Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cousin Camp Report - Written by Stacie Dahl (to Braden) on 8/3/2014

Hi Braden,
So I can't believe that you have been out 8 months already! And that you are having a birthday soon! I believe you got the call on wether you are being transferred or not on Sunday. My guess is that you are staying with your same companion in your same place.

It sounds like you guys are having many opportunities to teach which is great! It sounds like you are also taking the opportunity (frequently) to be led and guided by the Spirit. What great opportunities to have miracles in finding and helping the people that at the moment need your assistance!

Cousin Camp was super great and everyone wants to do it again next year. It really did give the kids a chance to improve their friendships. It was fun to see your 15-year old brother pal-around with The 14 & 15 year old boy cousins. Your 16-year old brother took charge for many games and the skits. Some of the fun included skits which were performed for Family Home Evening, team building games at Huntington Beach Central Park-capture the flag, ring toss using a hula hoop, soak the sponge to fill your bucket to the line and a crazy one where you designate one person per team to put on a shower cap, the Aunts put shaving cream on the shower cap and then the kids threw cereal to see who could stick the most. There was a learning curve that if you lean forward to catch more cereal, the shaving cream melts off. Then I drove your brothers and your Aunt out to Riverside to see some of the cousins on my side (Mom's). We visited at the house for a while, then went to a cool park and ate pizza. It was fun to see her and all the kids. Wednesday we got up and out of the house by 8:30am to take the YM/YW cousins to do baptisms. So we did 32 names that you researched, I brought 31 Winkler baptisms, plus Grandpa Dahl brought some Dahl names. Grandpa Dahl was the baptizer. Grandma Dahl leaned over to me and said, 'you know, you never know if this is the last time that he'll be able to do this.' which was quite a sobering thought. But how awesome is it that your 71-year-old grandfather baptizes you in the temple?!?

I went to the Visitors' Center and the Sister Missionaries greeted me. I asked if there was a group with a lot of kids and they said, 'oh! the ones here for Cousin Camp?' They had set them up with a movie and were 'watching' our group. We watched a nice video and then they took us in the room that is set up like Jerusalem and we watched another short video. Then they asked if there was something that we wanted to do and I suggested the pull the book of Mormon out thing. So they let all the cousins pick out one to see where they would go on their future mission. The cousins had fun with it. Then we waited a while and finally the teen cousins and adults came back. I declared a selfie photo contest where those with a phone/camera teamed up with someone who didn't and they took pics around the temple grounds. As we walked it felt nearly 100 degrees…super hot. We found a shady spot and took a picture with all the cousins in it. Then we walked to the front and took some right in front of the reflecting pond. It was melting, sun in the eyes and then we bolted for some shade and relief from some air-conditioned cars. Then we wanted to go to this cool ice cream sandwich place called Diddy Riese that is right by UCLA in Westwood. We all managed to find a lunch place and then a few of us stood in the 20-minute line and bought for our own families. It was like $1.50 and you pick the cookies (can be 2 different kinds) and your ice cream. It was fun and yummy. By then it was 2:30pm and we headed back home to get out of the heat. It was just melting everywhere. So I had someone to check the weather on my phone…79 degrees in Santa Monica…I didn't check the humidity. It was just plain hot! That night we met up with my sister and saw a movie. Some saw Transformers (3?) and I took a younger bunch to How to Train Your Dragon 2. We had fun.

Thursday we had a "Chopped" food competition. We'd never seen the show but you get like 4 ingredients (and there's always a zinger) and have to make an appetizer and compete among 4 teams, then one gets eliminated and they make the main dish and then another gets eliminated and the last 2 compete for dessert. We did it a bit different. We divided the kids by age/ability and they could make what they want but it was strongly suggested. The 7-11 year olds did the appetizer…several fruits, a couple veggies, cheese squares and dips. A couple boys did a tossed fruit salad, we did a bowl of watermelon and then we did kabobs. The kids started calling them kabobbles and we did like 50 or 60 of them. Then they mixed up the dip packets. Then when time was up everyone came to Grandma's house for our lunch appetizers. Then we went next door for the main course which was mini bagel pizzas. That was the 12-16 year olds. Some made 4-meat with mini pepperoni, sausage, ham and bacon--yum! Others made an "Aisan-inspired Cuisine" that had some kind of soy sauce mix for the sauce and like grated carrot and chicken and I don't know what else. Then there was also cheese, pepperoni, BBQ chicken and they made like 90 mini pizzas. the BBQ sauce was kind of spicy plus whoever put the sauce on those put a lot of sauce so my eyes were watering by the time I was half way through my mini bagel. It was good but spicy!

Then we decided we were too full to have dessert before our next activity. We went to Get Air which is the same concept as Sky Zone. All the cousins went and had fun as they jumped for an hour. After an hour of sweating it out, we went back the 3rd house where we had dessert--chocolate pudding dirt (oreo) cups made by the 3-6 year olds (plus couple tweens were the 'minion' helpers) (The 3-6 year olds skit they decided to call themselves the minion group.) Then we had the water war out on the greenbelt. Water war ... needed referees but they had fun getting wet. We decided they needed to stay wet and get active so we took them all to Greenbrook pool until 8pm.

Friday we had the morning free. A few people went to see Guardians of the Galaxy. Myself and two of your brothers went to lunch at Souplantation with my sister near her work. Then she gave us a tour of the warehouse and the chip lines. It was weird how so many people were the same since I worked there 15 years ago. It was fun and educational! Then we headed down to South Orange County for our Pool Party and movie bash to end Cousin Camp. They have a nice community pool and we ate hot dogs there. My sister joined us after work. The kids swam for like 3 hours and then we went back to their house and watched Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 with a projector and screen in the backyard. They had popcorn and snacks and everyone stayed in their seat in the dark.

Whew! So now you know all about cousin camp! It was exhausting to the Moms but totally worth how much the kids all enjoyed it! Then I drove home on Saturday…with no other driver! I fell asleep about 30 minutes after we got home!

Sorry I wrote so much but I don't know what days to leave out. Hope you have a fabulous week and know I love you and pray for you!
Love Always and Forever! Mom

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