My Manidokan Trip

Posted in Church, Molly, Trip on August 3rd, 2017 by molly – Be the first to comment

Hi, it’s Molly. I had a great time at camp. On Sunday, first I got there. Then I unpacked. I was sharing a room with my friends Riley and Keira at the time.

Old friends

I also had some more friends named Sarah, Emma, Jordan, Haley, Grace, Lilly, and Camille with me.

Friends

Riley, Keira, Molly (me), Lilly, Camille

Church friends

Sarah, Molly (me), Emma, Sarah (Emma’s older sister)

School friends

Jordan, Grace, Molly (me), Haley

Last year I only had one friend, this year I had nine friends.

After unpacking I changed into my bathing suit to take the swim test with Riley and Keira. After the swim test I had to say goodbye to my family. When they left I hung out in my lodge until dinner. After dinner I went to the campfire with my group. We sang some songs, saw pirates, and then some of my counselors came back from somewhere else claiming they had not seen the pirates like we did. We did not have s’mores that night though. After everything we went back to the lodge and had snack. Then I went to bed.

On Monday, first I woke up. Then I had breakfast. After breakfast I did Bible study. The 5-6 kids (me) had two groups of kids to do some things like rafting and pool games because we had 30 kids. I did the rock wall with group B. Group A did rafting. Here is me on the rock wall.

Climbing wall

After the rock wall Group B had lunch. Group A had lunch at land near the river they were rafting on. After lunch Group B had pool games. We didn’t have pool time though because they heard thunder. So I hung out at the lodge. Then after an hour of waiting we had store time. Store time is when you can buy stuff from the camp store. After store time we went back to our lodge and had free time until dinner. After dinner we had the evening activity. After the evening activity we went back to the lodge and had snack. Then I went to bed.

On Tuesday, first I woke up. Then I had breakfast. After breakfast I did Bible study. After Bible study I went on the Sawmill Creek Hike. I did not jump off the rock this time because the water was freezing. Anyone that jumped off the rock was shivering when their head was above water. It was hard to get used to the water. After Sawmill I had lunch. After lunch we did zip lining. Here’s a video of me on the zip line (I’m videoing on the zip line).

After zip lining I had pool time. Then I had store time. After I got my stuff from the store I went back to the lodge and had free time. After my free time I had dinner. Then I did the evening activity. After that I went back to the lodge and had snack. Then I went to bed.

On Wednesday, first I woke up. Then I had breakfast. After breakfast I did Bible study. Then I went to get ready for rafting with group B. After getting ready for rafting I got in a van and the driver drove us to the destination that we started rafting at. First we rafted to our lunch spot. Then when we got to our lunch destination and we ate lunch. After having lunch at the lunch destination we got to go swimming. Where we swam there was a jumping rock. The jumping rock was a long rock that was just above shore, but where you jumped in the water got a lot deeper. Here’s me and some of my friends when we jumped off.

Ready to jump

Jumping in the river

After swimming for 30-45 minutes we started rafting again. After 50 minutes to an hour we got to the rapids. After everyone went through the rapids we got to swim in the water. During that time we played king of the raft. But sadly, Jordan couldn’t play due to her swimmer’s ear. Just swimming the current took us far. After all our fun we got in the rafts and paddled to our end destination. But the kids in my raft were the lucky few. When we were almost there the kids in my raft were very tired of paddling so the adult in our raft let us get out and swim the rest of the way. When I got to shore I went to tell the other kids from other rafts that we got to swim some of the way back. Some of them were jealous.

After some waiting I got in a van and the driver drove us back to our lodge. When we got to our lodge we relaxed and some of us got ready for the pool. I was one of the kids that got ready for the pool. When it was pool time I went down to the pool. After pool time it was store time. After store time I went back to the lodge and had free time. After free time we had dinner. Then we had Mission Night. Mission Night is a night that explains what foundation you can give the rest of your store money to at the end of the week. This year it was the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Also we played water games to learn about the foundation. After that we had our evening snack. Then we went to bed.

