as you may know, our family (dads whole extended side) has been going up there every fall for many years.
we do a lot of the same activities & eat a lot of the same meals, but tradition, with room for improvisation, is what makes it a wonderfully relaxing & familiar trip.
we drove up thursday, late afternoon. it was COLD & rainy. the evening was spent in the cabins, sipping hot chocolate (served to us by grandfather) & unloading our stuff for the weekend.
friday, the day dawned COLD & cloudy--but no rain. and kids don't mind cold. so they were outside, climbing the hills, throwing leaves, tossing the football; while the adults spent most of their time indoors. we took a trip up to the lodge for a while before lunch, browsed around/letting the kids run around. Bentley stuck his hand in a touch & feel box (you know, the kind where you are supposed to identify what you are feeling with out seeing?) and SCREAMED when he felt the fur that was in the box. he recovered, remembering he was brave "cause God made me brave". We did take-a-drive style naps for B, shawn & i rewarding ourselves with a dr pepper from the tiny gas station, & kind of spent the day just waiting for dinner. Grandmother starts a roast in the crock pot, BEFORE lunch and the smell wafts throughout the cabin all day. it's a highlight to say the least. caroline got roast in her lap thanks to B using her plate to balance himself, but it was quickly cleaned up & we all enjoyed the evening. saturday, it was a bit warmer & sunny! we broke tradition a little this year, & the "breakfast tree" bloomed early! for those who may be unfamiliar with a breakfast tree, it only blooms once a year (amazing that we can always time our trip out right for this), & it is a tree (or a grouping of tiny trees) that has little boxes of cereal, juice boxes & milk, doughnuts/breakfast bars--all hanging by ribbons, waiting for us to come choose the perfect combination. bentley was so excited for the "tea party" (somehow breakfast tree got translated as tea party. he also thought we should be wearing party hats) but when he walked up, he grabbed the first cereal bar he saw (ignored everything else), ran into the cabin & sat there, eating his breakfast. after breakfast, shawn & dad snuck off before the husker game for a round of golf, their yearly tradition & bentley got to pretend his was a big kid-going on a hike with the cousins! he came back shouting "lets get this party started!" so i think he had fun. we roasted our lunch over the fire--hotdogs & s'mores. we also saw two bald eagles flying overhead! we did another take-a-drive style nap, but this time the little man wasn't so easy to bore, so we stopped to browse at a few shops in town. the rest of the afternoon was spent outside enjoying the now nicer weather, coloring pictures, taking pictures, & watching the kids play. we ended the day bundled up, up on the hill looking at the stars! we took a detour on the way home & drove through a part of the haunted hayrack ride that is right along the normal road. bentley covered his eyes with my hands & promptly fell asleep! sunday morning dawned bright & early (since bentley fell asleep early, we all stayed up late. that math never works out). we had coffee & pumpkin muffins in our cabin as we got ready for the day/ cleaned out & packed up the cabin. we ended our weekend at the park with a picnic. by now, the weather was gorgeous! we all took our turn going down the slides, some played football, others just sat around the picnic tables. after lunch, we went up to the look out (you can see three states/over looks the missouri river) & headed home!
i'm so thankful for a loving family who loves each other & tradition. it is a highlight of each year, we are already looking forward to going back!
(i sorted through over 300 pictures for this post. caroline had my camera a lot of the weekend. so be prepared, lots of pictures!)
|on the road! ponca here we come!|
|testing out the bunk beds.|
|good morning! pumpkin spice coffee & creamer.|
|grandma kathy sent binoculars for the little explorer|
|uncle joe helping bentley play cards|
|all decked out for the cold!|
|elsie & mira at the lodge|
|bentley & luke paddling down the missouri|
|ponca motorcyle drivers beware!|
|every year the "pumpkin buns" get a good laugh out of us.|
|can you smell the roast?|
|bentley, mira, & heidi|
|he loved these girls!|
|and these boys.|
|caroline, paige, bentley, megan, & rachel (megans friend)|
|aunt beths glasses|
|hot apple cider!|
|this boy needed a bath!|
|breakfast tree collage|
|reading with uncle matt|
|luke, heidi, mira, & bentley|
|headed out on their hike!|
|the guys ready to golf|
|running by, taking bites. (the shadow is a perfect beard)|
|the oldest getting a piggy back by the youngest sister. seemed dangerous to me.|
|when you hang out with high schoolers & jr highers, you get caught in photo shoots.|
|had to take a quick break|
|on our way to look at the stars!|
|dad testing out the slide|