Monday, October 06, 2008

First Annual Family Camping

This weekend, we joined Calvary Chapel Fairhope's First Annual Family Camping trip on the Alabama River.

We had a great time. The church had a group of campsites down a little road from the river.

Plus one site on the river itself to facilitate kayaking and water play. We were a little distance from the bathrooms, which challenged us a bit, but it was a lovely walk.

During my first daylight morning walk to the bathroom, I discovered the beauty of the Alabama River.

The fog wafting up from the water created an aura of mystery, and I loved the reflection of the trees on the water's surface.

We haven't been camping since before Hurricane Ivan. At that time we lost all of our camping gear. We replaced the tent and other big items after the hurricane and have picked up other odds and ends for camping along the way. This weekend we had an opportunity to try out the new gear.

Kurt had to set up most of our stuff new out of the box, which meant the set up went slow.

In fact, Kurt didn't finish setting up until after dark. By the time we were set up, we had little energy and decided to make a simple supper and go to bed early. None of us slept very well since we were unable to get the air mattresses we needed for our sleeping bags.

While the adults set up, the kids played.

The Regehr family from our local church joined us for camping and had a great time too. Megan introduced Gabrielle to Pick Up Sticks Friday afternoon.

We woke up early Saturday morning because Mr. Mike promised to take all the kids fishing at dawn, down by the dam.

Mr. Mike blessed many families during the weekend. Not only did he and his wife Jeanette plan and organize the entire trip, but they spent a great deal of time supervising the many children on fishing and kayaking expeditions.

After a couple of fishing trips with Mr. Mike, Gabrielle caught a fish Saturday afternoon.

Mr. Mike suggested Gabrielle throw the little thing back, but she was determined to eat her fish, since this was her first time fishing. Several other campers suggested she might like to keep her fish as a pet. Gabrielle promptly named her fish, "Dinner."

In the end, Mr. Mike cleaned and cooked Gabrielle's fish for her and she ate it with her pot luck dinner Saturday evening.

The kids had a great time running, biking, fishing, kayaking, skate boarding and playing with the other children.

The group campsite rented by the church provided ample playing room for the kids.

Michael enjoyed spending lots of time outside and was much more content than I'd hoped he would be. He found the balls Kurt packed and had a good time.

We had a nice little campsite right across from the group site.

One of the guys brought a game he invented and named "Washers."

Kurt and the other men had a blast playing the game.

Mark said it was a fun game to watch too.

Plenty of people seemed to enjoy watching the various matches. In fact, I think our friend Mark hopes to have one of these games for our church here in Brewton very soon.

I tried to squeeze in a bit of knitting, but between exhaustion from lack of proper sleep and trying to keep an eye on Michael, I ended up undoing most of what I knit.

Kurt and Darlene discovered a common love for playing card games and spent a portion of their Saturday afternoon sitting in our screen house at the Regehr card table playing.

In fact, the card table followed us across the street to the the Saturday night potluck

and so did the cards.

I brought and cooked food for our family since food issues usually prevent us from being able to eat at pot luck meals, but we joined the group for eating time.

After dinner everyone played games

even the grown ups

or sat around the campfire.

There were plenty of marshmallows for roasting.

And lots of really good fellowship.

Even Michael had fun sitting around the fire.

And watching the bigger kids play games.

Cindy blessed us all Saturday night when she brought out her guitar. We spent a couple of hours singing praise songs around the campfire. Most of the worship team from church camped with us so the music was excellent.

We had a simple church service again on Sunday morning with a devotion and more praise and worship time.

These were my favorite times of the whole weekend. Once again I've been wishing I could play the guitar. I've some teach yourself books, but haven't been very successful with them so far. Probably because learning an instrument requires consistent practice. Maybe when Michael gets just a little bit older. . .

The final group activity for the weekend was sheer brilliance on Jeanette's part. She had all the kids gather at the gazebo and handed out bags.

Then she sent the kids out racing to gather as much garbage from all of our campsites as they could find. She gave prizes to all participants and double to the winners with the most garbage.

I can definitely see us doing the whole camping thing again. But not without air mattresses.


Theresa said...

Looks like a really fun weekend. The mist on the river is so pretty. I could see in these pics how much Gabrielle and Gregory are growing and maturing! Gabrielle doesn't look like a little girl anymore - a young woman! :o) I love the idea of picking up all the garbage as a contest, what an awesome idea! LOL

The Gingerbread House said...

That's what we call real "Fellowshipping" , I can tell everyone had a good time, I did just reading about it. I bet Ga belle's fish was delicious :o)
I'm glad she stuck to her guns...Can't push that one around. Ginny