Sunday, July 7, 2019

G-Pa and G-ma Summer Camp 2019

Childhood passes all too quickly. 

We have only two grandkids and we don't see them often enough. They are ages 9 and 6. We miss them. We love them. Knowing how years flash by and children disappear into adults, we decided we needed to do something while they're still kids.

We reside six hours from Reno, where they live. When we see them there, we're usually squeezed into a short weekend. 
Once we recover from how much they've grown since our previous visit, we've hardly had time to get reacquainted.

Short of relocating to Reno, we decided in 2018 to try hosting an annual five-day G-pa and G-ma Camp. 

Here they are at ages 2 and 5. We did not consider hosting a camp then. It wore us out just to watch them!

But in 2018, Noah, then 8, ventured north solo to assess conditions and entertainment at our first camp. We passed his test. Hadley, then 5, hung behind in Reno, not quite ready to leave her parents. 

This year she made a personal growth decision and joined the party. Yay Hadley! 

G-pa PK drove to their Reno home and returned with both kids on a Monday afternoon. Camp started during the drive.

En route, they listened to NPR's Wow in the World podcasts.  They snacked. They also stopped for an hour at Burney Falls not far from Mt. Shasta. Great stop for anyone. They snacked.

The moment they arrived at our home camp, it was  GO time! It was also snack time, which continued throughout their waking hours for the entire time they were with us. 

Here we are now. And we're hungryAlmond flour bread and homegrown blueberries on the table. Noah consumed about a pint of blueberries daily. The Almond bread is grain-free, protein-rich and delicious. Kids can't tell it's healthy. With a little maple syrup and strawberries, they loved it. Recipe here, thanks to Erin at Well Plated blog.

A to-do list for short list of grandparent camp activities ends this post.

Here's what we did this year.

Exploring our 3.5 acres of orchard,  garden, and pasture created some happy moments. They discovered a ping pong table, new since they were here last November. They visited the miniature horses across the road, and the rescued horses around the corner. They ate.

Noah climbed apple trees as his father did.

They played in the hot tub every night.

Noah reads to Hadley at bedtime. One child sleeps in the bed, the other on the floor. Taking turns. So sweet. They are great companions. Such a gift. We were so impressed by Noah's care for his little sister.

PK and I kept to our Tuesday schedule of classes (me) and machine workouts (him) at Club Northwest in Grants Pass and the kids spent two hours at the club's KidZone. 

The kids' KZ verdict: Fun!

We had lunch at Circle J in downtown Grants Pass, just a few steps from the Grants Pass Museum of Art where I'd signed them up for a kids' drawing workshop, the first of a summer series.

Two hours of drawing seems long, but both said they'd do it again. I wish they could! There's still time to sign kids up for additional classes.

Artist and museum employee, Kristen O'Neill, shows aspiring young artists paintings by master graphic artist M.C. Escher. Noah is all eyes and ears.

The class ended at 3 p.m. but one little student persisted.

We started the day at the Wildlife Images Rehabilitation and Education Center, a popular community and tourism fixture that has made numerous improvements since we last visited a couple decades ago. 

They scampered forth eager to see black and
grizzly bears, a cougar, wolves, birds of prey

and many other rescued animals, incapable of

living in the wild. 
Afterward, I took them up a mile of our rural road to visit a friend who'd invited us to frolic a bit with her baby goats.

Entertaining kids doesn't have to be complicated.

Every creature was happy.
Next, we visited the thrift shop at the Rogue River Community Center.  This was not on the entertainment roster, but Noah hadn't packed long pants and the next day we would be touring the Oregon Caves.

The caves are a constant 44 degrees Fahrenheit. The kid needed long pants. The community thrift shop is in an old one-story house staffed by volunteers. Prices are very good.  

The thrift shop quickly became "entertainment."

Noah and Hadley searched the entire space, ferreting out a cardboard box filled with small items. mostly toys, priced at 50 cents each, and another box priced at 25 cents.

After an hour or so, I spent $13.50 on items such as a vintage Barbie doll, a fishing tackle box, a pair of shoes for Hadley (the blue ones above), and various and sundry items. 

No pants. But we were able to borrow some from a neighbor. 

A thrift shop visit will be part of the itinerary next year as grandparents camp continues. 

We'll carry on as long as they want, and we have the energy

Another adorable bedtime story scenario. Hadley loses a tooth during this time. See the envelope in her hand? It's a note to the tooth fairy requesting $20. I could have cried "inflation!" But the tooth fairy came through with the cash.

THURSDAY - Best Day Ever!
In the morning, PK took the kids to tour the Oregon Vortex, AKA the World Famous House of Mystery, the "famous circular area with its unique phenomena." It is notable that the kid on the left is taller than Noah, on the right, by several inches. Many other optical illusions can be experienced.

