Saturday, October 31, 2009

Forest Lake Church Fall Festival

Tonight we went to the Fall Festival at church as an alternative to Trick-or-Treating through-out the neighborhood. I have to say that for me, growing up in New England, Trick-or-Treating was always a really fun experience. The leaves crunching underfoot, the Unicef boxes jingling with loose change and a cup of hot chocolate waiting back at the house are some of the things I remember most. One of the other things that leaves a lasting memory on me is that we knew all of our neighbors. We always went around the neighborhood with a few other families as a big group. Every few houses, we would be invited to come in for hot cider, fresh donuts or some other yummy treat.
Maybe I just didn't know about all the scary things in this world back then. But I don't remember ever having to wait while my parents "inspected" my candy. Even just this week, the late night news ran a story about how known sex offenders are being reminded that they cannot participate in allowing children to ring their doorbell for candy, because it could be considered "luring" children to their home. Yikes! Come to think of it, we spend so much time teaching our kids about filling our bodies with healthy fuel and the warnings of stranger danger, and yet I was torn about not allowing them to go Trick-or-Treating, which is basically knocking on strangers' doors asking for junk food. :) Now, before anyone thinks otherwise, we "know" most of our neighbors by name, but they are still somewhat "strangers" to us, we don't really know much about them.
Our church planned a fantastic activity tonight - a fall festival.
The evening started off with some contemporary praise songs. And then went into a lesson about homeless people. I was surprised to hear the large number of homeless people in Florida. I guess it makes sense though, since the weather is so mild.
Moving over into the Upper Youth Center, we had a delicious dinner of (veggie) hot dogs, chips and root beer. I should just start labeling these pictures as "Megan and her boys".

A family shot of the 5 of us.
After dinner, we had little passports and had to travel to different countries all over the world (areas of the church), playing games and earning toiletries and snacks for our "homeless packs".

The little guys were too small to participate in the basketball shoot, so the Daddy's jumped in there to help. And here is where the competitive nature between the two families really came out.

Megan and I played against each other, but I had to be on my knees to make it fair.

I loved how she was laughing the whole time she was playing. Megan seems to be struggling with not having enough of my time. I remember 5 1/2 was a really emotional age for Joshua as well.

The Daddies played against each other. The kids were all cheering and going wild. It was really one of the highlights of the night. We were quite the rowdy group. Potato sack racing was another one of our favorite games. I shared a potato sack with Daniel so that we could hop together. I forgot that he's about 40 pounds now, and that's tough to hop with!

For charades, our card was "David and Goliath". This is Joshua using his sling up against "Goliath". The acting skills on both guys was fantastic.

Face painting was another big hit.

Joshua got a guitar on his arm.

Megan got a butterfly on her cheek.

Daniel got some balloons on his arm.

Keith decided that he needed a tattoo.

Our completed Fall Festival passport.

Our completed homeless bags. They have toiletries, food, drinks and a list of community resources.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Adventurer Camp-out at Pine Lake Retreat

Last weekend was the Adventurer Camp-out at Pine Lake Retreat in Groveland, Florida. As usual, the co-pilot (*cough, cough, me, cough, cough*) had a little trouble navigating the directions. Fortunately, a phone call to Grandpa and to the Dieningers (our chalet buddies), a drive-thru McDonald's to satisfy the tired, hungry kiddos, and we were back on the road to a fun-filled weekend.

We stayed in a 2 bedroom/2bath chalet (a little smaller than a single wide mobile home) with some fantastic friends of ours. In the picture below - Megan (5), Joshua (7), Luke (3), Daniel (4), Adam (6). Joshua and Adam were in the same K class last year at FLEC, and are in the same Sabbath School class now. Daniel and Luke are in the same Sabbath School class and are best buddies. I had some serious doubts about getting any sleep with 5 kids sleeping together in the living room. The kids did great, they all slept pretty well. After Sundown, the campers that had already arrived met for Vespers.

I was pretty surprised that Daniel volunteered to go up in front of the crowd to sing. He's usually the one that wants to hang back. We did have some squabbles about who was going to sit beside who. This seemed to be a recurring theme all weekend long.

The park was our saving grace in the early morning when we seemed to be the first families up. The kids had a great time chasing each other around.

Megan and Daniel enjoyed "hanging out" with Kylie.

At some point, while playing around in front of the chalet, Joshua ran smack into a tree. I think he was stunned for just a second and then he was mad about it. He managed to get a great looking bump on his head.

I think it was Sabbath morning that the lesson was about rocks and sand. Joshua really thrives on this type of hands-on learning. It's so wonderful to see their little brains at work.

At some point on Sabbath afternoon, the Adventurers were working on earning their Button Honor patch. Keith took Megan and Joshua to earn their Honor. While I took Daniel out into the field so that he could kick around the soccer ball. Of course, I also snuck in a nap on the grass. We tried to go for a walk with the kids, but we had some mutiny on us.

Keith and Megan had to leave midway through our walk. They were due back at the campsite to make dinner. For anyone who has not been on an Adventurer camp out, each group of kids is responsible for helping to prepare and serve a meal. Joshua's group - the Busy Bees - made a delicious Sabbath lunch of spaghetti. Megan's group - the Eager Beavers - had it a little easier with (veggie) hot dogs. Again, we are equal-opportunity parents, so we divided to conquer. I took the Busy Bees and Keith took the Eager Beavers.

Megan looks like she is listening intensely to her directions on how to serve hot dogs.

Megan "reading" Joshua's Bible. I would imagine that at the rate she's going, she'll be a pretty proficient reader in the next few months.

Daniel and Rob fooling around. Later that night we all went on a hayride through the dark campground. With the chill in the air and the amazing starry sights, it reminded me of Kodiak. Megan, of course, just had to go sit with her friend Kylie. They are so cute together.

After the hayride, the kids peeled off their multiple layers of warmth to run around in the gym on the bouncy-house.

Back outside, and bundled back up, it was time to roast some marshmallows for s'mores.

I asked Megan how her s'more was and she gave me a big sticky thumbs up. And here's where I confess that when Daniel turned his back on his s'more, I took a HUGE bite so that he only got about 1/4 of the actual s'more.

By Sunday morning, we were all feeling pretty tired. It was quite chilly outside. Keith shared his jacket with Megan.

Mornings were chilly and Daniel wasn't sure if he was interested in eating any breakfast, he just wanted to snuggle.

Me and Megan as we were getting ready to load the minivan up for the ride home. As usual, she looks adorable.

Daniel's Birthday in Sabbath School

Daniel turned 4 on the 10th of this month. He was so excited to tell everyone that he's 4 now. His Sabbath School class sang Happy Birthday to him. He was just thrilled.

Daniel and some of his little friends playing with their completed crafts.