For the first time in my life, I went away for the weekend without my parents or husband, and took the kids to Teen Valley Ranch. To some that may sound lame. However, I should also re-iterate that I got married at 19. I went from living with my parents to living with my husband.
This was a HUGE deal to me. Silly as it may sound. I tried everything to convince someone, anyone, into going with no success. When we booked the weekend, I made sure it was one that Jeremy wouldn’t have drill. However, when he got his new position and transferred units, his new drill schedule of course had him working this weekend. So, while our circumstances were less than ideal, when I commit to something I follow through.
Now, that brings us to our weekend. I completely stressed over this trip for a month leading up to it. The thought of driving 4 hours, just the 3 kids and me absolutely petrified me. I woke up Friday morning, broken out in a rash, horrible stress headache, and my nerves torn to pieces.
I took the big 2 kids to school, then Isabelle and I came home to finish loading the car, taking care of the animals, and doing all the last-minute items. About 11:15 we headed out, stopped and grabbed some lunch and went to pick the girls up from school at noon. From there, we headed to my husband work on the way out, to tell him bye. Of course, it started raining just to make my stress level higher.
He could tell I was nervous, and he told me I didn’t have to do this and I could still head home. I told him, NO, I wasn’t turning back now. I knew once I made it there we would be okay. I was just nervous about driving there, stopping with 3 girls, and terrified I would get lost. Two GPS’s running and a print out, and I can still get turned around. There is really no help for me. 😀
We said a prayer together, he wiped my tears, and we headed out. Of course, I got turned around leaving his work, it was raining, I needed gas, and my head was killing me. I finally made it to the major highway and was rolling good. However, when we got about 45 minutes down the interstate, they had a HUGE area of road construction. Took us about an hour to go maybe 5 miles. I pulled off and got gas, and once we got past that area we were fine.
The girls did great. Isabelle finally fell asleep after the construction area and slept most the rest of the way. I decided to stop at a rest area when we go up into the mountains. It was beautiful, cool, and much-needed pit stop to stretch and get out for a few minutes. From there it was easy travel because I remembered where I was and we made it to the camp with no trouble.
Once we got to the camp we got signed in, and settled into our camp room. This camp is largely used for summer kids camp so rooms include 6 bunk bed, with prison mattresses, a bathroom and sink. If you are going, I’d recommend doubling up the mattress pads. Worked like a charm and I slept fine doing that. They do have some cabins but the other group had reserved them all this time around.
Dinner was at 6:30. The kids were starving and they had burritos, chips, cheese dip etc. It was really great. Then we had our first session. How the session works is you come in, do some icebreaker games, then they sent the kids to various places. Toddlers went upstairs to play, elementary went to the gym for games, songs, and a lesson. Middle and High schoolers went to Walt Bobs Cafe. This allowed the adults to be able to have time to calm down and focus on what we came for.
They start out with prayer, music as a time of worship, and then Mr. Greg comes in and does the speaking time. Mr. Greg is funny, down to earth, well spoken, and really easy to listen to. He ties stories into the lesson and really drills home the point with scripture. I should inform you, if you have never been and about to go take a sweater or blanket. Right before he comes in, he cuts the air down, and its freezing in there. We went back in March also, and it actually snowed overnight, he still cut the air on. Not joking!
Our session finished up around 9:15. They have several things you can do in the evenings, however with it already past the kids bedtime, I let them do the hayride and then we went back to the room. Luckily, everyone was tired and I didn’t have too much trouble getting them to go to bed. In case you are interested they have hayride, campfire with smores, the cafe is open, the gym is open, putt putt, etc.
Leave it to my kids to wake up around 6:15 on Saturday morning. I tried to keep them quiet and laying in bed. You can image how well that worked. Finally we got up, I got everyone dressed, and we went ahead and walked down to the cafeteria area. They really do have the best breakfast. You can choose from Biscuits and Gravy, Bacon, Grits, Eggs, Cereal, Yogart, and milk or juice.
After breakfast they do quiet time. They give you a print out to use as a general idea. This was probably one of the most frustrating times of the weekend for me. You are supposed to break off into different areas, and have this serious, quiet time. Isabelle just turned 4 and has NO attention just like her older sister. Trying to keep the kids focused, engaged, and getting anything out of it was near impossible. Great idea, and was an awesome time when we went in the spring and I had Jeremy there to help, just didn’t work out so well this time. It is supposed to encourage you to have family quiet time daily in everyday life which is a great concept.
Here are a few photos following our quiet time.
After that you go back and have another session. They do the morning session different. They have a thing called “Word of God, Speak.” This is a time where the adults come together and worship through music and scripture reading. It is really cool and an awesome experience. I would love to implement that occasionally in our church setting.
Then there was an hour of down time before lunch. The kids played a little putt putt, ran around, and we just hung out for a few minutes. After lunch you have all afternoon to do things around the camp. They have amazing activities more than you can possibly do. We however, took the opportunity to my kids disapproval, to take a nap. My head was still hurting and Isabelle really needed a nap. Turns out, Kaylee, Isabelle and I all took a nap. Allyssa read her book for her upcoming book report during this time.
We got up about 3pm which worked out perfectly because that is what time they open certain activities. We went and did horseback riding first. The rock-wall was also a BIG hit. It was too cold last time we went to much of anything outdoors so this time we took full advantage. Allyssa climbed to the top of the rock wall twice. Kaylee got not quite half way up and they even helped Isabelle do it. Really great time.
The two big kids then went and changed into bathing suits and did the zip line into the pond. Mommy and Isabelle sat back and watched. They were not so impressed with this. Apparently it hurt landing in the water. They needed baths after this so I headed back to the room to get them cleaned up and thankfully Mr. Randy played with Isabelle for a few minutes.
By the time we had done all that it was time for the kickball tournament. Isabelle and I kinda walked around and did our own thing while the other two played kickball. Then it was dinner and another session. We did another hayride and headed to bed. The great thing is on Saturday Night they do live music in the cafe and its a really great time to relax, listen to music, and just fellowship. I didn’t get to do that this time but our rooms were above the cafe so I was able to enjoy the music from our room. That was probably Jeremy’s favorite thing about last time we went.
Sunday we woke up, had breakfast, packed our things and loaded the van, had quiet time, another session, lunch and headed out.
The kids really had a nice time and besides Isabelle running off and keeping me busy, it was fun. Not very relaxing without Jeremy there but fun. I was the only one without a spouse I believe, and I was sure missing Jeremy. BUT….We did it! I made it work and tried to make the most of it. Not really much time to sit around and talk and relax like last time. I look forward to going again next year, with my husband, and having a great family time. Don’t think I’d do it again without him.
So….if you have been debating going…I say DO IT. IF, I can go and take 3 kids 10 and under by myself you can do it. It really is a good time for the whole family. There are a ton of activities you can do in free time. WiFi and cellphones don’t work well there so its time to unplug and focus on family and God. It’s not super preachy or overly dramatized which I appreciate. Everyone there is very kind, helpful, and relaxed. Kids can be let free to a certain degree. It really is family centered.
I’m sure I’m missing some but from what I can recall the various activities are: Putt Putt, Volleyball, Ping Pong, Basketball, Rock Wall, Hiking, Horseback Riding, River Rafting, Zipline, Board/Card Games, Coffee Shop, Kickball, Hay Rides, Campfire with Smores, Cornhole, Horseshoes, Tether Ball and the list goes on and on.
Enjoy the sideshows of photos. It was so beautiful. Weather was gorgeous, leaves were beautiful.