Roughing it at church camp…

The kids spent three nights at church camp – the same camp I attended as a kid! This was Michael’s first time to do “sleep away” camp and it seemed a good fit because my friend Sheri’s husband was going to be in the cabin with his little boy and Michael. I told Michael he could ask Mr. Steve to call me if he got really homesick. Michael said, “What if I’m too embarrassed to tell him?” And I replied, “Then you’re not really homesick.” 🙂 Michael did great.

Take a moment to soak up the natural beauty of this place before I show you the “fine” amenities.

The dock has not been repaired or replaced since I first set foot on it in 1980.

The accomodations are “rustic” to say the least. From what I can see, the only change since I was a camper is that someone painted the walls and ceilings of the cabins so we can’t see that “Kim wuz here” and my friend “Dawnn wuz here” year upon year through the 80’s.

Michael gave me a quick hug and ran away when I dropped them off. Sleep away camp is a big step and I was proud of him for giving it a try. He knew all the boys in his cabin from Sunday School.

Henry came along, of course.

Here’s Leah with her friends. Like her little brother, she knew all her cabin mates already from Sunday School. They were all in the Cherokee cabin – my old cabin.

The kids were both soooo sweaty when Dad and I got there on Monday to pick them up!

The cabins are tucked into the trees and the shade does help, but it was HOT that weekend,

Here’s Michael and Mr. Steve.

I stayed in this same cabin many times! We used to come for a whole week and I loved, loved, loved being here at camp. My kids? Not so much. Not feeling the love. They didn’t hate it, but they didn’t love it either, so I think we’re done with church camp which is fine.

Here’s Michael trying to out-muscle his Paw-Paw for the front seat on the ride home. Guess who won? (Hint: Not Michael.)

Summer Camp

Leah went back to her favorite summer camp again this year! I posted pictures of the camp last year that are worth a second look – it’s so pretty there. The camp is tucked under a canopy of trees right on the lake – so peaceful. Here are a few pictures of her week…

Zipline!

The wall!

Horseback riding!

The banana!

The blob!

Leah came home with a massive bruise along her right thigh from a hard hit onto the water from the blob. Apparently, the excitement of being catapulted into the air by one of the counselors was ‘totally worth it’ for the injury sustained! This girl is fearless.

Archery!

Leah and her cabin counselor…

Leah and the camp director…

Her Paw-Paw and I were so proud of her for winning the leadership award again!

Space Camp

The kids spent last week at Space Camp! This was Michael’s first year to go. He learned so much each day and made friends with a little boy from Connecticut. It was such a melting pot of kids. My friend Linda brought her son Vaughn down from Madison, Wisconsin for the second summer in a row. Since this was Leah and Vaughn’s second year, they opted to participate in the Robotics camp where they spent the week designing and building working robots.

“You know, we have all these camps for youngsters in this country – band camps and cheerleader camps and football camps. Why don’t we have a science camp?” – Dr. Wernher von Braun, father of the U.S. space program, initiated the idea of Space Camp while observing children studying rockets at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in 1977.

Nerd alert!! (Just kidding – sort of!) Our kids know we aspire to raise nerds. So far, so good.

I love love love Leah’s sweatshirt:

It’s not rocket science.
Oh, wait – yes, it is.

Next year? Year three of Space Camp: Aviation Challenge!

Summer Camp

This past weekend, the kids and I took a road trip with our friends for the open house of a summer camp the kids may attend this coming summer. Leah loves camp, so she was over the moon! I always loved camp, so frankly, I was pretty over the moon myself and wishing there was one week just for mommies to come swim in the creek, zip line and ride horses… Oh well.

My hope is that we’ll find a camp that will be a special part of the kids’ summer memories for many years to come!

This amazing waterfall is in the middle of the camp.

The “big kid” cabins were exactly what you’d expect…

I was pleased to see the camp embraces “traditions”. Haha!

The kids’ chief complaint is that they would all [3] be separated!

I wasn’t thinking of sending Michael yet but the “little kids” cabins were so adorable that he and I both began to re-think! The cabins were like the best of a tree-fort and tree-house!

Plus, they gave Michael candy.

Leah is excited about trail riding!

The kids have a Bible study every morning and a mini-worship time at the end of the day.

Michael was all fired up to go until this morning when he said to me: “I forgot to ask if they had alligator-proofed that river! I don’t think they have so I don’t want to go.”

Maybe next year!?!

Day Camp

Michael got to go back to his favorite camp again this summer for the third year in a row! He loves it!!! The kids get to do all kinds of fun things from zip-lining to horseback riding to archery and hiking and canoeing. They even have farm animals to pet and play with. The kids ride a bus to camp – singing camp songs all the way – and generally fall asleep on the way home because they’re absolutely spent! Michael’s favorite thing is probably Foxes and Hounds – an elaborate game of hide, seek and chase that the kids play in the woods. My dad said he grew up playing the same game!

My parents rode down there with me for Parents Day and we arrived in time to see Michael’s group doing archery before they headed off to play Foxes and Hounds…

At one point during Foxes and Hounds, three boys went missing. I’ll let you guess who!!!!! Of course, one was Michael. A little girl came running out of the woods saying the boys were headed for Salamander Cave. Images of helicopters and police dogs flashed before my eyes. Dad was concerned that the teenage counselors didn’t seem sufficiently freaked out – but it was all resolved 15 minutes later when the boys emerged safely from the woods with their counselor. It was a long 15 minutes! Cody-the-counselor insisted it was a misunderstanding. Michael was confused by all the fuss, of course.

