You know how sometimes so many things go wrong that it begins to get comical? Well, that's the kind of week we've had.

It all started with the drive down to Kali's baptism. No, it probably actually stared with Jon's back acting up, and him being unable to go backpacking with Christine and co. in the Uintas. Then we drove down to Kali's baptism (which was good), but spent a surprise extra hour on the hot July road in construction traffic. We recovered at Jos and Trace's, drinking a lot and eating good food, and then my shirt got stuck in the zipper of my skirt and it broke. Of course.

We picked up lots of granola bars, wildflower seeds and giant chive starts at Mom and Dad's before heading out to the trail head the next morning. We hiked about 4 miles at a rate of 1 mile per hour.

The hike is actually one of my favorite parts of backpacking in the Uintas. I like it because I get to hike alongside one of my 2-4 year olds. The hike is difficult for them, but I like the opportunity to encourage them to do hard things, and when they reach the end of their rope, to remind them to pray for strength and/or deliverance.

This year I hiked with Linus. Woo stopped for a break every mile, and one mile was exactly as much as Linus could take in one chunk. He would say a prayer (asking to see Dad, and the other kids, and the campsite), would ask me to say a prayer (yelling, "You forgot to say the campsite, Mom!" when I knew we weren't anywhere close), and then would ask me say the "scripture" which is actually a poem* and sure enough, within a minute or two, we would see Woo and the other kids sitting on the side of the trail. One time Woo ran up the trail without his pack and alone to carry Linus down a steep rocky part. Linus' favorite time was when I saw Woo in the middle of my prayer, and said, "I'm thankful I can see Dad right now!"

We met up with Christine, her kids, and Woo's dad at our campsite, got it set up, and then it rained and rained and rained and rained and rained. We had a couple of hours of merely overcast in two and half days, and then it cleared up for us to pack up and hike out.

The best part of it raining so much is that the kids slept pretty well for a campout. When the choices are huddling under a tarp, or being warm in your sleeping bag in the tent, they chose the sleeping bag far more often than they normally would have. And once you're there, there's not much to do, but sleep. I think almost everyone took a nap every day.

The exception to the good sleepers was 3 yr old Sammy. He was up for a four hour stint the first night. First demanding "all the food!" then "lotion!" then "potty!"

Because I had zero expectations for getting a good nights sleep and because he wasn't my kid, I was giggling in my tent by the time he yelled he was "walking home!" and Christine said, "You're walking home? Good! Have fun!"

I'm sure Christine has very different feelings about it.

Our tantrums were thrown by our two oldest kids in the middle of the day. Ruby had a rough time one morning, was rude to almost everyone, dumped over the mac and cheese Grandpa brought over to her, and then wrote "I'm sorry" in sticks for her dad. After that she took a nap and was much, much better.

Woo looked up suddenly and yelled, "Herbie! What are you thinking?!" He had a big ol' rock aimed for a good throw at some other kids. He dropped that rock, but was still very aggressive for awhile until I could get him calmed down.

Is he 8 or 14?

I think the day it rained the hardest was also Ben's birthday. He turned nine. We fished for a couple of hours and little else. We did eat Christine's self-dehydrated, gourmet burritos and a handful of candy to celebrate. He didn't seem to mind.

Everyone loved fishing, even when the bubbles on the kids fishing poles all broke, and I tied pinecones on instead.

Ruby (looking at the pictures): Oh! There's me casting!
Herbie: To the side.
Ruby: I know. I wanted to do that.

By the end Nicole was casting just as far and as well as Christine.

She also immediately found and climbed the tallest dead tree stump.

Moses and Penelope were our most good natured campers. They would both wake up happy with cute grins on their faces. This year Moses was the one who's pants were too big for him and had to be held up by a bungee.

Moses gave me a flower to put in my hair and we would've had a nice picture, if Penelope hadn't just hit Moses in the back of the head with a rock.

Penelope was the messiest. I think it had something to do with being three and not being that good with noodles or oatmeal yet.

Me: I like you, Penelope.
Penelope: I know. Cuz I'm cute.

Isaac suddenly became everyone's favorite cousin. I overheard Ruby, Herbie and Moses arguing over who got to play with him.

Archie slept with me in my sleeping bag. I tried him in his own, but he just cried and crawled out. He cried for a bit with me, and then was quiet and fell asleep. By the second night, he was lying down and giggling when we climbed into the tent. He went to sleep faster when he was mad about it. Whenever the rain would slow to a drizzle, I would walk Archie around and around the campsite. We moved very slow, Archie's very short, and the Survivor buff is the only hat he won't pull right off. He looked like a little old lady. Woo asked him when he was going to start walking in the mall.

When I go camping, I go into what I call survival mode, where I almost completely shut off to keep my sanity. I only surface when someone is lost, hungry, or repeatedly kicking another kid in the crotch apparently (Sorry about that, Ben). But Christine is the pleasing voice of domesticity on the trail. She makes sure that her kids' molars are properly brushed, bums properly wiped, that they get protein at every meal. Her tents have a thick foam pad covering the entire floor of the tent. She dries their wet clothes over the fire and neatly folds an entire outfit (even down to the socks) for them to place in the bottom of their sleeping bags and wear on the hike home. I hope those kids know how much she loves them!

Grandpa tended the fire and kept the water boiling. Not a glamorous job. Actually, I take that back. Very glamorous jobs to all the kids, which only added keeping them safe to the burden. It was probably not easy being stuck in a rain drenched campsite with a bunch of crazy kids and their parents.

Finally, it cleared up and we packed up and hiked out. We saw lots and lots of scouts on the trail. Some parties of men with friends, and probably two women. I believe Ruby, Nicole and Penelope were the only girls. Seeing all the scouts reminded me that we're probably preparing Herbie to be the biggest campout know-it-all in the varsity scouts. Something I'm sure he'll thank us for someday.

We got to the car, asked a very tired Grandpa to snap our picture, and found that mice or chipmunks or something had invaded our car and gotten into all our extra granola bars.

The kids fell asleep on the way home, and we decided to just drive all the way home, shower and eat at the BBQ. But when we got to the BBQ, they were having their special concert series where you have to buy concert tickets with your meal. We hurried to Subway (Woo's most hated restaurant), and got the kids to bed.

Moses was so tired, he fell asleep almost immediately, but no one else did. Remember that concert in the park? It was keeping everyone else up. At which point Woo started laughing, "What are the odds there'd be a concert in the park the night we come home from camping?" And then he ripped up an old t-shirt of his into a rag as a token of appreciation for me going camping with them. Which was one of the greatest tokens of love he's ever given me.

There were several other smaller incidents this week such as me walking straight into a tree limb, and me burning a big blister onto my thumb. But probably the biggest one was Woo locking both car keys into the car while he was fixing the taillight. Luckily, I've had enough experience (accidentally) popping out the rear windshield and popping it back in for Woo to remember it could be done fairly easily.

And that's about enough for this week. I hope you all had fun, and congratulations again to Kali and Ezra on their baptisms!


*I know not by what methods rare, but this I know God answers prayer.
I know that He has given His word that tells me prayer is always heard,
And will be answered soon or late and so I pray and calmly wait.

I know not if the message sought will come in just the way I thought,
But trust my will to Him alone, whose ways are wiser than my own,
Assured that He will grant my quest, or send an answer far more blessed.