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CHAOS

Posted Jun 19 2009 9:34pm
As in, our church camp! This week was CHAOS at the church. Yes, we seriously call it that. I even have a shirt that says "CHAOS" on the front and "Dig It" on the back... the theme for the week.

It's not just a VBS with a fun name... it's literally CHAOS. In the time frame of 5 hours (9-2), we have 250 students on campus and over 100 teen and adult volunteers. Kids are grouped by grade (1-2, 3-4, and 5-7th grades) and during the course of a day they go to an opening program, a 'morning elective' (such as drama, dance, archery, sports fun, kitchen crafts, model rockets, and about 20 other choices, all different choices based on grade but each kid gets to pick where they go when they register), a whole-group Bible presentation, lunch (with hot-lunches available and food prepared for all the adults too), recreation or snow-cones (rotates daily who does which), music, an 'afternoon elective', and a closing program. Then all 250 kids are picked up by their parents in a car loop where each student is checked off exactly who they get in the car with and it's checked to make sure that they have been given permission to go with them.

So... literally... CHAOS.

This was the 5th year of CHAOS. We started off with 150 kids, 3 weeks of 3 days/week, and have quickly grown to 250 kids and having to close registration well before the start of camp. We've done two 5-day weeks for the 2-4th years of CHAOS but this year needed a 'break' and decided on one week, a little longer days than before (extra 30 min).

The first 3 years I was very hands-on with CHAOS. We met weekly for months in advance, planned, built, recruited leaders, and I led the 5-7th grade programming. One of those years was Brianna's open heart surgery and I helped from afar correcting computer issues from the Ronald McDonald House hours away. But last year... I was in over my head with my home commitments and didn't help with CHAOS. At. All. They started planning while I was in Ukraine and by the time I had a handle on the house we were only a few weeks out from camp. And Emma ended up having her tonsils taken out and I was again in a hospital hours away-- this time literally IN the hospital and completely out of the loop.

So this year... I tried! I really did... I went to the initial planning meetings and helped get some registration things together. We released the final packet in early April and from there I called and said "if you need me, call me." And I haven't gotten many calls :) During the time I had our little visitor with us I knew I had enough at home and with RR that this extra thing was the one I needed to set down.

This week I missed Monday because I was still in MN (which the timing of that trip was based on my sister's schedule, not intentionally missing CHAOS). Tuesday was 'recovery' day and I couldn't walk back out the door and leave my kids in the nursery for hours after not being home for 5 days. They wouldn't have had it! (nor would I :) ). I did consider going up to the church for an hour and saying 'hi', but... Tuesday was a crazy day including getting E's new wheelchair, etc. that I wrote about.

Wednesday I went to the church from 9-1:30, rushed home for PT for Emma at 2 (and then was reminded her time had changed to 1 but her PT came back realizing I hadn't gotten the notice of the change written down and she saw her anyway), then packed back up and was back out the door by 4:30. I picked up dinner on the way and dropped 4 hungry kids and Happy Meals off to Mike then went to help set up games for our Family Fun Night. I left the church after 9:30 that night. By the time "home" was put back together and I glanced through my RR accumulation from the day... then slowed down enough to fall asleep... it was 1:30 AM.

Thursday I wasn't sure about bringing the kids to CHAOS (except Kristopher- he did go all week and was able to participate in the electives and such not just be in the nursery. He LOVED it!). They have another program in the nursery on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I knew there'd be more kids in the classes. Emma had been staying with me anyway. But a call out to Poison Control before Mike had even left the house with Kristopher was enough to make me know I wasn't leaving my children that day and that we had things to do at home. Or, FOR home anyway, like grocery shopping. 2 1/2 hours and many $$ later... the day did get better but it only involved the chaos of our own home.

So today, Friday, we went up to the church at 9, Emma and I hung out and worked on things for tonight's program until 11:30 or so, then I picked up all 4 kiddos and went to my parents' house. I dropped Micah and Brianna off there to take a quick nap and headed to Orlando with Emma and Kristopher. I had a few things to pick up over there including exchanging some tank tops I'd bought in MN and were a bit big and I wanted to pick up some fabric so I could at least make SOMETHING for baby girl's room... I made a complete bedding set for K and B while I was expecting... but... well... we'll see! When I got back to town I picked up M and B and brought everyone home, made dinner, and I headed back to the church!

The evening program went great, the kids seemed to have a great week and me... well... I'm kindof glad we decided on just ONE week this year :)

Though, next year, maybe we can have a summer program where I'm not pregnant, or in the hospital. There have been 2 since I started working with the 5-6th grades in 2004... but both of those summers (and probably next summer too) I still had babies that were nursing.

Anyway... Not a lot of blogging this week because, well, it's been CHAOS!
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