I have to preface this post by saying I know this is going to be hard for my mom to read. She wants nothing more than for all of us to take a vacation together somewhere! My side of the family is spread all over the states (brother and sis-in-law live in California and parents and youngest sister are in TN) and my mom is over the moon when we're all together, which only happens once a year. Not nearly enough.
Thankfully, Mom, Christmas is only ONE MONTH AWAY and you'll have all your little chicks under one roof :) Now wipe your tears, and keep on reading.
Jon's dad (we call him Big John or Poppy) is on the board at Hidden Acres, the largest camp in Iowa. We had been talking for over a year about getting our whole family up there for a weekend. And by some miracle, it actually happened. There were other groups up there so all the activities were up and running. We got to eat in the dining hall (the food was delicious!), and stayed in the Inn they have there, which was nearly as nice as a hotel.
The first night we were there, we had dinner on our own and roasted hot dogs in the fireplace. The kids ran around and played and had a great time. A few of us went outside for a campfire and Dawson was demanding that his dad and Uncle Adam tell him scary stories, which ended up getting a little too scary when they walked over to the barn in the pitch dark and shone their flashlights on a barrel full of horse bones. Thankfully there were no nightmares. Get it? Night-mares? Sorry. It just came to me. I should delete it.... Nope. Not gonna.
Channing's pack n play fit in the handicap bathroom so bedtime was a breeze. That was a huge stress reliever to me. (Babies in hotel rooms is my hell on earth.) Me and a couple other sisters-in-law stayed up WAY too late and the boys were up before the sun. I had mentally prepared myself to get up right away with them to go take some pictures at sunrise. So even though I had barely a wink of sleep, I was happy to start our day of adventuring. A very COLD start, mind you. My fingers were icicles taking these pictures. But it was still fun. And beautiful.
The bones weren't so scary in the morning (I'm guessing they're there for science camp??) but I heard the whole reenactment from Bennett of Old Man McCready who hangs from the rafters in the barn like a bat and eats children, or something awful like that. Can you tell Uncle Adam doesn't have kids??
And the WHOLE family. Jon's the oldest of the four boys. Josh (second oldest) and Jenise are sitting and they have the four kids in front. Adam (3rd son, who tells my children horrific stories but we love him anyway) and Kayla (the entire family's hairdresser.) are in the back row on the right. Aaron (youngest son) and Bria have Aben, the blonde on Poppy's lap. And there you have it! This is the loudest group of people you'll ever meet in your life.
Poppy and Uncle Josh stayed back with all the kids and the rest of us grown-ups got to go on a trail ride through the woods. It was so fun. I love being on a horse. It makes me feel strong.
It's not the size of the horse that makes a man.