Friday, November 20, 2009

vacation, fall 2009

One of the really nice things about homeschooling is that we can take vacations whenever it suits us. Knowing that a baby would be joining our family in June we figured out a long time ago that September would be the ideal month for a family vacation.

Then we came up with the brilliant idea to vacation with our dear ol' friends; once we put it all together we had a terrific plan for fun, fun, fun.

And fun it was. We went to a place called Veranda Beach on the US side of Osoyoos lake.

It was a long drive deep into the middle of what felt like nowhere (in other words no Starbucks!) but the place was awesome and the cottages were perfect. The two most important things this place offered was 1) no limit on the number of people we could house in the cottage and 2) it was available when we finally got around to making reservations.

(Serving meals seem to be the only pictures we have of Stacy and Me and that makes sense because that is what we spend a lot of time doing, so I am posting a few).

The people: we had 4 adults and 10 kids ages 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 4, 2, 19 months, 7 months, & 3 months. You would think that this would make for a crazy week but really it was not crazy at all.

Yes, there was a lot of energy, activity and people but there was also a clear rhythm to things. We had all our meals around the table together (two tables moved around to accommodate & a cooler served as a bench for three kids), we played hard but had a quiet time each day and at night all of the kids were in bed and quiet by 9. Once the kids were in bed the adults played games and ate/drank yummy things. What a treat!

What we did: the resort has guests park their cars away from the cottages leaving the little roads clear and safe for walks and bike riding. This was so fun for the kids. At both our homes, going out for a bike ride is not easy so it was so neat for the kids to just be able to go. And Mike was able to teach Ethan to ride a two-wheeler which they were both super excited about.

In addition to riding bikes we swam at the pool until it closed for the season half way through our week.

We walked on the beach, played at the play ground, had a big flag football game, played lots of games inside, did a few crafts, had a group read aloud (one of my favorite parts) and ate lots and lots of yummy food.

Pretty simple stuff but just perfect for this season in both families.

Our kids get along great. Each of our kids has known one another from the moment they joined the family making them super familiar friends.

The white shirts you see in the pictures are homemade t-shirts that Mike and I made on the computer. They feature the first letter of both of our last names reclining on a beach chair. Of course the printer-iron-on things washed mostly out of the shirts after a couple washes.

The drive was the only part to which we were not looking forward with joy. But the 5.5 hour drive turned out to not be that bad at all. Justus slept most of the way and the other kids were very satisfied with our audio book "Story of the World" and their individual books and music. We enjoyed our stop in Winthrop for some famous ice cream and made it the whole way there without even using the DVD player. On the way home we busted the thing right out and allowed the boys to watch all they wanted. It was indeed a treat for them.

Here we are taking a break half way over the pass to nurse Justus and stretch our legs.

One lesson we learned on this trip is that our gps has no idea where Oroville, WA, is! We followed Meridith (that is what we've named our gps) without even a thought because she has never let us down before (and Mike has used her in several cities to find tons of places on his work travels). This time however she led us deep into the heart of nowhere. After passing several longhorn steer (seriously the span of these horns was like 6 feet!) Meridith claimed that our destination was a few yards away. Out our windows all we see is open field. Yep, she was way off. But we figured it out and arrived safely albeit an hour later than we should have.

On the way home we stopped at an organic farm to pick up 30 pound boxes of honey crisp apples for $10! That score made the fact that our vacation had to come to an end easier to swallow.


Stacy said...

*I have not paid you for our apples! Aack! I forgot!!!

*I LOVED reading this post and seeing all these pictures- those first couple of Luke and Ella are so... typical of the two of them, such good buddies that they are.

*Can't I ever have a regular-looking expression/picture of myself? Sheesh.

*You forgot to mention that you guys ROCKED in the desserts/snacks/drinks department EVERY SINGLE night.

*And I can't believe you didn't mention our trip to the hardware store! :)

*I love it, too, that it was so relaxed and peaceful~ our kids play so well together and do down-time (quiet times) as well as UP-times well.

*Loved the read-aloud with you guys. GREAT idea, Amy! You're brilliant!

