Friday, July 10, 2015

An Open Letter to My Kids At Camp...Day 6

THEY'RE BACK IN MY ARMS!!!!!!



Driving home from picking up my loves from camp...one of them (Dubya) received the "Tall Tale" award for always trying to get his friends to believe crazy stories and the other (Belle) recorded the prestigious "Camper of the Week" award, for being the all around best camper and for acing her Firearms Safety test!!)! She also received a Nalgene-style water bottle for this award!

The stories and new friendships abound...they made great connections, Belle made a friend from Costa Rica (I was right, she was with the group asking about how to say different food words in other languages!) and loved her bunk mates. Dubya also hit it off with his bunk mates!

Both kids are happy they went to camp, Dubya didn't really have any tough times, Belle said Night 2 was her toughest night, then she was fine! 

Man alive, did it ever feel good to wrap my arms around them!

Now, we head home to unpack and get ready to watch the new Minion movie at the drive-in tonight!!

My mama heart is full and happy...

Thursday, July 9, 2015

An Open Letter to My Kids at Camp...Day 5

You guys...

We are

ALMOST

THERE!!!!!!

13 hours until I can wrap my arms around your necks and kiss you and love you and call you George!!! Or, you know, like Jack said, "Yoy". (Inside family joke...)

THIRTEEN HOURS!!!!

Today, I caught a glimpse of this on the camp blog:



Seeing those genuine smiles made my heart sing!

Can not wait to see you two tomorrow...morning can't come soon enough!


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

An Open Letter to My Kids at Camp...Day 4

On our way to morning activities today, I called dad and said, "ONLY TWO MORE WAKE-UPS AND WE CAN GET THE KIDS!!!"...dad asked me how old I was, poop head that he is. In other news, WE'RE ALMOST THERE, KIDS!!!

So close to having you back home...so, so close!! Eeeeeeek!!

It's like camp knows I needed to see pictures of you...so far, all the photos with campers in it have included the two of you! Sure makes my heart happy to see you in those pictures. I wonder who you've made friends with and what you're favorite thing has been so far. 

I seriously can not wait to have you guys back. To wrap my arms around you and hear all about your camp adventures. Our home just isn't quite the same without you two here...so I've decided, you can never grow up and move out, okay? We've got a nice bedroom in the basement where you can play video games all day when you're 35...how does that sound? ;)

Tomorrow should go quickly...and then, we wake bright and early to join you at camp!

I love you, my sweet kiddos, more than you will ever know.

Two wake-ups my dears, two!


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

An Open Letter to My Kids at Camp...Day 3

After tonight, we will be over 1/2 way through..."over the hump", as Uncle Josh says! Dad left me this sweet note this morning...I suspect he's feeling the same way I am!



I hope today was easier for you...in fact, I hope that your worry and unease was short lived and my anxiety over your lonesome hearts was all for naught. Today I caught a glimpse of each of you on the camp blog...one of you in "class" and the other on a canoe. Gracious, sweet loves, do I pray that you are enjoying yourselves! Seeing those photos made me heart a little lighter...



(Photo creds: camp)


Gram and I did some shopping today...it was good to have my mind and body busy, I find that when I am idle for too long, I start to worry.

Funny story, at suppertime we were doing "Roses and Thorns"...my "thorn" was that not all of my kids were home. I asked your two younger siblings on a scale of 0 (not at all) to 10 (I'm lost without them) how much they missed you, they both said "10"! But then Baby Girl added, "But when they're not here, I don't really remember them." and she proceeded to let out the silliest laugh!

That little sister of yours has been the balm for my lonely heart.

Time and again, people keep reassuring me that this is a great experience for you...that even if you don't enjoy it, you will discover things about yourself (determination, resolve, perseverance) that you will be able to draw on later in life.

I love you to the moon and back times infinity times infinity...Friday will be here soon!


Monday, July 6, 2015

An Open Letter to My Kids at Camp...Day 2

Here I sit, 1:25pm, and wondering why today, of all days, is dragging by so slowly. How is it that they other days of summer flew by in the blink of an eye? Will it be this way all week?

Today has been a bit easier for me...I hope you two have found the same. The vice grip on my heart was lessened, ever so slightly, when I woke up this morning. I knew we had all made it through the night and were just that closer to seeing each other again. (Man alive, you'd think it was all summer that you guys were going to be gone, not 6 days!)

I refreshed and refreshed the camp blog until THERE IT WAS. An update. Not the camper photos I was hoping, no scouring each photo trying to search out my kiddos, but still an update. They spoke of the fun at supper time the night before, while the campers asked others how to say "food words" in different languages. I could imagine you two being a part of that conversation...oh, I can not wait to hear your stories!