On Thursday, first I woke up. Then I had breakfast. After breakfast I did Bible study. After Bible study we got ready to go to Harper’s Ferry. After that we got in a van to drive us to the path that we walked on to Harper’s Ferry. The walk to Harper’s Ferry was long but felt short. After what felt like 10-30 minutes of walking and talking we got to the walking bridge. Then we stopped and got told a story. The story was about a man painting an ad for a powder company on a mountain. One day the man’s wife found out that the man cheated his wife and used his wife’s money! So one day when the man was painting the ad his wife cut the rope of the man’s paint bucket and the man’s rope. So the man fell to his death. On the mountain there was a splash of paint under the ad, that was from the man’s paint bucket from when the bucket fell. So we learned our lesson - don't cheat people, you could die. After hearing the story we walked across the walking bridge. Here is a picture of the train bridge right next to it.

Harpers Ferry hike

After we walked across the bridge we went to our lunch spot. After lunch we split up into four groups. First, my group went to the book store. Then we went to a historical candy shop. I got cotton candy there. It was homemade! Here is a picture of me with it.

Harper's Ferry treat

After that we went to an ice cream shop. Then we went back to the candy shop. After that I got some candy mint things. They were not homemade though. After shopping we went back to the lunch spot to meet the other groups before our journey back to where we started. When every group was there we started our journey back. Again it felt very short. But this time there was a lot of walking, talking, and singing. After some waiting I got in a van and the driver drove us back to our lodge. When we got back we relaxed in our lodge and then some of us went to the pool. After the pool we went to the store. After store time we had free time. Then we had dinner. After dinner we went up to the hill and played games and roasted marshmallows. After that some kids stayed at the hill to sleep there, and the rest of the kids went back to our lodge to sleep.

On Friday, first I woke up. Then I had breakfast. After that we had Bible study. After Bible study we did field games for 15-30 minutes. Then we had pool time for the rest of our two hours. After our field games/pool time we had lunch. After lunch we packed up our stuff. After everyone had packed we had snack while we watched the new version of Beauty and the Beast. In the beginning of the movie very few kids (including me) went to the pool. Then we had store time. After store time we had free time until dinner. After dinner my family came and every group there talked about their week at camp. All my friends were sad to go but had a fun time. Here is one of our final pictures.

Camp girls

I had a fun time at camp. It was even better than last year. Bye!

Headed home

Posted in Family outings, Family visits, Trip on August 2nd, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Saturday morning, we woke up, packed up, and began our journey home from Callaway. Here we are as we get ready to leave on the drive home after a great week at camp.

Time to go

Longs

We drove about two thirds of the way Saturday, and spent the night in a hotel in Christiansburg, Virginia. We drove over to Blacksburg for dinner at Mellow Mushroom and to see a bit of Virginia Tech’s campus. It was the girls’ first time eating at Mellow Mushroom, and it was very reminiscent of college for Jen and me (eating at Mellow Mushroom just off campus).

After dinner, we went in search of a treat. We found Gardner’s Frozen Treats in Christiansburg, and it was delicious. They had lots of flavors of Hershey’s ice cream, and then a few flavors of their own. Leah opted for Hershey’s rainbow sherbet, while I went for the homemade blueberry lavender (which was very different, but very good).

Ice cream stop

Molly went for homemade double stuff Oreo while Jen went for homemade pistachio. They were both delicious as well.

Ice cream

Then we got a good night’s sleep before driving the rest of the way home on Sunday. I was worried traffic would be awful the Sunday after July 4th, but it really wasn’t too bad. It was still a long trip, though, and we were very glad to be home.

Callaway comes to an end

Posted in Family visits, Field trips, Trip on August 1st, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Our time at Callaway was fantastic, but all good things must come to an end. The younger kids have an awards ceremony at the end of the last day (Molly’s now in a group that is too old for this). Leah was named Future President (which Leah’s talked about as far back as preschool, though she is not currently planning for a term in the White House).

Future President

Emmie was given the Natural Leader award, so I guess we’ve got some leaders in the family.

Leadership

Leah, Emmie, and three of their circus performing counselors.