*I'm crabby that we didn't get a good picture of the two of US together. Or, sheesh- one of you and Mike and another of Mark and I.

We love you guys so much and had a wonderful time with our favorite people!

Stacy said...

I forgot to say that I think that picture of Isaac at the table is hilarious.

Mighty M said...

Wow - looks like such a fun time! You take beautiful pictures!!

Visting via Stacy's blog! ;-)

Carolynn said...

Looks like a wonderful time! I love the pictures, especially the one of Mike on the jungle gym.
I am extremely jealous of the honey crisp apples. I know I am not supposed to but I covet the honey crisps around here!

amy said...

O you so owe us for the apples I guess you'll have to take me out to coffee! :)

Funny about the hardware store and the Oroville folk we met!

Both pictures of Isaac make me laugh. The one with the two suckers and the one with the funny look on his face. But other people (like Ella) look good in that one and it was one of the TWO (?) pictures that included (barely) Audra. What a bummer 'cause the picture I have in my mind of her is smiling happily in front of her farm playing. Good times.

amy said...

I'll let you know if we go back next year and we can pick up some apples for you. We are thinking it is almost worth the price of gas to go just for those apples! Seriously, 30 pounds of organic honey crisps for $10 and they were perfect!
Do you have a new crock-pot yet? You can borrow one of ours if you need to --I can't imagine life without a crock-pot!

Smidge said...

So fun to see your vacation photos and to find Amy blogs through Stacy's link! Looks like you had a fabulous time!

Makes me think it's time for a Fletcher/Kjeldgaard trip. Hmmm....that would be 4 parents, 4 teens, and kids ages 12, 12, 10, 10, 8, 7, 5, 5, 3, 2, 1 and 1. Maybe it's not time for that trip! :)

Kimmie said...

Hi Amy~

Nice to meet you!

I second (or third) that these are some seriously beautiful pictures of what seems to be a wonderful and pretty perfect vacation. Did you have the whole place to yourselves?

What a blessing to be given friends-what a greater blessing to have the kids all get along.

Thanks for sharing with us. Looks like a wonderful time.

mama to 7
one homemade and 6 adopted
*expecting from Ethiopia!

evangitality said...

30 lbs for $10 amazes me.

I love the pictures especially of Ella & Luke.

I love that your families get to share these memories together.


amy said...

Lisa, you should do a trip like that while your teens are still at home! I picture guitars and singing in front of a fire --come up here and we'll join you!

Kimmie, we did have the place to ourselves as it was the end of the season, that made it nice.

Thanks everyone for the kind words.

Anonymous said...

Great pictures! I love when the kids read together. And I love the shots Mike took of Adelia and her precious poker face. So adorable. Justus has already grown so much since then. It is amazing.

Mark said...

We sure had a great time with you all. Our kids get along so well, and it's nice to be so comfortable and familiar with everybody.

Thanks for sharing these great pictures. I wish we could take pictures like that. Which reminds me ... didn't Mike take some pictures of our entire family (that we could use for a Christmas photo perhaps)? We should get those from you.

Thanks again for being such great friends.

Anonymous said...

What GREAT pictures! Looks like you guys had an awesome time! I'd love to know the details on the place you stayed whenever you have a spare moment to share?! :) Have a great Thanksgiving! Don't work too hard. see you sunday! :) ~jess o.

Rebecca M said...

Wow! So fun to see all these great pics of your time together.

I love the Luke and Ella pictures and seeing all those kiddos around the table for meals.

What was the weather like? Warm enough for kids swimming but maybe not quite warm enough for mommies in the water?

How fun that the roads were kept clear for biking and walking! And a vacation destination that doesn't put a limit on the number of people staying in a given condo/house?! That's a big bonus. I love places that are family friendly to our growing families!

And a big Hoorah to Ethan for learning to ride a two wheeler!!

Sending love from our house to all of you guys!

Anonymous said...

Hello. I was blog hopping, saw your blog, and we vacation with precious friends of ours 2!!! 21 of us total between the two families, an very few people believe it IS serene. Could you please email me and tell me how to make those shirts? My daughter and I love them and want to bless the two families with them for our vacation to the beach in the spring? Thank you so much if you are able.