August 18, 2013

Adams Eden Camp

This year has definitely been a year of firsts and year of stepping out of our comfort zone.  None more dramatic than our July 4th holiday.  We found ourselves in Syracuse spending the weekend with some precious friends and their extended family, who happen to have 12 kids.  Altogether that boils down to 1 grandma, 6 parents, 23 kids. 

We thought we were heading to the mountains to escape the heat for a few days.  Seriously, our friend told us the evenings would be cool and we might consider packing a space heater for Addison.  I think you duped us, Dawn!  I am glad we skipped the heater since we ended up in the middle of what they claim is an unusual heat wave.  

Seriously, it was so hot!  It wasn't actually any hotter than it gets here in the summer but at home we have lots of creature comforts like the pool, a bath, fans and air conditioning!  The girls and I finally gave up on makeup and hair.  You won't see many photos of the ladies in this post.  But we were actually there, sweating it out, having a million laughs, sharing good fellowship and just having a great time.    

We drove up on the morning of July 4th.  This was Addison's first car trip and he managed just like an old pro.  Carmella loved moving into the front seat so Henry's car seat could take her spot.
And Samuel liked joining the back seat club.  Who knew this would be our last car trip in the beloved Mr. the King!
Let's see, who could those pink suitcases belong to?
Mella passed the drive looking at photos on my phone and playing with the princess glasses.
Yeah, breakfast at Starbucks.  It makes everyone smile.
I seriously have no idea what Elisabeth is doing or why anyone took this photo but I can tell you it is probably the only one all weekend where my hair is not frizzed out three feet.  Curly hair and humidity are just not a good combination.
Ten minutes down the road from Starbucks, Ellie got car sick.  Allen decided it would be easier to back track to a Target and get her a new outfit and shoes than to unpack the very precisely arranged cargo rack.  I think the Minnie Mouse shoes somehow alleviated the trauma of being covered in vomit.  I will add this is not the first time we've had to ditch Ellie's shoes and car seat on a road trip.
Since we were at Target anyway, Carmella got her own sunglasses so I could have mine back.  Taking pictures of her gave me something to do after all Ellie's excitement died down.
After an incident with Addison's diaper exploding all over me we finally made it to Adams Eden Camp by early afternoon.  It was a lot later than we had planned and did I mention it was HOT!
Hannah and Elisabeth immediately settled into a bunk with some books while the rest of us unpacked and shopped for groceries.  It took Emma about 30 minutes to get beds made and everything arranged just right.  She is such a great home maker!
We got to know our hosts, Paul and Linda Adams, over a cook out for dinner.  Than manned the grill.
And the beautiful Miss Linda with Addison.  Can you imagine she has 12 children?
Don't worry, Emma.  That manicure will not last very long.  
Exhausted, we decided to skip the fireworks and put the little ones to bed early.  Kaitlin said Matt let her win this game.  
This room was fabulous for hanging out.  It seems about as big as our house and was equipped with a pool table and enough couches for our entire family to sack out with a good book.
This is snack time roughing it.  Brianna conquered making popcorn, the old fashioned way.  And we were all very grateful.  We consumed several gallons of it over the course of 4 days.
The girls loved sleeping on the bunks.  I was expecting these beds to be very uncomfortable but was pleasantly surprised that I had a good night sleep every night.
So we had two bathrooms.  Our friends took the ladies room and we took the men's.  You often don't see a curling iron in the men's room, eh?
Friday morning we had a great 2 mile hike... all up hill. 
It was a gorgeous trail.  The terrain is about the same as what we run at home and Brianna and I had planned to have an afternoon run while the kids napped.
But by the time we got to the last leg of the hike we decided it was too hot an too humid even for us.
Three fourths of the Adams family... Hannah, Matt and Dawn.  Look, they are still smiling!
There has been a lot of rain this year so some places had massive puddles.  Carmella was seriously fascinated by every bit of mud she encountered.
I love her little keds!  A friend bought these for her when she was born and unlike Henry, Carmella has tiny feet.  She has finally grown into these shoes.  And she loves having shoes like the big girls.
Ellie and Sylvie became fast friends.  They have already exchanged several sets of drawings by mail.
We made it to the top!  Brianna looked at this picture and commented on how many people were in it. Initially she was thinking it was a number of the Adam's kids along with us. After she blew it up and started looking at it, she realized all but three of them were our family.
While we had a snack and fed the babies, the boys had a blast climbing trees and checking out caves.
How cute is this group of little blondies?
The view at the overlook was absolutely breathtaking.
And look at those smiles.
We are still smiling because we knew the way back was all downhill.  ☺
With the heat it was hard to get Addison to wake up most of the weekend.  He did open his eyes long enough for us to show him the vista.  

