Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Friday, October 21, 2016

Forecast is Clear with a Chance of Creek

Clear Creek is a summer camp in my mind. I have heard that they do overnight stuff in the fall/winter, but our schools have never been involved in that. Until this year.

At the beginning of school they started advertising about Clear Creek. They needed some parent volunteers and it seemed like the right thing to do, especially since I was already in the system and didn't need to go get finger printed. Bonus. Ivory was very excited that I could go with her.

We showed up at the school on Wednesday morning and Ivory was all packed and raring to go.

We took a selfie for good measure.

Once all the girls had arrived, we divided into groups. We were in the red group. Here are our girls: Top row (left to right) Kimberly, Ivory, Jane, Sage, Kaya, Kaylee, Avrie and Avery. Bottom row: Rebecca and Olivia.(You read that right. Two Avery's and an Ivory.)

The bus ride was not too bad. It is only about an hour long. I sat with Ivory and Carolyn (a girl from my neighborhood). The kids sang songs, I braided hair, we played a little Boinx. It was an enjoyable ride.

When we arrived at camp, we got all our luggage stowed in the cabins. They have nice cabins with running water and flushing toilets. There are even mattresses, although I wouldn't say they were terribly comfortable. Ivory's bunk was by a doorway with no door. You could just see into the other room and bunks. In retrospect, I wish there had been a door there. The girls on the other side were the ones who decided to stay up late giggling.

We were housed in Pot Gut Hut. So far, it is a family tradition.

After lunch, we went up to the lodge to make banners and a cheer. I was a little late getting up there because Jane decided to fall out of a tree almost instantly upon arriving at camp. Nothing was broken, she was just a little bruised, but it took her some time to get to the lodge. (She also swallowed her first pill. What a trooper.) When we got up there, the girls were hard at work. They decided to call themselves the Red Robins.

Ivory got a leaky marker and got it all over herself. I tried to wipe it off her face and only succeeded in giving her clown lips. At least they were red so they matched the group color.

Our finished poster. If you look in the lower right hand corner, you can see my tribute to June. (Sorry blog book, you probably can't see it.)

Next up was the cheer. I actually liked the ones the girls made. Ivory came up with most of it.

Robins fly
Why can't I?
We're gonna fly by
So high


As cheers go...not too bad.

Once everyone performed their cheer, we started rotations. Our group had skits first. Mrs. Mahoney brought a lot of children's books so the kids could use those to do skits. And frankly, that is much better than having them start from scratch. More on skits later.

Our second rotation was playing outside. They did four square for half the time and kickball the other half. I was the only mom who bothered to play. It just seemed more fun than watching, but I am usually the mom who joins in with the kids. I'm about the right height after all.

Third rotation was the ropes course. This area was really fun. The girls went again and again. We even got all the moms to try it at the end.

Also part of the ropes course was Shark Island. All the girls had to swing across and try to pile on one pallet. They could get about ten girls on there, but then they would fall off and be eaten by sharks. The girls were pretty good, but I'm thinking there weren't too many hungry sharks by the end.

Last rotation was boondoggle or lanyards as I used to call them. Ivory struggled with this one. She had trouble tightening hers and it frustrated her to no end. This smile is not genuine.

You could have more plastic rope if you finished your first one. I thought Ivory wasn't even going to complete one. After a little drama and the confiscation of her boondoggle, she got her ducks in a line and stopped pouting. In fact, I believe that was the most drama I saw the whole trip. Not bad for a group of 50 girls.

They fed us well up there, or at least I think the food was good. Especially for camping.

We had some free time after dinner. I spent it chatting with moms and watching deer across the field. They obviously frequent the camp.

The evening began with game night. Ivory played some Blokus with her friends. Later we picked up a fun game that was like Dominoes but using colors. Ivory was quite good at it.

(I'll tell you a secret. They used to do a campfire in the evening with s'mores and the whole nine yards, but it was overkill. Everyone came back smelling like smoke and with sticky fingers only to be given more candy for the movie. It was not a win/win. So someone suggested game night. I think that person is a genius.)

The skits were fun to watch. My favorite was a skit based on the book Falling for Rapunzel. I had never heard it before and the kids did such a great job. Ivory's group did That is Not a Good Idea. They were very good. Sadly there were a few skits that bored me to tears. I'm going to blame the books and not the kids on this one. Some stories are better for skits than others.

Then a movie. I was actually surprised that the evening was going to go so late, but it made sense. If you send the kids back to cabins early, you will have girls that will be awake for hours being annoying. With a late movie, you tire out many of them, and the truly annoying ones (who would be annoying either way) will hopefully be tired as well and won't drive parents crazy for too many hours.

All the kids brought in sleeping bags and they gave them treats. They were all in heaven.

I did not want to watch a movie. I wanted to read the book I brought. (Big surprise.) I figured I could sneak into the kitchen where there was a little light. What I found were the teachers playing cards. They invited me in and I had a lot of fun getting to know them better. Teachers are some of my favorite people. They work hard and are dedicated to kids. In general...really good people.

Finally, it was time for bed. Good thing too since we needed to be up early to clean the cabins and pack. I was impressed how many kids brushed their teeth, without a mom or dad to remind them.

As I mentioned before, we had a few gabbers that stayed up late. I eventually fell asleep and missed the mom who came to chastise them. (Oddly, the one from across the cabin...not the one sleeping underneath the chatty Kathys.) Ivory was out like a light right away. She told me in the morning that she was homesick for her bed, but she didn't seem to have any trouble falling asleep.

