I feel like this December camp went very well compared to last one...last time I think I did a lot of unnecessary back-and-forth walking, a lot of forgetting to take everything I needed from place to place, and just the general disorganization of being a first time mama. I didn't bring her enough clothes, bath time was always a big mess with the heavy baby tub and a squirmy 3 month old baby splashing everywhere. I also was not comfortable letting her nap in the dorm since I didn't have a good monitor, and because she slept whenever she wanted to at that point. In some ways it was a little easier; she couldn't get far from me on her own when she was 3 months! :)
Here's how our camp went:
Friday morning, 0555, we got up and packed up the rest of everything that we could until Arden woke...at the last second (0655) we went to her room and picked her up and all her cozy bed stuff and loaded it into the van. We left at exactly 0700, which was our plan! Pretty amazing for us! Had to stop to get fuel, coffee, and cash from the ATM...and to change a nighttime diaper. This time we didn't meet the tech team in Charlottesville like we usually do; everyone was able to leave when they knew they needed to, we could drive at whatever rate we wanted. It worked out better and we got there earlier than usual. We passed Clare and Molly, then Duane and Dottie on 64, and got there about 5 minutes before they pulled in with the trailer. Chester and Heidi were only a few minutes after that. I'm not sure when we usually get there but this time we got there at 1020. Of course during the 3 hour drive, Arden only slept 5 minutes! The first day is always nice and relaxed; unpacking into the dorm, giving the littles naps, chatting with Molly, Heidi and Dottie, then having a yummy dinner when the Harrisons come down. The first time I thought I put Arden down for a nap right before lunch because she seemed too tired to eat, but apparently she had been crying the entire time. ;( So I got her up, let her eat, then we tried again. While she slept I washed diapers...she got a nice 1 1/2 hour nap before we left. When we came back, Arden was sort of a basketcase and we just couldn't stay up as we usually do! I guess the equipment went up easier than usual because I'd hardly climbed into bed before Drew scared me out of my mind when he silently came in to go to bed! It was nice to know he was going to get a decent amount of sleep after weeks and weeks of 6 hours or less. That, and he said he wasn't setting an alarm, that they were just going to get up whenever they woke up.
So Saturday morning, Arden woke around 8, and we snuggled for a little bit, then when Drew got in the shower Arden and I went into the lobby and got out our breakfast--cereal, banana bread, clementines and lattes. Drew took off for the Springs Center to help the guys while I cleaned up breakfast and got Arden dressed. I hauled the lunch stuff over to Rockbridge Station so I wouldn't have to go all the way back to the dorm for the food. I still had to get the potatoes from the van so after doing that, I loaded Arden into the Boba and started on lunch. We had a pretty yummy baked potato bar. I didn't count on the convection oven baking the potatoes so fast; the skins were pretty tough when I took them out. :( For toppings, we had butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, seasoned salt, bacon, ham, chili, cheese sauce, broccoli and ketchup. The Harrisons brought cookies for dessert, fruit snacks for the littles, and drinks. While we ate, people started arriving...always so exciting! Molly and Dottie cleaned up lunch for me, which was very sweet because I dirtied more dishes than I'd anticipated...Arden was tired and ready to sleep so it was a huge blessing to be able to put away the food and then take her to the dorm for a nap without worrying about the dishes! While she settled down in her cozy little corner, I started washing another day's worth of diapers. I suppose I should explain just how I did such a thing. ;) After everyone gets to camp, my days start running together badly...so I'll be lucky if I can keep it straight. The first evening meeting did not go so well...I should've put her to bed much sooner since she'd only had one nap...but of course one of the messages I really wanted to listen to, I was not able to because of an over tired and active toddler.
Sunday I decided would be a good day for Arden to take a morning nap...so after breakfast, and going to the dorm to clean up for meeting, I just went ahead and put her down. While waiting to make sure she fell asleep, I folded diapers and cleaned up the dorm. She was quite happy to go down since she'd only had 1 nap the previous 2 days, and had not had full nights of sleep either. I was able to sit through the entire meeting on Sunday morning! She ended up sleeping for almost 2 hours! Drew had gone up to the dorm to get her thinking that after 1 1/2 hours, she'd certainly wake soon, and he was so sweet to go since I had done a lot of hiking up and down that hill. It turned out he missed the end of meeting (even though he was supposed to be running stage) because she slept so long even after he went up there! After lunch was the bowl-making escapade...since some people didn't have off on Monday, they went ahead and did the bowls/plates on Sunday afternoon. Arden was already ready for another nap, but we stuck around long enough to make an almost-perfect handprint, after about 12 tries. These are literally the ONLY pictures I have from camp. (I commented to Drew that I was a terrible photo-taker this time, but I was really happy to remember that I was a pretty decent mom...better than at Apple Butter, at least! I had felt like everyone had my little one but me at that camp--not anyone's fault but mine; I was still dragging from the early-pregnancy blahs--, and I was determined to be with her as much as possible this time. That is my reason behind so few pictures.)
rolling up the sleeves
pretty purple ink--or "boysenberry" as the label on the pad said...
