Sunday, August 19, 2012

Family Camp 2012

I am way behind on sharing about Family Camp.  I have been sick since we got back.  Last night was the first full night of sleep that I have had in 8 nights.  It felt amazing.  I wanted to take the time to do this post well and really document our time.  I just didn't feel up to it until today.  

This weekend was special for so many reasons.  This was an opportunity that was provided for our family that we would not have been able to do otherwise.  We feel so grateful that we had this time together in a setting totally outside of our normal life.  There were 7 people at camp with us that made this week even more special.  Introducing the Elliott family:  (Carrie, Chris (the parents), Colin, Maddie, Mykah, Jackson, and Gracen) 
 We didn't really know each other as families before this time.  Carrie and I met in person for the first time and spent a weekend together last August.  You might remember reading about that here, and our cool water adventure here.  The cool little connection that we have and the thing that crossed our paths 2 1/2 years ago was our Swazi kids.  Both families have adopted 2 children from Swaziland.  There aren't many families that we have that connection with.  I was hopeful that our time would be good for the kids and our families as a whole.  I WAS. NOT. DISAPPOINTED.
Just look at these two
They are two peas in a pod and we are convinced after our time together that they have to be related.  They have the same passionate personalities.  They have the same high level of energy.  They have the same loud voices.(funny story:  at one point, Isaiah was talking to Jackson loudly.  Jackson said to him, "Dude, I am right in front of you.  Tone it down.")  They have the same mischievous personalities.  Isaiah couldn't stop talking about how much they are alike.  It really impacted his little heart to have a Swazi "brother" as his friend.  Everyone at the camp thought they were brothers.
Speaking of friends, these two(Sam and Colin) connected as well
Most of our family friends do not have a boy Sam's age.  It was such a treat for him to have a friend his age to hang out with all weekend.  We didn't see much of them.  They pretty much walked around together like they owned the place.

There is always a risk when you get together with people that you have never really met, especially with 15 different people that need to interact.  I can honestly say, once again, that it was truly enjoyable to be with the Elliotts.  We just jumped in with each others' kids and rolled with it.  We would get two tables at meals and just intermingle the crews.  The kids played well with each other.  The bigger kids helped the younger ones.  It was comfortable and easy.
One of our family's favorite activities at the camp was the Ridge Runners.  Cody and Lauren were both old enough to drive on their own.

Rick and I drove Isaiah, Laila and Abby 
Laila was so cute.  She kept saying "woohoo" every time we would go over a bump.  She also kept saying, "you are the best mommy in the world!"  She loved it way more than I ever expected.

The big adventure moments came at the High Ropes Course.  3 of us chose to take on this challenge.
Lauren and me before the big adventure.
Now, I am not afraid of heights, but this was pretty scary.  These boards were too far apart to go straight from one to the next.  We had to zigzag our way through.  It was hard!
This picture gives you a better idea of how high we were.  
Just looking at these pictures makes my toes tingle.
I thought this leg of the course was the hardest.
On the last section, we only had wires to walk across.
Lauren thought this section was the hardest.
I was so proud of her.  It was hard, but she did it!!
The reward at the end:  A zipline!!
I wanted to do a zipline through the rainforest for my 40th bday.  
This was not quite that spectacular, but was still a nice reward at the end of this challenge.
Even Sam did it!  
We were not there when he did because he did it with Colin and Chris.
When I asked him, how in the world he was able to make it through, he said,"Well I didn't really have much choice once I started.  I just toughed it out to get it over with."  Needless to say, he didn't want to do it again with Lauren and me.
The whole Elliott family and a dear friend did the course.  
That was quite impressive.  There were 5 members of our family that were having nothing to do with it!
The camp consisted of club times where the kids went to age-appropriate areas for their own activities while the adults had a speaker to listen to.  It was nice to have this break for the adults.  The food was amazing at this place.  Big all-you-can-eat meals served family style were provided at each meal.  My kids are not used to having unlimited servings.  There was a huge swimming pool, a hot tub that seats 150 people.  We enjoyed some time there.  They had a huge 3 person swing that was not for the faint of heart.  Lauren did that, too.  They had an inflatable velcro wall, basketball courts, whiffle ball field, horses, soccer field, game room with ping pong, shuffleboard, foosball, and pool.  They also had a cafe, snack bar, and some really challenging rock climbing walls.  Cody, Lauren, and Abby were old enough to pretty much go on their own.  They loved that freedom.

On the last night, there was a square dance.  We all dressed up in our western gear.
Let me introduce you to Mykah.  She and Laila were adorable together.
This little chick could climb those climbing walls and even ring the bell, something most adults can't do.
Howdy, Ya'll!
Going down to the Hoe Down

Mykah and Isaiah dancing.  He likes to call her his "beautiful new friend."
Laila and Jackson danced the night away, too!
They had the best "do si do" I have ever seen!
Laila has already asked when she gets to see Jackson again
This was our room.  8 bunk beds with a dorm style bathroom(3 showers, 3 sinks, 2 stalls) that we shared with the Elliotts
Maddie and Laila
Sneaking a kiss from my little girl
Cutest Cowboy Ever
Notice I don't have many pics of Cody or Abby.  They are not very fond of the camera right now.  I pretty much only get pics of them when they are required for a group pic.

On the way home from camp we stopped at some friends house for a cookout.  That is when Lauren broke her arm.  She was going to kick a soccer ball and slipped on it.  She caught all of her weight on her right wrist.  It snapped the bone in half.  We are praying that it will heal without surgery.  We go back in this Thursday to see how the healing process is going.  Who knew she could survive so many scary adventures and then get hurt kicking a soccer ball.  Thankfully, she is cleared to play soccer.  We just have to bubble wrap it so she doesn't knock anyone out.
We made memories this weekend that we will never forget.  Getting to be with a family that is like ours was very special for our family in so many ways.  My kids are already asking if we can go back next year.  It truly was a great experience all the way around.  Thanks, Elliotts, for sharing this amazing adventure with us.

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