Then it was on to It's a Burl!a not-to-be-missed-outrageous-local-color Southern Oregon art attraction. We were en route to mid-afternoon reservations to tour the Oregon Caves

Here they are at It's a Burl in Kerby, OR, an enchanting conglomeration of whimsical, fantastical wooden furniture and art pieces. Including four climbable treehouses. 
It's a Burl's outside tree houses are crack for kids, although they're as steep and rugged as they are irresistible, and adult supervision is recommended, especially for younger children.
PK keeps vigil below while I'm occupied above in
a tree house with Noah and Hadley.
I don't how many times over the decades we snubbed It's a Burl going to the Oregon coast and back. We dismissed it as a trashy tourist trap. We were so wrong!  If you're traveling Hwy. 99 between Grants Pass and the Oregon Coast, treat yourself to a visit. Kids love it as well as adults.

This is our Caves guide, Neil, a retired geologist who led a group of 11 on an educational and entertaining 90-minute tour of the Oregon Caves. Part scholar, part comedian he initiated selfies with everyone when the tour ended.

Noah loved the caves. Hadley was not as enthusiastic. She declined to be in the selfie.  I was unable to get any decent cave photos, but this site has em.

After the up-and-down caves tour, we took the somewhat longer route back to the parking lot that included an overlook of the Siskiyou Mountains and the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. 

Several trails start at the visitors'
center. Next time we'll plan more hiking.

The friendly Caves visitors' center offered coffee and hot chocolate, which we accepted with gratitude. Hot chocolate put the kids in the mood for a nap on the way home.

It was almost 7 p.m. when we got back to "camp." We took the easy way out for dinner and drove a mile to a super little Mexican restaurant, Taqueria La Guacamaya, in Rogue River. They list dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and French fries on their Kid's Menu. Clean plates!

Their parents will arrive mid-afternoon, and we didn't plan any morning excursions. So we made stuff.

Brother and sister love art projects. G-ma made a still life arrangement and both were happy with what they created. Then they helped  G-pa with preparations for an early afternoon fishing float in the wooden driftboat G-Pa built years ago.
This fuzzy photo is G-pa with kids in his driftboat preparing to put-in at the boat ramp in Rogue River after the fishing trip. Noah even caught a fish! The photo is a screenshot from a video taken by the kids' mom, Heather. She and our son, Quinn, surprised them at the boat ramp.

With parents' arrival and camp officially over, we reveled in having both of our sons and their loved ones with us for the next couple days.
Heather shows Hadley how to make a friendship bracelet.
Noah doesn't need a lot of help putting together a motorcycle, but Dad (Quinn) is there for him. 

Playing with sand, water, rocks, and sticks at a safe beach along the Rogue River entertains them for hours.

A challenging log accumulation task for a young man with only one supervisor.
Hadley has her own project.

  • Noah and Hadley at the center of our family. Chris on the left with Chelsea, Quinn with Heather, G-ma and G-pa. 

*places we've been with g-kids

  • Hike Waters Creek Interpretive Trail - near Grants Pass
  • Hike to Rainie Falls - Along the Rogue River Trail from Grave Creek
  • Hike, hike, hike. Trails are endless.
  • Family Fun Center  - Central Point
  • Riverside Park Spray Park - Grants Pass
  • Mill Creek Falls hike with a stop for pie at Beckie's Cafe
  • Kerbyville Museum 
  • It's a Burl* - Selma/Kerby
  • Crater Rock Museum* Central Point
  • Grants Pass Museum of Art kids classes*
  • Hellgate Jetboat ride - Grants Pass
  • Touvelle Jetboat Ride
  • Oregon Caves* Cave Junction, closest town
  • Cole H.Rivers Fish Hatchery* - Prospect area
  • Oregon Vortex* - near Gold Hill
  • Science Works Museum - Ashland
  • Railroad Park - Medford
  • Cat Park - Cave Junction
  • Glass Forge - Grants Pass
  • Sanctuary One - animal rescue - Applegate Valley
  • Rooster Crow in Rogue River *- last weekend in June
  • Numerous community celebrations and festivals throughout the summer and fall.


Playing with sand, water, rocks, and sticks entertains children for hours. Clean water and sand just about anywhere will do. As would swimming pools, public spray parks, and other water-play features.
  • Arts and crafts such as tie-dying, rock painting, beading 
  • Scavenger hunts 
  • Cooking/baking with G-ma or G-pa 
  • Construction projects
  • Public library activities or just browsing
  • Fishing, hiking, swimming, bike riding
  • Visiting the Oregon Coast and/or Redwoods