Thursday, July 25, 2013

Aunt Camp 2013

Sophie and our dog Lyla

Every Summer since she's been five years old, we host our niece Sophie for a week's worth of what has come to be known as Aunt Camp. She spends the week with us while she's on a school break, and we try to pack as much fun into those few days as possible. It's one of our favorite times of year!

These past two years we have enrolled her in actual day camps. We hate losing precious time with her, but our town is so rich with camp options and we love being able to facilitate a great experience for her. Last year was drama camp at our local children's theatre. This year was a camp called Woodland Explorers at our favorite state park. Sophie explored the forests and rivers, learned how to track wildlife, played games that didn't require batteries, sang songs, and made new friends. The camp promised to deliver her "happy, tired, and dirty" at the end of each day and she was! We loved listening as she told us about her day, the treasures she found, the skills she learned, the songs and stories she heard and even the corny riddles her new friends told her. One of the counselors made a point to tell us of a special moment one day at pick-up time. A camper was having an anger management issue and instead of making fun of him as many other campers were, our Sophie attempted to help him by offering support and suggestions. We are so proud of her!

Sophie in the river with one of her treasures

Each day after camp was packed full of fun too! We explored many of our favorite places in town and took more than one trip to one of Sophie's favorite places, LocoPops.

Loco for LocoPops!

We jumped our hearts out at Defy Gravity.

Along with our other niece Hazel, we watched Holly's kickball team cinch the Championship title after visiting a super fun spray park!


There was absolutely no TV watched, no video games played, but we did have a little fun with apps.

We laughed so hard 'yearbooking' ourselves!

One of our favorite parts of the day was right before bed. We'd all get in our pajamas, make some popcorn on the stovetop, and cuddle up on the couch for reading time. Before Sophie arrived, we took a stroll down memory lane exploring all the wonderful books we read as 9 year olds. We settled on Otherwise Know as Sheila the Great by Judy Blume and bought a copy for Sophie and borrowed two more from the library. It was such a wonderful experience to share as we each took turns reading a few paragraphs aloud at a time. We read at least three chapters each night laughing and discussing, and we finished the book on her last night with us.

That little girl is one of the greatest loves of our lives, and we're already planning for Aunt Camp 2014 - the year our niece Hazel joins the fun!

Getting silly one morning at our breakfast table.