Thursday, October 17, 2013

Home Away From Home

[Note: This post was originally published on The Mrs on August 20th, 2011.]

Remember the lists pictured last week? No?

I can hardly blame you, what with that awe-inspiring image of armed potato men...

Those lists, though? They were my camping lists. My lists, because let’s face it, Mr Lannis (when not creating potato men) had been working all week and other than jotting a list over a cup of coffee in the hopes to outdo me (ha HA!), didn’t bother contemplating what to pack. His contribution? The only thing his list had that mine didn’t already?

Yogurt (ha HA! again!).

When I pointed out the ease of cheese-strings over yogurt cups, the yogurt was declared obsolete.

Items on my list and not on his? Plenty. And, granted, it didn’t rain and we didn’t end up needing the rain coats or boots, but it’s tricky to eat without plates, and we kind of need to remember that frying pan for the all-important bacon...

Oh, and we might want something to occupy the kids, too... you know, maybe.

How he managed to neglect toys is beyond me. A frog pond is great, but what’re they going to do on the five-hour drive?

Yep. Five hours. That’s with pit stops, but MapQuest tells me it’s officially 4:17 minutes.

This isn’t just any camping trip. Nope.

It’s family tradition.

Every summer our family makes a pilgrimage to Auntie’s house in gorgeous lake country to take advantage of her hospitality and fill up her yard with our tents and various sundry belongings (something’s always left behind, too — so far two mini butane tanks and a phone charger have made it onto my radar).

In the interest of full disclosure, this is not camping camping. But it’s sleeping in a tent for two nights and qualifies as such for kidlets. That’s what matters.

If you want to get down to it, my type of camping involves running water, satellite TV, and a fifth wheel trailer (thanks for spoiling me, Papa), but this is still far from roughing it.

And when I say “family” I mean “big crew.” Mr Lannis and I did a count, and it seems only three quarters of our clan made it up this year, and that still meant thirty people.

In tents. And campers. (Okay, twenty-four, because Auntie and Uncle had their house, and my cousin, her hubby, and their two little ones had the spare room.)

Want to see?

Of course you do! I’m going to show you anyway, because I’m a jerk like that.

Chez Lannis on the road (one tent for kidlets, one for parents):

Tents, tents, tents (as many as I could fit in one shot — there were more).

Papa and Gramma (my parents) had their fifth wheel, of course.

And one Auntie (my godmother) had her mini-camper trailer (can you tell we’re related?).

There was even an awning for adults to gather with lawn chairs kidlets to spread out their toys.

Can’t forget the lakeside pics — wonderful waterfront fun!

Including tubing!

Kidnapping four-year-olds.

Attempted frog capture (cousin Alan failed, or I’d have a better pic — boo, city boy, boo!).

A bit of child labour.

And answering important questions like: how many buckets does it take to fill a bottomless inner-tube?

We can’t forget the pyro/camping staple: bonfires. Have to cook food somewhere.

Or maybe the food was cooked here?

Only a little bit here, I swear.

(Yes, that might be a toaster oven you see. And a coffee maker. And a kettle for tea and oatmeal. And a whole whack of breakfast food already attacked or it would include far more fruit in that tray, stacks of bananas, and a carton of eggs that may have gotten hard boiled in that pot on the BBQ.)

No vacation is complete without plenty of junk food. Sez the kidlets. And S’mores pushers (Papa, I’m looking at you).

I don’t know about you, but I need a gratuitous shot of bacon. For memory’s sake.

And before I forget: ATTENTION PARENTS! No trip is complete without Monster Spray.

Yes, one squirt of this stuff (into a tent, out in the dark, on the path to the outhouse — or in closets and under beds at home!) will keep those pesky monsters at bay! Never leave home without it!

Of course, all the stuff that comes out of the van has to go back in, too... this would be about half of the load...

(I kept telling the boys to stay out of the van while I was packing and the four-year-old burst into tears because he was afraid I was going to forget to pack him! Ah, adorable innocence!)

The very best part of the whole ginormously packed weekend?

Hands down, it’s family. Always the family.

I already can’t wait for next year.

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