July 22, 2009

Camp, friends, fun, and a birthday

The lack of blogging lately reflects the busyness of the past few weeks. There's no way I can remember everything we've done, as my brain is truly made of swiss cheese. I do okay recalling the things I have pictures of. My memory in snapshots.

Camp ended for another summer...which always makes me sad. I love camp! That's all I've got to say about that.

We went to the dentist week before last, which is in itself unremarkable except that it was the first time Amelia and Shannon had been. I had my teeth cleaned while they were getting theirs done in another room, and I could hear them yakking the entire time. They were not scared. Or quiet. Unfortunately Amelia had two small cavities, but the dentist assured me it wasn't because we didn't brush well, that daily they saw kids with cavities in that same location (backside of her top premolars). His suggestion was to do nothing since filling it would probably make it sensitive and eventually they will fall out anyway. Yay for cavities! And for not being able to do anything to prevent them, apparently! Yay!

Moving right along, we enjoyed the last two weeks of camp. This summer seems to really have gone fast. Aside from the occasional jaunt to playgroup or to a doctor's appointment we pretty much stayed here. There's no need to leave when everything you need, food, shelter, companionship, entertainment, is right here.

Since it's been so long since I last entered a post I think these next pictures are from playgroup the second week of July. We met friends at the spray park for some fun, in spite of the weather being a little cool for water play. The past three weeks have been unusually cool for July. It's usually spontaneous combustion temperature by now.

Elizabeth and Rebekah make friends through the fence.

This speaks for itself. DANG!



Confused? Pensive? Thoughtful? Constipated?

Avery REALLY enjoyoed the blueberries Sarah brought.

Fruit murderer.

Alison and Tozer.

I think this is mine.

I said, ahem, this is MINE.

Hey! That was mine!! One year olds don't need actual words.

I took a few random pictures of things going on around camp the last week. James filled in at fishing class one day while a staffer was off and the oldest two went with him.

It's weird that Amelia is as big as some of the campers now. It's just not right.

He really was by the lake. It just looks like he's grass fishing.

Elizabeth's making progress of her own. I came in our room the other day to find this:
She moved us off the shelf. A very young us, just before we got married at 22. Go ahead and laugh, it's okay.

Check out the hairdo, it's finally growing out. Right now it looks like that cut every little kid in the 70's had, whether they were a boy or a girl. Place bowl on head, get scissors out of the drawer, cut. Looks proud of herself for figuring out how to get on the shelf, doesn't she? As of this week she's also pulling up on everything and cruising around holding onto things. She's constantly getting in the little chairs at the kids' table in the kitchen and can climb the steps. She can also get on small riding toys and push them around, forward and backwards. I still think she's on the Avery walk-at-15-months plan, but that's okay. She had her one-year check up week before last and is 50th percentile for both height and weight, and appears to be healthy and normal in every way. She's saying a few words, Mama, Dada, uh-oh, ball, nigh-nigh (for bed), and she calls my mom Na-Na. She's also communicating quite clearly by pointing and letting out a terradactyl scream when she wants something.

We had yet another birthday party at the Windmill pool recently. Tozer turned one so we celebrated on a Thursday night. As his brother Elliott said, "Tozer has a number to him now!"

Cake is good. Yum.

A few more random shot of camp happenings. This was from the weekend in the middle of the session. That Saturday was Superhero Olympic day. There were some great superheros.

Amelia likes face paint.

I'm pretty sure she did her own makeup too.

Want to play a large game of kickball with me?

Kaleb, our friends' son from Canada, as Dirty Sock Man. I failed to ask what his super power was.

Some of the super hero staff.

A few of our older campers. I love a teenager that's self-assured enough to wear shorts hiked up to his chest and stay in character all morning. (It was Erkel-esk, though I can't remember his exact super hero name or power.)

We also attended a Sunday School social that day. James had to stay at camp but the kids and I went to Beth and Brian Dowdy's house for some fun. They have a great back yard with a pool, trampoline, and playground area.

Elizabeth enjoyed the baby pool. And the steps into the big pool. She crawled between the two for an hour or so, with me grabbing her about every three seconds. I had forgotten how much fun this age is around water.

I'm afraid ever since visiting the Dowdy's house I have had an issue with covetousness. I WANT A HOT TUB!!! I've been mentally calculating how much reinforcement our porch would need to hold that much water, and how long I'd have to save my pennies and nickels....one day, one day.

Kristen, one of the ladies of the house, entertaining Elizabeth.

The other kids really were there too, I just didn't get any more pictures because I was trying to make sure all the kids had their heads above the water. It's a pretty constant job, lifeguarding.

The following pictures I took outside our house the other morning just because I thought it was nice of God to give us a pretty morning. Whenever I see something like this I think of the verse that talks about God being seen through what has been created. I wonder what people who don't believe in God think when they see something like this.

