May 14-15 our whole family was able to go up to Banner Elk, to the campus of Grandfather Home, for a Foster care conference. As Foster parents, there is a required amount of training per year, and with this weekend conference, you can get all your hours in one big chunk, and get a little family vacation in.
Grandfather Home is the Agency that my parents are licensed with.
As you will see, the campus is huge and gorgeous.
Originally, we thought we were going to have to stay in a hotel nearby, which was disappointing, because we know that they have very nice apartments there on campus. But, there was a cancellation at the last minute and we were able to get an apartment. An apartment next to the Fowlers!
So while the parents went to the various meetings and lectures, we older kids (Me, Nathan and Blane jr.) took the little kids down to the playground area and the lake.
Christiana on the playground.
Nathan looking introspective.
Natalie loved the water and stayed in it practically the whole day. Kiki didn't love the water quite so much.
The beautiful lake.
I'm not sure how Ben-jo felt about that sand...
Just begging for a canoe and paddles.
Blane Jr. was great watching out for his siblings.
Nathan and Gabby were too.
3,757 ft above sea level.
All the girls...
(we traded sisters for a while)
Ben-jo trying to eat grass. He never was successful.
Who says you can't play in dresses? Huh?
I just adore Natalie's little mouth : }
She was quite timid, at first, about going across the bridge. But that didn't stop her!
There were tons and TONS of tadpoles along the edge of the lake. Gabby loved catching them.
One of the two bedrooms in the apartment. Quite a rustic bunk bed. There's no mattress on the bottom because I took it off. Why did I take it off? Well, it made me incredibly claustrophobic to think of sleeping under there. Well, why didn't I sleep on top? Because I couldn't climb up to the top, seeing as how there was no ladder. I just pulled the mattress off onto the floor and slept like a baby. : )
Natalie liked it up there...
Gorgeous view from the window.
One of the best play things for kids is a pile of dirt!
Finding good skipping stones. Those guys can really fling 'em!
She's so proud of her big brother!
"Where to, sir?"
Look at their serious driving faces. : ]
View of part of the campus as seen from our apartment.
Just a question... do you see God's fingerprints anywhere in this picture? Because I see them all over.
"The earth is the Lord's and everything in it."
I was so thankful that we were able to stay so near the Fowlers. For one thing, I didn't love the idea of me, Nathan and Natalie being alone during the day. So I was comforted to have Blane Jr., Gabby, Kiki and Ben-jo next door. It also made the days go by quicker and easier, since Natalie had some playmates.
But I think my favorite thing about staying near the Fowlers was having our family devotion with them. It was simply beautiful. Nathan and Blane Jr. had their acoustic guitars and we sang a couple worship songs. Then Blane shared with us a preview of he sermon for the following Sunday. Just a really great bonding time for part of the body of Christ. Hallelujah!