Monday, June 23, 2014

Just a few quotes before I go

Well, I leave tomorrow for GC and I can't leave without sharing these fun ones. 

When LT and I went on our trip this spring, I made O a chain to count down the days until we returned. I wrote on each one. Well, she made one for me for GC and while packing today, she reminded me bring it. I showed her it was in my bag and she said, "Good, that took me a long time." The first day says, "Mom leaves" the last day says, "Come home."

Aw. What a sweet girl. 
(LT pointed out she hasn't ever done it for him.)

O Speaks

O - "Do you have the song Radio Shack?"
Me - "Um.... do you mean Love Shack by the B-52's?"
O - "No." Talking.....
Me - "Oh, you mean Radioactive."
O - "Yes." I put it on.
O, singing - "Radio R 2, Radio R 2."

O - "I like to keep my toenails long. If someone attacks me, I can take off my shoe and scratch their face off."

O - "It's like everyone is turning into Malfoy and I'm Hermonie. I'm Mudblood. I know these things because I read Harry Potter." O was talking about people making fun of her at school.

O - "Ms. Barb said I wasn't being funny, but I was hilarious."

O - "Why did you want to call me Hyper?" We were talking about baby names and she knew LT and I had picked out Piper as a name for a girl.

O had a fashion show with the babysitter's 10 year-old sister. On the drive home she told me, "I can't wear R's swimming suit because she's doing puberty, AND she wears a bra. I'm not in puberty.

Avva-Ka-Davva = Abra-Cadabra

Boob Talk
Me - "Give my breasts a break!!" O did an obvious grab while we were out to dinner. I deserved it though. I did a nubbie squeeze. ha ha ha. That's my way of retaliating.

At school, she put her arms around my neck, and grabbed my boob and then said, quietly, "In public." I always say, "Not in public."

I went shopping with Morgan to buy food for GC. This girl catches me off guard with her humor all of the time.

"Oh, artichoke hearts.... I wonder if they sell children's hearts?"

I kicked some trash to the side of the aisle and I heard this, "Your Mother never loved you anyway, that's why you are on the floor."

I put a bag of chips in the cart , "Well, Hi there." I added another one and she said, "Oh, you brought a friend."

Monday, June 16, 2014

The truth about Girls Camp, and a brief history in pictures.

Vocabulary for my non-Mo Mo friends

Ward - a single congregation determined by geographical boundaries
Stake - multiple congregations determined by geographical boundaries
YW - young women, girls ages from 12 to high school graduate
GC - girls camp
YCL - youth camp leader

I always end up at GC. Every Ward I've lived in, I've been involved in one way or another. I don't mind, I love it! It had a powerful impact in my life as a youth it is an experience that is near and dear to my heart. I loved it so much, I worked at one the first two summers I was in college. The summer after High School, I worked at a Boy Scout camp and I discovered it wasn't my cup of tea. Boy are GA-ROOSS!! Girls at least clean themselves up every once in a while.

So with that said, I've got a lot of work ahead of me this week. I am in charge of GC this year and I'm really behind on my preparations. Usually I am on the ball and getting ready isn't stressful, but..... there is a reason why this year.

Truthfully, I wasn't excited to go. AT ALL!!! And, here is why.

Last summer I was asked to work on the Stake level. I was initially excited, but it turned out to be a terrible experience. It actually soured me on the whole camp experience. So this year when I was asked to help on the Ward level, I hesitated, but since I knew I would be serving in a completely different capacity, I was willing. 

Well, we have new Stake YW leadership and they made some changes this year with the YCLs and I'm not happy about them at all. I've had phone conversations, sent email back and forth and talked in person to one Stake lady or another. They wouldn't COMPROMISE!!!  I was really frustrated. They had made up their minds and I felt, as a result, I was impotent, as a Ward leader. What was the point of me being there if they weren't going to let me fulfill my role? The primary responsibility of the adult leader is to foster an environment where the girls can feel the spirit. Anyone can come up to camp to feed the girls and play games, but GC is so much MORE than that. It isn't just a fun week, it is meant to be a powerful spiritual experience. (I don't want to take the time to get into that in this post.)

