Masthead header

Day 4:: Wake up EARLY::Cinnamon Roll Breakfast::Hike to Avalon::Boat Back:: NAP:: Dinner::Dancing+IceCream Sundaes!

Last time we came to CBS, Daniel was 3…and I did not want to attempt a 5 mile hike with him!  This time, I knew we could do it.  But, clearly I had no idea what I had signed us up for.  Our camp was in a cove of the island, about 2 miles up the coast from Avalon.  The only way to hike to Avalon is to get over the ridge between them.  The “easy” way is a five mile hike where the elevation is “more gradual”. Yes the words in quotes mean, in someone’s opinion, this is how this hike is described.  But, this hike was difficult for ME.  For the kids it was just plain HARD.  Some of the inclines and steps were steep enough that Daniel scrambled/climbed up them.  Both my kids made it though and I was SUPER proud of them!  There was definitely whining, but they made it!  It felt so good to see the familiar sites of Avalon as we came over the ridge and down into the town!150701_01_Blog150701_02_Blog

Here we are about 1/2 way up the incline part of the trip.  Everyone looks pretty happy here:-)150701_05_Blog150701_06_Blog

When we finally got to the road there was a sense of relief.  I think we thought we were almost there at this point…We still had a ways to go but the terrain was much easier.  Still uphill, but all smooth and dirt road:-)150701_08_Blog

Daniel need a few little respites along the way.  Tom carried Daniel in short couple minute stints.  It seemed to recharge him!150701_09_Blog

Ahh the end is near! What a welcome site!150701_10_Blog

Here we are!  Shockingly, we don’t look as tired as we felt!  It’s all downhill from here!150701_11_Blog

We had missed the sign-ups for the 1pm boat back to camp, so we were expecting a full afternoon here.  But, the boys were wiped out!  So after lunch we headed to the pier to see if we could catch the boat, we didn’t make the first one, but I guess there were several people who wanted to go back at 1 that didn’t get to sign up for it, SO they sent an extra boat!  We were SO thankful.  The boys were the kind of tired that makes THEM say they want a nap, which NEVER happens in our house!150701_12_Blog150701_13_BlogBack at camp…I think we all took naps, then I played some tetherball with Daniel, while Tom and Holden threw rocks and I am sure there were a few games of ping pong before dinner!150701_14_Blog

The day ended with build your own Ice Cream Sundaes, it was a GREAT day!  I am SO proud of my family, and thankful that our two small group studies were on thankfulness, and being encouraging!  BOTH helpful on this trip!

Romans 15: 5-6 (NIV)

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


Day 3::Breakfast::Worship::Small Groups::Speaker::Lunch::Family Time::Free Time::Dinner::Game Show::Campfire Worship with S’mores:-)

Every morning we have worship and a kids devotional.  Every morning they invite the kids to come up, starting with the “Butterfly Song” inviting them to do the motions and sing up front…WHO ARE THESE kids??? I would NEVER have done that as a kid, I was SO shy, but Holden especially gets right up and jumps right in!  Daniel did it once, and then stayed in his seat the rest of the week:-)  He will do most anything if Holden is doing it.150630_01_Blog

Holden also raises his hand EVERYTIME they ask for a volunteer!  Every Time!  This particular day he was picked for the devotional.  They  always pick a girl and a boy, and the volunteers get skittles:-)  Holden was sent out of the room while Paul told the girl 4 numbers over and over for 30 seconds.  At the end of the 30 seconds he asked her what the 4 numbers were and she of course fed them right back to him.  Holden then came out for his turn.  So again Paul gave him 4 numbers, but instead of repeating them for 30 seconds, he spent the next 30 seconds peppering Holden with questions, most of which required a numerical answer from Holden (not the 4 numbers).  Things like our address, phone number, his age, grade, etc.  At the end of the 30 seconds he asked Holden what the 4 numbers were.  And Holden got all but one!  Shocking Paul:-)  But he still missed one, so the girl one…and Paul made his point, which must have been about distraction, or something, but I missed it because I was trying to remember the 4 numbers myself! (nerdy mom).  Anyway, Holden impressed everyone, and as always Paul gave him a bag of skittles as well:-)  150630_04_Blog

During free time, Holden was napping, so we took this guy on a walk.150630_05_Blog

