Family Camp – LONG but stick with me!

It has been so long since I’ve shared anything on my blog but have no fear a lot has been happening around our house!  We were incredibly blessed to have most of our family able to go to family camp in Nebraska during the first week in August.  Unfortunately, Phil was unable to get the time off of work so I took our 4 oldest children and hit the road on August 3rd for Maxwell, Nebraska.

We were all set to tent camp for the week when Phil’s brother Andy and his lovely girlfriend Renee offered to let us use their RV that they had just purchased a couple of weeks before.  Check out this beauty!

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Yep, I drove that about 600 miles round trip to Nebraska!  It is a 26 foot RV that sleeps 6.  The kids LOVED taking this to camp and we were truly blessed to be given the opportunity.  THANK YOU Andy and Renee!

Once we made it to Maranatha Camp we checked in and made it to the section of the camp where the RV’s were able to plug in to full hook-ups.  Fortunately, our RV neighbor was able to help me back in the RV and he and his sons did all the hook-ups for me.  Shortly after their help we discovered that they live not too far from us here in Lakewood, CO!  I was so grateful!  Besides being a little overwhelmed with wanting to make sure I got it all hooked up correctly, I was sick and was feeling terrible.  The help was so much appreciated.

Once we got settled in to our RV spot we made the trek to the dining hall for dinner.  I say trek because the tent and RV part of the camp was .66 miles from the dining hall, chapel, gym and most other activities.  Needless to say I got my 10,000 steps in every day at camp having to walk back and forth!

After dinner on Monday I was feeling quite terrible but the girls really wanted to go to chapel with the Davidson girls (they went to Russia with them earlier this year) and I was completely comfortable with sending them half a mile away to the chapel with a walkie talkie in hand and instructions to return to the RV the minute chapel was over.  Jonathan and I stayed at the RV so that I could rest and he watched a movie.

All 3 girls wanted to sleep in the space over the cab.

All 3 girls wanted to sleep in the space over the cab.

I woke up Tuesday still feeling terrible but we made it to breakfast and the morning chapel session.  It rained all day Tuesday so for the free time after lunch Scott Davidson (camp coordinator) hung out in the gym with lots of kids for a few hours and I got to go back to the RV to rest.  The gym is set up with a large climbing wall on one end that the camp staff’s with 2 employees helping the kids with harnesses and climbing up the wall to ring the bell.  Natasha, Mikayla and Jonathan all loved the climbing wall.  They also have roller skating in the gym with free rentals of skates.  All the kids loved the designated skating times.  I met the kids at the gym after resting and then we headed to dinner.  After evening chapel we headed back to the RV to get a good nights sleep.  Tuesday was also Alex’s birthday so I brought along a small cake and we sang to her after dinner and had cake.

Tuesday, August 4th, can't even see the lake.

Tuesday, August 4th, can’t even see the lake.

Belle on the climbing wall.

Belle on the climbing wall.

Jonathan getting ready to go up the wall.

Jonathan getting ready to go up the wall.

Wednesday was such a fun day.  After breakfast the camp coordinators organized the families in teams of 12 for family olympics.  We competed in 3 races.  First, we had to blow up 12 balloons and run one by one across the field to a chair and sit on the balloon to pop it.  Second, we had to carry a plastic plate like a fancy waiter with a ping pong ball across the field and back without dropping the ball.  The third race was all of us on the team got on our knees in a row.  In front of the first person was a bucket full of water and a sponge.  She had to soak the sponge in the water and we had to pass the soaked sponge over our heads to the last person who would ring out what water was left in a bucket until that bucket it was full.  We were soaked by the end but it was so much fun!  Our team did not win but we sure had fun trying!  After those races they had 50 yard dash races based on gender and age and then they played big ball with different age groups.  It was a very fun day and the sun was out and it was very warm and humid.

After lunch there was a boat building contest that Belle wanted to be a part of.  I was able to add her to a team with the Swanson family.  I think there were 12 teams and their goal was to build a cardboard boat with 2 roles of packing tape and then their boat had to make it around the lake with 2 people in it.  It was so much fun to watch.  Belle didn’t get to rid in the boat but she was able to help build it and she really enjoyed the event.   After the boat race we had free time and since the sun was out we headed to play in the lake and pool.  Natasha and Mikayla spent much of this time in the pool but Jonathan and Alex played in the lake and had so much fun.  I sat on the beach and watched.  I was feeling much better with just a sore throat, no head ache or body aches.  It was then time to clean up and head to dinner, then the evening chapel session.  Mike Chapa spoke and he is such a wonderful, encouraging and convicting speaker.

Jonathan swimming in the lake.

Jonathan swimming in the lake.

There were these large swings all up and down the lake.

There were these large swings all up and down the lake.

Wednesday, August 5th

Wednesday, August 5th

Thursday was a bit cloudy and rainy but we sure did have fun again.  Between fun meals with other families, chapel, playing in the gym and wonderful fellowship it was another joyful day.  We were even able to hit the archery field and try hitting targets for about 30 minutes.  Friday came and we got the RV packed up, headed to breakfast, chapel and then lunch and then said goodbye.  I was ready to get home but I truly enjoyed every single minute of camp… even being sick.

Jonathan trying archery!

Jonathan trying archery!

Natasha trying archery!

Natasha trying archery!

Belle loves Archery!

Belle loves Archery!

As for chapel, you might be thinking that 7 chapel sessions in one week would seem like too much but Scott and Andie Davidson really put a lot of effort into reaching all age groups with minute-to-win-it games, musical entertainment, speech and drama and overall interaction with all of us.  The kids actually did really well with all the chapel sessions and I couldn’t be prouder of them.

I loved the people watching…. I saw families with 2 kids, families with 10 kids and everything in between.  One family in particular caught my attention.  One of their sons who was 16 invested a lot of time into his 4 year old sister.  I watched as he helped her do all kinds of things from getting her breakfast plate of pancakes and sausage to her taking a nap on his shoulders.  I watched as other families poured into each other and genuinely enjoyed being around each other.  Now, before you go thinking that this poor 16 year old boy had to raise his 4 year old sister, I also saw him playing board games with his parents and volleyball with the other teens.  I loved seeing this group of people with TEENAGERS who loved to be around their parents and siblings.  Who, although still have to deal with teenage hormones and attitudes, have parents who are teaching them to navigate all the feelings of this season of life and yet still treat their parents, siblings and others with respect, kindness and love.

The drive home wasn’t bad except hitting Denver during Friday rush hour but we still made it home without incident.

Alex and Jonathan sleeping on the drive home from camp.

Alex and Jonathan sleeping on the drive home from camp.

We are already praying about going next year but with the whole family.  I was so blessed to be able to take our kids and enjoy making memories with them.  A big thank you to my mom who paid for all of our meals so that I had a week off of cooking.  And another big thank you to my dear friend June and her 2 sons who did our paper route for us so that we didn’t have to do it when we returned Friday evening.

We missed daddy, Katherine and my mom but I know my mom took good care of them.

Thank you for hanging in there on such a long blog post!

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