Saturday, August 26, 2017

Mostly Happy Campers (Parker's vacation 2017)

This year we took the crazy notion to just go to youth camp this summer with our kids.  Surely we haven't gotten too old to not be able to handle it, right??

Last year my boys attended Camp Dove with our church.  They absolutely loved it and couldn't wait to go back.  Amelia was old enough to go this year, but I wasn't quite ready to send her without me yet.  So Maynard and I packed up right along with the kids and headed to Ludlow Falls, Ohio with our church group.

Our kids rode in the church buses and Maynard and I rode alone.  We talked all the way there.  Like constantly.  No one interrupted us, we didn't have to answer any questions, and we didn't have to talk in code.  It was so nice to catch up with my husband.  We rarely talk anymore.  Sometimes Maynard will say, just text that to me.  Ha Ha  We live in a smaller house now and I'm pretty sure my kids hear everything we say.

We stopped for lunch at Culvers, somewhere in Ohio, and then loaded back up to get to Camp Dove.  These kids were so excited about getting to camp.

We arrived a little early so we had to wait until they actually was ready for us to assign us rooms.  The kids played on the playground while we waited.  We finally got situated and was assigned rooms.  Our boys stayed in the dorm with the boys and Amelia was to stay in a cabin with me and Maynard.

We got the keys to our cabin.  All the cabins we little white building and all the streets were named.  Some of the names were, Peace, Love, and Joy.  The first cabin we were assigned to took me by surprise.  I was expecting something a little nicer.  We were paying $40 a night so I wasn't expecting what I seen.

The only bed was a twin size day bed with a trundle and a futon for a couch.

Now Maynard is 6'6" and a daybed and trundle definitely wasn't going to work,  I was near panic.  I went back to the office and explained our situation.  I won't go into a lot of detail being that this is a public blog and I don't want to shame anyone.  However, I wasn't given the most hospitality measures.  A statement was made that hurt my feelings, but I smiled right through it as they gave me another room to go check.

I went to the new cabin and it was definitely bigger, but dirtier.  There was a full size bed and it was clearly broken and leaned to one side.  However, there was a couch and Maynard said he would take the couch.  Either that or we were going to just get a motel.  And we would have except Amelia's heart was set on staying on the campground.  I found some cleaning supplies and went to work cleaning and sprucing the place up.  Soon it looked much better and I could relax again.

  We stayed in Cabin number 9 on Joy street.
  It was kind of neat.  All the cabins made the campground look just like a little village.

After all the cleaning, we made a trip to town and bought air fresheners and other things to make our cabin more livable for the next couple days.

While I was cleaning Amelia was busy making friends at the playground.  She brought her little friend inside to our cabin. Amelia was beaming with pride that she had made herself a friend so soon.

We went to church that night and it was pretty hot, but we were loving the service and seeing all the kids pray and worship.  I forgot to mention that this camp is only for kids ages 7-12.  I love that there's a camp just for that age.  All the activities are for their age and no one is there pushing them out of the way because they're little.  The services are on their level and the preaching and lessons are about what they may be facing now instead of geared toward teens and what they face.

That night all the kids headed to their rooms and a storm was brewing.  It rained and stormed for most of the night it seemed.  I was awake most all of the night because I just knew I had bugs crawling all over me. Ha ha

Let me also begin to tell you how amazing Camp Dove's food is.  Amazing.  They didn't take shortcuts.  Everything was made from scratch and so so so good!!

After breakfast we went to church to sing a couple songs and then the kids went to Ready, Set, Go!!  They run from the main chapel into another building for a morning class.  People were dressed up in costumes and served cheese and bread as you walked into the classroom.  It was pretty neat.  They had a lesson, seen skits, puppet shows, and played games.

There was a time for activities and then before you knew it it was lunch time.  I was never hungry and yet didn't ever miss a meal.  You never knew what you might miss out on!!!
They had a salad bar every single meal with everything in the world on it.

After lunch there was more time for activities and then choir.  I loved hearing the choir sing in the night services.

There was another service in the afternoon that Little Mary and Brother Blue would do.  The kids loved this.  Little Mary is always so funny!!!

After supper it was shower time and time to get ready for church.

It was always so hot at church, but not unbearable.  I kept my cabin unlocked with water bottles in the fridge so our group could come cool down and get a water if they needed too.  We had 2 air conditioners and our room was always cool.  So very thankful for that.

My boys stayed so busy that I didn't get to see them much or get many pictures of them.
Now Titus like to come to our cabin and check on us quite a bit.  I think he probably did better without us there last year.  He seemed to be a little more clingy when us there.  He was sweet though.  I gave my kids each a $3 budget a day at the Snack Shack.  Titus hadn't spent hardly any of that.  He worries about money too much.  One night after church he walked up to me and said, "Mom!  I wonder if those homemade pretzels are any good that they sell at concessions?"
I gave him money and told him to go buy himself one.  The concession lines are long and slow and plus we were never hungry enough to get anything, but I too had been eyeing those huge pretzels.  Titus came out and asked me to sit with him and he offered to share his pretzel with me.  So we sat and ate that pretzel and he told me all about his day at camp.  It was a sweet moment that I loved!!!

