Monday, October 17, 2011

Anniversary Wknd Part 1 - Camping

I am so sad this weekend is already over.  It was absolutely amazing but went by way too fast.

Camping went really well.  We drove up to Wisconsin (I hate to say this, but it actually felt good to be back in the cheese state!  I don’t think I’d been for over a year; which is surprising considering I lived there for five years and we live about an hour’s drive from the border; which has two decent outlet malls) and camped at Kettle Moraine – South site.  Of course arriving there after dark, it’s hard to figure out exactly what type of surrounding you’re in, but none the less, we were both excited to be out of Chicago and in the “wilderness”.  We even saw a deer as we were pulling up.

Setting up camp went surprisingly well, with little to no cussing from Ben.  He got a decent sized fire going and then the grill.  We ate a ridiculous amount of meat this weekend.  So much so that when I asked Ben last night if we wanted to grill steak on Wednesday, he said no way (and this is a man who loves his grill).  Friday we did brats and smores.  Sleeping Friday night wasn’t the best sleep of my close.  Ben had decided against borrowing sleeping bags from my bro/SIL, and also hadn’t packed a pillow (apparently I was supposed to be in charge of packing all bedding.  Luckily, I had brought two pillows originally intended for myself).  We had Ben’s old comforter, a down blanket and one of those double layered fleece “tie” blankets.  No pad, and the ground was as hard as a rock.  We opted to lay on one blanket and use the other two for warmth.  It was freezing.  I woke up and my hands were numb.  The winds were so strong that the whole night it sounded like we were either at a beach (my interpretation) or by an interstate (Ben’s interpretation).  However, at one point once the sun was coming out, I took Osc out for a bathroom break and when we got back in the tent we set up a nice little sleeping arrangement.  Oscar laid in the middle of Ben and I with his head near ours (I swear, this dog was previously a human, he loves sleeping with his head on our pillows) and we put our arms around him.  We slept about 3 most hours in this cozy configuration.  We actually slept “in” until 10am.  I have no idea that last time either of us slept that late!

The couple who got married in September had sent us s’more supplies with a cute note and anniversary card and we definitely put it to good use. The note reads: "Here is to: Smore laughs, smore hugs, smore kisses, smore falling in love"...etc.  It was really clever and cute!

 Saturday morning was probably my proudest moment of the trip; I made us a fabulous breakfast.  Ben started up the grill and I had brought along bacon and eggs (well egg substitute since it traveled easier).  I had two cooking options I’d bought for the trip: a cast iron skillet ($16 at Target) and 3 8x8 tin foil cake pans ($1.50).  I opted to at least try the tin foil first, thinking the bacon and eggs would cook faster since the tin would take less time to heat than the skillet.  First we cooked the bacon and then I wrapped that in aluminum foil to keep warm on the table while the eggs cooked separately.  I seasoned the eggs with salt and pepper and even had shredded cheese for them.  When I added the cheese on the eggs, I put the packet of bacon back on the grill to warm.  It turned out delicious and Ben was impressed with my skills.  Best camping breakfast ever he said :O) Oh, and I definitely plan on returning the skillet

During the day we hung out at the site and read/played cards, hiked a trail to a lookout point, drove to the lake (which was small enough to be a pond according to Ben) and picked up some more campfire.  We grilled hot dogs for lunch and bacon cheese burgers for dinner (best burger ever!) and of course s’mores for dessert.  

Sleeping Saturday night was much warmer and the trees were much calmer.  We actually got a decent night’s sleep I’d say.  Sunday morning I woke up feeling like it was Christmas morning.  I was so excited to give Ben his first anniversary gift.  He had seen the wrapped box and wondered why I brought it with, so it was time to reveal…the story is that in mid-September I received an email from the Cubs (since we live in Wrigley’s zipcode; I signed up for their neighborhood emails at the beginning of the season) that Sunday, Oct 16th was Neighbor’s Day at the field.  There were two one-hour sessions where neighbors could come to the field, get free food and drink, and play catch on the field.  However, to attend you had to be selected from a lottery system.  I told Ben about it and signed us both up to win. 

A few days later, I thought about it more and thought how cool it’d be to do on our anniversary so I looked on the Cub’s website for any email I could find.  I found three different emails and sent them this email:


I'm not sure if I'm contacting the correct party responsible for promoting the Neighbors Day at Wrigley on 10/16, but my hope is that if you're not the correct person(s) you can direct me to who is.

I'm sure you get a lot of special requests, but I thought it's worth a chance to ask for one anyways.

October 16th will be my husband and I's one-year wedding anniversary (and 12 year dating anniversary).  We're only 25.  To have been dating exclusively for so long (since we were 13) is a special and (nowadays) rare relationship and I have been racking my mind how to celebrate our first wedding anniversary.  I received the Cubs community email about Neighbors Day on 10/16/11 and can't think of a more suitable and rare opportunity for an anniversary gift for two Cubs fans (especially my die-hard husband) than to be able to throw a ball on the field and celebrate Wrigley itself.

We've both applied for passes to the event via online; but I wondered if by any chance contacting you could help increase our odds of being able to participate in such a special event on a date that is already special to us?

Thank you so much for your consideration and I ask that if you're not the proper person to contact with this request, that you could help guide me to the correct person.

Thank you,

Literally within 7 minutes of my email I received this:

Hi Hannah, We’ll have you and your husband’s name added to the list.  I’m not positive what time slot we’ll get you into but you should receive an email at some point closer to the event notifying you of when to attend.  I hope you have a great time and happy anniversary! Thanks! Becky

I was ecstatic!  However, I also received this about an hour after I’d sent my email:

Hi Hannah! Thank you for contacting the Chicago Cubs!  We love hearing from our fans and especially our fans that live so close to Wrigley Field.  The neighbors who get to come to Wrigley Field are chosen randomly, so unfortunately we can’t really do anything to place you at the head of the line.  We’ll just keep our fingers crossed that you are one of the lucky ones to be chosen. Congratulations on your First Anniversary!   And Go Cubs Go! Betsy

So then I really was confused on if we’d be accepted or not.  Luckily, about a week later I received the email that we were on the list!  So back to my story... I wrapped up our baseball gloves and printed out my email and the acceptance email for Ben to open anniversary morning. (At one point recently Ben had asked about the event when he got his rejection email from the Cubs.  I had just said that I got one too).

Reading the emails

After that we packed up camp and headed home for a much needed shower before heading to Wrigley!



  1. I love Kettle Morraine! My fiance was actually up there mountain biking this weekend with his best man, while I dress shopped. We haven't been camping there though we have hiked and gone swimming. Was it crowded?

  2. Well, when we checked in (we made reservations ahead of time online), the girl said they were booked and are pretty much booked every weekend...but we stayed in Pinewoods camping area and the sites were fairly spread out/wooded; so it didn't seem too crowded. We did come across a lot of people on the trail though! It was fun!


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