Friday afternoon we loaded up Reagan's truck and headed to the annual family retreat hosted by our church.
We've been to this retreat for the past two years, and I'll just be honest, it was tough with a preschooler. But we've been told that it gets easier and better. So, we thought we'd give it another try. And I'm glad we did. With the exception of Sunday morning, we had the best What-A-Family experience we've ever had.
We knew that in order for Sara Madalin to be able to stay up later on Friday night and enjoy herself, she needed to nap on the way. It wasn't hard to get her to do that. About 30 minutes into our ride, she was asleep. She slept for an hour and was in a great mood when she woke up.
When we arrived, we checked in and got our cabin assignment. My people were kind enough to oblige me and pose for a picture outside our cabin door.
Last year we were in a room that had three sets of bunk beds. We each slept on the bottom bunk of each set of beds. It wasn't the best sleep I've ever had. This year we had a double bed in our room. We were excited.
Normally, we share a cabin with at least one or two other families. Last year, when we had the three bunk beds, there was a plastic partition between us and one other family. We heard everything they said and they heard every time Sara Madalin threw a fit. This year, we didn't share. So, we actually had what normally would have been two cabin rooms. It was very helpful in getting Sara Madalin to sleep and stay asleep because she wasn't awaken by someone coming in later in the night. We also liked having the extra space.
Once we unloaded in our cabin, we headed over to the cafeteria for opening session. Each family was asked to create a poster with pictures of their Camp What-A-Family memories. We'd only been two years before this weekend, so our poster was small. But here's Sara Madalin posing with it before headed to the cafeteria.
The first year we went to this retreat, she saw all the bicycles the other kids brought. She couldn't ride a bicycle then. This year, she rode that bike as much as her little heart wanted. She's such a big girl now. Friday night she rode it over to the cafeteria and parked it with all the BIG KID bikes. (Notice her sippy cup in the basket. Not so big in some areas, I suppose.)
Lake Forest Ranch Camp Director, Rich Malone, always greets us and gives us a few guidelines on Friday night. He also pantomimes several Ray Stevens' songs, such as "Long, Tall Jones" and "The Mississippi Squirrel Revival." The kids LOVE his pantomimes.
Sara Madalin sat with the big kids for the first time this year. Normally, she sits in my lap. It was so weird to sit with adults and talk while Sara Madalin sat, played, talked with the kids. I was very proud of how well she did.
This is a girl who loves the camera.
That's Amelia. She was asleep when she and her mom and sister arrived. I told her mom, Tamah, I'd watch Amelia while she unloaded her car. I picked up her baby carrier and brought it over to where I was sitting. Sara Madalin came running over to me and excitedly asked, "Is that OUR baby?"
Bless her sweet heart. Sadly, I had to tell her to no.
Amelia was so funny. She would be look around, or frowning, and as soon as I pointed the camera at her, she'd smile. I would do it just to get her to grin.
Opening session ended around 10:00. I took Sara Madalin back to our cabin and put her to bed. She had a BIG day on Saturday.