Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Catching Up {Zoelle's First Camp Experience}

I can hardly believe that half our summer is over with! Every year I ask myself why summer has to go so fast? Our summer started off pretty cold and rainy (which was pretty identical to last summer). This summer though, it was so wet that we even had flooding in our yard! Thankfully, it has now all dried up and the sun has come out and we have enjoyed so many days outside. What ends up happening is that I spend all my time outside during the day that by the time I get inside and put the girls to bed, I'm exhausted and don't feel like blogging! Today however, I had a little time to catch up on our summer and I thought it only appropriate that I share a little about Zoelle's first camp experience.

I didn't start going to camp until I was in 5th grade. From the moment I went, I was in love. A lot of who I am, and my faith in God was formulated at bible camp. I made friendships that have lasted even into adulthood. I never missed a year and considered even working at camp if it wasn't for meeting Chris and deciding that I couldn't be away from him for a summer! ;)

Thus I always knew that we would send our children to the same camp that I went to growing up. Last year I remember seeing friends posting on Facebook about their children going to camp and I remember thinking, "I wonder if we should have sent Zoelle?". I also realized there was no way she would want to be away from us that long. However, sometime this winter I received a brochure in the mail all about camp, and when Zoelle saw it she declared that she wanted to be at camp this summer. I'll admit that I doubted she would actually do it, thus when early registration came around, I didn't sign her up. I waited and waited a bit longer. My other hesitation would be how they handled her diet. I'm not sure I've directly blogged about it, but we have had a few issues of Zoelle getting welts all over her face, or even having a hard time breathing after eating or being exposed to gluten.

She kept on insisting and after much discussion, I decided to contact camp to see if they could handle a gluten free diet. Sure enough, I received a reply right back and was put in contact with the camp cook. I was SO impressed with how thorough she was and reassuring that she would make sure Zoelle was taken care of. While Zoelle is very good about being cautious and asking questions on if something has gluten or not, it was so nice to not have to worry. Furthermore, she told me they would be sure not to make Zoelle feel different at camp by being very discreet with her gluten free food.

Chris and I talked about it, we asked Zoelle once more if she was sure she wanted to go, and when she said yes, we signed her up. Zoelle helped me pack her bag and sooner than I wanted, camp day came.

She was definitley nervous as we were headed to drop her off. However, once there, she seemed to relax. All the staff at camp treated her with kindness and were so enthusiastic with her about the next few days at camp. We got her all set up in her room, and then it was time to say goodbye. I thought Zoelle would have a hard time at this point, but instead, it was me who had the hard time! She barely said goodbye! Instead, she gave us each a quick  hug and we left (me with tears in my eyes). As we headed home, I kept asking Chris if we did the right thing by leaving her, and he assured me that she was fine.

She was gone two whole days and I felt lost without my little Z! The girls did too! They kept asking me over and over again when she was coming home. I was sure Zoelle was wondering when she got to come home too. Instead, on the day we went to pick her up, I could tell she didn't want to leave!

My girl was officially grown up!!

She had a fantastic time at camp learning about God, singing songs, having campfire, playing games, and meeting new people. I am SO happy that we let her go and she is already asking me if she can go back again next year! :)

Have your kids gone to camp? Did you have a harder time than they did?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

On Your 4th Birthday (A Letter to Xiomara)

Happy 4th birthday to our exuberant, joyful, loving, sweet, silly, and precious four year old, Xiomara Marie!

4 years old! Wow! How can that possibly be? I remember that amazing phone call as if it were yesterday. Our daughter coming 5 weeks early! The rush, nervousness, and excitement of planning on going to Georgia to meet you. My life would never be the same because of a tiny, precious little girl that became my daughter!

Four seems so grown up! No longer a baby, growing out of that toddler stage, and quickly moving on to becoming a little girl! It's going a lot faster then I thought it would. Sometimes I just sit and stare at you wondering how that tiny baby could possibly be the same vibrant little girl in front of me!

This past year, all of a sudden you can talk clearer, you have more words in your vocabulary, and you started drawing me pictures that make me smile. You sing loudly in your bed every night before falling asleep. You still suck your thumb (but I sort of secretly love it). You have to have special snuggle time with mommy each day.  You give 110% of yourself every single day. All of it with a bright smile on your face. You make us laugh with your expressions and acting that you do all day long. You are joyful always and I am not lying when I say that you are never crabby. You have such a gentleness with animals that it wouldn't surprise me if one day you work with them. You adore your sisters and sometimes like to get in their stuff too! You love for daddy to sing to you Cinderella each night! So much so that daddy surprised me this year with a precious video of him singing it just for you!

At 4 you love the color yellow, but sometimes like orange too! Your favorite food to eat is macaroni and cheese (or at least it was when I asked you). You love to play outside and spend hours holding your kitty, Maple or chasing our puppy, Teal around the yard. When you aren't outside, you are inside getting dressed up in your dress up clothes (high heels, purse, and all!). You constantly put on a singing show for us, and Frozen seems to be the theme right now (still)! When you grow up you want to be a mom and have a house right by my house (I used to say the same thing sweetie).

Baby girl, the joy you bring us is unbelievable! I pray that as you go about your year this year, your joy would be shown to others and that it would draw them closer to Jesus. I pray that you would know the love we have for you and even more importantly that God has for you! And so I close out this letter to you with words from your favorite song that you always want to have mommy sing with you,

Your little hands wrapped around my finger
And it's so quiet in the world tonight
Your little eyelids flutter 'cause you're dreaming
So I tuck you in, turn on your favorite night light
To you, everything's funny
You got nothing to regret
I'd give all I have, honey
If you could stay like that
Oh, darling, don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh, darling, don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up
It could stay this simple

We love you SO much happy girl! Happy 4th birthday!