Up next was ‘council time’ when all the campers came together for silly songs and skits led by the counselors. Mom and Dad really got a kick out of the songs and dancing ‘the funky chicken’.

My favorite thing about the camp – other than how much Michael loves it and how much fun they have – is how staggeringly filthy and tired he is at the end of the day!!! It’s the hallmark of a great summer camp, is it not?!?

Success!!!

Summer Camp II

Leah loves loves loves summer camp! You may have seen my post a couple weeks ago about her days upon days of packing and planning. Well, camp ended up being a great success. There were 6 girls in her cabin and 4 counselors. I loved that ratio! Leah’s favorite activities were “The Blob” (jumping off a tower onto a giant floating mattress in the lake), the zip line, archery and quiet time (of all things). We were very proud of her for winning a leadership award at the closing ceremony.

The camp is tucked up into the trees right on the lake. The facilities are pretty rustic, but it’s a gorgeous setting. Camp is supposed to be rustic though, right?

Did you see the pontoon boat in the background of the last photo? Leah told the funniest story about the boat breaking down while the kids were out on a cruise. It’s the only boat so the counselors told them to take off their shoes, tie the laces together and hang them around their necks because they were all about to swim to shore. Haha! Leah said they swam fifty yards and then had to hike back two miles through the woods. I love it!

This was Leah’s cabin. The camp director told them to choose plumbing or air conditioning. They chose plumbing! I am pretty sure that was the only actual option. They played a lot of pranks on the boys cabin but the boys got them back.

This is “The Blob”!!!

Space Camp

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My friend Linda and I met in Dallas way back when I was young and single… another lifetime ago! We became fast friends and enjoyed working together at EDS and HP. We’ve found so much common ground in life from our careers to attitudes to faith and now even our parenting styles. She also loves to travel as much as I do! We have been everywhere together from Las Vegas to Savannah and London to Rome. In fact, we went to The Vatican together when Pope John Paul II had just died because we happened to be in town for a staff meeting. We’ve had some adventures over the years. This week is special because she brought her son Vaughn down to visit with us and go to Space Camp.

NASA’s presence in Huntsville goes back more than 50 years. Wehner von Braun and his team of German rocket scientists chose Huntsville as their home base when they came to the US following WW2. Apparently the mountains and trees reminded them more of home than White Sands, New Mexico. Imagine that!?! So they ditched the desert for the Tennessee Valley and thus Huntsville has more engineers per capita than Silicon Valley as well as a fine selection of German restaurants. (Vielen Dank, Herr Doktor von Braun!)

20140624 spacecamp

Leah and Vaughn are learning all about modern aerospace engineering this week as they test out various simulators and experience g-force <cue the nausea> and some gyro-machine that pitches astronauts (and campers) around to simulate falling from extreme altitudes. Leah called that one “the vomitator”. Good times!

I’m already pitching Space Camp 2015 and 2016 to Linda… the Aviation Challenge and Robotics camps are pretty cool!

Camp-a-Palooza

It’s all about camp right now… Leah came home from a week in the deep woods at sleep-away camp and turned right around to go to Space Camp. Michael went to football camp last week and this week it’s his turn to tromp around in the deep woods and swim in the lake. He’s day camping it though – no sleep-away camps for him yet. Here are a few pictures from a football camp run by our friend Eric who coached the 2013 and 2012 3A state football champions!!!

Hot, sweaty and happy!

Summer Camp

Leah is at sleep-away camp this week… for the entire week! She has done mini-camps (just 3 nights away) for the past two summers and has been begging to stay for a week or even two! She was so excited that she packed her suitcase a week ago and then re-organized it several times.

I loved camp so much as a kid that I bought Leah a gigantic duffle bag when she was an infant so she would have it to take to camp. (I am a planner. This is what a planner does! It cannot be helped.) Leah concluded her wheelie-bag was too small and we moved everything into the gigantic duffle bag.

Leah’s dolls have been “at camp” for the past week. Leah told me that Beatrice is emailing with her mom and Julie is taking a nap. Like the bunk beds?

Leah made swimsuits out of socks and then Angie and Beatrice went “to the lake” (my bath tub) to swim. Leah’s camp is on a huge lake – they won’t be swimming in a pool! They also won’t have air conditioning! Or electronics!

Julie is suntanning and listening to the radio.

It’s all good at Camp American Girl.

Here’s Leah trying to fill out a questionnaire for her cabin counselor. The question: What scares you most? Leah said “nothing”. (Of course!) I’d say don’t show her any scary movies and she’ll be fine.

I told Uncle Stevie that all the cabin counselors were college girls and he said, “Oh nooooo!!!” I laughed and said there’s the difference between the girls you and I hung out with in college!!! Hahaha!!!

Leah’s counselors seemed like very sweet young women. 🙂

We got there early so she could pick a top bunk. Leah seems much older than two years ago when I dropped her off at this same camp the first time – two years ago. Mommy felt better about leaving her for a week – but I still miss her so much and it’s still day one!

I know she’ll have a great week!