Sunday, August 08, 2010

Family Camp

We spent the past week, Sunday night through Saturday morning, at Family Camp at Mt. Hermon. It. Was. AWESOME. There's just something about a week, just with the family, no home or work responsibilities, no schedule or list of things to do.

We all stayed in the same room, all week, and the kids did great, sleeping all the way through the night the whole week. We brought along our big floor fan from home, thank goodness, and the noise pretty much drowned out all the kids' rustling and mumbling. Other than a very uncomfortable mattress, I'd say we all slept much better than expected.

The main speaker, Mark Labberton, was amazing. He spoke on wisdom and Ben and I enjoyed it so much. At times it was as if he was speaking right to us, exactly what we needed to hear. God is so good.

We also attended a great session on parenting, specifically, helping your kids have "sticky faith." The speaker presented all her latest research on graduates of youth groups across the nation, highlighting those practices and values that most help kids stay connected to their faith (and Jesus!) throughout college and young adulthood.

Maddie's favorite part of camp was her "class," the childcare she attended twice a day, every day of the week. The counselors kept thirty-three (!) three and four year-olds busy with field day, water day, pajama night, movie night, crazy costumes, creative movement, arts and crafts, songs and games. Maddie was in heaven. Sam also spent a lot of time in childcare, happy to play on the train table and with all the planes, trains, and automobiles the room had to offer.

Here are a handful of our favorite photos from our adventures throughout the week:

Creekwalking: We took the kids down to the clear, cold creek a few times. They loved walking up and down, wading in past their knees, finding rocks and sticks, and exploring the banks.

There is a fun suspension bridge that crosses the creek. We enjoyed jumping, swaying and dancing to "All the Single Ladies" as we made our way across.

The conference center sits in the middle of an amazing redwood forest. There are lots of beautiful green clover growing along the pathways.

One afternoon during free time we rowed a boat in the dammed up portion of the creek. Mama and Sam chilled in the bow...

While Maddie and Daddy rowed.

Beautiful scenery as we rowed along...

Wednesday was Train and Beach Day. We boarded a steam train in Redwood Camp and ride it all the way through a huge, old-growth redwood forest to Santa Cruz.

Sam played in the sand:

The boardwalk is in the background:

After a few hours of digging and making sandcastles, an ice cream cone was in order.

We loved hiking on the trails through the forest, snapping photos in the diffused light

Underside of a fern:

Back to the creek: Sam decided to dive in head first (big surprise)!

Cross in the light

The theme for the week was 2010: Space Odyssey. Maddie and Sam thought this picture-taking opportunity was too fun to pass up.

Just a great candid shot of the kids doing what they do best: playing and making each other laugh.


The final evening was costume night. This is our homemade attempt at an alien, from the "Planet Sparkle."

Maddie's hair was held up only by hair bands. She had sparkle stickers all over, sparkly wings, foil antennas, and rainbow colors everywhere.

When the emcee held the microphone up to Maddie's mouth at dinner time, asking about her costume, she replied, "I'm an alien from the Sparkle Planet," sounding surprised that anyone would need an explanation for such a thing.

At the end of the night I took her hair out, and after two days of braids plus an evening straight up in the air, it was pretty big:

We got a hearty laugh as she danced around in front of the mirror, shaking her head around, looking like an 80s dancing queen. A perfect end to the trip.

Unfortunately, we have no pictures of our family on Family Vacation, but that's the way it goes. Glad to be back!

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