Saturday, October 23, 2010

MCOC Family Retreat 2010

Last weekend, our family enjoyed going on our church's Family Retreat. It was really a lot of fun! A lot of people worked hard to organize it, and they did a great job. The activities were fun and relevant with lots of 'down time,' too which was really nice. The weather was so nice, too which was very welcome since so much of the time we are so hot. In the sun, it was pretty hot, but there was lots of shade and cooler breezes. Yea!
We left Katy as soon as we picked up the girls from school and headed to Trinity Pines, which should only be about 2 hours away. However, since it was Friday afternoon Houston traffic time, it took much longer. We stopped at Cracker Barrel along the way which is always "slap yo mama" good. (Tim Hawkins reference!)
When we arrived at the retreat, we made our Family Poster (the kids mainly made it) which was on display for the weekend, along with everyone else's poster. The 'scribbled section' on the right is a baseball field Katie drew. :)

After making our poster, we got everything into our room-I loved that each family had their own room & bathroom-and hung out visiting while we waited to meet all together.
Families kept arriving throughout the evening. I think we ended up having around 35 families attend...about 130 people total.
It's always fun for kids to sleep in a motel, so there were giggles. We tried letting Ellie sleep with Katie in her bed, but there was no way she was going to settle down, so she ended up in the pack 'n play.
The next morning, we enjoyed walking down to the lake and seeing how pretty it was before we had breakfast.
We then met together for a devotional/lesson by David, our preacher, and then separated into our individual families for a family devotional. We were given a packet with the lesson (The Good Samaritan) to do with our families, with activities for even the youngest in the family through the oldest. Our family walked over to a 'prayer walk' area and sat in one of the niches that were set up throughout the walk.
Gracie was able to read the Bible story to us then Katie read the Children's Bible Storybook version that was provided for us. We were encouraged to write an encouraging note to someone else on the retreat and also to perform acts of service for someone else. Ellie was able to color an encouraging note for someone as well. Our own family was blessed when we got back to our room and saw that someone had anonymously placed some yummy snacks on our doorstep, then I was personally blessed when Cindy knocked on my door with a diet Coke from Sonic! Wow....I think people know how to make me happy! :) We all tried to look for opportunities throughout the day to serve others. I also really appreciated that inside our lesson packet, there was a sweet note from one of the elders, encouraging us and showing support for the retreat. I appreciate the way the elders of our congregation support these types of activities.

After our devotional, we walked around some. It was really pretty. There was a beautiful chapel in the woods.

We ate lunch, and then it was time to head up to the challenge course where Chris, Gracie, & possibly Katie were planning to do the ropes course & zip line. Katie was a little unsure about
doing the course but decided to go for it.
The problem came once she started. Her little legs & arms were just not long enough. Combine that with the fact that she got scared, and it just didn't work out. I'm not sure what would have happened if she'd made it up the ladder. Not real sure she would have gone through with it, but I hope she'll try again when she's older. We're proud of her for trying!
Katie was upset about not completing the course, and Anna Beth was sweet to help comfort her!
Gracie did the zip line this summer at camp, so she was excited to do it again. She hadn't gotten the chance to do the ropes course because they'd run out of time, so she was really excited to do it this time. She did great, and we're very proud of her!

Chris had done it at camp this summer too, so he was really ready to do it again and enjoyed it again.
After doing the course, we headed back to the room for Ellie to take a nap while Chris, Gracie, & Katie went to play putt putt, go canoeing, and I don't even know for sure what all else since I stayed with Ellie. At some point, they came back to the room, saying they were going swimming. There were a couple of other kids swimming, and they wanted to join them. Apparently, it was COOOLD! It was hot in the sun, but the water was cold, so they didn't end up staying in very long.
Mrs. Kerri took them down to where some people were playing kickball.
We had dinner then gathered together for "Family Game Show." It was hilarious! Jennifer had put together all sorts of fun things and randomly chose names to participate. One game would be only for dads, one would be for moms, and one would be for a child. It was so funny and included games such as putting an Oreo on your forehead and moving it to your mouth using no hands, swinging pantyhose, placed on your head, with baseballs in the feet to knock down bottles, stacking golf balls, sorting M&M's by color, emptying a tissue box as quickly as possible, etc. It was so, so, so fun & funny! Before each gathering, funny videos would be played, too. After the game, some people left on a hayride (with no hay....) while others played games or watched Tim Hawkins! (Love him!) After awhile, a 2nd group of people left on the hayride, then we had a devotional out by the lake where Robert, our Outreach minister, talked about the role dads have in our families and the importance they play. Before the game night, they had played a song video about the little boy wanting to be like his daddy and how the little boy copied everything, good & bad, so it is important to set the right example.
At this point, Katie had fallen asleep & was snoring, and the rest of our family wasn't far behind, so we went to bed! We got up Sunday and packed up and headed to breakfast. After finishing packing, we had worship service down by the lake where Mike, our Youth Minister, talked about the role parents have in the lives of our children and how we have the most impact on them, etc. After worship, we headed back to Houston, with plans to meet 3 other familes for lunch along the way. However, it ended up being just us by the time we got to The Woodlands. We ate, drove home, and had time for a nap before church that evening. Getting up for school the next morning was no fun!
It was a great weekend!

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