The camp has lots of natural beauty and lots of different ways to experience God's nature.  The river walk sounded like a lot of fun but was not something we could do with the babies.  Us mama's hung back with the little ones and the fathers took the bigger kids.  There are several amazing waterfalls and a mud slide along the river.
The kids had a blast hunting for fossils and getting to know our host family better.  The boys felt just like Jonathan Park by the end of the weekend.  Allen has said many times over how impressed he was by the boys who were guiding them and the way they tended the younger children and helped them along the rugged terrain.
And if they didn't get wet enough on the hike, an incredible rain storm came through as well.  Which made those of us back at the lodge very grateful.
Ellie spent some time dancing in the rain and splashing in puddles to cool off.  
It seems there were piles of muddy shoes every where I looked through the weekend.
In the evening, the older of the Adam's children came to hang out with our kids and play games.  Our boys got a game of monopoly going with the younger boys, the little girls colored pictures and the big kids pulled out a lot of food and card games while swapping stories of home school life and big families.
Saturday morning we started out for new adventures starting with a 25 foot high zip line spanning 300 feet.  (I'm taking the boys word on that because I have no idea how long that zip line was.)
Elisabeth wasn't so sure about it but she finally decided to go for a trip harnessed to Pa.
The blond girls again.  Have you ever seen so many pink shoes in one place?  Brianna was just commenting on how they only had one pair of shoes when she and Kaitlin were little and they never would have been allowed pink ones.
Because the zip line wasn't enough daring for one morning, the kids, including the father kids, had to try out this contraption they called the flying squirrel.
After harnessing in, Samuel was hooked to a cable.  
Everyone else... that's our kids and their kids, are attached to the other end of the cable.
They take off running down hill
And brave Kaitlin ends up hanging like a rag doll 50 feet in the air.
I was shocked that Hannah and Elisabeth thought this was amazing fun.  Personally, I was more than happy to observe from the ground.
Addison got cuddle time in with everyone.
We took some serious down time Saturday afternoon with books and pillows.  I loved this dorm room.  And not just because it was the only place that was air conditioned.  The knotty pine made it so cozy and it is set up in such a way that everyone has their own little space but yet we all had the fun of bunking together.  The Adams family truly did a beautiful job of renovating this space.
Refreshed and well fed, Saturday evening we headed back to the overlook for a bonfire.  This time we went up by tractor.  There were s'mores lots of chit chat and some good old fashion hymns to see us through the evening.
Sunday morning we had a beautiful time of worship together.  We shared some hymns, what the Lord has been teaching us and had a wonderful time of prayer.
In the afternoon the Pas took the kids to the pond to swim and paddle boat.
After dinner we planned on shooting off some fireworks and playing with sparklers.  When the rain delayed the fun we got a game of Ship is Wrecked going.  

When we all finally came indoors, the kids played cards and ate... again.  It truly is amazing how much food young adults can put away and still stay tiny!  Allen and I had a sweet time of fellowship with both sets of the Adams family.
Monday we had to pack up and hit the road.  It is never easy going back to reality after vacation.  In this case, though, we were grateful knowing we'd have private showers and air conditioning waiting for us at home.

Usually when we are traveling we stop for just a five minute bathroom break or two.  But on this day we just kind of felt like puttering.  We stopped about half way and had a long leisurely lunch at Pannera.
We are grateful to Matt and Dawn for suggesting this trip and we are grateful to our wonderful hosts, Paul and Linda and their family, who made it so much fun.  Before we had even finished packing the boys were already talking about what they want to do next time.  Even though it was a lot more roughing it than we expected, it was just the diversion we needed in the midst of all that has been going on here.  I can't say for certain if there will be a next time but if there is, I'm thinking I'll leave the sweater and pack a fan.


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