Our cars, the chosen ones. (Insert angelic music here.)

The last week of camp we had spend the night frenzy at our house. Elliott and A.J. spent Monday night with us and Alison came to get them on Tuesday when I hosted playgroup here. I was asked by several staffers in the Dining Hall didn't I have enough kids without having to scrounge for more?

They enjoyed some time playing in the sprinkler.

Yep, Elliott had a broken arm. Parents everywhere rejoice that there is now a waterproof cast option.

It was a new cast, as he had the other one replaced a few days before. It was a blank canvas, begging for marker. The kids at playgroup were happy to help.

Playgroup ended, the boys went home, but the girls stayed. Maggie and Ruth spent Tuesday night with us.

Elizabeth's personality is blooming and she's becoming an opinionated little person.

"Mom, I'd like to follow the other kids to the basement and fall down the stairs behind this door, please. Could you open it back up for me?"

"My heart is breaking, OPEN THE DOOR!!"

"Okay, okay, I can get over it."

"Hey, THAT looks interesting! Is that...a..."

"Camera! Yes, I can get it! Give it to me!"

I got some pictures of the last night of camp, though not as many as I wanted because my camera battery died. The thing lasts four hours before needing a recharge so I never expect it to die on me. But it did.

The last night's evening activity is Tribal Competition, a series of games played by each tribe for points.

Waya tribe

Awahili tribe

Fill the cone on your counselor's head with water.

Lob a water balloon at your counselor with a beach towel. We also call this Torture the Staff night.

Tribal Competition night ends with a campfire by the lake, tribal songs and cheers, awards for the session, and finally worship and the gospel being clearly presented one more time. This is the point at which my battery died.

Shannon likes to watch evening activities either from his bike as he rides it round and round the field or from the top of the Arctic Cat Prowler.

Camp ended, I was sad, and then Horseback Riding Day Camp began last Monday. My mom is keeping the kids all last week and this week for week two of it. I am running it, along with two staffers from the summer horseback riding program. It's a blast and the kids are having so much fun each day. As a kid I would have LOVED to go to something like it. At the end of the two weeks I am extra grateful that I am able to stay home with our kids. It's tough to be away from them all day and have just a few hours with them before bedtime. At the end of the two weeks I know my mom will be grateful too...that I can be the stay-at-home mom again and she can get a break!

We're making picture frames at horse camp, and I was rounding up materials for them last weekend. Avery grabbed a few plastic gem stones from the bag I was sorting through and carried them around for four days, calling them his "sons."

Meet My Three Sons.

He actually became distraught a few times when they went missing or when I insisted he put them in their own bed on the shelf so he wouldn't lose them in his bed. I was more concerned about the sons as choking hazards for Elizabeth.

Next are a few pictures of the newest man in my life, Reggie. I meet him every morning at 6:15, and James even knows about it.

He was a bit concerned about the flash on the camera, hence the bug-eyed look.

He's a 10 year old Quarter Horse, and is by height definition actually a pony. I've had a blast riding him and refining his training.

I love horses. Maybe one day I'll try to explain it in a post.

Finally, last, but certainly not least in importance....Amelia's big day, her SIXTH birthday! Tuesday, July 21st, Amelia became a six year old. It think I said something similar last year, but six just sounds so much older then five. She's officially getting to be a big kid now.

Unfortunatly for her it was the second day of horse camp, so I was busy all day. We did have a few gifts at breakfast though, and at the end of the day I took her to Ingles to pick out a movie. She picked a Barbie one, Thumbelina, and we popped popcorn and watched a movie in her honor that evening. I'm hoping to have a small celebration sometime next week, after horse camp is over. She has requested another Barbie cake, just like last year's.

I'm six!

I have a lot of feelings about her getting older, which I'll (mostly)spare you here. Six years have gone by in a blink, just double them and she'll be 12, then another six she's 18...and truthfully I'm already praying that I will be able to let go. A wise mom of 6 kids ages mid-20's to 16 told me to start praying for that transition now, and I do. She said just when they're really starting to get fun they leave! Parenting truly is a sacrifice like none other, which I wouldn't trade for anything. Thank you God!

Well, my early morning rendezvous will be here before I know it, followed by a full day of horsing around with campers at the barn. I leave you with a few ancedotes courtesy of my now six year old.

We were in the car last week discussing camp staff nicknames. For some reason nicknames don't stick to me, so Amelia says, "Mom, I have a great one for you. 'Barney.' Because you love the barn."

Before camp ended she was at the barn with me, and Lady, one of our most gaseous and UNlady-like horses was tied in the hallway. Later Amelia says to my mom, "That horse lady has bad manners. She poots a lot." That's what my mom heard anyway, and assumed she was referring to our riding director. Commas can really make the difference!