Early morning cleaning and packing went fairly well. That way the cabins were ready whenever the boys arrived later that day. Breakfast was yummy. Both of us were bright-eyed and bushy tailed.

The girls made journals after breakfast, although while doing more boondoggle. There was a constant stream of kids going up to get more. (Moms included in that line.) The girls were so creative with their journals. When they were finished, the teachers Mod Podged them and put them on a table to dry.

Our last activity before we left was a hike. It was such a gorgeous day and the hike was not long or too hard. It was the perfect end to a lovely trip.

I think we got everyone in our group picture. This was a good group of girls. I didn't see too much drama. That is really nice.

This is my favorite one.

Got to get a sun flare picture.

Then it was time to go home. The boys had already arrived. We wished them a good time and we were on our way. The ride back home seemed faster. There was a lot of singing, including Da Moose, Da Moose. (I had heard that song before, but the mom who sang it was so funny, I don't think I'll forget it again.) We worked on our lanyards to finish them up. I got almost five done while we were there.

It was such a fun trip. I'm so glad that Ivory was happy to have me come along. I know sometimes daughters don't want their mothers, while others are thrilled. It was a great opportunity. I think she will be all ready to go again in the summer.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Glorious Light

I am a snob about some things. Water is right there at the top. We drink filtered water and I can tell a difference. I don't judge you if you drink tap water, but don't be offended if I skip a drink from your faucet.

I am also a light snob, but I don't have as much control over that. Our last home had some nice big windows in the main areas of the house. Bonus. But when we moved, I'm afraid I didn't use light as the only factor for choosing a new abode. I was more concerned about school systems, location to frequented stores, and number of bedrooms. And so we ended up with a house that I love, but that had some lighting that could use an upgrade. Our family room in particular...we call it Midgard. It is so dark. There is track lighting that highlights the fireplace and mantel, but that isn't very helpful for the room. (And it doesn't move in case you were wondering.) There are two can lights, but they aren't in the middle of the room, and I still can't decide why only the two?? This is how it looked.

If you are watching a movie, fine. But for almost anything else, it feels too dark. Family Home Evening is dim, reading is almost impossible. We put some sconce lights around, but it was still murky at best. The final straw was conference. We were watching together and I was trying to stitch on the couch. Robyn had the spot by the lamp. I had a little reading light that I attached to my stitching. Ivory borrowed it, and as it left, I was swallowed up in darkness in the middle of the room. Ridiculous.

I called a guy that next Monday. It was time. Actually, well past time. He put in four more cans and replaced the two originals with ones that give more light. (Really, the two original can lights had rims on them so they gave less light. Were the last owners vampires??) See the difference?

Amazing. There was a flub since the guys put the lights close enough to the track lighting that they ran into some existing can lights that had been covered up. (What? Can lights that were covered up? Why would you do that? says the light snob.) That resulted in the ceiling cracking in two places. We will have to fix that eventually, but in the meantime, I am loving that you can see...everything.

One of the first comments from the kids, "Mom, look how dirty the carpet is." My reply, "I know. Isn't it wonderful. You can see the carpet!" That's an easy fix. I guess it is time to clean the carpets. Maybe next month. This month I spend my budget on light and it was well worth it.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Sister Susie Sitting on a Thistle

Oddly, this post is much like one I did exactly 3 years ago, when Ivory lost her two front teeth. But it is Daisy's turn now. I mentioned that she was missing a tooth, but now that the other shoe dropped, it is time for this post.

Here is a before picture for you. Her front teeth have been wiggly for quite a while. I made a bet with her that she would lose one before her baptism. Total fail. That was back in August. There were a few more bets, which I also lost. I should not be surprised. Daisy's teeth have been stubborn since the very beginning. But this last bet I knew was a winner. I told her she would lose a tooth before Halloween. They were so loose, it was practically guaranteed.

Pearl took a turn tugging on them. I like how sanitary she is with her tissue. I just stick my fingers in there whenever I want. (Don't worry Grandpa, I wash my hands first.)

On Sunday, Daisy requested that we pull on her tooth before church. (She wanted to show off her gap-toothed grin.) I told her to go find Dad and get him to pull a bit. But we all forgot. Once at church, she leaned over the pew and said, "Mom, we forgot to pull my tooth."

"Well, hold still," I said. And I gave it a good yank. I could feel the roots snapping and I could tell the tooth was half out. It bled a little so she headed to the bathroom, but I followed her because I was going to finish what I started. Sure enough, one more good pull and out it came. She was so happy and she got to go to class with a fresh gap in her face. We took pictures when we came home.

It just so happened that she had a photo shoot for Activity Days that week, so I got all these lovely pictures of her with her one front tooth. She seemed a little stiff at the beginning, but she loosens up. (Much like her teeth.)

So cute huh? What a doll.

I tried tugging on her other tooth throughout the week, but she wanted the other to fall out on its own. I told her I was going to pull it out on Sunday again if it didn't come out. Saturday evening, right before bed, I gave it a nice tug (to her protest) and I could tell it wouldn't be long. Sure enough, she ran off to the bathroom, but came back shortly with a tooth in her hand. She was so excited that she had pulled it out herself this time. She put a note on the bag to the tooth fairy, 'I pulled it out!'

She now has plenty of room for that little tongue to stick out.

I told her she should be a vampire like Ivory was for Halloween, but I think she has her heart set on a fairy. Works for me. Maybe she should be a tooth fairy. She can say she collected her own teeth. :)