Monday, August 11, 2014

Bearskin Meadow Camp (1)

Every now and then I come back to the blog to see how long it has been since the last post and realize that so much has happened since the last time it would be almost impossible to catch up. I won't make any promises about trying harder because lets face it, life with 4 little boys and a chronic illness is anything but boring.

Which brings me to last week.

When Grayson was diagnosed in October with type 1 diabetes one of the first things my friend Leanne said to me after she assured me he would be ok and she was there with any info I needed, was YOU NEED TO GO TO CAMP.

She had been a camp counselor at Bearskin Meadow in Central California for 10 years and while she isn't diabetic herself, is a wealth of knowledge and support. As soon as registration opened Zack and I signed up and then realized with a gulp the extensive cost involved in taking a family of 6 to camp 800 miles away from home... do we drive (yikes) or do we fly (holy crap the luggage and costs)? Ultimately, we were given a partial scholarship which helped significantly with fees and we decided to drive the more than 800 miles each way... with 4 children under 7...

...trapped in a car. For two days. Each way.

In case you missed it, I had another baby.
Brennan, he is a gem and possibly the happiest little thing to grace my life.
He is 4 months old now. (Torin is almost 3, Jaxon is 4.5, and Grayson is 7.5)

We started off pretty optimistic and somewhere between the second Frozen and looking for that damn fish that no one can seem to keep track of I might have lost my ever-loving mind.

Zack driving much of the way helped me pass the time by posting "are we there yet?!" on facebook. We made our way down I5 and had planned to stop somewhere between Ashland and Redding. It turns out that the ever popular Shakespeare festival was going on in Ashland and all of NorCal is on fire so all the hotels were booked for 200 miles. Super. We found the only thing available and hoped for the best. (motel 6 in Yreka) I will say that while there was Uber classy people all around at least I couldn't hear them. It may have had the best insulation of any h/motel I have ever been in. We came out to see our car covered in ash and continued on our way hoping to emerge from the smoke eventually to clear skies.

Later Sunday night we arrived at Bearskin Meadow Camp. Not a moment too soon. Everyone was antsy from being in the car another 10 hours. Check in was supposed to be 130-5 and we had significantly underestimated how long the drive would ACTUALLY take with 4 hellions children. We arrived at almost 7, just in time to dump our stuff and head to the first camp fire. One of our favorite camp counselors, Carter, immediately offered to help with Brennan and I handed him off for a bit. He was pretty sleepy and took to her immediately.
                        (B and Carter in the middle- photo borrowed from Diabetes Youth Families)

After a fun opening camp fire it was time to attempt to put our wild, under exercised children to bed.

Have you ever been woken up by a GIANT bell and then the loudest music you can imagine? I have. For days. The first day, Torin jumped out of bed ran out to the deck and screamed at it all in shock and confusion then ran back in and hid in his covers. We couldn't help but laugh but I completely agreed. Mind you it was also 7am! I guess they mean business.

Off to InsLine (the line to talk to the dr or nurse about our recent numbers and get help if needed and the meal insulin dose) and breakfast. Meals are a bit chaotic with a few hundred people and littles but overall it went well. Most of the families sleep on open air decks but those of us with infants and toddlers get to sleep inside in the more recently build Ellen's place building. Meals are either with your deck mates or in our case, our house mates and largely family style. We mostly spent our time chasing Torin back to the table but the counselors are SUPER awesome and helped us more often than not so a few bites were eaten in the end. I somehow managed to gain 5 lbs in this whole process.

When I first heard about camp, I wasn't really sure what that meant. I had never gone to camp as a kid other than 6th grade camp in the mountains and I don't really remember much. I had no real idea what that meant for my kiddos and for Zack and I. At BMC after breakfast, the kids join up with their counselors and the parents go on to some adult time for a few hours. Mostly, the kids loved having some time off without us but Torin started to wane a bit in the end. I mostly kept Brennan with me.

The first morning parents education meeting was an introduction of us and our stories of how we got here. It was so nice to see so many that felt the same way I do on some basic level. The fears we all try to not think about, the what ifs. I mostly try to think positively about Diabetes and that it could be so much worse. I have refused to cry and still do, he is HERE. Grayson is ALIVE and healthy and for that I am THANKFUL but sometimes the tiniest of doubts creep in and no matter where any of us is in the process, everyone in that room understands that pain. We made quite a few friends we hope to carry on this journey with.

Every evening for dinner there was a theme. It was mostly too much of a pain to drag us all back to the room to get our stuff so it didn't work out more than it did but the crazy hair/hat dinner and the tie dye dinner we participated in were fun and the kids enjoyed the extra bit of fun.

(note to self, when you are the last camp of the summer your dye looks like mud... bring own dye to avoid this. lol) 

Honestly, most of the days blur into the rest. So much moving. The kids ended up soooo exhausted they would pass out in minutes once they settled in. The camp counselors gave us a few breaks in the evening so at 9 after the evening activity they would watch the kids while we were down to the cafeteria to have real dessert and grown up talk. This meant a very late bed time for most of the kids. B would pass out in the Tula (carrier) and eventually the rest would too.

....more tomorrow.

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