"We are going to focus on LIFE for Katya. I believe, one day, she will amaze the world."

Dr. Ben Carson on Katya Dueck

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Joni and Friends Family Retreat Reunion Part 1

Someone wisely decided that families should have a chance to get together to renew themselves just a tad without having to wait clear until the next chance to go to a J and F Family Retreat. So Friday found us loading up and rolling out after Paul got in from working for the week.

It felt really good to head West. It's been a long, long time since I was that far West--several years. Made me wish we could just keep on going and visit family "out West", but alas . . .that was not an option.

We stopped part of the way there for a picnic supper. After we were done eating and heading back to the car, what did Chad spy?!


Yes, a hatching cicada! He was so excited! He watched until it was almost completely out of the shell. He cheerfully exclaimed, "This is the best thing God did for me all day!"

His sisters watched too.


All too soon, the cicada was about out and we needed to leave.


We arrived at our hotel in time for the kiddos to enjoy some pool time. No photos, sorry. But it was neat to see Katya actually enthused this time about getting in the pool! She stayed sitting on the second step down in, but she kicked and splashed and generally had a great time. She's getting braver! Maybe by another year or so she will be brave enough for swimming lessons. . . here is hoping so.

We settled down for a night's sleep, and the next morning enjoyed a great breakfast of sausage, eggs, fruit and waffles at the hotel. There was also piping hot oatmeal that you could add toppings to and though I'm not a big oatmeal fan, I really enjoyed eating some that morning, thanks to the thinly sliced almonds, and dried fruit topping for it.

After we packed up and rolled out of the hotel, we had about 45 minutes to kill before it was time to go to the reunion. We found a nearby Barnes and Noble and walked in just as they were announcing that they were doing Saturday Story Time! So that worked out great!

It was so awesome as we rolled up to the J and F Reunion to see our dear Kayla who was one of Katya's STM's at the reunion. It set the tone for a great 4 hours. ;-) And it was a nice change of pace for our family to be able to relax a little and let Kayla do the Katya-chasing for a bit.

Face painting was a hit. Katya tried her hand at it a few times.



Chad was sure he needed another tiger face, similar to his in Jumonville.


Chad was quite pleased with the finished product!


RRRRRRR!!!


To be continued . . . .

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