Thursday, June 24, 2010

Granny Camp

Jo's idea...the kids loved it.

In February this year, Jo began thinking of ways to have all of the grandchildren at our house for an extended period of time to do crafts, play games, sleep over, and energize me (I'm not sure that was one of the criteria, but it worked).

June 18 and 19 were set as camping days and plans were set in motion to have the children overnight to "do camp"...

Months of planning resulted in researching those activities and items that would hold the interest of children ranging in ages from 4 to 9--not an easy task. However, Jo is tenacious in her resolve. Notebooks were kept; favorite websites were saved in our browser; items ranging from crayons to scissors to acrylic paints to balloons to paper sacks to other items too numerous to mention began to pile up in our spare bedroom.

We met Mark and Carrie (son and daughter-in-law) near the Muncie exit on I-69 on June 18, collected Evan (4), Mariah (5), Caleb (8), and Lydia (9), and headed to Decatur. Luke (7) joined us in the lobby of the Adams Memorial Hospital where Jo conducted a kiddy tour for our little brood. One half hour of seeing where Grandma worked was sufficient for these five, and it was off to grandma's house where adventure awaited.

Sleeping bags were unloaded, hugs were shared with Grandpa, and the first order of business was a paper sack race outside. Five little souls were lined up, given a paper sack about the size of a lunch bag, and instructed on how the game worked. The idea was to start at the starting line, run to the finish line, blow up the paper sack and pop it, and then, run back to the starting line, completing the loop. The bags, although uniform in size, were perfect for the bigger kids, but the little ones appeared to be carrying duffle bags. However, spirits were high and the game worked perfectly. In fact, three more heats were completed, followed by three more Saturday morning.

After dining on spaghetti, cheese bread, and breadsticks (all eaten with gusto), craft time was spent completing a Father's Day gift for the little ones' daddies. A Ball jar filled with Goldfish crackers and Gummy Worms was decorated with stick-on fish stickers and seashells. A popsicle stick with a piece of yarn and an artificial hook was attached along with a note saying, "Dad, I'm hooked on you!"

The finished gifts were placed safely inside the tote bags that each of the children were given that would hold their other camp treasures as well.

The troop headed back outside after crafts where Grandpa had set up several yard games to test their skills. We were off to a good start when rogue thunderstorms forced us inside. However, our efforts were not dampened...

After bath time and jammies, Walt Disney showed up with "Lady and the Tramp", and the children were content to munch popcorn, view the movie, and prepare to bed down for the night. Teeth were brushed and no complaints were voiced as five little ones snuggled into their beds...

The basement floor provided a perfect "campsite" for five little sleeping bags. The boys were placed in one section of the room, and the girls were tucked cozily into another section where their privacy was ensured. There is something intoxicating about giving final squeezes and kisses goodnight to five sweet-smelling grandbabies. Lights were turned off (except for the hall night light pointing the way to the bathroom, if needed), and soon, little campers drifted off to sleep.

Saturday morning came at 7:00 for Lydia, Mariah, Evan, and Luke. Caleb was the last one up around 8 and breakfast was boisterous and fun. Scrambled eggs, donuts, juice, and string cheese (yep, Granny was prepared to provide a full menu) filled little tummies.

Outside Grandpa had begun secretly filling water balloons. The morning sun was already hot by 9; a perfect day for chucking balloons at each other. No encouragement was needed when Grandma suggested the children put on their bathing suits to play outside.

Grandma organized a nerf-ball game and invited two neighbor children to join as well. The game was at fever pitch when Grandpa invited each of the children to come and select five balloons each from the arsenal he had created. Pandemonium ensued.

For the next two hours, there was not a dry spot on anyone. The original rule was that Grandpa was not to get wet. That rule was broken approximately 10 minutes into the game and it was open season.

Liam, our 8 year old neighbor boy, was running across the yard still dripping from the contact of the last balloon that found its way to his person. He's a cute little guy with two sisters and lots of female cousins. In fact, his mother said that he is the only boy in the family. His reaction to the water balloon battle was the best summary of all...

"Dave", he called, "this is the best day of my life!!"

"Why is that, Liam?" I asked.

"Because", he said, "I'm playin' with the boys!!!"


Next: Wrap up and Awards Day--stay tuned...