- Each of the teens and tweens received a leather bound Bible. I don't know how much money was spent for the annual mid-camp trip to Great America (which they did away with this year - something they have done regularly since I was a teen) each year, but the benefit of this Bible far out-paces a day at an amusement park. Kudos to the person responsible for that idea/gift.
It was awesome to watch all the teens in the evening meeting, holding their Bibles high and ready for a sword drill (where they challenge them to be the first to find an announced passage of Scripture).
I spent most of the week asking Bryce if he found his. I think he lost his bag and Bible on the fourth or fifth day. Thankfully, on the last day, when they still couldn't locate the Bible with his name in it, his counsellor suggested he take one of the other ones that had been left or lost.
- Our cabin was large and spacious, which meant that the little boys were content to play there. While Sandpiper and the Lodge are closer to where all the activities occur, they don't offer much space to maneuver. Our cabin had 5 bunk beds in the main part of the cabin and another bunk bed in a small counselor's room. Trevor and Sean took over the counselor's room as their own. Trevor loved the small desk where he could draw. There was a dresser for their clothes. When I wanted to rest, they would merely shut their door and lie on their beds watching our portable DVD player or playing together quietly in there. (You can tell from the photos that neatness wasn't our highest priority at camp, but then, that's another thing I love about CBLI ... it doesn't have to be!)
- I loved hearing Sean singing songs from his class when he thought nobody was listening in the cabin. It is always funny, too, when the boys don't realize that I know a song they have just learned. They spent most of the week singing "Stand Up and Shout it, if you Love my Jesus," and "She'll be Coming Round the Mountain." If you want to watch the short video of their class, you can see them both singing and splashing in the water.
- I loved that Trevor and Sean were both in the same class together. On the first night, the Kids Track director approached me and said that the 2s & 3s class was rather large. She asked if I would mind if they bumped Sean up to Trevor's 4s & 5s class. It was a really wonderful thing for the boys to attend class together and receive the same crafts, toys and lessons.
- I loved our free-times together. We didn't really stress this year about accomplishing a lot. We often spent the first hour just hanging out in the cabin. Trevor loved all of the free-time options. He wanted to attend the pool daily. Sean, didn't seem to want to do anything. He complained every time we headed to the pool, but soon became active in the water. I think he was a bit put out that Trevor had advanced to the big pool, while he was still stuck in the baby pool. I loved not having to worry about Trevor (his swimming skills have advanced so much since his lessons back in April that I didn't even stay near him, but allowed him to swim alone in the big pool).
At one point, when I was still signing us all in and the boys had taken off inside without me, I entered to find two mothers chuckling over something Sean had said. Apparently, he walked to the edge of the big pool, where Trevor jumped in, and said, "Every day ... it gets deeper and deeper," then put his hands on his hips and walked off towards the baby pool. Ha!
Sean wasn't too thrilled with the fishing idea after the second day, either, because I wouldn't let him use any other pole than the Spiderman one with a rubber fish for practice casting. He's great at casting, for a 3 year old, but I still don't trust him with a hook. They did enjoy a few hours of fishing with Todd, though.
Trevor was gung ho to try the zip line, when he heard my friend Laura's daughter, Annie, talking about it, but in the end, I think he wasn't quite ready and said he'd do it next year (you have to climb up about four stories high).
They both enjoyed the playground:
- I loved brief glimpses of my nieces and nephew, who were out for the camp as well. When my niece Kirsten helped lead the worship during the welcome service, I was teary-eyed with pride for the outstanding young woman she has grown to be.
Things I didn't quite love:
- Hoards of mosquitoes. I heard someone say while we were there, "Mosquitoes - Wisconsin's State Bird!" Too true! The boys were eaten alive.
One of the interesting evening programs included a mock-Olympics. Since preschool events were limited, I had only signed Trevor and Sean up for the bubble blowing. I think I expected it to be a competition of blowing the biggest bubble with a wand and bubble solution. Instead, we arrived at the indicated location, the toddler pool, to be handed a straw. The boys weren't wearing their swimming suits. Finally, I just let them strip down to their shorts and go in anyway. We paid for that decision on the walk back to the cabin - a walk through the meadow between the pool and our cabin! It was like a million dive-bombers attacking both boys at once. They were in tears and quite miserable. We didn't make it back for the rest of the events, although we did enjoy the International food fair, the face painting and the medal distribution (Bryce placed 3rd for push-ups and someone actually treaded water for an entire TWO HOURS!).
(I had to include this photo of the mattress throwing competition - what a hoot!)
- The beds. The beds in Sandpiper and the Lodge are hotel quality - some darn good sleeping. Sadly, I didn't really know we would be in Shagbark, and I didn't know that the camp wouldn't provide a fitted sheet. Thus, most of the evenings were spent trying to keep the sheets and blankets on the bed. We did get ample sleep though, so I'm not complainin' too much.
- I missed outside speakers. In years past, we have been privileged to hear from some fantastic guest speakers and drama groups. I'm guessing it is just a sign of the times and due to budgetary limitations.
Things I missed while gone from home:
- SPINACH. I couldn't believe how much I missed it. I have been eating it daily since returning home. This afternoon, I am having some frozen spinach added to a can of lentil soup.
- Apparently, I missed enough drinking water, as well. I almost always become irregular when I travel, but this time I was also blessed with my first urinary tract infection and my first panic attack (good times, no?).
- Sleepy Bear. Somehow, in the chaos of packing the car, Sean must have picked up Sleepy Bear and set him down somewhere in the house. When we discovered SB had been left behind, Sean assured us that he would be fine. He cried briefly on the first night in the cabin, but otherwise, managed the whole time away without his beloved Sleepy Bear.
Things I didn't miss at all while gone:
- Harley! Poor John said the dog was beside himself with missing us and thus, nibbled John's feet and clothes constantly and followed him mercilessly.
- Being in the midst of the mess of remodelling. We had a handyman come in and pull up the awful green carpeting that has always been in the dining room (despite the horrid color, I really never minded the carpeting because it meant the boys could spill with impunity). In its place, he put down laminate wood-look flooring. He also painted the boys' rooms.
- Meal planning, cooking, and cleaning. Enough said!
All in all, we had a great time. Trevor was swarmed by bees (after I had told him to climb over into a bush to retrieve a piece of candy wrapper litter - instant punishment??) and was stung twice. He also lost another bottom tooth, while eating a sandwich. The tooth was never located and he didn't even mention anything about the tooth fairy, so she never made an appearance for the missing tooth.
I was thrilled to see loads and loads of photographic evidence of CBLI on Facebook, since I took few pictures and mine are of fairly inferior quality. Here are a few more that I snagged from Facebook.
Can you believe someone caught a shot of a blue heron flying over the lake?? How awesome is that?
P.S. I only took eight of the photos in this post. Extra blogging brownie points, if you can accurately guess which photos were mine.