Friday, July 11, 2014

Children's Camp

All is quiet around my house.  Four of the five of us are asleep.  Guess who's awake?!?  This girl.  Why are they all quiet?  We've been at camp. The boys and I left Monday morning and have been going full steam ever since our feet hit the floor.  Fred actually got to visit and stay with us two nights.  Since Andrew was with me we got to stay in the hotel.  This is not my first rodeo so when they said hotel I was not expecting much.  This is what I rolled up to.  I'm not even kidding.  For the first few hours I kept expecting someone to tell me they had made a mistake.  Then they would escort me to my barracks, but that never happened.  So...Andrew and I slummed it here.  For the week.
 This was our room.  I'm not even kidding.  It was like Southern Living meets Pinterest.  We had granite in our bathroom.  Granite.  At camp I'm not used to having a shower curtain that covers the stall.  Granite.  Did I mention the other two counselors from our church were in the dorm?  I had fresh towels all week.  Fresh towels.  My friend asked me if there were mints on my pillow each night.  (While she slept on a bunk bed with 47 {I kid...only 9} fourth grade girls.) I think she was just trying to be funny.  There are no mints on pillows at camp.  That would just be crazy.  Crazy.   I did let her use my shower each night.  Because some of us are givers like that.  Ha!!
We really had the best time.  These kiddos went  They burned the candle at both ends.  There was fishing, canoeing, recreation time, swimming, late night activities and late late night activities.  Our other two counselors were with the late night activities.  Andrew and I bowed out each night around 10:00 pm.  He would nap each day right after lunch too.  Then we would head to whatever activity was going on at that time.  He felt as though the camp revolved around him, not the other 147 children that were there.
One of my favorite fisher(wo)men all week.  She caught three before anyone else caught one.  She's the fish whisperer.
 I walked in to worship one night and all our boys were sitting together.  It made me smile.  They did it on their own.  I long for my boys to be connected to a group of friends and I felt like this was the beginning of lifelong friendships.  I watched these kids bond throughout the week, just like I saw my boys with their friends in Paris.
This week was bittersweet for me. Springhill went to camp the same week we were at camp.  Life certainly moves on.  While part of my heart was praying for (and a little sad, if I'm honest) what we left behind,  part of my heart was rejoicing for what is here now and what lies ahead.  God is amazing like that.  It just blesses my heart.

 One day they had an awesome water slide.  Andrew thought it was just for him.  He was a little disappointed when he had to wait in line after the first couple of slides.

 Some of the counselors would throw kiddos into the pool each afternoon.  It made my heart jump out of my chest, but the kids really liked it.  That's Clayton going about 10 feet in the air.  Yes, I was in labor for 21 hours to bring him into this world.  My heart jumped out of my chest.
 Water slide fun...
 I caught this one fishing...get it...I caught him fishing.  I really need sleep.  His favorite part of camp?!?  Not taking a shower.  (Seriously.)  I really tried hard not to be his mom while I was there.  After not taking a shower he said he didn't have a favorite part.  He just liked it all.  He was made for summer camp.  He loves it all: being outside, camp food, not showering, being with friends all day (and night), the snack bar...he loves it all!
He found the snack bar the first day.  He did not know I had set up an account for him.  I saw him after a few hours at camp and told him about his account.  This was our conversation:
Me: Hey buddy, did you know about the snack bar?
Jack:  Yeah, I've already been.  I got Gatorade.
Me:  What else?
Jack: A Snickers bar.
Me: What else?
Jack:  Some sour straws.
Me:  How did you pay for it?
Jack:  I just told them my name was Jack Shackelford.
Well okay.  Again, I tried not to be his mom.  It took everything inside of me not to question the decision to consume that much junk food.  I walked away from that conversation repeating my mantra...I'm not his mom this week.  I'm not his mom this week.  I'm not his mom this week.
 Swimming fun at the pool...
 After the pool cleared out each day several of the counselors would stay late and jump off the lifeguard stand.  The last day I told Jack he could jump off with me.  He grinned from ear to ear.  (The photo below looks like he's standing on the ground, but he is actually in mid-air.  I'm just a good photographer like that.  Not really.)  There are benefits to having your mom at camp, even though she's not technically your mom while you're there.  Recall the gatorade, snickers and sour straws incident.
 The Shackelford Crew...I love these boys.
 The entire Ellendale Crew...
 Being silly...

 My favorite pirate...Each night the Bible study groups had to do some kind of task.  This particular evening they all had to dress up and "preform" a song.  Clayton wrote a song for his group, performed it and took first place.  He was pretty excited.  If you won first place you got to go first in line for dinner.  Priorities people.
 At night before worship the leader asked if anyone would quote a Bible verse with the reference.  Then they had to explain it.  Clayton volunteered to quote a verse and then he explained it.  He used the word courageous in his explanation.  That boy and his vocabulary.!  That is pure fear on LeAnn's (one of our other counselors) face.  Classic.  I love it!  Each time I look at it it makes me smile.
Laundry when I got home.  I've started one load.  I only have eight more to go.  Seriously, I gagged when I opened their bags to empty it out.  It was so gross.  So gross.  
I've got to get all this done because we are leaving again in 48 hours for Mississippi.  I know, an international trip.  We still have staff retreat, a trip to Holiday World and a couple of other things to do.  We are going to squeeze every bit of summer out while we can.  Every.little.bit!  I heart summer almost as much as I heart all these boys.

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