Wednesday, July 4
Today was the first day of “Nana Camp.” I have been looking forward to this day for so long. Last year Grampy and I started keeping all nine of the grandchildren for a week. It gives the three moms and three dads a weeklong retreat to do as they please, and it gives Grampy and I some quality time with the grandkids. Last year was quiet an experience. We were not prepared in any form or fashion for the week. We thought we were, but we were sadly mistaken. The kids had total control of everything. Grampy and I were in a state of unconsciousness until about the third day. When we finally woke up, we made some changes that helped us make it another four days, but by the end of the week we were a bit frazzled to say the least. The kids were not bad they were just having fun, and being kids. Things were more than a bit helter-skelter, so this year I planned to be ready. I am normally an extremely organized person, prepared, and on top of things. I am a teacher for crying out loud. I still cannot comprehend how I let last years “Nana Camp” get so crazy. Anyway, this year I am feeling great about things. I don’t expect it to be perfect, but I do expect it to be a far cry from last year.
All of our precious campers arrived about 4:00 this afternoon. They were all so excited to come. That certainly put a big smile on Nana and Grampy’s face. I had fixed all of them a “Nana Camp Booklet” letting them know practically what they would be doing every single hour of the day. All of them can read, except Macy, and I planned to keep her well informed of everything. I learned quickly last year there was a lot of things I needed to be on top of this year and one of the first ones was that the grandkids knew what we would be doing. I was asked a million times a day, “What are we fixing to do? What is for lunch? What is for supper? What are we going to do tomorrow? Can I get my bath first?” The list of questions was endless. I included in the booklet an itinerary of each day from sunup to sundown. I included what each meal would be and I even put in a bath and sleeping schedule in it. It listed the specific time of their bath, the exact bathroom they would use, what bedroom they would be in, which side of the bed they would sleep on, and it included something that was seemingly omitted last year, and that was rules.
I really had a great time getting everything together this year. I went overboard doing little things that I thought the kids would enjoy. I painted a little door sign naming each bedroom and in the den. Marah, Macy, and Abbie got to sleep in the Magnolia room. Caley and Bailey were in the Daffodil room. Noah, Camden, Carter, and Joshua were in the Hucklebery room (which was actually the den). I painted a couple of signs for the front door that said, “Welcome To Nana Camp,” and one on the sign of the porch that said, “Nana Camp: The Best Camp Ever.” I loved doing those things for them. I saw them smiling and pointing at the signs when they were walking up to the door and that was more than worth the time I spent doing them.
Rule number two is huge. It states that anyone waking up before 7:00a.m. will go to the sunroom to watch television, and they are not allowed to wake up anyone else. Last year the kids ended up going to bed around midnight every night, and the first one up each morning woke up around five and woke up everybody else in the house. Poor Grampy and I were exhausted. This year we have included a “Light’s Out, Off to Bed” at 10:15 also.
Another thing I did this year was I bought nine laundry baskets to hold their clothes in, nine smaller baskets for shoes, and nine petite little baskets for their toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, and shampoo. Dollar Tree became my best friend over the last few weeks for purchases for “Nana Camp.” Last year there were clothes everywhere. There were dirty clothes and clean clothes in every corner of every room in the house. I didn’t know what belonged to whom and every time I would pick up something and ask who it belonged to the nine little munchkins just all got to where they would laugh and all say unanimously, “It’s not mine.” They thought it was so fun to do that. I don’t think they even knew what was clean and what was dirty themselves. After the third day we started having “Laundry Call” every night and I dumped all the washed and dried clothes on the bed and made them fold them and put them on a shelf. Last year three weeks after camp was over I found a shirt up on the ledge in the dining room where someone threw it. It was not only clothes, but shoes also. Shoes were all over the house and there was usually not a match to be found. One day I found one of Macy’s shoes in my closet and the match to it under the couch in the den. Yes sir, things are quiet different this time around. The nine little troopers are towing the line this time and it doesn’t hurt them one little bit. I really think they are enjoying it. It sure helps me to have a rule that all dirty clothes are to be put in the laundry basket in the laundry room. This includes also their towels and washcloths.
I even set up a refreshment center this year. I put a table in the corner of the sunroom with two new containers I bought that holds three gallons of liquid each. There is a cylinder that holds ice in the center of it and all I have to do is replace it a few times a day in order for the apple juice and strawberry lemonade to remain cold. Last year they used about two hundred paper cups in two days. I found cups everywhere. One morning I was putting on my shoes in the closet and one of them had a paper cup in it. On the third day Grampy went to the store and bought nine plastic cups, wrote their names on each one, and told them he better not find their cup in the waste can. It worked so well we carried that over this year as well. We did get tiny Dixie cups they could use and throw away at the refreshment center. Last year it was a continual, non-stop chore for me getting everybody something to drink. They drank more than you could imagine. I wanted something this year they could get themselves and not even have to ask me or tell me about. The throw away cups are to be placed in the wastebasket in front of the refreshment center. Macy had finished some apple juice in the den and as I was going to the kitchen I took her cup and told her I would throw it away for her and she said, “No Nana, it has to go in the refreshment center waste can.” I smiled and thought, “Yep, even a three year old understands and can follow the rules.”
