Saturday, August 30, 2014

Grammie Camp with Group 4: The Bros

It just turned out that way!  Group 4 is the cute band of Bros (5) and the Babes is a delightful trio of girls.  We did these in backward order this year depending on when their parents arrived and departed.

The Bros are so fun to watch! There’s never a dull moment with those five little “super balls”  They adore each other and have become the best of friends.

 

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The components of Grammie Camp always include “Happies and Sads” since we last met, scripture memorization for prizes, a talent show, a work project, learning about ancestors, fun prizes and bonding with cousins and their Grammie.

It was great to hear all the good things along with the hard things that have happened to them this year. Some just couldn’t think of anything hard! Childhood is wonderful! We had a great time going over the scriptures they had memorized and getting their prizes.

Then we proceeded to a talent show. This group is reeking with talent!  McKay played a terrific piano solo, Charlie played guitar AND piano and the twins combined piano and drums!

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(Oliver is entranced with Silas’s beautiful music)

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Sadly (because I don’t’ know how to post videos) I got most of the recital on video and not much in photos but you get the idea!

Then, the big prizes for this year’s Grammie Camp was figured out by Camden. He is sort of the leader of the group (and the new Student Body President at his Elementary School. He introduced The Bros to the game that has taken all the kids in Hawaii by storm:A Kendama. Camden did a great job of explaining how to do it and after a demonstration handed out one to each of the boys. They had a great time trying to figure it out! Charlie is working so fast that he’s blurry!

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This year, their overnight was with Josh on the sailboat in the harbor. It was such a hit last year that we decided to do it again. Sleeping bags, pillows and snacks were loaded into the Sprinter and off they went for their sailboat adventure. Josh loves it and I must admit I enjoyed a good night’s sleep before the next day’s fun activities. (Josh do you have pictures of this that I can post here?)

The next morning, I had pancakes, eggs and sausage ready for them when they returned to the Lighthouse and we started on our music project. This year their assigned music was The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. I think they actually had fun identifying all the instruments of the orchestra as they listened. The first one to identify an instrument as it played, got a gummy bear. They were terrific and it was a gummy bear extravaganza!

Charlie pulled out Grandfather’s cello and even though he is playing on a 3/4 size cello, he was able to play his Suzuki numbers perfectly on the big guy!

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Josh joined us again for telling stories about my mom and dad…..

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Our work project this year had two parts: Moving rock about the size of their heads from one place to another AND washing and cleaning The Sprinter until it shown like the top of the Chrysler building.  We wanted to return it to Kristi and Noah in mint condition, since they were nice enough to let us use their brand new van for three Grammie camps!

Josh sprayed it and the kids had a ball running through the spray with delight.  Then they cleaned the inside like paratroopers!  It was a fun work project!

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After a trip  to the dollar store to buy treasures with the money they had earned from working (about $5 each) we headed back to the lake. The Finale’ was showing off the beautiful clean van!

Another memorable year with the The Bros!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Grammie Camp #2 The Princesses

After all the ethereal baby blessing, followed by the wild and raucous fun with 72 relatives for the extended family reunion and mini-wedding shower at the Lighthouse, we shushed the last person out and commenced our second Grammie Camp with Group 5. Cousin and Grammie bonding galore! This group we call The Princesses. Are they cute enough?

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Since it was pretty late, we had a chat about the best and worst things that had happened to them since last year and I gave out fruit snacks for memorizing one of my favorite scriptures. Then we pulled out the beds, sleeping bags and pillows. They are certainly Sleeping Beauties:

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A talent show brought song, dance and violin playing extraordinaire!  After a solo by Emmeline, the other girls decided to join in on a group number and sang “Twinkle Twinkle” with a flawless violin accompaniment.

I took all videos of this event. I’m going to try to either use a screen shot or have one of the kids help me to post this. It was SOOO cute!

Then it was time for acting out Peter and the Wolf. I had sent them CDs or they had downloaded it on their phones and/or computers about a month before Grammie Camp so they knew the story and we had a wild time trying to change hats fast enough to represent the characters in the story as the music played.

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Here is the wolf after they put her in the zoo (she’s in the shower with reflections from the glass). 

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Then it was time for wild princess dancing. Now remember these princesses are magical!

 

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This is the only shot I got that wasn’t a video. Go figure! 

Next Josh came but to tell some stories about my mom and dad whom none of these girls had ever met. I am so grateful that Josh agreed to help me with Grammie Camps this year.  He explained his view of things that he remembered from his childhood. He was almost 6 when my dad died and on his mission in England when my mom died. The stories in his memory are priceless! Sorry you’re blurry Josh but it’s all I’ve got that’s not a video.

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The kids loved finding themselves on the ancestor tree!

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Elsie spent a long time in anticipation of Grammie Camp, making this precious poster for their group! Only one princess noticed that she has a new way to spell “Group”…

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And next was the really fun part….designer paper dolls. I haven’t played with paper dolls for amny years so it was exciting for all of us!

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And then we were off to lunch at the Bear Cave with my partner Josh! On the way we passed by the beautiful field of flowers where we had taken our family picture this year. Josh has a wonderful eye for beauty! 