1st attempt...smudgy (you'll notice the hand--that's Katrina. She was a HUGE help! Un-sticking papers from inky hands to avoid smudges, fetching wipes, throwing away soiled papers....thanks, Katie!)
after ruining too many papers with our inky hands, wiping them up :)
final attempt--as good as it gets with a tired 15 month old! (we probably used at least 10 papers!)
She took another good 2-hour nap that afternoon...I got the diapers soaking, cleaned up the dorm a bit and took a nap myself! Drew came in while I was getting ready to go to dinner and took a shower...he'd been playing basketball. Funny, it seems that his only down time (not working in the booth) is the time when Arden is sleeping. She definitely missed her Daddy, and I missed him too. I still saw him more that weekend than I usually would though, since he's been working every Saturday! Camp went pretty easily for me, considering meetings are the main challenge without a second parent, and she slept through most of them. That night I had signed up to clean up the dining hall...I asked Auntie to watch Arden while I helped Steph and Autumn. I didn't figure it would take much longer than the first 45 minutes of meeting...and I think if all 5 spaces had been filled with names, it might've. But that room is HUGE...and Autumn ended up singing. Laura C helped us after a while...30 minutes in and we hadn't even wiped half the tables! With 3 of us, it went quicker, but it still took about 2 hours! After wiping, stacking chairs on the tables, picking up mashed potatoes from the floor since they just don't vacuum, picking up trash, and then the enormous job of vacuuming the room with only 2 vacuums. I would've helped but the 3rd vacuum wasn't working. So I just puttered around cleaning while Steph and Laura did the hard part! After this, of course I'd forgotten to finish up the diapers and I still had to do that before going to meeting at 2115!!! Poor Auntie. When I got there, Drew had taken her because as I could imagine, she was really hyperactive and overtired at that point. I really wanted to sit down in meeting, but Arden was through with that by then, and I ended up chasing her up and down 3 sets of stairs, into the bathroom, standing on the tables...etc. After about 45 minutes of this, I decided it was time for her to sleep so we set about finding Drew. Apparently he had gone to the dining hall to check and make sure the video/sound was working, but it wasn't...I searched and searched and became very frustrated because I wanted Arden to be able to say goodnight to Daddy...but we gave up looking after running from place to place and having Chester try to radio him with no success. I had just gotten up there and started giving her a shower and he ran in and gave her the ritual goodnight snuggles and kisses. She totally melted down in the shower...wouldn't even stand up because she was just too tired. She was pleased yet again to see her cozy bed, blankets, and all her little loveys that she sleeps with! I finally got to sit down in meeting around 2230 or so! Of course it was almost over...