End of camp

That evening was the final circus, and they held the awards ceremony shortly beforehand. I won the tennis tournament (as I had done the last time we were at Callaway), and got another t-shirt (though this one was in a smaller size for Leah).

Tennis champion

The kids again paraded around the tent.

Closing parade

And then the held the final circus. Afterwards, Leah and Emmie had to get a final hug from their counselor, Jess.

Final hug

Circus counselor

Molly got a picture with her counselor, Brooke, after a very busy circus performance including the Spanish Web, the Triple Trapeze, the Bicycle Built for Five, and serving as Ring Master.

Talented counselor

Camp at Callaway was again incredibly awesome. I used to think Jen’s family was crazy for going to the same place every summer for ten years. I now totally get it. We wish we could go every year (and if any of you have a plan that might entail us going every year, I’m all ears).

Giant chair

More fun at Callaway

Posted in Family outings, Family visits, Trip on August 1st, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

There were lots of other fun things at Callaway beyond those detailed in the previous posts. I’ll highlight a few of them here. For one, there are lots of great places to ride bikes. We took a family bike ride with all 8 of us. My bike is holding up my phone to take this picture, which is why it did not make it into the shot.

Family bike ride

And we couldn’t miss Bingo!

Bingo

Emmie won! And Molly was kind enough to accompany her to the prize table.

Winner!

We also enjoyed the pool near our house a couple times for some relaxing swimming. Or, perhaps, some flying.

And everything wasn’t always active. There was plenty of relaxing as well. Thanks to Aunt ‘Chelle and Uncle J for bringing their hammocks.

Hammock

Hammock

Hammock

Last time we went to Callaway, they had a Hawaiian Ice truck. This time, it was replaced with an ice cream truck which I consider a vast improvement. We paid it a visit several times. Most of the time we had the girls with us, but this time we went while they were in camp. We tried almost all the flavors eventually, and this was my favorite - muscadine.

Muscadine ice cream

Lots of tennis

Posted in Family outings, Family visits, Sports on July 31st, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

At Callaway, I play a lot of tennis. I don’t get to play daily at home, so it’s fun to get to at Callaway. I played 4 out of 5 camp days (TreeTop conflicted on Thursday). Friday was an especially busy day. I woke up early to run the camp 5K at 7:00. Then played in the camp tennis tournament from 10 to noon. And then, we finally found the time to take the whole family out on the courts.

Family tennis

Leah backhand

Family tennis

JJ and Uncle J came out to play as well (yes, I brought enough racquets for everyone).

Tennis cousins

Family tennis

Thanks to everyone for joining me out on the court.

Tennis players

SFA Summer Theater

Posted in Family outings, Family visits, Trip on July 31st, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

As part of the summer camp program, the kids all rehearse some skits that they perform on Thursday evening. Here are some of them. First, the opening number.

Leah and Emmie were involved in the same skit (though on opposite sides of the law).

And also performed a dance number.

In Molly’s skit, I have to say I wasn’t surprised that she was cast as the mom.

And she danced as well.

Nice job, kiddos.

TreeTop

Posted in Family outings, Family visits, Trip on July 30th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Everyone also got to have fun at TreeTop, the fancy ropes and zipline course. The kids did the Sapling course (the low ropes course) as part of their camp.

Leah and Emmie’s group got to do the course first thing Monday morning.

Leah TreeTop

Leah TreeTop

The final zipline was the favorite part of the course.

Leah TreeTop zipline

The littlest kids (JJ’s group) were very timid at the course, Leah’s group attacked the course with confidence. Molly’s group took it to the next level, practically running through the course (they all got to do it twice because of this).

Molly TreeTop

Molly TreeTop

Their daring was especially evident on the final zipline. Molly and another girl (also named Molly) chose to hang upside down on the zipline for fun.

Molly zipline

The adults were the last to go during the week, and we got to do the high ropes course as well as the lake course with giant zippiness.

