Thursday, September 17, 2009

Camp Alex

So the same weekend we had Camp Carson, Alex had Alex camp in Houston with "Ms. NatKat" and Dave. Or as Alex calls them, "your mom" and "your dad." Whatever that means ;)
Natalie & Dave, Alex's Godparents, have played a very special role in Alex's life since birth. We have always wanted to do something special; so when this opportunity was presented, we ran with it. I have to say, as I drove away without my baby in the car, I had a mix of emotions. I said a huge prayer that Alex & Natalie would bond and have fun...and my prayers were certainly answered. After the weekend was over, Natalie wrote a precious letter to Alex. Her words summarize all of this much better than mine:
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What a fantastic weekend! The idea all started a few months back when I emailed Melissa wanting to have a “slumber party.” I wanted Mel and Alex to come down to Houston so I could spend more time with one of my best friends as well as develop a relationship with my godchild, Alex. While many may take being a godparent lightly, I feel a sincere responsibility to have a part in Alex’s life. Whether it is through prayer, small trinkets showing her I appreciate being a part of her life, or visiting Dallas to see her (which doesn’t happen often enough), I’m doing what I can thus far. Some of my favorite memories by age 4 include: 1. The day she was born. I think Alex was the first baby born to one of my really close friends. This was a very exciting moment and I can remember searching for the perfect gift to send. I decided on a birthday cake (anyone who knows me knows I love celebrating birthdays). I thought, while they are not yet a year old, how often do we think about the day of birth as the baby’s first “birthday!” 2. Alex’s 1st birthday. My mom and I traveled down from Little Rock, AR to be with many friends and family members for Alex’s birthday. It was so much fun to see all the kids, to watch Alex dive into her birthday cake! 3. Alex sick. This may sound odd, but I came down to Dallas to visit Mel and Alex as she had had a fever and was really sick for a few days (This was also right before all of the hospital terrible scary time too). I knew I was taking a chance by coming down…she would probably be a wreck as poor as she felt. I only remember her being a champ. She wanted to play, wanted to sing, wanted to show me her new play room. We put puzzles together, played with talking birds and more. She really was amazing…so much fun to be around, even when she was under the weather. Now I can’t leave the scary sick out…this was a time full of prayer where I hit my knees, I asked friends to hit their knees and pray for Alex’s recovery. Thank God she is healthy and active today! 4. Merry Dog – I made a spur of the moment trip and brought my Boston Terrier, Merry, with me (with permission, of course!). It was a riot to watch Alex’s love of animals as she took a quick liking to Merry. Later I found out that many animals have been named “Merry” after my Merry! 5. Flower Girl – I’ve never been so honored as to have my god child be my flower girl in my wedding. Alex was such a good girl and she was so beautiful in her full white gown with chocolate sash. One of my favorite pictures is when I am getting ready for the wedding and Alex came over and gave me a big hug. Too precious. 6. Carson’s coming – the “bird” Dove necklace. As a big sister (the oldest), I remember how distraught I was when new kids were “brought home.” While you grow to love them, all of your attention is taken away. I can remember my grandparents giving me a special Barbie when my kid brother was brought home and it made me feel so special. I wanted to do something for Alex that would make her feel very special to be the big sister, so before Carson arrived, I made a trip to Dallas and Mel and I picked out a very special necklace for Alex. It is a Dove. Finding a bird was important because I know how much Alex likes birds…looking for the Dove was that much better because it represents the Holy Spirit. I have always had a special connection with the Holy Spirit and pray that Alex will too. It is so wonderful to see her already treasuring her special necklace as she wants to wear it so often. 7. Alex Camp. Wow! What a weekend! I never knew that 2 full days and 2 nights could be so much fun and so exhausting! Little Alex has more energy and I think it’s great! It’s very odd, and I’ve heard Mel say this before, but Alex really does remind me of me in sooo many ways. She is a busy body, really creative and really caring and loving. I drove up to Buffalo, TX to pick Alex up from Melissa. To be honest, I wasn’t really nervous at all about keeping Alex, rather just excited and curious as to how the weekend would go! Before Alex arrived, Dave and I purchased a few treats (“prizes or treasures” as Alex would say) since we don’t have kids and we don’t have any of the “fun toys” laying around. The prizes included a princess crown with earrings, colored pencils, crayons, coloring book and a garden shovel with rake. On the way back from Houston, Alex drew me a “scary spider,” a dragon and a flower. (She’s got a real love and talent for the arts!) We had to stop midway home to go potty and I learned quickly how creative and easily entertained this little girl is. She just wanted to “stay and play” on a single rock that was located next to the Jack-in-the-Box drive through…I had to