Our tent is the one on the left behind the trees.150630_06_Blog

The mainland:-)  The weather was strange here this week, lots of clouds, and overcast, and even some rain!150630_07_Blog

“Take a picture of me in the tree, mom!”…”Now let me see it!”150630_08_Blog

After dinner, the little kids had a movie night while 3rd graders on up participated in a game show with the adults…Men against Women…At first Holden was SUPER grumpy to miss the movie, but we knew he would love the game show so we encouraged made him come with us.  By the end he declared, “THAT.WAS.THE.MOST.FUN.EVER” Didn’t help that the men won after being behind the ENTIRE night, only to make a comeback in the final round and win the tie breaker!  It was a fun night!150630_15_Blog

After the gameshow, we gathered the family and headed down to the fire ring for Campfire worship, followed by some s’mores.  I snuck away (I think I was filling the water bottle) and capture this.  I LOVE playing with slower exposure and capturing serene night images like this, but I hardly take the time.  It really is so beautiful and peaceful at camp.150630_16_Blog

Back at the campfire the 6 and under roast their marshmallows with their parents.  Then the bigger kids, Holden had me roast his for him, and Virginia complimented me on my perfectly roasted marshmallow.  Tom got the same compliment, so either all our camping trips have paid off, or she gives that compliment to everyone:-)  Either way the boys loved it!150630_18_Blog

On our way back to the tent I looked up, and had to try and capture the moon.150630_19_BlogAnother great day at camp, tomorrow is the halfway point, it always goes way too fast from that point!

Romans 15: 5-6 (NIV)

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


After a good night’s sleep we settled into life at camp.

Monday happened to be our 13 year anniversary, and we were happy to spend it there, we just made sure we didn’t make it known, I really don’t like that kind of attention, and thankfully my husband honors that:-)

Breakfast::Worship::Small Groups::Speaker::Lunch::Family Time::Free Time:-)

The first day of free time they have a swim test for all kids under 12 that may want to go in the water.  If they don’t test, or don’t pass, the must wear a life vest in the water at all times…Last year Holden thought he was going to test, but the cold water shocked him and he decided not to.  This year he was determined to test.  I should have known he was a little anxious about it, given his attitude during the morning, but I really thought there was no way he wouldn’t pass.  He is a GREAT swimmer.  But I think the pressure and the waves got to him:(  He only made it about a third out and then turned back.  He was SO disappointed.  This is totally one of those moments as a parent that is hard.  I knew he could do it, but he was beating himself up about it so much I just had to support and encourage him, and let him cry it out.  I reminded him he could try again next year.  I was very proud of him for trying, ocean swimming is NOT the same as pool swimming, and I know it can be intimidating.  We will work on it for next year:-)

150629_01_Blog150629_02_BlogHe decided to go throw rocks into the water out by the rock jetty.  I love this camp, there are rules, but they don’t tell the kids NOT to throw rocks, they tell themWHERE they can throw rocks (so they don’t injure swimmers), because I mean come on, even big kids like to throw rocks into the water!
150629_03_BlogThis was his, I am upset because I didn’t pass the swim test face, but it quickly turned to a smile:-)  Love him!150629_04_Blog

This little guy was on the volleyball court already during the swim test, but then he wanted to venture out with daddy.  It didn’t last long, I guess it was too cold.150629_05_BlogThrowing rocks is fun for A LONG time!150629_06_Blog

Of course kayaking is fun too:-)150629_11_BlogThis was our home for the week. We always request a tent cabin, although the boys beth voiced requests for “real” cabins next year.  Although none have bathrooms, or electricity, so I am not sure what the cabin gets us:-) Maybe a door!150629_12_BlogHolden brought his magnifying glass and had a lot of fun with it, collecting various things to examine.  I love how here his hands still look little.150629_13_Blog13 years with this man, and it keeps getting better!  SO glad we made our reservations 5 months ago, or we would have talked ourselves out of this trip.  It’s amazing how when you remove the distractions your mind is free to rest, and focus on the important things, not all the things we give importance to in our “real” life.  I’m ready for many more years together:-)150629_14_Blog“Take MY picture mama!” Not to be left out this sweet, sweet, cuddly boy!
150629_15_BlogLike I said we were high on the hill…The final session of the day is 8:15-9:15, kids too, which is CRAZY late for our kids!  SO this night we put them on the roving babysitter’s list(seriously the best camp ever!) and we put them to bed before the last session, the rest of the week had SUPER fun night events that we did not want them to miss!150629_16_Blog

Honestly THIS place might be the “Happiest Place on EARTH!”

