Saturday, July 6, 2013

Cousin Camp 2013

We love living in Kentucky.  The only thing we don't love is that our family isn't here with us.  I am blessed to be "Aunt Tina" to 5 nieces and 2 nephews...I love, love, love being an aunt.  My boys love their cousins with a wild, crazy, over-the-top sort of love.  Rightfully so.  They are blessed with amazing cousins.  My "older" nieces and nephew (college aged) are not shy about playing with my boys and giving them lots of attention - and my boys love it!

Each year, we invite the "younger" cousins to visit our home in Kentucky for a week of "Cousin Camp."  It's the highlight of the year for my boys.  It's a week full of playing, laughing, loving, eating (oh my, the amount of food that seven children can consume is astonishing!), and making lots and lots of memories.

This year, we visited a horse farm with our friend (who also happens to be our dog's vet), Michelle.  She patiently taught the kids how to care for a horse and let them experience it for themselves.  They all loved it!  After caring for the horses, she led us to the orchard on the farm and let us ride her horse, Dallas.  It was such an amazing experience to see the kids overcome their nervousness and try something new.  What a blessing to spend the morning at the farm with Michelle.  Matthew caught his first frog while we were there and was devastated when he couldn't bring it home.

We did our best to assure him that he could find another frog at home.  As soon as we got home, he started searching our backyard for a new frog friend.  He didn't find a frog - but, he did find a baby bird that had fallen from it's nest.  We had to do a little "wildlife rescue" and return it to the nest {full disclosure: I got freaked out and asked the neighbor to help me}.

We made our annual trip to the drive-in movie theater near our house.  My dad loved drive-in movies and it's nice to see that "love" passed down to his grandchildren.  We stayed up WAY too late and had a great time!

We also enjoyed a trip to the local frozen yogurt shop - and got to choose from 108 toppings!  The kiddos were in heaven!

There was also lots of time to just "be kids."  They rode bikes, made crafts, played basketball, created their own "rock band" (complete with break dancers), Grace read bedtime stories to my littlest men, we slipped and slided in our backyard, enjoyed a "fireworks" show in our cul de sac, watched movies together, played hide and seek, and even created a few games of their own :"spies" and "monster in the closet."  I didn't take pictures of half of the fun...I was too busy having fun to pick up the camera!

Cousin Camp 2013 was busy, loud, fun, wonderful, and full of precious memories.  It's a lot of work to pull off a week like this...but, my heart is full and I can hardly wait until next year.  (grin)

Here are a few of the highlights from this year's Cousin Camp:

We had to get up early to help with barn chores, 
but Luke was happy!

Sam at work.

Zack making friends.

Caleb was thrilled to help lead the horse out of the stall.

Our friend, Michelle, teaching Matthew how to clean the horse's feet.

Lillee and Grace brushing the horse.

The joy on Matthew's face is so precious!

Gracie looking lovely.

Lillee was concentrating.

Picking some apples from a tree in the orchard.

Caleb loved riding horses.

Michelle riding Dallas through the alfalfa field.

Zack giving Matthew a hand with roasting by candlelight.

My sweet niece, Morgan, surprised us with a visit.  We surprised her with a birthday cake!

Lillee trying to stay dry (in spite of her umbrella) while watching the fireworks.

My brother, his wife, and my niece watching the show.

Caleb working to find enough rain to relieve his thirst.

Matthew enjoying his first sparkler.  I am frightened by the joy that fire and explosives brought to his life!

My brother and my nephew, Zack.

Caleb loves his Uncle Jeff so much!  He asked me to take this picture of the two of them.

After the fireworks "show" Brad started a jump rope party in the cul de sac.  :)

We were all sad when "the cousins" and their parent's left....but, so thankful for the beautiful double rainbow this evening.

No comments: