Sunday, May 21, 2017

Restful Weekend Retreat

 We spent the weekend at one of my favorite places--Harrison House at White Sulphur Springs.  Our OCF group had a retreat there, and it was so nice and relaxing.  The old hotel was looking very fine indeed, having been freshly painted and spruced up on the outside!

We got there Friday night.  One family that retired last year and moved to the Midwest drove back for the retreat, and it was really wonderful to see them again.  Another family, who PCSed 2 years ago, also drove down for the retreat, so it was a weekend with old friends!  Ed L. did a great job leading 3 sessions on discipleship, which were very practical and helpful.
 Once again, Amanda L. got up at 6:30 and organized the crowd of teens to make breakfast both days, and Nathan was our griller for lunch on Saturday up at the picnic pond.  The weather was very cool the whole time, which was a nice change of pace from the sweltering weather we left behind in VA!  Also, it never rained, so that was also very nice.
 Caleb drove me to the library Friday morning before we left so he could pick out some books.  This was our view of him during much of the weekend.
 Verity was happy to be eating a banana cookie here.  We made 5 dozen banana cookies, and 5 dozen chocolate chip cookies, and they were all eaten at lunch on Saturday, which is rather impressive.
 The grownups spent a lot of time talking and laughing.
 Verity and Drew were a little too close to the pond for my liking!
 The younger teens/preteens had a great time together too.
 This was my view from the porch swing on Saturday afternoon.  I read a really good book, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper.  I just randomly picked it up at the library last week, but I really enjoyed it.  An elderly widower discovered a charm bracelet of his wife's a year after she died, and he ended up tracing the story of the charms, discovering she had a rather exciting life before she married him.  As he discovers her story, he really came out of his shell and started living again.  It was a nice, quick read, perfect for a relaxing weekend!
 There were quite a few older teens as well, and they played a lot of games and had fun too.
 We didn't get a family wagon shot, but that is not to say kids were not up on the wagon, however.
 Saturday night we had a hay ride up to Heritage House for dinner.  Verity was a little unsure at first, as you can see by her tentative smile, but she sat with Jonathan and Stephanie, and ended up being just fine.
 There were a lot of kids between our 5 families!
 Up at the new hotel, Tim and Amy P got special carrot cake slices to celebrate their 25th anniversary, and everyone sang to them!
 After dinner we went over to Ft. Cochran, where the A. family had organized some games.  First we played a rousing game of "What's my name", where we all had animal names on our back (ant-eater for me, platypus for Bob).  Then we played several rounds of charades.  Here is Luke acting out . . . something . . . oh yes, "bunk bed".  There was a lot of laughter!
 Then it was time for smores.  My kids mostly like making smores, as opposed to eating them.  Verity doesn't even like toasted marshmallows, much less smores!  She only likes raw marshmallows, the stinker, and she definitely doesn't like having sticky hands!  Micah loves roasting marshmallows, and he was quite proud of this specimen in particular.  It did have a nice brown cap, which you can't see because my phone camera is really old and not very good, lol.
Sunday morning we had another delicious breakfast, and then a brief church service.  Before that, we took this lovely picture of us all squished on a very uncomfortable couch.  This picture will not be our Christmas card picture, lol.  Then Ed finished his 3rd session, we packed up, and we all headed back home, along with everyone else who had managed to escape Northern VA for the weekend.  Sigh.  Traffic is not a good way to come down off the mountaintop, and back into the real world!  But here we are, getting ready to start 3 days of testing bright and early tomorrow morning.

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