A STUCO retreat for the whole family

One of the duties that I decided to continue this school year was being a class sponsor.  The Class of 2013 were freshmen students last year and this year they are full-blown sophomores.  As one of my high school teachers used to tell me, sophomores are “wise fools” as defined by their name.  In spite of the interesting and challenging personalities of some of the students, I was looking forward to a new year of helping these students raise funds and learning more how to work together on different tasks and projects.

One of the first big events for the class sponsors is the STUCO (Student Council) retreat.  I decided that Luke and Jared should also come, because I couldn’t stand the thought of being away from them overnight.  It ended up being the trend among adult sponsors as three other parents brought their young children, as well. 

A large tour bus took us out of the city of Quito to a property owned by the school in the city of Calicali.  Because of it’s location in the mountains, the weather tends to be quite chilly.  The only time it warms up is when the sun is shining directly on it. 

We arrived in the evening and spent some time running around in the open fields between the cabins.  Jared brought a soccer ball and spent a lot of time kicking the ball to another little boy who was also there.  Luke didn’t really care about the balls.  He wanted to play with the grass or chase the dogs that lived on the property.  Fortunately, they were very tame dogs who tolerated well the aggressive and chubby little hands of my 20 month old son. 

We all ate dinner together and then I tried to entertain the boys while their dad spoke to the group of student leaders about conflict resolution and how to deal with conflict.  However, it was quite challenging to keep them both quiet as Jared was fascinated with the moths that were attracted to the light bulbs inside the windows.  Jared kept yelling, “Look, Mommy!  There’s a butterfly!”

I would try to shush him and say, “That’s great, Jared…just try to be a little more quiet.”

Finally, the session was over and I took the boys back to our cabin to get ready for bedtime.  I dressed them up in about six layers of clothing and then placed a single bed up next to the bottom bunk of one of the two bunk beds in the room to make some child safe sleeping areas for the boys using blankets and pillows. 

Jared was excited about his little cozy corner of the bed where I had propped up pillows on both sides to keep him from rolling around the bed.  Luke was more excited about climbing around the room than sleeping in his area between the pillows.  It took me until 10:30pm before I could get him to fall asleep.  I slept across the end of the single bed to provide a barrier on the side of their bed that wasn’t against the wall. 

The air grew colder as the night hours dwindled into morning.  Jared woke up a couple times needing his covered tucked around him better.  Luke kept pushing his head into my side as he tried to scoot himself out of his little “nest.”  Somehow I managed to keep him well covered during the night. 

Breakfast time was welcomed by all and the sun began to heat up the mountain air around us.  The boys were able to take their sweaters off to play in the fields later that morning. 

By the time we had to leave, the boys were tired and happy.  Everything went smoothly except for one thing.  I managed to forget my purse with my wallet, my cell phone, my keys and other personal items by the outdoor campfire location and didn’t realize it until we got back to Quito.

Thankfully, we had friends who lived in that area and they were able to pick up my purse and bring it back to school to me the following Monday.