Friday, June 30, 2017

I Wish I Brought the Melatonin (or, "My Sister Was Right")

I did it. I survived Girls Camp! (I say, as if people actually thought I wouldn't.) Here are my thoughts on camp and being the assistant stake camp director:

The girls: For the most part, I have no complaints! We had 86 girls from the different wards, and about half that many leaders. As my calling was on a stake level, I didn't have a lot of direct interaction with them, except for the YCLs (youth camp leaders). They are good girls who are (mostly) excited about being there. Sure, there are some issues and some girls that make it really difficult for everyone, but with nearly 90 teenagers, in the woods, with no phones, for a week...they did great. There was the one night I could hear them awake at midnight until I threatened them with a night hike.

My job: I was lucky enough to be assigned the daily hikes. Every day I led a group of girls on a hike. I had YCLs and adults to help corral the girls. The 1st years do three miles, 2nd years do five, and 3rd years do...whatever (which ended up being about 3.5). It was a really great way for me to get to know some of the girls. I also got to know almost every trail in the park. (There are roughly 12 miles of trails, and I hiked 10 of them.) They were pretty standard forest hikes, but it was nice to be moving and with the girls. I liked that job. Outside of that, I just made sure that people knew where they were supposed to be and that they got there.

The food: For the past eight years, two women in our stake have done the food. And when I say, "do the food," I mean they do EVERYTHING. And they do it outside, on stoves or in dutch ovens. They are amazing. We ate breakfast casseroles, asian chicken salad, pulled pork sandwiches, pineapple upside down much good food. And the best thing about it was that I didn't have to make it...or plan for it...or buy it...or hear two boys complain about it. It was maybe the best part of the week.

The location: We went to a state park (one of the two my family hasn't been to) in western Maryland. Like most of Maryland's state parks, it was in a forest and had nice bathrooms (yup, with showers). The very good part about it is that because it's "in the mountains" (re: at an elevation of 2500 feet), the weather was really much better than at home. Our highs were in the 70s. The very bad part about it is that "mountain" weather can change very quickly. We had mostly sun, some clouds, and rain. The worst rain fell at 4 a.m. on our day of departure. Which meant 34 very wet and muddy tents to pack up. Which meant 34 tents to set up, clean, and dry back home.

My sanity: It was hard. It's like parenting in that you're always on. And these were even longer days than my at-home parenting because these girls didn't get in their tents at 7:15 p.m.! So mentally, it was exhausting. I did get some runs in, which helped. But I mostly felt like I was walking around going, "Um, what am I supposed to be doing?" Being tired didn't help. With little to no wind-down time each night, I had a harder time falling asleep there than at home (hence the melatonin, just like Emily said I should bring). This meant later nights than I was used to. Oh, but I did enjoy being in a tent by myself! (Adults can't be in tents with girls.)

The aftermath: I could not stop thinking about camp-related things for about two full days. What went well, what didn't. What changes would I make/suggest next year. Then there was the hour spent online reserving the 40 sites (plus two shelters and a recreation hall) for next year. I'm still working on some other clean up (post-camp surveys, reimbursement, yearly camp project plan, thank yous), but I think I should get a break from it soon. Maybe. Hopefully.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

First Day of Summer Break

The first day of summer break Chuck was still working so I took the boys hiking on the Billy Goat Trail. This particular trail has three sections, and my boys love section A, "the most rockiest hike on the Billy Goat Trail. After we did the hike, we went on a boat ride down the C&O canal." (quoting Ollie) We had to move quickly to make the boat ride, but the boys did great and were tough (and speedy) little hikers.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Last Week of School

The boys also had some stuff going on the last week of school. What? You mean, it's not all about me?! Interesting.

Recorder and orchestra concerts. Thankfully the recorders went on first so I could duck out and not subject myself to the pain of an elementary school orchestra.

The little girl on Rhett's left is his friend, Vyvyem.

And then there's this guy. This was at the Kindergarten Celebration (he's front row, in the green stripes). What can I say about this child? I love him, but man, he can drive a person crazy.

Not letting people look at him.

Not looking at others.

This was the last day for Rhett at Wheaton Woods! Of course Ollie will still be with the same kids, but they're moving back to the newly-built school in the fall. Rhett, as he's going to the other school, will be right back at this holding school as his new school is undergoing construction. Poor dude.

Miss Pam! This was the boys' morning care provide lo these many years. The new school necessitated a new morning/afternoon care provider and sadly she was not awarded the contract. We love her so much! She especially helped with Ollie's transition to school and all of us will miss her.

Welcome home from the last day of 3rd grade and kindergarten! And welcome to summer!

Are you praying for me whilst I'm away at girls camp? You better be.

Friday, June 16, 2017

School Year Recap

Yesterday, finally, my boys had their last day of school. Obviously I wanted to make sure I spent it being productive: shopping, getting a pedicure, having lunch with Chuck, working on know, the important stuff.

Like I thought ten months ago, having both boys in school all day changed my life. And of course, I'm feeling things, but maybe different things from the start of school. I didn't feel guilty at all. I think I felt that because I thought it would feel like less work having the boys around while I got stuff done. But it didn't; it just felt nice. Nor did I feel embarrassed. I should have been scared, however. Ollie had a rough start but by February, things were better. Not perfect, but better. I don't think he'll ever be one who easily follows rules at school, but I am grateful that he started following some. Amazingly, he never once complained about going to school, even if at the end of the day he'd proclaim that he "HATES school." We're just hoping 1st grade will be a bit better. Ecstatic, yep, it was amazing. Running errands, relaxing, swimming (!), it was all amazing without the boys.

And here's my full disclosure of what I accomplished during the days:
Grocery shopping
Volunteering at the boys' school
Prep meals
Clean the house (like really clean)
Lunch with friends
Church calling stuff
Exercising (run, bike, swim)
Strength train--I do that at night
Work on "scrapbooks"
Plan next year's family reunion (I'm not really planning, just gathering details at this moment)
Shopping (I need new clothes and our craft area needs some re-thinking)
Walking Bruno
Organizing closets
Organizing freezers
Washing cars

But I still feel pretty good about what I got done during the day.

Now, how am I feeling about summer? All the usual feelings. Excited about eight-hour works days, nervous about the heat and humidity, and scared to death about girls camp next week. I went up for one day years ago when I was the ward YW president, but now, to spend a whole week?! So scared. But I'm also exhausted from all the work it takes to put it together. So I'll be one happy lady next Friday at noon as I'm heading home. Just 175 hours or so to go!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I Made More Things

A friend commissioned me to make some bunk bed book holders. She provided the fabric and the inspiration; I was just the work horse. (Oh, don't mind Ollie's note taped to the bedspread tent. I think it says something like, "No mad anyone allowed.")

And, of course, those little girls needed a cute name banner for their room. I've never done a double, but I like how it turned out.

Because my new bag doesn't have as many pockets as my old bag, I had to make a little clutch for the loose stuff (from this tutorial). I'm pretty much in love with it.