Here We Go A’Camping!

Before you read this post, you need to understand some of our feelings about camping.  You can find them all right here. :)
The night before we left for VA Beach, our destination, I was sitting on a hay bale in a cow pasture enjoying ice cream (A very rustic Ice Cream Social experience with church family and friends . . . .   and yes, I will hopefully post about that soon!) and listening to my brothers and their friends talk about a recent campout.  One of them mentioned that he was allergic to camping.  I laughed, finished my ice cream and did not even give it a second thought.  Actually, that’s not entirely correct; I did . . . but not until several days later, well into camping.  Suddenly, I knew what he was talking about.
We like to tease that rain follows us everywhere we go.  The weather can be perfect, but if we choose to go camping, suddenly, it is going to rain.  We can’t escape it {we have tried!}, so rainy camping is the new normal for us.  Mom likes to joke that Texas would pay us to camp and end their droughts. ;)  This camping trip was no exception.
But, we try to be optimists and find something to Praise the Lord about in every circumstance . . .
So we ignored the wet sleeping bags {as best we could}, tried not to think about the low food supplies {there is limited packing space}, got used to travelling around in wet clothes {but brought lots of towels!}, smiled away the sunburn {which persisted in following us despite loads of sunscreen}, hoarded dry firewood {there were limited quantities}, got used to dark circles {and bad hair days =)}, etc.
I always forget about how much work it takes to make the wilderness home for twelve people for a week.  On top of that, close proximity bring out the inner man in all of us and ….. well, needless to say, Dad calls it a sanctifying experience.  It requires extra grace to overlook attitudes which result from long nights and little sleep.  It takes extra patience and longsuffering when spending long days in the car together.  We have learned that each of us have to make a choice; if everyone determines that they are going to do whatever it takes to love others, then camping trips can be really fun!  We see them not only as a family vacation, but a growing opportunity to learn vital life lessons on serving others.  We are not perfect and we certainly don’t have this down completely, but by God’s grace, I can look back over the years and say that each camping trip we have taken gets better than the one before!
As I sit here, sipping my coffee {you knew it, didn’t you?} and sorting through the pictures, I am reminded of the wonderful opportunity God gave us to spend time together before Joshua started his final year of Nursing School. {YAY!!}  He’s hoping to be able to get out of school one more time in September and join us for a week down in North Carolina . . . but that’s a story for another day — or should I say, a post for another day :) — so for now, just sit tight and enjoy glimpses of our week together in Va Beach.  {O, and did I mention that on the way home we visited dear friends who we hadn’t seen in a year??? SUPER PUMPED!!}
Camp Life . . .
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 Traveling in the Car . . .

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 Sightseeing . . . .

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Eating lunch near the naval base and watching the planes overhead!

Eating lunch near the naval base and watching the planes overhead!

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The camera happened to snap this just as a lightening flash tore across the sky . . . the streak in the center of the picture is how the camera lens interpreted the lightening!

The camera happened to snap this just as a lightening flash tore across the sky . . . the streak in the center of the picture is how the camera lens interpreted the lightening!

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Swimming . . .

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He wanted to go out in the waves with all the big kids . . . until one knocked him over!  He came running back for shore :)

He wanted to go out in the waves with all the big kids . . . until one knocked him over! He came running back for shore :)

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Some of us got a little serious over diving  . . .

Some of us got a little serious over diving . . .

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 Riding the Ferry . . .

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Nature and Animal Life . . .

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Other Snapshots . . .

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Having Brunch out one morning was a treat!

Having Brunch out one morning was a treat!

Wawa was our favorite go-to for coffee and soft pretzels!

Wawa was our favorite go-to for coffee and soft pretzels!

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We had interesting lunches one day . . . !

We had interesting lunches one day . . . !

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And, one of our favorites-of-all-times . . .
Stopping and seeing our dear friends, the Wilson Family!

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Playing a fun round of Train Wreck!!

Playing a fun round of Train Wreck!!

The funniest snapshot of the week? . . .
WE MADE IT!!!!

WE MADE IT!!!!

Visiting with Family

It was great to have Uncle Donnie, Aunt Lisa and our cousins Liam and Logan down to Virginia for a visit!  It was the first time some of them had visited the farm, so we were pretty excited that we had an afternoon to show them around the property and do farm chores.

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After catching up for a few minutes, we took advantage of the sunshine to play some soccer.

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After soccer, traisping through the woods, and climbing trees, we were all hot and thristy.  Of course, water did not quite cut it . . . . so we voted for an impromptu run to the store for ice cream.  {We are soooo spoiled :) }

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Other fun moments included . . . when we took Liam and Logan down to the swing in the woods.  We had so much fun!

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Can’t wait to see you all again!
~Olivia

Independence for All! // Part 2 of 2

….. More photos from the 4th! …..
~ We loved hosting the party {it had been way too long!} and owe a huge thank you to all who came out and made it a memorable day! ~

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 ~ Olivia

Up Sharp Top!

Last Sunday, our family and some friends, Jenny and Elizabeth Post, their friend from Scotland – Kathleen, and Derek and Morgan Rutrough went out to the Peaks of Otter to hike Sharp Top. We all had a wonderful lunch and time of fellowship before going our separate ways: the older children, along with the Post girls and Rutrough boys, hiked up Sharp Top while the younger Meggs and Dad and Mom along with Mr. and Mrs.  Post, walked around the lake at the bottom of the mountain. Both parties had a wonderful time and made many memories! After hiking , we all headed over to the Post’s house and enjoyed some ice cream.  Mom and Dad took the younger ones home, and the rest of us stayed to have some time of reading The Word and singing together. We all had a very blessed time and look forward to the next trip to Bedford!
Below are pictures from the hike. Unfortunately, we do not have pictures from the walk around the lake :(

His newest invention - a shirt into a bug screen :)

His newest invention – a shirt into a bug screen :)

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Stopping for a break

Stopping for a break

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Everyone needs water!

Everyone needs water!

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The neighboring mountain, Flat Top

The neighboring mountain, Flat Top

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It was neat to experience wildlife up close!

It was neat to experience wildlife up close!

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P.S. Thank you to all the guys who carried the backpacks full of water bottles all the way up and down the mountain!

Posted by Elise