Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dirt don't hurt

Last year we missed out on the Grover camping trip because of Rachel. She was born the day before everyone came back. Andrew phoned his family the day she was born and left them a voice mail telling them so.

They called back, questioning his truthfulness. He told them that we were in the hospital right then. For real. With a baby. I don't think they believed him until they heard her cry. Then they rushed home, showered, and came to meet her.

This year we took her to Grover with us. Andrew hasn't been to Grover since before his mission--it's been five years too long for him. And, I must admit, I enjoy Grover as well.

We weren't sure how Rachel was going to take the whole thing since she was afraid of the tents in Grandma and Grandpa's backyard. Grandpa tried to convince us that we should borrow a pack'n'play and stay in the cabin.

I wasn't too sure about this since the cabin is a little scary (read: mice). I would rather stay in a tent without mice than in a cabin with mice.

We ended up borrowing a tent from my parents (thanks, Mom and Dad!) and a pack'n'play from Heather (thanks, Heather!) so that we could decide on what to do when we got there.

Turns out, Uncle Raymond and his brother, Big Bob, have been working hard on the cabin and they just finished a loft. It was brand new, bright and airy, and essentially mouse-and-spider free.

We claimed it as our home and took Rachel out to play.

The first thing she did was find a stick. Then she went around banging everything she saw with it...and no one stopped her. Then she got into all the tent supplies...and no one stopped her. Then she face planted in the dirt...and no one stopped her to wipe off her face. She was, quite decidedly, in baby heaven.

She loved being so messy and touching so many new things. Everyone let her help with whatever she wanted to help with because there was no risk involved. What was she going to do, make the dirt dirtier?

I'm a good helper, Mommy!

When the tents were almost all set up, Andrew and I decided that we should take Rachel for a walk so that everyone else could actually get some work done. Daddy wanted to show her the forts that he (and his siblings, cousins, and friends) would make in days gone by, so we hiked up the hill south of the cabin.

That is where Rachel began her love affair with rocks. Previous to Grover she had enjoyed rocks. She liked to pick them up and put them in her mouth and throw them, but she had never before had such opportunity to so completely surrounded by rocks. She loved it.

Grandpa asked if I brought any toys for her.

"Sure," I answered, "They're in the cabin."

"Outside toys," he clarified, "Like her shovels and things."

"Oh, no," I said, "She didn't seem to enjoy them much at the beach so we just left them home this time."

I think that was a good call on our part. Does this look like the face of a child who needs a toy?

She used the rocks as blocks, drums, hammers, and chew toys. She probably would have taken the rocks to bed with her if we had permitted (we draw the line at whisks).

...and we have here our "rock sandwich."


The rocks down in the Waterpocket Fold are so fragile that Rachel can actually bite pieces off of the rock. The sound of her teeth grating against the rocks is spine-tingling. She didn't mind the sound, but I think she found the texture to be a little off.

Too crunchy, a little too crunchy!

It was fun for me to watch Andrew and Rachel play together, although I did feel a little leftout. Andrew was reliving his childhood memories with Rachel and Rachel was making her own little memories. I was just holding the camera and trying to make sure that neither of them choked on pieces of sandstone.

Making memories

Rachel could have played up there all day. We had quite the task on our hands to convice her that her life wasn't over just because we were dragging her away from her beloved fort. We promised that she could come back again. We told her there were rocks down by the cabin. We tried to distract her with trees and birds and other rocks.

She screamed the whole way down the hill, and then she kept on screaming.

Only when I showed her the rockwall surrounding the pavilion did she stop screaming.

Now this is more like it!

My sweet little baby turned into a lean, mean, dirt-magnet machine the minute we arrived. We were only a few short hours before bedtime and Rachel was already in dire need of a bath. And it was only our first day...


  1. Oh Grover. The other love of my life! That's cool that Andrew took Rachel to see our old timer rock forts!

  2. Never been there, but it looks like it was loads of fun! Rocks are fabulous. They are so useful on so many levels...