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There’s nothing like toasted cheese sandwiches and burgers at the Bear Cave!

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There’s always a Work element to Gramme Camp. The girls call it “picking weeds”.  They count the number of weeds they “pick” and although some lost an accurate count, they each ended up with $3 to spend at the convenience store in Paris after their hard work. The hardest part is picking out what they want!

This is only the second year these girls have been to Grammie Camp so they were so excited. What a delight!   

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Favorite Shots from the Reunion

After the first Grammie Camp we plunged right into the reunion. Since Shawni did such a great job of showing the day by day fun here, I’m just going to post a few of my favorite shots from my humble little iPhone.

On Race Day:

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Anticipating the “Fear Factor”

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It looks as though Bennett may be praying for his dad who is outside playing the final in the Family Tennis Tournament but actually he is sound asleep! Mckay is totally unaware of either…watching a movie.

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A fun last night all together as Eli and Julie organized a chance for Grandfather and I to tell the story of our courtship and how we started our marriage 45 years ago as paupers!  We assumed everyone knew the stories but so many of the grandkids and a few of the in-laws hadn’t heard the details.

“Forty Five Years of Happy”

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Another once-in-a-lifetime  event was the blessing of our miracle “Heart Baby” Shelby at the Lighthouse on Sunday afternoon:

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And a giant reunion of 72 family members at the Lighthouse during which we had a fun shower for our soon-to-be-married Elizabeth and Skyler cousins.

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And memories of magical meals together with all 44 of us!

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And a video that perfectly capsulized our “45 Years of Happy” is something that we will treasure forever!  If you haven’t already seen it or want to take a look again click here: https://vimeo.com/101322434

Eli and Julie, thanks for all the time and effort to capture four days of fun together that we’ll never forget!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Reunion and Grammie Camp #1

BACK IN BUSINESS!  My computer has been so stuffed full of pictures from the summer that I couldn’t open Live Writer, my blog program, until I found someone who could help me transfer pictures to my hard drive. All my geniuses-in-residence went home and back to their lives and I was left with the only option….a genius at the Apple Store. Finally day before yesterday, a cute girl spent about an hour with me trying to figure it out and …I’m back in business!

What an incredible summer we’ve had! With everybody except our oldest grandchild, 17 year-old Max (who had a volleyball tournament and then a three week internship in China) but with the addition of the newest future member of our family, Ian Wright (see that post here), all 44 of us managed to have a wild, chaotic, magical, exciting, incredible reunion at the Bear Lake. With some coming the last week of June, some leaving early and some staying until August 2nd, we pretty much had between 15-44 people at the lake for most of July. That’s between 45 and 130 meals a day for a month! How lucky are we that we have fabulous cooks (both men and women) who helped plan, prepare and serve amazingly healthy, scrumptious and creative meals?

Eli and Julie were in charge this year and they came up with a new idea that involved me. Eli bought “police-grade handcuffs” and handcuffed me to a chair during meals and interesting discussions so I would quit leaving to help. It was pretty funny but I have to admit that I did enjoy a lot of meals and fun conversations that I would have missed otherwise Smile.

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Since I’m so far behind, I’m not even going to try to record all that happened at the reunion. Although I’ll post some of my favorite pictures from my little iPhone 4S, later, I suggest that if you haven’t already seen it, take a look at the wonderful synopsis and truly fabulous pictures of our fun together on Shawni’s blog here.

That includes a remarkable music video that Eli challenged us to make. After we sent him about ten, two or three second little video clips from where we live across the country, including Hawaii, for the video to the song Happy, he somehow managed put it together just before the reunion started.  How in the world he managed to coax everyone to get this done is beyond me (and I’m sure he’d be the first to agree that it was like pulling teeth), but we did it and he did it! It is truly a treasure here: https://vimeo.com/101322434  Check out other delightful details on Shawni’s blog above or Charity’s here.

 

SO what I am going to post are my fun times with my four fun Grammie Camps this year! This is my one chance in the year to have these kids by age group all to myself. I gives me a chane to let them know, not only how much I love them but what I value: stories about ancestors, the scriptures, music, art and hard work. Because of schedules when kids could get there, I started with the oldest kids this year.

Noah, who had driven their new Sprinter off the showroom floor from Orange County, arrived at the lake just in time to generously let us use this fun new vehicle for our First Grammie Camp adventure. Elle, Ashton, Grace Isaac and Aniston were as pleased as punch! 

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I assigned each group of Grammie Campers some of my favorite music to listen to before they got to the lake so we could talk about it during our time together. This groups’ music was The Four Seasons by Vivaldi (someday they’ll thank me for that) so we we listened to it together on the Sprinter’s excellent sound system as we made the beautiful drive to Star Valley, the birthplace and childhood home of my mom Hazel Clark Jacobson. It was an hour and half away from Bear Lake and I have to admit that though the kids really liked The Four Seasons, I also got a great education on their favorite music as Ashton had brought his play list which his cousins were pretty delighted about!

Before we left that day I also asked each kid to try to learn the stories of and actually become an ancestor for the day. They each had a name and information on one of the ancestors who were the main players of our family in Star Valley. At lunch at a great Mexican Restaurant in Afton, Wyoming, where my Mom went to High School they told the story of their lives to the other kids.

