Monday, August 7, 2017

Vacation Bible School: The Most Confusing Week of Our Summer

We are only 1 week out from the start of 1st grade, but there are still a few sunny days of summer to be enjoyed! (Let's be honest though. This mama is ready for school to start! Structure and predictable schedules are what this family thrives on!)

But summer is really good for one thing: ADVENTURES!

I used to love going to Vacation Bible School as a kid, and then I had the best time helping out with them as a big kid and adult. I've wanted to take my kids to one for the past couple of years, but we just weren't sure how that would all go down with the special needs that we have and the large number of same-aged children that we bring to the party. That's right. If it wasn't a party before the Ishums arrive, it's definitely a party once we double the size of a classroom!

Still, VBS was an undeniably important and FUN part of my summers as a kid, and I wanted my kids to have the same experience.

VBS Night 2: Western Theme
Caleb, Abby, Elijah, and Ellie (who decided to take the theme night seriously!)

We've recently started attending the church that my little brother works at (I guess he isn't so little anymore!) and their children's pastor has a background in special education. The volunteers in the kids area and the children's pastor have been super accommodating and have worked hard to make sure that our kids are accepted and their needs met on Sunday mornings...so I decided to chance signing them up for VBS. 

VBS Night 3: Superhero Theme
Abby, Ellie, Caleb, and Elijah (it's a good thing we always keep a supply of superhero costumes on hand!)

It was the most hilarious thing trying to explain to our kids what VBS was. This pretty much sums up everything my kids said by the time we walked through the doors that first night:

Vacation = that must mean we need to pack our pajamas for a pajama party. Do they have a pool? How many days are we going to be on vacation?

Bible = all of this is happening at the church, of course. But which church? And it's at night instead of in the morning? Weird... so we are are sleeping there because it's a vacation?

School = why do we have to go to school? It's summer break! Wait...school is at church? That sounds BORING. I don't want to go. But are we going swimming since we are going on vacation?

Oh my stars! It was so hard not to laugh with all of their questions and downright confusion!

VBS Night 4: Pirate Theme
Heck, yes, those are homemade eye patches and hooks! I'm a whiz with a stapler, scissors, and foil!
Caleb, Abby, Elijah, and Ellie

We thought it might be hard for Caleb to adapt to a noisy room, lots of people, and an activity so far outside of his regular routine, but it was actually Ellie who ended up having the biggest struggle. She is our feisty, little go-getter, and she has overcome so much that sometimes I forget that she still struggles with sensory issues even though she has been discharged from all of her therapies. Poor little thing had an absolute meltdown/anxiety attack when we tried to leave. It was so unlike her, but at the same time, completely understandable. For awhile there, I thought we were going to need to stay, but finally, one of her group leaders leaned over and said the magic words, "Hey Ellie, if you stay, we are having doughnuts for a snack!" WHAT?! And just like that, our wee one became resolute in her decision to stay and make the best of a very foreign situation. 

VBS Night 5: Galactic Starveyors Theme + Bomb Pops!
Caleb, Elijah, Abby, and Ellie

By the time we got back to pick them up, they were totally in the love with the idea of Vacation Bible School! Theme nights, fun snacks, lots of singing and dancing...they didn't want the week to end.

In fact, I'll just let them tell you the highlights of the week themselves. :) 


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