People keep reassuring me that this is harder on me than it is on you and gracious, do I hope they are right. I never had a camp experience, so I can't relate to how you are feeling, but "they" say that you are having a blast. That you are kept so busy that you don't have time to be homesick. Goodness, do hope that is the truth.

Dad has also been struggling...wondering how you two are doing and hoping you are having fun. 

4 nights to go, my loves...4 nights.

Here's to having them go quickly!!


Sunday, July 5, 2015

An Open Letter to My Kids at Camp...Day 1

Oh my aching heart. All week long, I tried to be so strong for you two...encouraging you and cheering you on and talking you through your doubts and fears regarding camp.

(Even while dad tried to sabotage my efforts with his, "But I don't want you to go! I'm going to miss you!!" exclamations. Ugh.)

Then today, sweet girl, you nearly broke me. When you clung to your dad and your soft whimpers escaped your mouth? You nearly did me in. I wanted to scoop you up and tell those camp people, "On second thought...forget it. We're outta here." and all the while your brother grinned with excitement.

I'll be honest, it was he that I was most worried about, not you, sweet girl. You with your quiet confidence, your maturity, your determination. I thought you'd breeze right through this. I think, if you had had a friend along, that it would have made it a bit easier...what I hope you'll discover over the next few days is that you do, indeed, have a friend along. 7 of them, actually, who you first knew as strangers. I hope and pray that you'll connect with them. Maybe not all of them, but at least one. Or two. They seemed like nice girls...each of them that we met, and my prayer is that you create new friendships and find someone that you connect with.

And sweet boy, I sure hope you sail through the week as well as you did our good-byes. I hope you and Austin (I am so, so grateful you have a friend along!) have a blast and make new friends, as well.

In that moment of good-byes, my mama heart was crumpling. I was fighting tears and trying to dig down deep for the strength I knew you needed. The ride home wasn't any easier and I kept asking God to be with you. To soothe your worry and give you peace and confidence to not only make it through this week, but to be able to enjoy it.

So now, I sit. Tears at the ready. Constantly refreshing the camp blog to see if I can catch a glimpse of you, to read your faces and body language to make sure you're okay.

I love you both so much and already miss you like crazy.

Friday can't come soon enough...


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Our Spontaneous North Shore Vacation...

We are sufficiently rested and "back to real life" after our "off the cuff" vacation to Minnesota's beautiful North Shore! (Not to be confused with Hawaii's North Shore, which, I'm sure, is kinda pretty too...)

Back to the "off the cuff" part...the hubs and I are notoriously "Type B" personalities. At the beginning of summer, we sat down and plotted out our free weekends and discovered that we had one. ONE. One entire free weekend all stinking summer long. Anyway, we decided that we would make that our family trip/camping weekend. Well, days passed, weeks passed and suddenly we found ourselves at the beginning of the week prior to the weekend that we were supposed to go camping...with no plans.

We were about to scratch the weekend, when we decided to just see what we could find. One resort wanted 300 bucks a night (ouch), one campground was full, another full, we weren't finding anything available on the state parks website. In one last "Hail Mary" pass, the Mr. called a campground on the North Shore. The lovely lady that answered the phone was a wealth of information. She told us that while her campground was full, Tettegouche State park was just up the road and she suggested we call the ranger station there.



Turns out there are a couple of State Forest campgrounds nearby...here's something new I learned: State Park campgrounds are 80% reservable sites and 20% first-come-first-serve...however, State Forest campgrounds are 100% first-come-first-serve! The ranger told my handsome groom that we didn't have a single worry about finding a campsite on Friday. One of the two State Forest campgrounds would have availability.

And, we found that out Thursday morning. Yes, the morning before we planned to leave! Enter: Mission: Pack and Prep for a Spontaneous Camping Trip!

Here's the other funny part...we didn't own a tent until Thursday night.



To our absolute delight, the weekend was fabulous! Probably one of our most enjoyable vacations!



We found a campsite on the Baptism River in Finland State Forrest...our kids bee-bopped the shores of Lake Superior day after day. We visited and swam in Temperance River State Park (in hindsight, not as great of a decision as I originally thought, but definitely the highlight of the trip!), we toured Split Rock Lighthouse, we enjoyed Gooseberry Falls State Park, we put on miles and miles of hiking in the parks, we ended our trip with a stop at Duluth's Glensheen mansion. What a place that is! Of course, my kids kept whispering the whole time, "Is THIS the room she got killed in?!", to their disappointment, the tour guides are instructed not to talk about the infamous Congdon murder...thank goodness for Google! :)







Arriving home Monday night, we were dirty, bug-bitten, exhausted...and our hearts were happy!

Spontaneity can be amazingly rewarding...as evidenced by the memories we made over the weekend!




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