Monday, January 4, 2016

ssi and new years

We ended 2015 with a young family clergy retreat at Epworth by the Sea on St. Simons Island. It is a little winter getaway when all the younger families in the South Georgia Conference of UMC get together. We have a few learning sessions (which are typically great), a bunch of free time, and even (free) childcare one night so all the couples can go out to dinner!

It was a really good time, catching up with friends and getting to know other pastoral families. There is ample space for all the children (and there were lots of them) to run around and play in a safe environment. Hannah and Joseph had a ball.

Our first night there was a late one and included a campfire and s'mores. It was after ten before the kids went to bed and they crashed.

Both afternoons we were there, the weather was unbelievable - warm and mostly sunny. So, of course, I took them to the beach! The fact that we were unprepared, and didn't have bathing suits, did not stop us one bit.

Do you see the size of this tide pool? I'd never seen one so big. Hannah and Joseph were in heaven!

The water was freezing, but they didn't seem to notice. Joseph went in up to his chest, and Hannah took her skirt off and went up to her waist. No bathing suit? No problem!

After a meeting, Daddy came and helped build a sand castle. Then we headed back to the hotel (I ran back - weird it being so warm) to get ready for date night.

The retreat technically ended on Tuesday afternoon with group photos and sharing of Holy Communion.

We decided to stay another night and, while Joe went with a bunch of guys to see Star Wars, I took H+J back to the beach. It was mostly cloudy, but same tide pool situation and same amount of fun.

My little artist loves to write in the sand. She came up with this all on her own: "All of us are different to God! By Hannah Buck". Six-year-old wisdom. How profound - and right on - she is...

That night a few of us took our kids and went to Bubba Garcia's (yummy Mexican restaurant in Red Fern Village) and then to get frozen yogurt.

Fun times with friends. Hate that we don't all get together more than once a year. The whole working on Sundays thing...

We got back home last Wednesday night and ushered in the new year without much ado. The babies were in bed by 8:30 and Joe and I before midnight. No late night crazies here. It rained all day on Thursday and all Joseph wanted to do was ride his new police motorcycle. On Friday morning, he welcomed 2016 with a backyard patrol:

While I welcomed it with a cup of coffee in the living room, my Monkey by my side.

We decided to have our little celebration on New Year's Day. We took every glow-thing in the house and lit sparklers, while Joe prepared a lucky supper of turkey sausage, collard greens, a black-eyed pea/onion/quinoa mixture and cornbread. Delicious!

I accompanied Hannah on a 7th birthday outing to Lake Oconee on Saturday. Her friend, Elizabeth had an ice-skating party. Elizabeth's mom, my good friend Jennifer, asked me to come along and drive some of the girls. We skated at the Ritz Carlton Lodge and then had pizza and cake at Mellow Mushroom. So glad I could go; we had a great day!

The Christmas decorations are officially put away (a 3-day job), with which the whole family took part. I got a lot of help with taking the ornaments off the tree by playing a search-and-bring-to-Momma game:

So, Happy New Year!! We have had a good start to 2016 here on Evergreen Drive and are excited to see what 2016 has in store for us.

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