Friday, August 16, 2013

Summer Vacation 2013

(So I actually wrote this post a couple of weeks after we returned from our trip... but never actually hit the "publish" button.  Oops!  Oh well, here it is...)

Last December we decided we wanted to do something different from the norm for our summer vacation this year... and we landed on spending a week at Forest Home Family Camp.  I experienced Forest Home as a teen camper back in the day, and Micah took teens to camp there when he was  youth leader.  So, we both had some ties to the camp and figured we'd give it a go!

I really appreciated that once we arrived there, we were able to just stay put and not have to drive around to different activities or sites, or figure out where we were going to eat for our meals, etc.  It was so nice to have yummy meals cooked for us every day (yes - including an awesome steak dinner just for the adults!), and have a variety of planned activities we could choose to participate in... or not.

And the kids' programs were awesome - our kids went to their own age-grouped classes in the morning while the adults had a session they could attend with a speaker or workshops (though Micah and I usually just took the morning off to have some quiet time, take a nap, drive a kid to urgent care... etc.) :)

In the evenings, each family had a CCA (child care assistant) assigned to them for the week who would show up and take care of our kids while we attended the evening sessions with the speakers, followed by a date night or whatever we wanted to do :)  Since our family had five kids, and one was a baby, we were assigned two CCA's for the week, and they were wonderful.  They really cared about our kids, and our kids grew to really care about them as well!  It was such a blessing!

The re-cap in pictures...

This is the second year in a row we left for our vacation on Father's Day.  I joked with Micah that we just like to celebrate big and take trips in his honor :)  Seriously though, I'm so thankful to be married to  such an awesome guy... willing to spend Father's Day cooped up in a van with five kids!!

AND keeps me sane when said van breaks down just as we are getting to the edge of town. (sigh...)  Yep, all of our kids and all of our stuff sat in the grass at Jack in the Box while we waited for AAA to come tow our car away.  Had to unpack everything... including the roof cargo sack.  Blah.  The silver lining in it all was that our tow guy ended up telling us that he was going to cover our $200ish tow to get our van back to Mesa (what?!?  awesome!!!) and Micah's parents allowed us to borrow their SUV for the week, which prevented us from having to pay a boatload of money to rent a van for the week.  My father-in-law drove the SUV out to us, and we were able to just continue on our way after getting everything loaded back up.  So despite the annoyance of it all, we were thankful to be witness to God's faithfulness and provision to us through the people he surrounded us with.  We know many were praying for us to have safe travels - and those prayers were certainly answered.  Considering we broke down right before entering the stretch of our drive which included miles and miles of barren desert... things could have been much worse.

We finally arrived to our humble abode for the week - Cedar Inn.  Our family had two adjoining rooms, since we were too large to fit in one room.  The funny thing is that six members of our family ended up sleeping in one room, and ONE member of the family (Baby A to be exact) slept in her very own cabin.  She was a terrible sleeper that week (aren't babies always terrible sleepers on trips??), and that was her ticket to rooming SOLO :)

All the kids loved the idea of sleeping in sleeping bags for the week... though every single one of them woke up at least one morning to find their sleeping bag on the ground.  Some sleeping bags managed to find their way to the ground every single night, sometimes multiple times during the same night.  Since Micah and I didn't sleep much anyway, we usually rescued the sleeping bags and stuffed the sleeping child back into it.  Good times, good times.

 We enjoyed some hikes...

Mikayla and I conquered the high ropes course :)  She was definitely the braver one - she led the way and I followed - my motivation was not to be not to be out-done by a 6-year-old...

The kids enjoyed the mini-zipline, which was a new addition to Forest Home this year.  Little C managed to fall off of this not once, not twice, but THREE times.  That child is one of the most accident prone kids I've ever met (though now that Baby A is walking, and loves to CLIMB, she is almost overtaking the #1 spot in this area).

Eli, Mikayla, and I spent a couple afternoons in the craft cabin while the younger ones took naps.  They both created a few "masterpieces" and enjoyed bringing these home as souvenirs.

 We spent plenty of time just enjoying the great outdoors and wearing our jackets during the cool mornings and evenings...

We also made a couple trips to "The Clubhouse" for huge scoops of ice cream!  Yum!

Sliding in the "Den" (game room)... love these cuties :)

 One of the days at camp was designated as "Lake Day," and all of the families hung out at the lake swimming, kayaking, blobbing, sliding, relaxing, and BBQ'ing!   This day was probably the highlight of the week for our family, we had a blast :)

I couldn't believe that she loved the freezing cold water!
Little F - chillaxin'!
Micah took the older three kayaking, while the younger two had "nap time" on shore.  They loved kayaking!!

Our set-up on shore... complete with shade and "napping areas" :)

 Getting Baby A to decide to sleep  in the Pack n Play at the  lake was definitely an accomplishment.  As long as I was in sight, she only wanted to play with me, so I hid myself on the side of the shade tent where she couldn't see me. Pretty soon I heard rustling along the side of the tent, and sure enough, she moved the siding just enough to peek around and spot me... as you can see below, I was CAUGHT! :) 

Proof that she did finally give up and go to sleep :)
Little C was exhausted... he fell asleep within 5 minutes of laying down
Mikayla has always loved playing/building the sand
Had we taken this trip prior to conquering swimming lessons a few weeks before, these two boys would have NEVER set foot in this lake.  They had a blast swimming and splashing around, and I was so happy that they could do so without FEAR of the water!!

As I said at the beginning of this post, our kids loved their CCA's, and these girls were a huge blessing to our family.  :)
What a great week!!!  We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Forest Home together.  Not sure if our future summer plans will bring us back again... but we definitely hope to return someday in the future.


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