Romans 15: 5-6 (NIV)

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


We did it!  We got away again!  It’s been 2 years since we had a REAL vacation, and we were SO thankful it required signing up 5 months in advance;-)  We joined our friends and headed to Campus By the Sea again for Family Camp!  Last time we went we talked about making it an annual tradition, but then with building a house we just didn’t think we could swing it last year, so we opted out.  BUT this year we were determined to go, so we registered in FEBRUARY, and then we headed out June 28th!

I must admit it was hard to get to this point, Tom worked on the house up until the point we left, and I felt a little stressed going in, BUT what a GREAT time to be completely removed, and unplugged, focused on God’s word for us, friends, and fellowship!  It ended up being SO relaxing, I can’t even tell you!150628_01_BlogThe boys claimed they didn’t remember much about camp, but Holden remembered the boat ride, and where he wanted to be for the entire ride.  It was a bit rocky on the way over and he ended up soaked from the spray, but he was SO happy!150628_04_Blog150628_05_Blog

One of the MOST amazing things about family camp is the freedom, and independence gained by the kids.  You definitely get to have time WITH your family, but the kids have a program while the adults do bible study, AND during the free time they LOVE exploring the camp, and playing with their new and renewed friends, as well as water activities with us!  As soon as the wake up bell rings they head down to the playground or volleyball court for a game of “jailbreak” until breakfast:-)

As I said, Holden hung out here the whole boat ride over, which was too windy and wet for the rest of us, so he was out here with the crazy people, but not with us the whole time.
150628_07_Blog150628_08_BlogThis guy was TIRED from our 5am departure from our home, so he opted to be inside curled up on either me or Tom for most of the trip, and of course fell asleep as we were pulling into the camp dock.  I had to carry him and a bag onto shore…good thing I work out!:-)150628_09_Blog

I only wrote in my journal one day, but it was the first day, I wanted to include it here:

“The boat ride is like the crossing over to a world where the kids run free, practice independence, and the parents don’t worry.  Our cabin is high on the hill(exercise:-)) and we can clearly hear the waves crashing.  I’m so glad, we are slightly removed from the activity of camp here, and the sound brings me peace and relaxation.

The peace is a gift, God is good, I am excited for what He has for all of us this week.  The boys were off from moment one.  Even Daniel.  They are EXHAUSTED, they will be exhausted but it will be SO, SO worth it!

Tonight: Dinner+worship+games, showers+bed:-)

Thank you Jesus for this place, to seek refuge from this world and seek you daily and wholly for a week.  It’s SO different than India, but in it’s own way just as rewiring, and powerful.  Thank you God for teaching me, loving me, and showing me your ways.

Thank you that we had the means to come here, that you provided friends who introduced us to family camp, and a husband who cherishes this time as much as I do.”

I can’t wait to share our week with you!

Romans 15: 5-6 (NIV)

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


It finally happened…Holden wanted his long hair cut.  I was kind of ready, towards the end of school, we had a few instances where he was called a girl, and while everything in me fights that stereo type I was just ready, tired of tear when brushing, and making him wash his hair more than he wanted etc.  He wanted to do it before school ended so he could show everyone:-)  He loves attention!  BUT that just didn’t happen with our schedules etc.  SO yesterday was the day.  Goodbye, beautiful long haired boy…till you are back again:-)

150607_01_Blog150607_02_Blog150607_03_BlogFor some reason he really loves the pigtail part:-)  And of course the attention of mom’s camera!150607_04_Blog150607_05_BlogHe wanted to save them, we did for a short bit…next time I may encourage him to grow it long enough to donate.150607_06_Blog150607_07_BlogAll clean cut, and CLEAN:-) SO handsome!  He is such a handsome/beautiful child, but he looks so much older like this!  I instantly regretted it.  He had some regrets too, but also just told himself it will grow back!150607_08_Blog150607_10_BlogI am not sure what he was pouting about, but I had to capture it because he is our funny guy, but with that comes crazy passion, which means, happy or sad, it’s intense:-)  He too is a gorgeous boy if I do say so myself!365_159_Blog