Titus went back to his dorm and I went back to my cabin.  Maynard and Amelia both demanded to know where I had been.  Amelia was more jealous that I had been with Titus than over the pretzel.  Ha Ha

My favorite part of camp was seeing my kids praying in the altars.  It totally made staying in an old run down cabin worth it.

There was a waterslide at the camp too that Amelia loved.  It was hard to wipe her grin off of her face all week.  She was having a blast.  I didn't get any pics of the boys going down the slide.

I'll try to include a video of the water slide and the kids' choir towards the end.

 Amelia's friend couldn't answer a lot of questions I asked her.  She didn't know her church's name or where she was from.  Finally she said, "My foster's Mom is XXXX!  My heart about melted!!  The longer I was at camp, the more I found out that most of the kids had been taken to camp through their church's bus routes.  A lot of children there, their parents were in jail and they were being raised by grandparents or other family members.  My heart went out to them.  I was so appreciative of the churches that had brought them to camp and no doubt they had to give them clothes to wear.  I'm sure it was tough keeping any eye on them all week, but you will have your reward in Heaven one day for planting good seeds in their lives about Jesus and how he loves them no matter what.

We had decided to go ahead and love Camp Dove a little early to head on to Camp Blessing to stay with Tara and Rueban.  They had been wanting us to come to their camp for some time now and it worked out that it was the same week and we were only 3 hours away.  My kids didn't want to leave Camp Dove, but yet they were excited about going to Camp Blessing too.  We finally got everything packed up and we were on the road again.  I just knew they would all sleep and we wouldn't hear a peep out of them.  Boy was I wrong!!!!

I couldn't pass up this picture!!!

We arrived at Tara's and I immediately had to wash clothes for the boys.  They had gotten about everything dirty.  Tara and Rueban had dinner for us and we ate so fast and got ready so fast.  We went to the campground and it was so so so so hot!!!  The service was really good.  The choir did excellent and people started going to the altar to pray.  I asked Amelia if she wanted to go pray and she said, "Nah!  I'll get the Holyghost tomorrow night!  Ha Ha.  She was so tired and worn out.  After church we got the boys settled into their dorm.  Josiah was just fine, but Titus was a little apprehensive.  I could tell he was hesitant to stay, but he did.  We went home and did some more laundry and got some rest.

The had tons of activities for the kids including nature scavenger hunts, water slides, zip lines, and so much more.


That nigh we found a fan and sat in front of it at church.  It was another great service.  I asked Amelia if she wanted to go pray again and she said, "Nah!  I decided to just wait and get the Holyghost at my church!" Ha Ha  She was church out.

Titus had an allergic reaction to something.  He was covered in hives and was red and itchy.  He said he just wanted to go home.  Josiah didn't want to stay without him and he decided to go on home too.

They were all happy to be together again.  Titus still felt crummy!

They loved playing with Cooper!

Amelia was not happy about sharing her room with the boys!

Tara had her room set up cute for us.  I found out I made up her bed wrong though!

We went back to camp the next day and it ended that afternoon.  The boys got to zip line and they loved it.  I will also try to include a video of that on here.  Josiah won a certificate for being the most friendliest and Titus' award was for "surviving".  That basically describes him.  Josiah can make a friend anywhere.  I remember when he was little he went up to a boy at McDonalds and said, "You will be my friend, you hear me!!!!"  Hopefully he doesn't have to force anyone to be his friend these days.

The next day was what we were all looking forward too.  We needed a break from church and camp so we went to Lake Eerie.  It was beautiful and perfect weather.

Titus made this tee pees all over the shore!

Maynard buried Josiah in the sand, per his request.  All was well until he got a leg cramp.

Maynard took lots more pictures once again and I forgot to get them off of him.

We left the Lake and got ice cream.  Maynard has those pictures.  Tara and Rueban hosted a cookout.  I washed all our wet clothes and managed to forget to check pockets and loaded Tara's washer full of rocks.  I also tore up her dryer, but it has since been fixed.  They'll learn to let me ever stay with them again.  Ha Ha!!

We left early the next morning and was home by 6 that evening.  It was so good to be home.  We unpacked everything and I started washing clothes. 

So thankful for safe traveling mercies!!

And now next year>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> TO THE BEACH!!!!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

How we spent our Summer Break 2017

Another post to catch up. 

This post is all about our summer break.  I will do a separate post for our vacation, because it always deserves a post of its own.

