Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Camping with over 100 friends...

Our first weekend in Alabama (October 16-18) also "happened" to be my family's semi-annual camping trip. I say "happened" because they planned it around my younger sister's fall break from college, but kindly moved it from the first weekend of her break to the second weekend of it once they realized we could make it. Having grown up going on this camping trip from the time I was 4 years old, and then missing all but one since getting married (due to distance or having a baby) I was thrilled that we were able to make this one! So I wasn't going to let being 37 1/2 weeks pregnant stop me from going, though we did take my mom up on her offer to let us stay in the comfortable cabin she rents. And it ended up being the least tiring "camping" trip I've gone on. I couldn't play Ultimate Frisbee or volleyball due to not wanting to get injured or jumpstart labor, so I had no way to get exhausted or sore. And we all slept really well in the cabin beds, not having to deal with cold. 

And yes, when I say we camped with over 100 friends, I'm not exaggerating. What started with just us and a few other families has grown over the years, as we made more friends, got to know more people through the productions I directed, and friends invited their friends. So there were a total of 150 people that turned out for this weekend, making it a wonderful time of fellowship!

 Hadassah was a huge fan of camping. Being able to spend ALL day outside (except for a nice nap in the cabin), even eating outside? A toddler's dream. :)

 On Friday night they asked me to call some English Country Dances, something I'd done at many past camping trips. It was nice to have a way to still be involved so it didn't feel like I was missing out too much. But even with a microphone, my voice was hoarse at the end... it's been almost 3 years since I taught dance, so I guess my voice too has gotten less used! ;)

 Ryan danced with Hadassah some on the side, which totally thrilled her. And then Hadassah and Tabitha (H's cousin 3 months younger) started dancing with each other. Incredibly cute!

 On Saturday I got some practice being a mom to two girls as I took Hadassah & Tabitha to play. It was fun. :)

 They enjoyed the swings for quite a while, and then we moved on to the teeter totter and merry-go-round. Thankfully by then two of my older nieces were playing with us too, so they did the teetering and going-around-holding so I could just be a spotter. ;)

 We enjoyed some friends driving from Texas to catch up, as well as catching up with friends from Alabama. An added bonus to being in the cabin was that by the time we put Hadassah to bed a little later due to camping fun, my mom was at the cabin and didn't mind us coming back out to the campfire to enjoy some good late night conversations!

 My sister and her family drove down from Ohio to be there, and she continued her glow stick traditions.
 It was wonderful to see my sister Jubilee and she brought some friends from college. And since we couldn't play many running games, we got some board games in!

 Sunday morning we had a gathering to sing and share what God has been doing, and of course do the traditional "Bind Us Together" song with clapping!

All-in-all, it was a wonderful weekend, and such a blessing to be able to be a part of it! They skyped us in to the Sunday morning gathering our first camping trip missed in China, but it was so much more rewarding being there in person. :)

Picture credits: Thanks to my brother-in-law John who captured most of these great images! And to Lexi Griffin for the one of us playing a game.

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