I was tricked into camping. I didn't want to go.
I didn't want to have to hold my breath when I went to the bathroom because of the smell.
I didn't want to have to use a lantern in the middle of the night to walk to the bathroom. I knew there would be bears watching me.
I wanted to be able to take a shower.
I was told that I had to go. That there was a special pin waiting for me and that all the moms were going.
There was no pin and there were only a couple moms.
Even the food sucked. For breakfast, the boys chose Dinosaur Egg oatmeal and for lunch there was Ramen. DRY Ramen.
We did bring our own food so I was able to eat something not so gross.
I spent the weekend in Crocs and socks. Yep. I looked like a total idiot. I even stopped to explain to the other boys in the troop what had happened and that they were not to make fun of me. They said that they hadn't even noticed the Crocs. Yeah, ok.
There were hikes and trips to the top of the mountain to look at the city view. I didn't go because, you know, Crocs and socks don't make the best hiking shoes and what if I had to run from a bear?
At one point, I did make it down a hill, across a log or two and over a small stream. I took a few pictures and then turned back. The kids and Erik went ahead and I went back to camp alone.
I did discover that the monopod for my camera made an excellent walking stick and an even better "stop snoring" stick. The second night, Kat slept next to me while Erik and Trent slept on the other end of the tent. I had no way of nudging Erik to stop snoring.
I quickly discovered that all I had to do was extend my monopod to it's fullest length and just poke until I felt something soft and squishy.
The snoring stopped but that's when the laughing started.
I couldn't control myself. It was 1 am and here I am in the middle of the woods poking some part of Erik with a big stick to try to get him to stop snoring. I thought it was so funny. Maybe it was the thin mountain air, or the possibility that I could die any second from a bear attack but I couldn't stop laughing until the three of the woke up and told me to shut up.
But, even with all of this stuff going on, I was able to get this picture:
I was able to control the back lighting! No! That's not really what I saw. I'll admit, at first I was excited about that but when I took a second look I saw true happiness. It's something we haven't had in awhile.
What could be better than that? The kids together and smiling. Not "fake smile for the camera" smiles, but real smiles. I can't even remember the last time that happened.
The kids and I have been stressed about school starting, about our financial woes and especially about Ashley, Garrett and Blake moving to Texas.
I'm sure I'll pay the price for this, but the elephant in our tiny room is Ashley and Blake.
It was just last week when Ashley, Garrett and Blake came over for a little photo shoot. For weeks, Katrina has been asking every time we see Blake if this will be the last time. I told her that she would know for sure when the last time would be because I would tell her.
I thought we would have another chance after this to see Blake, Ashley and Garrett before they left. Unfortunately, this was the last time.
I said something that upset Ashley and she, well, let's say she "raged". I don't think she realized it, but she made Katrina cry from her outburst. Ashley was so upset with me that she didn't even want to let me take pictures of Blake with Kat and Trent. I didn't realize this until later when she scolded Garrett for allowing it to happen.
The picture isn't even that good. Both kids were extremely upset and were holding back tears.
As I was taking this picture, I had to tell Kat and Trent that this was the last time we'd see Blake for a long time.
So, you see now that the picture of the two of them smiling on the camping trip is even more precious to me because of their real smiles.
For a brief second, I caught happiness.
And the elephant in the very tiny room is now just a fraction smaller.