It was great grilling out with the family. Of course Paige, Rodney, Brooke, Ben, Anna, and Ben couldn’t wait to get here because they came to drop off the kids, eat, and leave ASAP. Carolyn, Cortney, Trey, Amy, Sarah Taylor, mom and Diann also came over for our meal. We had plenty of chicken, ribs, hamburgers, hotdogs, chips, potato salad, macaroni, baked beans, grape salad, and birthday cake. Today is Camden’s birthday and he just turned ten. We also celebrated Noah, Abbie, and Bailey’s birthday because theirs was last week and they turned six. We had a wonderful time. Brooke and Thomas were the first to leave and they were all smiles. Ben and Anna were right behind them and I know they were as tickled as Brooke and Thomas. Paige and Rodney left last, but that was only because they live close by and had plenty of time to get to church.
Tim Grisby was the speaker at church tonight. I was telling Caley and Carter that he had married their mom and dad. Caley said, “No Nana, he couldn’t have married them. Mom married dad herself so Mr. Grisby couldn’t have married them.” I smiled and it reminded me of a little boy I taught in first grade one year. In chapel one morning our speaker said that Mr. Vester would not be able to come to chapel today because he was tied up in his office. Mark was not his usual self in class all morning. Just before lunch I went over to his desk and asked him what was wrong. He started crying and told me that he didn’t understand. When I asked him what he was talking about he told me that he didn’t understand why someone would tie Mr. Vester up with a rope. I am reminded often how kids can take things so literally.
At church everyone seemed a little in awe that Grampy and I would be having all nine of the kids an entire week. I heard one lady a few rows in front of me ask the person beside her if she heard right and if all of the nine were staying with us for a week. The lady told her they were but it shouldn’t be a problem because I was a teacher. Wow! I wonder why I didn’t remember last year I was a teacher.
After church we began the fun part and that was playing the games. We had planned to do the ring toss, and the hula-hoop. I never cease to be amazed how competitive kids are. The grandkids are all aware that the morning they leave “Nana Camp” Grampy and I will be holding an award ceremony for them. We are going to be giving first, second, and third place ribbons for the winners of the thirty games we will be playing during the week. Tonight was the beginning of the games and I could immediately tell every single one of them had one thing on their mind and that was winning. The ring toss was so much fun. Everyone cheered for each one as they took they turn, but when it was completed they all wanted another turn. Abbie won first place, Noah and Marah tied for second, and Joshua won third. Next came the hula hooping. It was hilarious. Grampy and I laughed our heads off. Caley won first, Carter won second place, and Joshua won third. By this time I had several begging to do more games. I reminded them that we had thirty games to do and that everyone would be winning some ribbons. A few days ago Marah was telling me she was worried she wouldn’t win any ribbons. I told her everyone would definitely win some because we would be playing several team games. I explained to her like when we play tug of war the team that won would all win a first place ribbon and the team that did not win would get a second place ribbon. Needless to say Marah was thrilled she won a ribbon right off the bat tonight. Well, some just kept on begging to let everybody do a neck hula-hoop or do it on the arm. I finally gave in, which now I really wish I had not, but all is well that ends well. Everybody took turns doing the hula-hoop on his or her arm. Grampy kept the time clock. Camden won first place. I think he could have done it all night long. Carter won second. Joshua won third place. I think I will feel better when everyone wins a ribbon because they were all checking on the refrigerator to see tomorrows schedule to see what games we would be playing.
I cannot believe I just turned to look at the clock and it is about one in the morning. I have been hearing little noises on the monitor I bought. I went ahead and purchased one because I have a tendency to not sleep well when the kids are here. I thought maybe a monitor might help me sleep better knowing that the amplified machine would allow me to hear the slightest sound coming from the kids rooms. I want to make sure I hear them if they need anything. Grampy is usually wonderful and gets up to check on them for me as well. My first thought was that one of the kids must be having some sinus issues or something. I couldn’t make out quite what the sound was and I was fixing to go check on all of them to see where the noise was coming from, but it has just hit me that the sound is not coming from the monitor at all. It is coming from the eggs in the incubator sitting in our bedroom. We are hatching ducks, turkeys, and chickens. I hatched things in my classroom for about fifteen years. We thought the kids would love it and the eggs have been incubated for several weeks now. They were predicted to hatch beginning about Friday. Oh my! I just went over to the incubator and sure enough there are little ducks, or chicks, or turkeys making quiet a lot of noise in there. The kids are going to be so excited in the morning.
I have got to sign off now. Nana needs some sleep. Grampy has been asleep for hours it seems like. Today has been wonderful. I have loved every single minute of it. Grampy and I are so blessed to have such wonderful grandchildren.