged about it here.

Looking good at the Montana wedding

We found out a few things on that trip:  North Dakota is boring.  Montana is beautiful (and boring), Wyoming is beautiful (and boring), South Dakota has some good place to stop, but the Mitchel Corn Palace is not one of them.

3. Camping/Canoeing with the in-laws. Ok, I hate camping.  It is NOT my idea of a vacation.  But we have gone twice.  TWICE!  I blogged about both trips here, here, and here.  Despite my hate of all things camping, we have a pretty damn good time!

Canoe Trip 2010

2. Indianapolis with my family of three. This past summer’s trip to Indy will always be a favorite of mine because it was our very first vacation as a family of three.  Granted, it was only three days, but in that three days, we spent two (successful) nights in a hotel with a toddler, did some sight-seeing, visited with great friends, met some new great friends, and spent a total of eight hours in the car with

My bloggy friends in Indy

a screaming toddler.

1. My honeymoon. You knew this had to be #1, right?  Most people at this point would talk all about their magical getaway to some all inclusive resort, or perhaps a romantic trip to Europe?  Maybe a cruise?

Not us.  We were on a budget, people.

We went to Myrtle Beach.  Actually, we DROVE to Myrtle Beach. Yes, I know there are some kick ass places to stay and be pampered in Myrtle Beach.  No, we did not stay at one of them.  We stayed at the Mystic Sea Resort–which, upon arriving?  Cort deemed neither Mystical nor Resortish.  In fact, he may have used a swear word and then commented how it looked nothing like what it did on the internet (you would think we would have learned from the Buffalo Zoo debacle, wouldn’t you?).

Two newlywed beach bums

There are so many stories I can tell you about Myrtle Beach, but the main thing is that we started our marriage off with something we could afford and made it fun.  We laughed until we cried.  We enjoyed being together.  And it was perfect.

Don’t get me wrong, some day I would LOVE to go on a “real” vacation.  Something all-inclusive.  Somewhere that creates little swans and monkeys out of my towels.  But until then, we will have fun with our budget vacations.  It’s what I am used to growing up, and it is what you make it!

Now how about you?  Do you have a Top Ten list of your vacation memories?  Link it up!  And tune in this weekend when I announce next week’s Top Ten Tuesday Topic!

We Don’t Camp, but We Did Anyway

 
As I have mentioned before, camping is not our ideal vacation here in Sluiter Nation.  We enjoy air conditioning, a real bed, a private bathroom.  I know…it’s asking a lot.  I just like to feel rested and clean when I go away…not like a bug-bitten, squirrely-haired, greasey-faced hot mess.
However…each year Cort’s mom and stepdad take all of us “kids” up north to tent camp and canoe.  They all really enjoy camping and we don’t want to be the lame-o party poopers who don’t go.  Plus?  Cort’s side of the family?  Oh they bring the fun.  So I complain for a few days, but I pack it up and head in to the wilderness.  We DID get a new tent this year (thanks, Lynne!!!) so we weren’t in a little pup tent.  That was a BIG plus.
Especially because Friday night?  It rained sheets down upon us.  Buckets and sheets and cats and dogs. Saturday morning it was still pouring.  That of course meant that our trip to the bathroom equaled muddy flip flops and gross toes. And it meant no hobo pies for breakfast.

But we did improvise!  We all crammed in to the screened in tent and Ray made us our breakfast sandwiches on the little gas stove top. He made bacon and then egg, ham, and cheese grilled sandwiches.  YUM!

Since it was so rainy and gross, we were sort of thinking we wouldn’t be able to canoe until at least noon.  So we were all just lazing around.  Around 10:15am we got word that we would be canoeing at 10:30!  The mad scramble to get all canoe-ready began.

All ten of us got on the river around 11:00am.  We were told it was a three hour paddle.  But wait…who paddles?

As if I wasn’t already a big steaming hot mess after a rainy night in a tent, nasty feet from muddy flip flops, and no make-up, it was about to get much worse.

Everyone took turns “launching” their canoes.  I sad in the front of ours patiently waiting for Tom and Kristin to get their canoe off and floating.  I was sitting there minding my own business when…SPLASH!  I was gasping for breath as I came up from the bottom of the river!

Apparently, my superman of a husband thought he could shove us off and leap into our canoe all while not telling me what he was doing.  Um, no.  Now I was completely soaked, my leg was scraped up, and I had a bruised hand.  Even hotter mess than before.  But after I rung out my tank top and bandanna, I was in good spirits again!

After all, it was an accident, and look at that smile?  How can I be angry at that?  Plus, let’s be honest, he does all the canoe work.  I don’t have to do anything but ride along.  And sip my, uh, beverage.  I like that about canoeing.

See?  Sorry…this picture is sort of a hot mess.  This is what happens when I camp, fall in a river, and then smile really big while squinting into the sun.  Oh and that guy behind me?  Yup, I married him.  He is mine.

The river was higher than normal due to all the rain so there weren’t as many place to have pit stops as usual.  We did a lot of this:  Party Barging.  There I am with my girls!  Sisters-in-law MacKenzie and Liz and our friend, Kristin!  These girls are why camping?  Isn’t as bad as it could be.  And canoeing?  Is awesome.

We did find some places to stop.  I mean, we had to have bathroom breaks, right?  I am not sure what Tom and Cody are discussing here, but it reminds me of when my Mom-in-law said to Tom, “Hey Tom.  It’s pretty hot out here.  Why don’t you take your sleeve off?”  I mean seriously?  That was the funniest dang thing I heard all day.  My mom-in-law making a tattoo joke?  awesome.

There was lots more fun on the river.  Mom and Ray tipped in their canoe.  Cody and Liz tipped in their canoe (and then MacKenzie and Dave dragged Liz down the river until Cody could get the water out of the canoe and pick her up).  There were millions of turtle-sightings and even more laughs and jokes.

By the time we got off the river, we were all tired…and looking a little worse for wear.  We dragged ourselves back to camp, played some hillbilly golf, made some hot dogs, rested, and enjoyed being eaten alive by mosquitoes.

Yes, Sluiter Nation was sun burned, tired, achy, and did I mention tired?  We probably could have used a nap!

And aside from a brief panic attack on my part Saturday night (we had no phone service and I couldn’t call to check on Eddie.  Plus I mixed anti-depressants and some booze.  not good.  lesson learned), the weekend was very fun!  I was proud of myself from changing my attitude from angerball to happy pants. 

Even if by Sunday morning when we were packing up, I was sure I could smell myself.  I think that might just be the definition of a hot mess.

And as it turned out?  Eddie had a GREAT time at my parents’ house!  He was back to his old funny, silly, happy self when we picked him up Sunday morning.  Go figure.  I freaked out for nothing.  What else is new?

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