March seems like a funny time to be sharing about a vacation we took last July, but I also know that it’s that time of year to start planning vacation for next summer! So, I’m sharing our third-year experience at Glorieta Family Camp today!
We weren’t sure if we’d be able to make it to camp this year with our adoption being completed- but once we realized we’d be home from China at the end of April, we were able to decide whether or not we’d be able to go. I was worried about family camp disrupting Lucy’s transition to her new home, but in retrospect I think it only helped. More on this in a minute.
If you haven’t read my first blog post on Why We Love Family Camp, go read! <- This post will give you the main HUGE reasons we love camp. We have attended family camp in Glorieta, New Mexico for 3 years now. It’s a specialized camp for families that really caters to all ages, including the parents.
This year at camp, our family jumped right in, literally and figuratively. There were some fun new elements, and some of the things we’ve enjoyed every year.
One of the first activities we did was the arbor climb- and I was so proud of Knox, who volunteered to go first and killed it climbing up the tree! The girls were more interested in the little ziplines they had made nearby, so everyone was entertained and it was a fun time. At every activity, there are camp counselors who are trained in the safety practices necessary, and so we really got to relax and just enjoy the beautiful setting and our kids.
One of the things I mentioned earlier was Lucy’s transition and our fear that family camp would interrupt her newly-forming attachment to us. In all reality, I think it only helped. Because we attended camp with several families from our church, it was like a week-long “get to know you” session for Lucy.
Many of the older kids were (and still are!) so great with our kiddos, and being at camp really gave them lots of playtime. I vastly underestimated how important it is for our children to know other kids older and younger- it has been so amazing to see them connect throughout the week when we see them at church and beyond.
Because of these familiar faces, I was much more confident taking Lucy to church (and leaving her in childcare) those first few weeks. We are so, so thankful to the kids and families that helped us establish a safe place of community from the get-go.
Mealtimes at family camp are always fun (and the food is actually good!). One afternoon, we had a make-your-own-family pizza time where we all got to select the “ingredients” we wanted on our pizza. Of course, we were encouraged to talk about the things our pepperonis and such stood for- like being people with great integrity, gratefulness, and generosity. It was a great activity that kept the kids engaged and the pizza was good, too!
A few years ago, Shawn and I established a no-nag rule at mealtime on vacation, and it is the best thing ever! At home, we are constantly begging for our kids to take “one more bite”, and it is such a relief to have a week where we worry zero about how much food they are eating. The amount of exercise and fresh air they are getting almost guarantees they will be hungry, and food is available almost all the time at camp- plus I keep a good stash of granola bars in our room just to satisfy hungry tummies.
There are several meals that we get to do kid-free, too- which is always nice! This year, we had a speed-dating style meet and greet with the other parents before dinner which included some delicious appetizers (bruschetta! hummus! tiny skewers!). And date night is always fun. Here is our group of friends from last year- so thankful for these people!
On date night, we were given a couple of hours to rest or get ready (our kids were off having a party of their own), and then we were driven to a really neat old farmhouse where we were served a delicious steak dinner. It was a great time and we were encouraged to take a walk or wander around after dinner. Such a highlight.
Let’s talk about fun stuff! This is one of Shawn’s favorite activities- drift trikes. This year, even Liv got in on the action. :) We love the different activities that are offered and have found them to be great for almost any age. If the girls were too small to participate, we could bring them along to watch and play on the sidelines, take them to the great childcare, or split up and do something different. There are so many different options, and they add more every year- hiking, archery tag, mini golf, mountain scooters, lake activities, yard games, bikes and trikes to ride, or hammocks to chill in. Let’s be honest- there were several days I opted to “take the girls for a nap” in our room and enjoyed a quick nap myself. :)
Shawn and Knox went on the optional white water rafting trip this year (the photo above is NOT that, haha). They take a group to a local river and they get to white water raft all afternoon. I think they had fun, but Shawn’s arms were quite sore the next day- needless to say, I don’t think our 7 year old was a lot of help on the rapids. :)
There is a lake at the Glorieta campus (pictured above) with a ton of activities like stand up paddle board, kayak and canoes, and big inflatables. Since our kids are smaller, they mostly loved looking for crawdads.
An impromptu tea party with our friend Analeigh. Again, we love the flexibility of the schedule at family camp. There is no one expecting you to be anywhere, and that relives such stress and allows for fun little moments like this.
Let’s talk about theme nights!
Every year, there are a couple of theme nights which you are given in advance so you can bring outfits/costumes. The first this year was “Yacht Party”. So we got a little bit nautical-fancy (for camp, anyway!), and headed to dinner. After we ate yet another delicious meal, they gave us our task for the evening- create a boat out of cardboard. Oh, and one member of our family had to try to float in it.
So we got to working and taping, and Knox was volunteered as the captain of our ship. :) After we all made our “boats” we headed down to the lake to see if any would float! Haha, ours didn’t last long but it was fun.
The other theme night was “Lost Boys”. I was determined to make costumes from things we already had at home and really loved what we ended up looking like! On this night, we were driven to a whole new part of campus to find a giant wooden ship, inflatables, slingshots, face painting, cotton candy, grilled corn and turkey legs, and of course, there was a dance party. It was a really fun time.
Liv was living her best life at the face-painting station. She still talks about it to this day!
Another thing our kids have talked about consistently since was the foam party! This was a surprise to us, but so much fun! One afternoon, they busted out these giant foam makers- it was quite literally good clean fun!
Camp this year was a blast and we are so thankful we got to do it again. There are so many HUGE perks I didn’t mention here, so if you are interested in going, please read my previous post.
The time we had together as a family to make memories, worship together and just rest was wonderful. Shawn and I had many great conversations and vision-casting for the Anglin crew, and time to enjoy our friends who support us so much without the distractions of everyday life was invaluable.
I will never forget taking this photo below- this is one of my oldest friends and her daughter, whom they adopted in the past year. We had similar adoption timelines and so seeing these two beauties there with us was evidence of the miracles God has done!
Shawn and I also made it on this promo video for Glorieta if you would like to see my very pared-down family camp look, haha! No, honestly- it is wonderful to barely wear makeup for an entire week. :)