Monday, again she got up at 0800 or so. In a great mood as always! :) I love that no matter how little sleep she gets, she is always so sweet and cheerful when she wakes up! She happily ate breakfast, and I put her down for a nap at the beginning of meeting again, and she slept for 2 hours! I made the same mistake as Drew, going up to get her about 30 minutes too soon...so I hung out in the lobby and made us lattes, then went in and cleaned up the dorm. She finally woke up and we went back down at the end of meeting. After lunch was supposed to be a kids craft for ages 1 year and up, but I knew Arden would never know the difference...the jeweled picture frames were super cute but she would've probably put the little sparkly jewels in her mouth anyway. I really wanted to let her at least give it a try, but she was definitely more ready for a nap at 1500 than more stimulation and eventually, a meltdown. Again, I started diapers, cleaned up the dorm a bit, and took a nap. I wasn't really planning to take another nap--I always feel antisocial when I do that--but I was lying there waiting for Arden to be completely asleep, and my eyes were closing...even after the latte I'd just had. So I begrudgingly gave up on having a little kid-free afternoon social time, and went to sleep. Drew was waiting on the piano literally from lunch until dinner...when Arden and I woke up we figured Drew would be waiting for us at dinner, but they had JUST started practicing when we came down. I waited a little while but figured if we wanted to eat we'd better just go. I sat down with Eric and Tori and Wes and Kelsey and we had pancakes, sausage and fruit. At the beginning of the meal, there was sort of a non-dancing flash mob ;) A few of the guys from Richmond started up a song just out of the blue. It was one of those songs that one person will start and one by one, others will begin, adding parts. Drew was bummed he missed it. I had to escape as soon as we were finished eating and go rinse/wring diapers so I could be sure to get to meeting on time; I didn't want to miss the song Drew sang with Tanner, Austin and Rob. They just had gotten it together at camp and they sounded awesome. I so wish I'd taken a video! Kim wanted to hold Arden and so I was able to sit and really, really enjoy the music! The beginning was some great worship songs with the musicians-I really can't remember who all was playing. There was at least one guitar, the piano, and I think a bass guitar. After several songs, which Brett led, there were lots of special songs. Since Drew was working stage, after every song he'd come out to fix the arrangement of microphones and such, and I would hear Arden yell "DADA!!" each and every time. Kim took her out into the hallway for the song Drew sang with the guys since her hollering the entire time would've been a bit disruptive. Kim said she got to the point where she would notice that when the stage was clearing, Daddy was coming out...and she'd start hollering before he'd even come out! Pretty smart girl. After I figured most of the songs were over, I took her backstage to say goodnight to Daddy, and she went to bed and I came back to meeting. We didn't stay up very late; I guess since we don't see each other much during the day, staying up late to visit with other people, when all we want to visit with is each other, isn't as appealing as it used to be. Guess you can call us antisocial, but other people is all we visited with during the day. Which is why it is such a huge, enormous blessing that we are able to have a dorm together.
Tuesday morning, we set an alarm for nice and early so we could pack up our stuff into the van before Arden woke up, and after she woke up we cleaned the dorm. It worked out beautifully, because I didn't have to hike back up by myself and keep track of Arden (or have someone babysit) while cleaning alone, after breakfast. (In case you wonder why Drew wouldn't be there, basically immediately after breakfast every day he needed to be in the booth since morning meetings start at 10.) It was SO nice to be able to relax during breakfast (which was Carla's INCREDIBLE cinnamon rolls!) and not have to rush back to finish packing/cleaning before meeting. Arden wasn't able to nap during this meeting since she doesn't really sleep anywhere but in a bed. However, she did AMAZING during that meeting, and played so well on her blanket and was so happy. I never once had to take her out of meeting! She would talk, because she's just a talkative little girl, and I did my best to try to hush her, but other than that she was an angel! Daddy was even able to sit with us for quite a bit of that meeting; I was just so happy. Happy my daughter was behaving sweetly, happy to sit with my awesome husband and enjoy watching him help keep Arden contained, and happy to be looking forward to going home. I love December camp; it's my favorite! But it's also pretty long for us and I was looking forward to my bed and shower, and my nice automatic washing machine and dryer ;). The guys started breaking down the equipment as soon as meeting was over and I loaded our meeting gear into the van. After waiting a good while, thinking Drew was going to come with us to lunch at any second, I went ahead and walked with Heidi so we could find a table. I had hardly gotten up there before Drew did, and he helped me find a spot. We sat with the Harrisons (Mr. and Mrs. and Daniel and Ellie) and ate some awesome green chicken enchiladas, beans, rice, chips and salsa! Arden LOVED every bit! After lunch Drew continued helping pack up tech equipment and I started in cleaning the Springs Center. I usually do the game room so that's where I headed. Arden was such a huge help! She would crawl under the shuffleboard table and the air hockey tables to get lost foosballs and ping pong balls, and put them away for me! She was so cute and happy to help! After a little while Auntie came up and found us, and she watched Arden while I helped clean for a while longer. Auntie and Uncle Steve wanted to take us to dinner at East Garden in Charlottesville, and we left around 1520 or so. We'd just settled in to eat and a whole bunch of people we know started coming in to eat there as well! It was a nice end to camp and we made it home before 2100!!! As soon as we backed into our parking space, Arden said "HOME!!!!" Her excitement was very evident. Yep, our bed was at least as comfortable as I remembered...no more sciatica and back pain :)
Well that is the very long tale of our December camp...yeah, I wish it had more pictures scattered throughout, but really, I enjoyed the camp so much and I was really happy with how smoothly it went. It's amazing how much a year's of experience will do for a mom and her level of organization. Now we're going to go and have another and I'll have to learn a whole new set of camp-going skills...since next time I'll have a two-year-old and an eight-month-old. Haha!!! We shall see how that goes! xD