convince her we had many more activities that would be way more fun than that one rock…easier said than done! Once to Houston, Alex met my hubby, Dave again (she’s met him ONCE). Initially I was a little nervous she might be shy or not take to him. Boy was I wrong. She ran right over to him, said “HI” and tackled him with a hug. It was too cute. What tickled me even more was the “endearing” names she gave me and Dave by the weekend’s end. Dave became “your Daddy” when she referred to him when speaking to me and I became “your Mommy” when she was talking to him. (I can only guess this is because she hears her mommy and daddy say, go see “your mommy” or “your daddy” when referring to each other, so she sees husband and wife as noted. I love it. Saturday was our BIG DAY! We started early and ended late. I think looking back I might have stretched the little princess too far (bedtime was a bit of a challenge b/c she was SOOOO EXCITED still). But it was so worth it for the memories! We got up, ate breakfast and my best Houston friend, Carol, came over to meet Alex. We all colored, played with the blue bird salt & pepper shakers and then took Merry dog for a walk to the Nellie Keyes garden and park. Alex played at the park and then we picked a bouquet of flowers from the community garden I volunteer at. I’m definite that between the flowers, the dog and the 2 butterflies we saw, Alex was enthralled. She saw and designated “the most beautiful flowers” that were “sooo pretty” for the bouquet that we brought home and then delivered to mommy on Sunday. She even held a butterfly at the garden which made her that much MORE EXCITED about our next adventure – the Houston Natural History Museum’s Butterfly Center. Ahhh…the Butterfly Center! What a joy! This place is so cool whether you are a kid or an adult. You walk into a large enclosed live jungle environment to hundreds if not thousands of different types and colors of butterflies. Alex got to watch butterflies being born from cocoons and then she got to chase, try to catch, and finally hold butterflies. We spent about 3 hours at the Butterfly Center. One butterfly, Kellah, took a liking to Alex and stayed on her finger for about 5 minutes. During this time, Alex knew no stranger. She went around to every kid and adult and told them she caught and was holding a butterfly, she would say, “Look! I have a butterfly!” Alex wore her bright blue and pink outfit with a flower on it (to attract butterflies). The blue bow was a favorite of the BIG Blue butterflies. Many adults were enamored watching them navigate and focus on her blue bow. Words can’t express the excitement or stimulation that was brought about by the butterfly museum! Such fun! I’ll never forget our memories there! Finally on Saturday we had a play date with Hilary, Jason and their little girl, Cora Rose (3 ½ yr old). We went over to their house and Cora greeted Alex out front. They gave each other a hug, said hello, and there was the sweetest exchange of a question, “Will you be my friend?” When answered, “Yes,” it was that simple…the girls had a blast from then on! They played Polly Pocket, one dressed up as Sleeping Beauty (Cora) and the other Glenda the Good Witch (Alex). Additionally, they played outside on the jungle gym. From sliding to rock wall climbing, the girls had a blast! We finally had to go home to go turn in for the evening. Alex was still so excited that it was hard for her to fall asleep. But really, who can blame a girl, after a big day like that…of course it’s hard to sleep! On Sunday morning, I was awakened at 6am to a soft tug and tapping followed by “can I cuddle.” Alex crawled up into bed with me and Dave followed by Merry jumping up too…the more the merrier! What a sweet moment. Merry did sleep with Alex and was her “protector.” I probably haven’t given Merry the appropriate “shout out” as she was a fantastic dog, allowing Alex to play with her, walk her and pet her. She definitely provided lots of entertainment value to the weekend! To finish up the weekend we made blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes which Alex deemed “the most delicious pancakes she’s ever had.” We cooked together and made the pancakes into “A” for Alex and then a Blue Bird (with blueberries of course!). After breakfast we walked to the garden and Alex learned how to weed, how to harvest Okra, and how to plant bean seeds. She got to use her new shovel and rake to help. So much fun and all the garden volunteers thought she was so beautiful and so enjoyable!!! To finish up the weekend, Alex took a long nap on the way home from Houston and I took a long nap once I returned to Houston. We played hard and it was an experience I’ll never forget!
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Here are a few pics from the weekend:
Alex & Merry Dog sleeping together
Alex & Merry opening "prizes"

Alex playing dress-up with her new friend, Cora
"Wow, it's a BUTTAHFLY"
"It's Kellah! She came back to me!"
Alex taking it all in
Beautiful butterflies
She loved holding them and carrying them around
Alex & NatKat in the mueseum
Cutie pie

Here is a video from the Butterfly Museum:
video

Thank you so much Natalie & Dave for having our girl & loving her the way you do. How many friends offer to do something like this?! Well, it was a first ;) Love you guys. She is STILL talking about the visit!

1 comment:

Sally said...

wow. that is so stinkin cool that they did that! how awesome and special!