Oh well, I finally let that go, and am now ready to focus on my primary responsibility as the leader of my little group of girls. (I've dragged my feet this year because it felt like I was going into a year like the last.) We've had a few camp meetings and I am thoroughly enjoying getting to know the YW. We had a Pre-camp Campout at my house the first weekend of June and I REALLY got to know them better. We laughed A LOT and we stayed up late. I know we are going to have a really good time together. I'm excited! Below are some pictures from the campout.

Arriving with a heavy bag.

Sweet Baby Alice came to play, I think.

We roasted marshmallows.

Here is one reason why I love the YW in my ward. Rayzel ran to meet O and swung her in a circle. Aw, they love my girl and I love them for it.

Della and S'mores

We did fun things like paint our new table.

I have no clue what they are doing here.

I'm looking forward to being in a low-key role this year at camp. 2 years ago, I was in charge of my Ward and I worked with the 4th year YCLs. I pranked the lady in charge of the Stake YW, and she took me down, literally took me down, once she found out it was a prank.  A decent amount of people found out about it so she had us settle it with a sumo match during an evening meeting. Ugh, it was in front of everyone. (Hey look, I had enough hair then to have a topknot.)

Epic Sumo Match, 2012

Last year, since I was in the Stake I sat with them during our group meetings. At one such meeting, at the beginning of the week, I was sassing Katie, the Stake Camp Director and she challenged me to a dance off. Um.... I don't dance, so I declined. The girls started chanting, but Katie said we had to do other things. Hooray, I was off the hook. Unfortunately, the girls remembered and at the end of the week, at a group meeting, they started chanting again. UGH... Katie consented, and it was on. Verity, of course, caught it all on video. I'm posting it here simply because I think it is so funny. You only need to watch the first minute or two.

THIS year, I will sit quietly with my girls. I've learned my lesson. I am happy to be back on the Ward level and out of the spotlight. 

A brief history of my GC experiences.
The photos are mostly in order.

Handicraft Director at Camp Little Lemhi near Palisades Dam.
 I'm not in the picture, but here are some of the guys I worked with.
(This isn't GC, but it's still a camp.)

Here I am as a youth.We are all gross and dirty because it 
was the last day. My cousin J opted to rough it and only 
"bathe" in the lake. Nope, no showering for her. ha ha ha

Oakcrest, Years 1 and 2
We did "fun" things,
every week, with a new set of girls.

Once a week we got dressed up for a devotional when the 
Stake leaders arrived.

Who knew washable markers could be so much fun?
I can't remember which camper did my hair in this picture,
but it was always a mess at camp.

We took our girls on an overnight hike.
 I made mine carry heavy and awkward things like our dutch oven,
the food basket and twine, while they were wearing their backpacks.
 Trudy got creative with the twine. She was a really fun camper.

We wore dirty clothes for the overnighter and made 
fruit loop bracelets. (Actually, I didn't, that one was made for me.
In fact, I'm pretty sure it was a one time "craft".)
And, Michelle picked her nose.
Her hat is awesome!

I got to work with fun people like these ladies. We are still in touch. 
Working at Oakcrest forges a strong bond among the counselors.

Ya..... I got in trouble for that one.

Once again, hair styled by a camper. 

We got to play with sharp pointy things.

We learned all about safety, the wrong way.
Oops! For the record, no one was hurt.

We got to decorate our cabin.
For no reason what-so-ever.

We got to catch mice in our cabins.
Here is a picture of the Sunday night mouse hunt in my room.
I was NOT a fan of mice in my room. 
Fortunately, I only ever had one.

We got to celebrate Christmas in August.
The campers did this to me. Not bad!

We had ash fights after our Tuesday morning cookout.
Why anyone would pulverize charcoal
and use it as face paint is beyond me.
We did it, every week, it was fun, and it was smelly.

Utah, ?
This was my first year as a Ward Camp Director. 
It was rough, because I didn't know what I was doing yet.

Midvale 200?
I don't remember the topic of the skit.

Texas, 2008 and 2009

This is Cassies version of "camping."

Lunch was a challenging time. 
We weren't allowed to leave the building, 
even if we needed to go to the bathroom. 

Maryland, 2011 
Here are some of my 1st year campers.

