When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. Isaiah 43:2

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Ranch

Wyatt participating in water wars.
Wyatt masterfully moving the puck in hockey.

Wyatt loving touching his face despite numerous warnings from mom regarding germs!

Daddy having fun during water wars.

Good pal and Hospice staffer, Chris, helping Kya master the game of hockey.

Kya and friend Makayla after water wars at camp.

Wyatt passes out after a long day playing in the lake.

Wyatt after water wars strutting his stuff.

Wyatt and a Winco muffin (Jake catching crumbs.) Muffin wins.

"Isn't it my turn to climb the wall mom?"

Kya with the Chik Fil A cow--Chik Fil A donated $5000 to the camp and provided an entire meal for the donors, campers and staff. I LOVE CHK FIL A!!!

Kya and her hockey stick flying across the court.

Kya on the lake trampoline with new found friends. Mommy loves life jackets.

Wyatt after a long fun day cannot stay awake, even for a Chik Fil A brownie.

Wyatt on the ranch toys. This rusty old thing just proved to me that new shiny toys are not necessary to keep a kid entertained.

Our time at "The Ranch" this year was filled with surprises and adventures. It was both exhilarating and one of the most peaceful weeks I have had in a long time. I was blessed to have Jenna Ricks with us all week, whose sole responsibility was to help with our kids. What an amazing thing to have another person whose sole purpose was to help me!!! Her sunshiny personality and fantastic attitude made the week even better than it usually is.

Let me back track because some of you don't know what I am talking about.

Every year, Scott directs a camp at the ranch formerly known as Thompson Ski Ranch (now Gergen ski ranch) for bereaved children who have lost a loved one in the past year. Scott was a water ski instructor at the ranch for years and has since been directing camps at the ranch for the Gergens, who are based in Huntington Beach and need a trustworthy supervisor for the property. (That's my honey, oh so trustworthy--I love that!) Anyway, I cook for the campers and enjoy helping out in other ways when I am able.
This year, we decided to spend the whole week out there as a family instead of me trying to come home every evening with the kids and then going back at 4:30 AM to start cooking breakfast for the campers. That was AWESOME. We slept in a small cabin near the main ranch house. Kya and Wyatt slept on the floor of the living room. Scott slept in a small bedroom and I slept in the other small bedroom with Caden in his playpen. The house could not be more than 750 square feet. But it was glorious. We truly learned to enjoy being close. I learned that it's a lot easier to clean up 750 sq. ft. than 1600. I also learned we need a lot less "stuff" when our kids just spend the whole day in the great outdoors playing, running, getting dirty, dropping down on a lounge chair somewhere in the middle of the day to rest or nap...oh goodness, it was just so nice.

Best of all, we were all together. Scott was there running the camp for Hospice, directing activities, setting up and organizing each game, supervising the water slide, etc. etc. And while he worked and passionately devoted himself to the camp activity, we, his family, were able to share in his work, watch his discipline and commitment, and smile with him at the successes of his labors. What a nice thing.

I was also able to cook for the campers, usually making meals to feed about 30-35 people. This year, as an extra bonus, the Gergens had replaced the ranch house kitchen with a new commercial stove, beautiful granite counter tops, new cabinets, etc. etc. If you had seen the old kitchen, cooked on the previously unpredictable stove, experienced the overheating microwave that just shuts itself off when it decides it has had enough...you would feel my elation as I walked into this glorious new shiny kitchen. Ahhhhhh! (that's me singing operatically.)
Anyway, we also got to commune with some old friends (it was great to talk with one of our regular counselors, Laura ODell, in particular, who is always a trooper, even with a terrible cold and locking her keys in the car!) and new friends (Johnny Ward joined us this year all the way from Texas! What a blessing he was to the campers and to our family! We love you Johnny!), swim in the lake, and just generally experience the great outdoors like one of the kids. I cannot say enough, so I will stop now.

If you are reading this post on Facebook, you will be better able to view any photos or videos by visiting our blog at: http://hanerhome.blogspot.com/


Lynette said...

Sounds so fun! The picture of Wyatt is so cute on your blog title. Kya looks so big in those pictures. Thanks for having us over last night to make bows. It was so fun and now I am thinking about all the colors of ribbon I need to buy to make more bows for all the girls outfits. Thanks for all the sweet comments on my blog too!

Raquel, The Glamorous Life said...

oh my gosh those pictures are GREAT!!! what great memories you are creating for your kids Tara and Scott yay!!!