Sunday we got back from our annual camping trip to Dale Hollow Lake. I have never missed a year going since I was born, so this year made 31 years…kind of mind boggling to me. Every year is great, and this year was no exception. Because Jake works for himself now and makes his own schedule, we were able to go for 2 whole weeks-longer than we ever had before. And the funny thing is, I think we all would have been perfectly happy staying even longer. Willow Grove (the campground we always stay at) really is like a second home to me.
The weather was great for our trip. It did rain a few days, and we had a couple of days of really cool weather, but the rest of the days were warm and sunny-perfect lake days. Camping is great, because we do a whole lot of nothing-but our days always seem so full, without enough hours. For the most part, we would wake up, eat breakfast, be lazy around the campground and let the kids ride bikes, pack lunches, and head out on our boat to spend the day on an island, swimming and reading and just generally hanging out until we were ready for dinner. Then we would head back over to the campground, eat, and let the kids ride bikes and play outside until it got too dark.
A lot of nights, Jake and I would play cards with Nana, Shshr, and Justin while the kids hung out and watched a movie or played a game on the iPad (bedtimes are WAY not observed while we are camping!) A couple of nights we got ice cream at the dock, and one night we had a Frozen movie night at the pavilion (Andy brought his projector). We had fires a couple of nights, and roasted marshmallows.
One day before everyone got there, Josie, Jake, Jack, and I went into Cookeville to go antiquing (and found an awesome counter for our kitchen) and visit Walmart. We let the kids pick lunch (Chick-Fil-A, of course!) and made a day of it. Shshr brought a tube, and the kiddos went tubing for the very first time. Josie made Jack go before she would go, of course, but they both ended up loving it and having a blast. Jack is definitely the more adventurous one of our duo! On our first full day of camping, before everyone else got there, we decided to kayak over to Goat Island instead of taking our big boat out. It was such a fun adventure for the kids! Josie rode in my kayak, and Jack in Jacob’s. We packed our lunch, and when we got there the kids swam their hearts out. We discovered a tire swing on the island, and hiked up in the woods. That day was one of my favorite camping days this time, and a memory I will not forget quickly. 🙂
I’m glad we had some time just as a family of four before everyone else got there-that is something that has never happened, and I think it was a good thing for us. The kiddos, of course, were ecstatic when our family started getting there, though. Katie Ann and Josie and Jack and Wyatt were inseparable the whole trip. The kids spent several nights with Shshr and Nana, and night with Grammy and Pappy. We are so blessed to have such wonderful family, and to get to take vacations together, and to just be together so much. We weren’t all there at the same time, but at some points, pretty much my whole family came to the lake.
Well, I know y’all are just here for the pictures-and I have so many good ones!
First, some pictures of our day kayaking to Goat Island:
At Mitchell Creek boat dock:
Rainy day activities….
Lane’s first day on the island:
Tubing for the first time! Jack went first, with Shshr, and then Josie decided it was safe enough for her. 🙂 Pappy pulled them behind the duck boat.
(These two were inseparable, the whole trip.)
We celebrated Josh’s birthday with cake and ice cream at the boat dock-Happy Birthday, cuz!
More island time-Josie spent SO long several days this trip, trying to catch fish with a net. She was determined! She never caught one with a net, but finally did with her pole (with Pappy’s help, of course).
This may be one of my all time favorite pictures….
We saw beautiful sunsets, and had fun card nights with Nana. The stars were AMAZING at night-Jake and I saw THREE shooting stars! I’ve not even seen that many in my lifetime, and we saw three within 5 days!
One day we all went to Sunset Marina to eat lunch. The kids were enthralled by these ducks that would literally eat food out of your hand!
The kids even rode the tube all by themselves, behind our boat, and Jake took Beth and Shshr on a fun ride….
We celebrated Alec’s birthday at the dock, too, this time with pizza and duck hunting cake. 🙂
Mrs. Laurie brought stuff for all the kids to tie dye shirts-they were so excited, and the shirts turned out great!
I was so glad my brother and his wife got to come up for the weekend-I don’t get to see them nearly enough!-
We couldn’t convince Jack to kneeboard behind a regular boat, but he let Jake pull him all around with the kayak….
My two cuties….
Kyle got Katie Ann super high!
Pappy taught Jack to spit sunflower seeds…I’m not sure this was a great idea….
Friday night we went to the dock for icecream and to hear a band play-bands play every weekend there now-pretty cool!
On our last Saturday, we got up, just us four and drove to Wisdom Boat Dock to eat breakfast (we went to Sulfur first, but apparently they don’t serve breakfast anymore). It was a GREAT breakfast, and the kids were in silly moods…
We had a great last day…Lots of time on the island just hanging out and soaking up the sun. Jake took all the little boys on a kayak adventure, which they loved. 🙂
Saturday night Shshr wanted to send off some cool paper lanterns she had gotten as a birthday gift. It took a few tries, but we finally got one to fly-it was really cool!
It was such a wonderful trip. The kids are finally to ages that it is not a ton of work, and they are able to enjoy every minute. When we got back to reality, it was weird 1. to not be outside all the time 2. not to be surrounded with people all the time 3. to be separated for more than an hour at a time-we had gotten used being together all day! It was a wonderful vacation-I can’t wait until next year!