Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Camp Time

June... summer vacation. Sleeping in. Swim days. Playgroup. Staying up late. Riding bikes. Going places. Seeing family. Getting dirty. Staying up later. Watching movies. Grilling out. Sleeping in later.
Very little routine. Sounds good... but makes return to routine hard. But for now... we enjoy!
Lydia gets a week of Camp Grandfolk in Griffin while the other 3 (and Mom) get a week of camp Strong Rock. The big kids were second guessing their choice of camps when Lydia packed up and headed south. She got to go first, by a whole day... which somehow is just not fair to those who get to go to Strong Rock... whatever! I'm not sympathetic! Plus, they'll get their week later in the summer. Grandma had to show Maggie on the calendar that she was already written in... in order to ease her sorrow!

Lydia was spoiled, as Grandfolks typically do. They ate out several meals. Picked blueberries. Made a tent in the living room. Watched movies. Watched more movies. Then went to see Toy Story 3 in the theatre! A big event around here. When Lyd mentioned going to see it... the other 3 immediately knee-jerked a reaction of "what? no fair!!" It was actually amusing to hear how they somehow missed out on some great world event.

Camp Strong Rock... wow, what can I say?!?! If only every kid could have the opportunity to go. I know it isn't possible and it isn't even some kid's cup of tea... but it sure is loads of fun. I think I had as much fun (and more) than some of the campers. I want to be a counselor and act goofy and dress up like an oompa loompa. Me thinks me too old! So, I was the camp nurse for the week and I prayed (how I prayed) for no serious injuries or illnesses. The campers were just fine with some stings, chiggers and belly aches. The adults, on the other hand... weren't so accommodating for me. We had a serious burn in the kitchen and a sprained ankle one night and a couple others who just liked visiting me on a regular basis. No kids sent to the doctor. Nobody had to call 911. I was very thankful when Friday morning arrived and the parents were again responsible for their own offspring!
Bennett, Maggie and Ruth ALL got to go this year (hence the mother working as the camp nurse!). Bennett and Maggie were already on the Waya tribe so we were looking forward to maybe mixing up the house with a little Awahili as well. Only, Ruth drew the red chip which made her Waya too. Double U, A-Y-A, A-Y-A, A-Y-A, double U! (repeat until hoarse) They had a fun week. All were on horseback at different class times, we had drumline, dance, drama, tumbling, riflery, swimming, arts and crafts, and super science between the 3 of them. They were together for a couple classes but most of the time they were on their own. I tried to spend most of my time up at the lodge and away from their classes... even though I really wanted to see what they were doing. I did walk down to the barn one day to check on a reported eye injury (which was B's) and the horse lady announced my arrival and told him to sit up straight so I could take a good picture. So much for being sneaky! :) I got to watch the nightly games on the field, which was a ton of fun. I think my favorite to watch was the Oompa Loompa candy game because the oompa loompas were stinking hilarious. Google kept saying "I love ze yellow candy" in his crazy accent over and over. Dill had some character with a wooden owl on his shoulder. Where do they come up with these things?? The costumes and accessories they acquire over the summer... who knows where they come from.!.
There was more to this post, and pictures. Eventually I will get them added. But Jill reminded me tonight (AUGUST 26!) that I had still not posted anything. So here goes...
The week was exceptionally fun for all of us. Lydia spent her week at Camp Grandma (and Grandpa) in Griffin while Curtis hung out around the home and accomplished what he could. It was too hot to do too much work. Grandma took Lydia on several special outings to dinner, Toy Story 3, shopping, my old elementary school, and more dining. Grandpa tagged along too, even though Lydia often gave him a cold shoulder. I think they enjoyed learning some of Lydia's personality traits. They baked cakes together and played in the living room card table tent. I stole some of her pictures to chronicle they week.
Feeding the deer with Grandpa was a nightly adventure. We even got to see her come eat the corn while we were visiting later.

Visiting with Dr. Mike... Grandma and Grandpa's chiropractor.

Lydia's making a gum train with all the packs from Grandma. This is at Upscale Pizza... yum!

