Family Camp just gets better and better. As the kids get older, all new experiences become possible. The kids are familiar with the routine, they have a better idea what they want to do and are open to new adventures. This year was nice because Katie and Christian were both with us. Last year our littlest boy was only four weeks old. Wow, family camp with all five of us!
One of our first adventures was Monday night at the campfire. Rain had been teasing us for a few hours, and after the fire was lit, the showers began. Linda and Jeff tried to outlast it, but then the skies opened. I just bought a brand new rain jacket so I was excited for the challenge, plus I had to keep my fire going. I’m proud to report that my fire (to the amazement of at least one neighbor!) withstood the downpour. Norah took the opportunity to drink water off the roof. Everyone was under the over-hang of the cabins. It was a fun few minutes. Then in stopped and we enjoyed the evening.
One of my greatest memories from this year was Sorin making his firs camp friend. He met Nate in children’s ministry. Nate and his family were staying a couple cabins away. In fact, his mom Jill was the one who was complementing me on keeping my fire going the night of the rain showers! Each night we had a campfire – that’s Jeff’s rule at camp (I fully support this rule). And by the last couple nights, Sorin and Nate were running back and forth from our fire to Nate’s cabin, in the dark, playing as little boys will do.
Another great memory with Sorin was shooting 22’s. I didn’t know how he’d do as far as concentrating on the activity. I didn’t know if he’d be able to see the target through the scope. His instructor, Chuck, was great. I’ll never forget seeing Sorin load the action on that little gun. “Yeah, Baby!” were his words when that shell came flying out and a fresh one loaded. I was plugging away at my target but I didn’t know if Sorin was hitting his. Chuck said he could see a hole top right. “Well that’s good,” I thought. But then I looked through my scope over at Sorin’s target – he had hit about eight shots in the middle! He was doing it! He was hitting that target all on his own!
With Norah, our big adventure was a canoe ride. I love that view of her on the front of the canoe, this year sporting her pink Milwaukee Brewers baseball hat. We went to the east side of the lake, then the west. Then I noticed the prayer walk and I had an idea. I asked her if she wanted to get out and hike along the prayer walk while I stayed in the canoe and paddled along side. Silly, right? But memorable. And for a four year old, kind of adventurous. I was shocked when she said she was up for the idea. She came to the first bench along the prayer walk and started spelling out the Bible verse since she can’t read yet. It was a great hike. She’s certainly the adventurous one of the family.
Katie and I got some nice time together also. I lined up some babysitters (there were a few grandparents, aunts and uncles, and Megan Carr available!) and we took out the paddleboards. We went out to the rock and on the way back, Katie wanted us to each jump in to make sure we could get back on them, you know… in case we ever had to do a rescue. The water was refreshing and it was easier than I thought to get back on those things.
We talk about (for the first time) that it’s not really a vacation. With kids 5, 4, and 1 there’s just so much hands-on parenting we have to do. We love this. But sometimes you look across camp and see other couples that get to hang (a lot!) with other couples, no kids in sight. I’ll appreciate what I have, but I’m looking forward to those years more than a little bit.
We didn’t get to fish and next year Sorin and Norah will probably bring bikes. Things to look forward to. But 2014 had a lot of play, just enough adventure, great memories with great family and friends. We can’t get enough of camp. Sorin said he wanted to stay there for a month. It’s an honor to keep building these experiences with the family.