Time again for our annual camping trip! We got this one in just under the wire to avoid pesky school children and likely make more than a few retirees grunt at the early invasion as we let loose our own school-aged hoarde to squeal, run around, laugh manically (Emily) and play cards until all hours of the night all while hyped up on singed marshmallows. Yes! Our summer kick-off camping trip is a go!

Since we can't be too far from our local obligations (in the form of play practice and baseball), we opted to go closer to home this year than ever before. Suzette did some research and decided Clear Creek recreation area in Bankhead was the place for us to go. I promtly sent out campground information and directions for Corinth rec area. Yes! The A.C.E. Camping Team is in top form for another year of flawlessly organized trips.

We had lunch here to work out a few details about group meal plans and assigned things to people who did not show up, yet were applauded for their volunteerism anyway and then e-mailed the details of their shopping lists. I reminiced about my first group camping trip at Edgar Evins back in August of 2002 when I sent out e-mails giving everyone their food assignments. I managed to get the family who avoided sugar to bring marshmallows, the lactose-intollerant family brought cheese, and the celiac family got stuck with the tortillas. Still, everyone ate their fill! And so it goes, year after year, the first night of the trip, we all have taco salad together!

Yes, that is our Baby Benny in the blue onesie.
Yes, I am trying not to cry.

That's also my tent in the back corner! There were 2 of us camped on the deck and room to have everyone over to eat!

And Jake is in the green shirt

I learned a great deal from this camping trip, on which some 42 people joined me, the very first lesson was-don't get involved in a land war in Asia. No...that's from Princess Bride...oh, it was "Just because the swinging vine grows behind your campsite does not mean you have a monopoly on it, you have to share."

When that did not work, I asked a park employee to have it cut down, which they did right away.
Parents got involved, it was ugly! One family left early, all over a VINE that their kids were defending so violently, they were not actually playing on it. The lesson I learned was 'You can't make everyone happy, so just try to make sure they are safe and have a good time anyhow.'

Also, one family had this tent, I wish I had taken a picture of it! It had a screen porch and the kids slept on hammocks (on a stand) out there and the parents had their own room in the back and they had a fridge and a huge bed! I have this kind of tent envy that is based on real tents but has been made worse by Harry Potter and their magical tents. I want a tent with a hallway and a bay window.

Anyway, enough of the past, our annual summer kick-off trip is about to start!

Day One!