Steve has always claimed that I’m the master of manipulation. And although I’ve spent years denying the claim…I fully understand it might be in the realm of possibility, especially after last weekend.

Our ward announced they were gearing up for the father-sons campout. Immediately, I started putting it in Steve’s head that he needed to take Bennett (2 years old) as well as Hunter (four years old). I knew Hunter was a for sure bet since he’d gone before but Bennett was new territory. Steve completely shot down my idea, there was no way he was taking a baby! But I didn’t let up and I would casually mention it in conversations and Steve would just shake his head. This went on for two weeks. I described to Steve the awesome girls weekend Hallie and were going to have and he reminded me it would be hard since I would have Bennett with me. I fully believed Bennett would be with me. Not for a second did I actually think he would take him.

Just two days before, Steve told someone that he was taking Bennett and I had to act like that was the plan all along, but really I was shocked he agreed to take him. Once I had manipulated the situation to what I wanted I started to back pedal. Camping is dangerous and I know there’s not a whole lot of supervision that goes on at these things. Bennett would surely end up with a missing limb or fall in the fire. He came down with a fever the day before and I thought for sure that sealed my fate. I kindly agreed to keep him home with me, but Steve offered to have him go (as long as he wasn’t fevered). When Steve says “jump”, I say, “how high”. I packed his bags the next morning and sent all three boys on their merry camping way (praying and hoping there would be enough people that Bennett would be somewhat supervised!).

Hallie and I enjoyed a night together and it was awesome. She’s at an age where she can carry on a conversation and she’s got a sense of humor which keeps me on my toes. We had a fantastic sleepover and wished over and over again we could have more nights like that.

Steve returned home the next day at noon with both kids; free from any injuries. A miracle. It was hard to tell they were my children because a layer of dirt caked their bodies. Head to toe. Their clothes and shoes were disgusting but they had the best stories to tell.

The climbed mountains:
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They ate doughnuts (who knows how many this kids threw down?!):
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They played in the dirt:
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They had a marshmallow fight and played with friends: (notice just how dirty those hands are as they are eating watermelon – camping clearly has a no-wash policy; makes a mother cringe)
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If dirt is any indication – the trip was a success. If this was Steve’s journal, he would include just how difficult Bennett was and how he was the youngest by a whole year. He definitely earned father of the year.

Thanks to whoever had the idea of having a camping trip on Mother’s Day weekend – I hope this is a tradition we can carry on!