Maryland, 2012
We are returning from the canoes.

Last year, 2013
Here is our group of leaders and YCLs at our High Adventure campout.
I had such a great time at that ropes course, I took LT for our anniversary.

Here is our entire group. I didn't spend a lot of time with
these guys because I was in charge of the YLCs for the Stake.
But we had everyone in our ward gather for a picture on the last day.
I'm pretty impressed we look so nice after 5 days in the "wilderness."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Me Mum

Some things are just hard, and no matter how well you prepare, you’re never really ready. Hard things are hard.

My Mum is not well.

For months people I know, people I don’t know and family, emailed, called, texted and messaged me about my Mum and her deteriorating health. I went to visit her and a day before I left, my Mum’s RS leader left a message for me to “touch base” about my Mum. I may have come off calloused, but when I left a message for her, after I said all the polite and nice stuff, I said, “I’m not sure there is anything you can tell me that I don’t already know, but you are welcome to call me back.” She did. There was nothing new.

I wasn't sure if I should go out sooner than our planned trip in July, but after an exchange of messages, I knew I needed to see her soon. I usually cried when I was in the car. Aside from the other cars on the road, there were no distractions or interruptions. When I dropped O off at school, I got lost in thought and the tears came. Honestly, I never thought about what it would be like to have a parent die. I know it happens, but I thought my Mum would just pass away in her sleep or something peaceful like that. It never entered my mind that she would suffer for so long. A day before I flew out we spoke on the phone. She cried and cried, my heart broke. She’s lonely, tired and she knows she’s dying. She said she just wants to hold me and for me to hold her. 

I didn't know what I was going into and it was hard to purchase my tickets. It took me two days. I went through all of the steps online, but once it was time to click on "buy", I closed the page. I finally bought them, but I wasn't excited to go. On the bright side, I ran in to Aimee C. at the airport and it turned out we were heading to SLC and had the same itinerary.  It was SO NICE to see a friend and better yet, it was nice to see Aimee. She's a chipper soul.

I arrived in SLC, picked-up my car, and crashed at my cousin's house. Then, bright and early, I headed to Pocatello.  I wept during my drive there and when I first saw my Mum. Then, we slipped into our usual dance of aggravation and stubbornness. There are some things that time, illness and life can't change, and my relationship with my Mum is one of them. 

It was overwhelming when I arrived. I knew I needed to keep it together, not because I felt that I had to be “strong”, but because I needed to function. There were things that needed to be done and I only had 2 days to do them.  I was busy the first day with people so I stayed up all night Friday, with the exception of a 45 minute nap. I made good progress clearing out the clutter in the house. Mum is set up with Hospice and we have Power of Attorney signed for several different things. My last night there, she sat down and wasn’t able to get back up again to get to bed. We tried for some time without success so my mum had me call 911 and ask them to send someone to help her get up. I’m glad I was up to help. 

She’s not doing well, but she is doing better than I thought and that is good news. She doesn’t look herself, but I guess that’s what happens. It was humbling to help her with simple self-care tasks. It was easy to help and I didn’t even think twice about it.  I want her to live out her days with dignity. I know she needs full-time help, but she’s convinced she doesn’t. This is just a familiar step in our dance. I want her to be in a care facility, but she wants to die at home. I want her to have care full time, but she doesn’t think she needs it. What is a daughter to do? 

I can't finish this post without mentioning my dear, dear friends.  I am blessed to be loved by such great people and here is one example. Shortly after I arrived I received a call from Amy, my best friend from HS, but it wasn’t a good time to talk. I told her ,“I’m aggravated enough to keep from being consumed by grief, I guess that’s a good thing.” She texted me and said, “If you need me to come down to Pocatello, I totally can! It’s a short drive. I am here for you! You are in my thoughts and prayers!” She lives an hour away, and she did come down to spend time with me.  

The trip was worth it, it was hard, but worth it. However, on my flight home, once my guard came down, I wept. (Fortunately the guy next to me was engrossed in his games.)

My favorite memory from the trip
The softness of her skin as I held her hand. I snuggled with her like she was my daughter. Our roles reversed. I cared for her in ways she had cared for me.