Thursday, September 29, 2016

One more before Great Escape from IL Harvest Trip 2016. . . Nana's Summer Camp

As I quickly realized when picking out the special photos for the catch up blog posts, I have really had a fun busy year.

My favorite part of the past year we call "Nana's Summer Camp".  We had all 5 grandchildren stay with us (no parents) for almost 3 weeks this summer.  It was exhausting, but wonderful, fun, exciting.  At least I had a wonderful, fun time. . . the kids seemed to enjoy themselves, I hope they did and took away fantastic memories of their Summer Camp with Nana (and Papa, when he wasn't working).

We drove down to Sikeston, MO on June 23rd to pick the Vollmer kids up.  Alex, age 14, although we celebrated his 15th birthday while he was with us.  Kaitlyn, just turned 13, and Joshua, just turned 10.  

Nick and Marti delivered the Castle girls on the 24th, Ehlana 12, and Lilli 10.

We were fortunate to have fantastic weather while the grands were here and were able to swim nearly every day and quite often a couple times a day.  The kids helped with some chores, as needed and desired (they collected eggs, LOL, helped prepare meals and desserts, and helped with setting and clearing off for meal times).

These kids only get to see each other about once a year and yet you'd think they were best friends, they all got along so well.  I was very relieved about that, LOL, as you never know. . . 5 kids from 10-15, 2 boys, 3 girls. . . it could go either way.  They lived up to my hopes and expectations and except for occasional spats got along fabulously.

We celebrated Alex's 15th birthday with my parents and sister at Avanti's Italian Restaurant (his choice) on the 26th of June.

We made tie dye shirts and pillow cases one day, and these were the richest colored tie dye I have ever managed to participate in, I am looking forward to making more for myself, LOL.  The kids chose their own designs and colors and we were all amazed at how wonderful they all looked while still being different than all the others.  Everyone's chosen design turned out just right.   There was lots of laughter and water and dye everywhere, but we used picnic tables outside, and most of the dye on hands, fingers, arms, legs and faces came off later in the pool or during showers.

Another day we made cut out sugar cookies. . . what else, t-shirt shapes with tie dye designs and colors.

As a permanent memory for me and for their parents, we made handprint stepping stones.  Each family made one with their prints for their parents and all 5 made the one for me to keep.  I managed to get their names imprinted into the one they made for me.  They were all reinforced with wire mesh in the center, so hopefully will hold up fairly well.  They sure were heavy.

We saw 2 movies (Papa was able to join us for these as well as meals out and a dessert treat):  The Return of Nemo one with Dory as well as The BFG (Big Friendly Giant).  They were both great, at least I really enjoyed them.  I had never read the BFG, and was quite happy with the movie, enough so that I purchased the book to read.

 I also took lots of home photos, including some in our huge Ash tree.  I have some photos of parents (our kids, Becky and Nick) in that tree when they were about the same ages, but will have to add those later, as they are actual print photos and I don't have them with me on this trip) as we played and enjoyed one another's company.


We played croquet (which was quite funny, as our yard is very bumpy and uneven and the kids had never played before) and frisbee golf (which we all were horrible at).  In spite of their ages we had bubble guns, which they enjoyed enough to nearly use up all the bubble solution.

We cooked out and cooked in, had all their favorite meals/foods, at least as many as we could squeeze in.                                                                                                                                                                          I had my hair "professionally" done by Lilli and Kaitlyn.

We celebrated Independence day, with my Dad,
their great grandfather, as it happens to be his birthday and he celebrated 88 years this year.
We were joined by my Mama, the kids great grandmother who happens to be a young 87 this year.  
The kids Great Aunt Gail (my sister) was also there to celebrate with us.    

We had smoke bombs and sparklers to play with at home
The kids and I went to town (Normal, IL) to see the fireworks.  We had fabulous seats to watch from and were able to also enjoy some trapeze work, as the "Gamma Phi Circus" has a trapeze setup there for practice.  

 On one of the few days Papa was able to join us we also had professional photos taken of the kids with Nana and Papa.  The kids made the sign we used for the photos and everybody wore their tie dye shirt creations.  

We delivered the Vollmer grands to West Memphis, Arkansas on July 10th.  The Castle girls stayed with us until we went to WI (which is where they live)  for our annual 5 day weekend, July 15.  

We had a wonderful time, but having them all leave again was very hard on me.  I miss them so horribly, like a mini empty nest syndrome all over again. 

Now we're all caught up to the current "Escape From Illinois Harvest, 2016"
Thanks for joining us on our adventures.  
Smiles, Sue C

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