* I do wish I had pictures of how tightly we packed our van. Imagine taking all the food and additional kitchen equipment needed to make dinners every day for a week, including the Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings for a group of 17. Just before we left, I had to buy a second rather large cooler to transport all the fridge & freezer stuff. Poor Ben! Loading and unloading were both a big job!
* Early in the week, we had the opportunity to "earn" $100 worth of "mad money" to spend at the resort by at least one couple attending a sales luncheon. We signed up Kurt & Barbara, and insisted to Ben that he & I should join them. He was a total (self-proclaimed) curmudgeon about it at first. We convinced him that we were going on a double date, someone else was paying for the meal, and our parents were keeping all the children. How great is that?! Add to it a fabulous sales person and tons of laughter among us all. We made a terrific memory.
*On Thanksgiving evening, we loaded up the whole crew and headed to the Water Park from 5 to 10 p.m. The $100 mad money kept us from spending even a single dollar. And we had a blast. My sis & I trekked up almost four stories, time and again, to zip down the water slides. We relieved our husbands so they could go have fun, but my Ben was content to go down once and then head back into the Lazy River with James. And at 7:30 when we needed to take three toddlers back to put them in bed, Ben let me stay while he went back with my folks and the children. What a guy! That left me, my sis and Kurt plus their three boys to ride the raft slides, racing each other to the bottom. Camden and I agreed that the red slide was the best. It had a steep drop at the bottom that left us breathless.
* Each evening after we put the children to bed, most of us gathered to watch an installment of HBO Films' version of John Adams, based on the book by David McCullough. After the first episode, my sister decided to let Camden stay up to watch and counted it as history. It was so well done. I just wish I'd read the book first.
* We were sad that my brother and his family were not able to join us. They were fully planning to come up until the last minute when Greg's wife began to experience severe back/leg pain and one of their boys was having trouble breathing. We especially missed them on Thanksgiving Day.
I am grateful for God's grace in giving us these times away together. I love watching James play with his cousins. I love cooking and eating together. I love the sweet memories we make when we're just hanging out. I look forward, God-willing, to many more times together in the future - with Greg & Sharon, too!