TreeTop

Chad too

Jen zipline

We were joined by our friends on the course, and I even got to be next to Monty in line. Monty was my first boss in a computer job. He hired me to work for him at the Naval Research Laboratory as a UNIX systems administrator when I was a senior in high school. I probably wouldn’t be the software developer I am today if it wasn’t for him, so it was great to get to reconnect.

Monty TreeTop

Jen tried to duplicate Molly’s upside down/feet in the air zipline. She didn’t quite get there, but this was impressive none-the-less.

Almost there

And the highlight (once you get past the incredibly high ladder) is the two giant ziplines over the lake. I’m not sure how long the first one is, but the second one is 700 feet and the first is pretty close to that.

Chad zipline

Jen zipline

Jen zipline

Michelle zipline

Jeremy zipline

I try to play tennis as much as possible while at Callaway, but I skip it to be able to do TreeTop. That’s how much fun it is.

Robin Lake

Posted in Family outings, Family visits, Trip on July 30th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We spent a lot of time in Robin Lake throughout the week. The kids went swimming most days at camp.

Swimming

In addition to swimming, everyone had the chance to go to Aqua Island - a huge inflatable obstacle playground on the water. The kids went with their camp groups. The adults had a time during the week to go. Jen, Michelle, Jeremy, and lots of friends all went. I skipped out to play tennis.

Aqua Island

I didn’t get a picture of Leah and Emmie on Aqua Island, but here they are just after the fun.

Aqua Island

Jen and I also went water skiing on the lake. Jen went first and showed us how it’s done.

Water skiing

I remembered how to slalom, and managed to get up on one ski this time around.

Water skiing

Under the stars

Posted in Family outings, Family visits, Trip on July 29th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Fireworks weren’t the only thing we saw in the sky at night. We again went to the astronomy program and saw all the stars we can’t see living surrounded by light pollution. Last time around, Aunt ‘Chelle stayed behind with little JJ. This time, JJ was old enough to join in, so no one had to stay behind. And most of our friends joined us as well.

Here’s our family (minus me) gazing at the sky.

Stargazing

It’s hard to convey the sky we saw, but here’s a small taste of a tiny portion of the sky.

Stars

Circus activities

Posted in Family outings, Family visits on July 29th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Seeing the circus at Callaway was great, but we also got to participate in circus activities. The performers themselves gave us a chance on several of their apparatuses. The kids went with their groups during camp, and the adults had a few times we could choose to try things out.

Cloud swing

The cloud swing is an apparatus where you can do a bunch of tricks. They get progressively harder, so you get to keep going until you fall off. Leah, Molly, Jen, and I all got to do it. First, you lay back and catch your feet around the ropes, leaving you upside down as you swing.

Molly cloud swing

Then there’s the knee hang.

Jen cloud swing

And then the dreaded heel hang, where you hang from the back of your foot.

Heel hang

The next part is really hard, you have to pull yourself up from the heel hang. I didn’t manage to do this last time, but I got it this time (though I dropped my hat in the process).

Got it!

After that is the toe hang (hang from just your toes), but none of us managed to do that one. It’s tough.

Triple trapeze

They let the kids play on the triple trapeze, but they didn’t get to have 3 people on at the same time. Molly’s group could have 2 on together, while Leah’s group stuck to just one.

Triple trapeze

Trapeze

Adults and kids all got to play on the high trapeze. The kids just hang there for a bit, then let go and fall to the net. The adults hang for a bit, then swing and do a flip as they fall to the net.

Molly trapeze

They did lower the trapeze a bit for the younger kids in Leah’s group, which had to be nice as it is really hot up near the top of the tent.

Leah trapeze

Jump rope

The kids also got to use the acrobatic jump rope, though they weren’t doing flips in it.

Jump rope

Ladder swing

The kids also got to swing on a ladder.

Ladder swing

Flying trapeze

The kids don’t get to do the flying trapeze, but the adults do. I decided not to partake this year, as it was high and I was already tired. Jen, however, went on it multiple times. For us non-circus performers, you don’t release and get caught by someone else (that’s way above our skill level). Instead, you swing and do a couple tricks before releasing and flipping down to the net.

Flying trapeze

Flyaway