Back together again! It's a long week without the baby.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Wallace Family Reunion - Father's Day Weekend 2010

The Wallace family gathered in New Paris, Ohio over the Father's Day weekend at a campground called Natural Springs Resort. We haven't made it to the Wallace reunion since Bennett was an infant and we really didn't think much about it. But this year was different.
For some reason, it was important this year. And I'm so glad it was. Before we went, we had second thoughts about the drive, the lodging, the money, the food, the kids, the work time, etc. After the fact... we think, how could we have missed it so many years. We had such a good time with OUR family and with the rest of the family. We will purpose to return each year, as time allows.
I have 300 pictures that Curtis, Katrina and I took over the weekend. Katrina is my Pennsylvania cousin. She carried the camera to get some shots I may not have seen. Curtis took some pictures too, while I was playing and visiting. Other people had their cameras out... so there are way too many pictures to chose from to post here. I'll just have to put a few of my favorites and then save the rest for facebook.
We left to head north Thursday morning and made pretty decent time for waiting to pack until the very last minute. We met up with Mom and Dad a couple hours north, in Tennessee. They had started earlier and made a couple stops and we ended up pretty close to each other on I-75, so they waited for us. We shared 2 kids at a time with Grandma/Grandpa since that's a special treat and they have a DVD player with headphones. Woo Wee! We stopped for dinner at a Red Robin, even though Mom really wanted Frisch's Big Boy. When we stopped, there wasn't a Frisch's nearby. Go figure! It was still very yummy food.
We arrived at Natural Springs Resort a little after 9pm and there was still just a smidge of daylight left in the sky. We found our camper and started unpacking... then I thought I'd let Curtis do the unpacking and I would take the kids and say hello to the families that had already arrived.
We found cousin Gretchen Wallace Williams (Tim, Lindsey, Charlie & Ford), Uncle Mike and Aunt Linda Wallace, Aunt Nancy Manlove, Aunt Terrie Thompson, cousin Katrina Thompson Gonzales (Carlos, Olivia, Grace & Jesse), cousin Katie Thompson Crowell (Troy, Mitchell, Hudson, & Seth... she had to leave Ray at home to work), and all the kids running around in the yard like some monkeys. We walked back to our camper, which was just a handful of lots away from the family corner. The kids were very excited and it took a while to get everyone settled into their spots.
Cousin Katie's boys, Troy and Mitchell dig in the dirt with Ruth and Maggie at the beach on the lake. That's also the back of cousin Katrina's Grace.

Bennett and Curtis enjoyed different styles of jumps and splashes.
Friday we got to see lots more of the family. We swam in the pool and lake. We rode bikes... a lot! We ate a lot. We visited a lot. Cousin Wayne and Donna Wallace were housing Grandma and Grandpa. Mom stayed at the house to cook all morning while we were playing. Aunt Terrie and Katrina stayed busy cooking all day too. Crazy! I cooked before we left so I could play while we were there. A group took off for cousin Tom's golf course and played all morning. Next year... I'm gonna go play! Dad said he just rode around in a cart and enjoyed the beauty. Sounds like a plan! Cousin Lisa organised a scavenger hunt for the kids... they had a pretty difficult list of items they were to round up and turn in on Saturday at dinner. Most of them started out looking for items... but in the end there were only a handful of bags turned in with most of the items. There was a 3 way tie with Molly, Maggie and Ruth. The tie-breaker was to find a nickel... ends up the oldest date won. Maggie got her nickel from Grandpa! It was the oldest and she got a cash prize of $25. Pretty decent prize for an 8 year old.
We had a big group potluck dinner Friday evening... way too much food! But it was certainly lots of fun. Tim and Gretchen smoked a bunch of pig meat so we ate like "pigs" too. We counted up 95 people over the 3 days. Not too bad... but a bunch of those are kids, so don't worry. :) We hung around the tented corner lot and visited until a strong breeze blew and the sky got dark. Ruth and Lydia started "freaking out" so we grabbed all our things, threw chairs under the tent, put bikes away and ran back to the camper. Then we ran all 4 kids through the very tiny camper shower... but at least it was a shower IN the camper. It never did rain until the kids were very fast asleep. And even then, it was a nice gentle shower.

Uncle Mike talking with Cousins Jim and Barb.
Saturday we started over again... playing, swimming, biking, eating. The Manlove boys all fixed a lovely, nice big breakfast for everyone. Yum-O! Later in the afternoon, those Manlove boys also had a basket of water balloons in their golf cart and they rode around the campground pegging unsuspecting family members. The kids LOVED watching for them and trying to hit them with their own balloons they had acquired! It was a source of lots of laughter. And then those Manlove boys agreed to organize next year's reunion!
Way to go Manlove boys!!!

We had another potluck dinner Saturday night... this time fried chicken was the main course. We again had more than we could eat, as is the trend in family gatherings. After dinner Curtis took the kids swimming while the adults hung out in the big tent and played "Who knows their family trivia?" We also crowned Uncle Mike the "favorite" family member by giving him a shaving cream pie in the face. Charlie tried to eat some thinking it was whipped cream, and then Tom also shared in the "creaming" fun. During the family trivia we learned a few things about our relatives... some old stories were revisited (the dummy in the ditch by Mike, Jeff, Nelson), some new stories (Jody and the rooster), and some competitive behaviors (TOM!). After all the fun we had to settle in to pack everything up. Curtis did most of the work while I got the kids ready for bed. Nobody wanted to go to sleep, but eventually we all did.
Silly cousin fun... Katie Crowell, Gretchen Williams, Jenny, Katrina Gonzales, Krista Mayhall.

Cousin Scott Manlove with Uncle Mike, Uncle Dan and Cyndie.
Grandma always makes laughter and smiles... here are Stacy and Holly, two of Cousin Wayne's girls.

Tim and Gretchen driving the girls around, with Ford hanging on as well.
Ruth and Lydia, that is.
Uncle Jeff and Aunt Trudy start off the day with good coffee.
Bennett with the Crowell boys playing cornhole. In the background is Katie and the back of Nick... again. Seems I got the back of his head a lot.
Uncle Norman Manlove... the father of all those crazy boys!
Speaking of crazy... here's Clint Manlove with Grandpa, Gretchen and Phyllis.
Wayne and grandson Elijah.
More smiles with Grandma... Holly and Nathan.

Ruth is hot and tired... no place like Grandma's lap!
Lydia enjoys munching on some Pringles at the playground.
The she takes a brief nap with Mommy. She actually fell off the playground about 5 1/2 feet and hurt herself... so I was snuggling her. She was exhausted from playing and NEEDED a nap!
Sunday morning I took the kids away from the camper so Curtis could load up the last minute items. We found a few cousins playing... so we distracted each other while packing and loading was going on. Charlie and Troy enjoyed our golf cart ride! We headed out shortly after 9:30 and made pretty good time going South. We stopped in Berea, KY for a picnic lunch on the grass. They have an Artisan Center for Travellers which is a really nice place to stop and see the local artist's work. We drove on to the Ocoee river in Tennessee, where we stopped for another picnic dinner on the river. This is where they had the whitewater river events during the 1996 Olympics and Curtis and I got to go watch. Before we made it home we had to stop for DQ ice cream since it was such a great trip with the kids. Nothing like giving kids ice cream at 9 o'clock at night!! But we had such a great trip.... ready to go again!

I asked Bennett what his favorite part of the trip was. His reply, "everything at the campground. And Charlie (Charlie is my cousin Gretchen's son, 6 years old). I liked the swimming pool, the lake, and riding bikes. I think I road my bike on every road. Yes, I did ride my bike over every road in the campground!"
Maggie's favorite part: "I really liked the scavenger hunt and seeing all my cousins that I never knew. I liked the scavenger hunt because I got $25!"
Ruth's favorite part: "when Uncle Wayne turned his flashing lights on his car. When we went swimming. When we rode the golf cart. when I got to see the fishes in the lake. and when we got to see our grandparents and cousins."
Lydia's favorite part: "camping and swimming and I liked when we swimmed in the lake. Dat's all. Ok?"

I love these kids!

Funny video by Lydia on the way home... too many hours in the car. :)

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