Ana was Grandma Ida Weber Clark, who had ten children before she died in the Flu Epidemic in 1920 at age 38, taking her two youngest babies aged 2 and 8 months with her to heaven within the next four days. Ashton was Grampa Arthur Raymond Clark (Ray) who, at his wife’s death, was left to take care of the remaining eight children and a ward as he was the bishop. Elle was Ida’s mother, Verena Goldenberger and Issac was her dad, Samuel Weber. They emigrated with Ida and her siblings from Switzerland after they joined the Mormon church.  Grace became Hazel, my mother who was Ida’s and Arthur’s daughter.

We went to the place where Samuel and Verena raised their 10 children, including Ida in a little house nestled in a place called Tin Cup right about where that little cabin in the background is located.

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The next stop was the cemetery about a mile away in Freedom, Wyoming where all those ancestors were buried.

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The kids are standing by “their” graves. Look how beautiful Ida’s grave is with a shawl draped across an open Bible.

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And Samuel’s with it beautiful design below. The sight from their graves looks pretty much like the green hills of Switzerland.

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A short distance away are Arthur and Ida’s graves. The stone was placed much later, as Ida and her two little children were buried in the night with no services because everyone in Star Valley was either sick or taking care of the sick and dying in those terrible dark days!

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The Webers were so prominent that they even named a street after them in Freedom, where my mom was born:

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From there we went to “The Big House” in Etna that Grandma Ida Weber Clark helped her husband Ray Clark to build. They had been living in a little hovel across the street on their farmland with 10 children. Ida drove a wagon many miles each week to get supplies to build the house and continued to prepare three meals a day and milk the cows while they built. This is the updated house that Ida and Ray had so lovingly built:

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Sadly, it was only two years later when Ida died in the Parlor of this house, along with her two babies in the flu epidemic that killed 50 million worldwide and an enormous number of people in Star Valley. Such a sad story!

We were delighted to see that they are remembered with a street sign at the road by their house (see their house in the background):

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I think that our favorite part of the day in Star Valley was a visit with my incredible cousin Nada who is about to turn eighty. After living in California most of her married life, she has returned to Star Valley where she grew up and is living with her daughter Jarene and near her siblings.

I had told her that we were coming and when we arrived at her home (which was her childhood home), she and her daughter Jarene who is living with her, had a lovely program all ready for us. She is an extraordinary piano player and all-around musician and was taught to play the piano, first by ear from my mom and then by classical training. 

She had song sheets ready for the kids and I and we all joined in singing some songs with her sister Rama and Jarene, who had a cute percussion section all ready for an accompaniment to the songs. Some songs we knew and some we didn’t but Nada skillfully taught them to us in a blink and it was bliss to hear Nada play just like my mother used to. Our Swiss roots run deep and Nada is also a remarkable yodeler. The kids were delighted!  I dearly wish I knew how to post videos. Maybe I’ll add a couple of clips later when I figure it out.

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My mom lived with Nada and her family (her mom was my mom’s oldest sister) for several years while she was teaching school before she married my dad at age 38 (which truly classified as an Old Maid in those days).  Nada had lots of wonderful stories to tell the kids about their incredible Grandma Hazel. The kids were mesmerized!

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My mom was a remarkable elementary school teacher for 45 years!  She started when she was 20, retired at 65 and changed about a thousand little lives in the process. Nada had a picture of one of her early classes in Star Valley. 

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After some spectacular yodeling, we went upstairs where Nada has stored an enormous library of journals (and hundreds of VHS videos). The kids were delighted to look through a few of those books that she has kept since she was a teenager!

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What fun we had!

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We stopped for ice cream on the way back to Bear Lake and I learned a lot about what the kids were thinking, what they thought about where they were in life right now and heard some pretty funny stories! On the 90 minute drive home, we went over the scriptures they learned this year (2 Nephi 2:25 and @ Nephi 25:26 as well as Helaman 5:12). They did a superb job of reeling them off and finishing off the ones they hadn’t quite finished while we listened to The Four Seasons.

That nice Sprinter took us in style past my dad’s farm and my mom’s house in Montpelier and then we made a quick stop at the Bloomington Cemetery where Grandma Hazel is buried.

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Josh, who added a lot to each of the Grammie Camps this year (more on that later) saved the day by ordering dinner for us at Coopers and it was ready by the time we arrived.

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He took pictures with his “real” camera and we headed for our final event for the day.

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Ashton, who had been wearing this T shirt all day knew what it had to say was especially true as we headed for our finale for the day: Who Shot Juanito Bandito at the Pickleville Playhouse.

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This was our 5th year to see this fun melodrama together on the other side of the lake and it never fails to delight!

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We wrapped up the night with a quick traditional flour game at the Lighthouse and then the kids dropped off almost immediately in their sleeping bags

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Morning brought the traditional crepes with Nutella, bananas and BL Raspberries made by Elle and Grace and the last chance to repeat the scriptures word-perfect for prizes. We listened to the last strains of The Four Seasons while we ate!

It was a Grammie Camp to remember!