Our friends, the Asays, had us over on Friday night for pumpkin carving. In honor of the little pumpkin in my belly, we carved an Incredibles inspired Jack-Jack O’ Lantern.
After 6 years of Girl’s Camp as a youth, this year I went back for a 7th as an adult. There is something you should know about LDS Girl’s Camp…it is exactly the same everywhere. The crafts are the same, the food is the same, even the Mormon Boy Song is the same. I thought in 5 years it would have changed a little, but no. I was an adult leader over the 12 year old girls, the little firsties. I didn’t realize at the beginning the reason why I was placed with the 12 year olds, but after the first day of camp when I’d already been repeatedly mistaken as a 16 year old youth leader by both adult leaders and campers alike, I was grateful they placed me with the 12 year olds for the slight advantage in the age juxtaposition.
Some funny stories from camp:
We were sitting around the picnic table waiting for our food to cook over the fire.
I mentioned something about my husband.
12 year Hannah exclaimed, “YOU have a husband!? How old are you? Like, 17?!”
“No, no, Hannah. I’m actually 23 (and then I added the ½ because I was talking to a 12 year old and those extra 6 months might have really helped convince her of my maturity).”
20 minutes or so passed. Sister Morgan, the other adult leader, asked me something regarding my pregnancy. Hannah, again, shocked, “What you’re pregnant and you’re engaged! Wow!”
So, at that point Sister Morgan and I both felt the need to fill in the gaps that these 12 year olds were so unsuccessfully completing themselves. “No, I am not a 17 year old immorality statistic, who got knocked up and thus has to marry some random boy from high school in a shotgun wedding. I am actually: a 23 year old who got married in the temple over 2 and ½ years ago to my college sweetheart who happens to be a return missionary. And now we are starting a family…”
Again, but on a different day, we were sitting around the picnic table waiting for our food to cook over the fire. Leah, one of our 12 year old girls, who was standing next to me asked Sis. Morgan if she could go to the bathroom. Sis. Morgan who was intently focused on the camp stove looked up at me and said, “Well, yeah!” And then burst out laughing. Leah left to do her business, but the rest of us just stared at Sister Morgan who was still bubbling over with laughter. Finally, after she regained composure she explained what all her fuss was about. “Sis. Newman! I thought YOU we asking me if you could go to the bathroom! I couldn’t figure out why you were asking to go to the bathroom! And why you were being so whiney about it!” So, not only do I look 17 but I also sound like a whiney 12 year old.
The theme of camp was “The Road to Virtue.” Many of the lessons and workshops and devotionals emphasized the importance of a temple marriage and how a virtuous life can prepare you to get married in the temple and be rewarded with an eternal family.
I often found myself reflecting back to my last year of girl’s camp as a youth. I was seventeen years old and really struggling with all of the baggage that accompanies such a wretched age. A temple marriage wasn’t important to me at the time, it sounded nice but it wasn’t a need…it was simply a want. 5 years later, I marvel that my want for a temple marriage turned into a need, and ultimately a reality. I don’t think a specific event could be labeled my turning point, or a specific person my rescuer. But there are those who I know helped me along the way. I am grateful for my best friend in high school who always supported and encouraged me to do the right thing, not only with her words but by her example. I am grateful for my father who instilled in me at a very young age the difference between right and wrong.
I am grateful to have met and married a man whose capacities for virtue, faith, and love far exceed my own.
Lastly, I am grateful for the waiting spirit in heaven who Heavenly Father will soon be entrusting us with. This baby represents my future goals and my need to set an example for my children by continually upholding the standards of the gospel.
Further affirmation that we are moving somewhere tropical when I graduate.
A few snippits from the New Year’s Eve shindig.
September 27th, 2008 – Today we went back to the 18th century colonial era. Where this newly established America was filled with fur trading, natives, homemade root beer, and fifing…yes fifing. Kilts were aplenty as were dulcimers and anybody who was anybody had seen someone swallow a sword at least once in their potentially (if you were lucky) 50 year long lifespan.
Our Weekend Time Travel Experience: Feast Your Eyes
Perhaps one of the only times that I have needed a tool belt for work done around the house was when we were hanging our shutters. The funny part about it is that even though I sell tool belts and have more than my share of them laying around I didn’t use one….Before buying our house Melissa had drawn up a sketch of what she wanted it to look like when she was done with it. Her artistic vision was to transform a bland white box into something somewhat pleasing to the eye.
It came as no surprise to me when Melissa immediately started saying that we had to get shutters on the house as soon as possible. I promptly replied that as soon as there was money in the budget for it she could get them. By saying this I thought that I would be able to put off getting them for several months if not even until next spring. After-all the monthly budget allocated to home decor and repair is set pretty low and shutters would require the entire month’s budget. I surely thought that this would discourage her because she would want to do to many other things that wouldn’t be so taxing on the budget. Well, I was wrong.
The first day of September came and the budget was freshly renewed. Being Labor day Melissa didn’t have work; however, she still woke up early and was acting like a six year old on Christmas morning. As I grudgingly opened my eyes she told me she was off to the store to order the shutters. She invited me to come along, but explained that she was leaving right then. I closed my eyes and she was on her way.
Ten days later we came home from work/school to see tall boxes leaning against our front door. Melissa jumped and squealed for joy and then quickly her mood changed from ecstatic to sad, as if someone had just ripped her lollipop out of her hand as she was about to take her first lick. She desperately wanted to install them that evening, but we had a ward dinner that night for all of the new members in the ward. We didn’t get home until after dark, so she had to wait another day.
The next day we installed the shutters above the garage and window on the main floor. Instead of using a tool belt like I should have, I delicately balanced my tools on the garage roof and hoped they wouldn’t fall. There were only a couple of times that I had to reach out to stop a sliding tool. We weren’t able to get to the 2nd floor window that night because it started to get dark on us, the beasties were starting to come out, and I didn’t have an extension ladder.
Fast forward nine days. Melissa eventually convinced me that I could hang out of the upstairs windows and install the last two remaining shutters. Our search for an extension ladder was going nowhere so this was our last option. To be honest though, we really didn’t try that hard to find a ladder….. Hanging out of the windows was not as bad as I thought it was going to be, especially since the holes I needed to drill we just right outside the window. After twenty minutes of work the last shutters were up.
We still have to paint the front door and put a real tree into the front yard to make the house look like Melissa’s rendition, but we are getting closer and it no longer looks like a white box.