We had a very laid back summer.  I didn't have much ambition to do much.  I guess one reason is because we had worked so hard all year with having to move that I just wanted to enjoy home.  I also had worked this year and had to leave home everyday.  I'm a big homebody and just didn't want to have to leave the house.  I have spoiled my kids into thinking I have to entertain them.  I know it's my fault.  This year I just firmly told them no.  We were staying home a lot.  They didn't handle it too well, but they soon adjusted.

We also put the pool back up so they swam a lot this summer.  I did too.  I always tried to sneak out to have a few minutes alone in the pool, but I promise you.  The longest I ever made it was 2 minutes.

We enjoyed parks and our library this summer.  Even then, we still didn't attend as many programs at the library like we usually do.  I just didn't remind the kids and we didn't go.  We just stayed in the pool.

When we did go to the park, I would walk to get my steps in, but ended up hurting my back somehow so then we didn't even hardly go to the park anymore.

My Summer Babysitter
Campfire to celebrate summer break

We even had friends over to swim with occasionally.  We didn't get everyone's picture though. 

One day we walked to the local store and had a snack. The kids really enjoyed that and have asked to go again.

One minute they were fighting and the next minute, best of friends.

They enjoyed spending time at the library.  There's a tween program now that my boys loved.  They got to play the wii with other kids their age and play mini golf in the library.  They also spent lots of times reading books or playing on the computers too.  They asked to go to the library quite a bit.

Amelia is not a tween or a teen, but you try telling her that.

We also celebrated Father's Day this summer.  My kids sure love their Daddy!!

We spent one Saturday in Stanford at a festival.  They enjoyed the horse ride and parade.

With summer fun also comes lots of work.  We still had an old house full of stuff that needed to be either sold, donated, or stored.  We spent many hours working to clear the house.  Then we had to put things in our storage building that we wanted to keep.  We also had 2 yard sales.  After the 2nd one, we took the rest to the Goodwill.  I was done looking at it.  So glad all that is done and over with.  Our kid have done a lot of work this year.  It's been good for them.  I've also made sure they have had fun too.  Some days that we wasn't doing anything or it was raining they would make the comment "Worst summer ever!!!"  I hated that!  I always assured them there were plenty of kids stuck in a daycare or with an elderly grandparent who hadn't got to do anything that summer and they needed to be more thankful. 

We did go on vacation and my next post will be about that.

The last few weeks of school was when we started finalizing our summer bucket list.  I was running out of time to get things marked off.  Things I had promised the kids and they hadn't let me forget about. 
One thing was going to the water park.  We still hadn't made it to one all summer long.  So last week we got up and I told them to get ready we were going to the waterpark.  I timed them eating lunch just right so they wouldn't be hungry at the park and they could play for several hours before heading home for church.

We got to the park and it looked closed.  Went to the front gate to read their hours and a group of kids with an adult, hollered out that the park was going to open at 1 p.m.  Well, it was 12 so we could wait an hour.  This group continued to tell others that it was going to open at 1 and several cars were waiting.  Closer to 1, I realized that there still wasn't any employees there and the group telling everyone that the park was opening, had left.  I found a number for the city and called to ask if they were going to open or not.  I was told they had already went to school schedule and would be open only on weekends.  I told them they needed to update their website because it still showed them as open.  Also, I let them know about the group telling everyone they were opening.  My kids cried and cried.  I had promised to bring them all summer and had waited to late.  I went to tell others in their vehicles that the park was not opening.

I kind of felt guilty about this, because it was my fault for not bringing the kids earlier and I had promised to take them.  So, I headed my van to Williamsburg to an even bigger water park.  Problem was I didn't want to have to pay more money for a short play time so I ended up telling the kids we wouldn't make it to church that night and they could play until the park closed.  All of a sudden they were happy kids again.  This was a much better park anyway!!  They won't every want to go back to the other one.

We got there about 2:30  they played until 6.  The park was supposed to close at 7, but a storm came and we had to leave.  They didn't like that very much, but I couldn't do anything about it.  They still ended up having a good day after all.

The next day or two, we drove past the Hawaiian Shaved Ice truck.  I had promised my kids I would take them one day this summer.  I was scared that this may be our last chance and I didn't want another "But you promised" episode to happen again, so we stopped.

Did ya'll know that not everyone likes Tiger's Blood??  None of my crew liked it.  Not even Maynard.  What is wrong with people???  I ordered Amelia a Tiger's Blood and she hated it.  Josiah tasted it and he didn't like it either, but was willing to trade her.  That made such an impression on the owner that he went and fixed Josiah a large one that he liked.  He told me I had a good kid right there.  Made me feel better because that "good kid" was giving his Mom a hard time that day.

We went back to school shopping and have everything we need for school.  We even went to a back to school party hosted by our kid's pediatrician.  Not the best place for a party in my opinion, but what do I know??

And that's it!  Summer is about over and back to a regular schedule.  As much as I love summer break, its always nice to get back to a regular routine.

I'll try to have our vacation post up soon!!!!  Maybe you will have the First Day of School post by Spring break! Ha Ha