Well, for the past 2 weeks, we've driven three hours north, two hours south, then another 8 hours south.
We spent our first week of vacation at Fort Wilderness in northern Wisconsin. Peter was the speaker for a children's camp there. He taught about sixty 8-, 9-, and 10-year-olds about Jesus in the mornings and evenings, and the afternoons were filled with all sorts of outdoor activities. Peter has spoken there before, but this was the first time our sons were the "right" ages for the camp. They had a blast, got dirty, spent lots of time outdoors, and got to see their Daddy in his element.
Part of the reason Fort Wilderness is so special to us is that Peter and I have visited during each different stage of married life. He spoke to a high school youth group's winter camp when we were first married, and to another high school retreat when Aaron was our only child. We brought both boys there when they were 2 and 3 for a boys' camp, then again three summers ago while we waited to travel to India to bring home Anya Rashi. This time, we were waiting for baby #4 -- and we hope to go back again in two years with four children.
We stayed in a sweet little cabin nestled at the bottom of a hill that leads down to the lake. The boys LOVED the loft they slept in. Hope no one is squeamish about rodents . . . because we found out when we were packing to leave (ICK!) that some mice called the loft home.
Anya Rashi started out in a cute built-in wooden toddler bed, but graduated to the pack & play next to our bed after the first (sleepless) night. Poor thing -- she was so excited about the bed, but it was just too different from home.
After our week at camp, we drove down to Milwaukee. After cooking out with my sister and her neighbors (who have sons the same age as Aaron and Nathan) it was time to walk down to the lakeshore. We watched amazing fireworks over Lake Michigan, and could see them reflected in the tall buildings along the shoreline.
Then, we drove south to visit some friends in Kansas City. We spent some time at the International House of Prayer with them, which is such a restorative place to be. One night, I spent two hours in a prayer gathering devoted to praying for victims of human trafficking. We were praying specifically for children in Rio de Janeiro, which is the 2nd most-frequented city for s*x tourism in the world. It was painful and glorious at the same time to know about the depravity that happens there, but be united with others who share God's concern for these forgotten children.
For anyone who is interested, they have a ministry called Exodus Cry that is devoted to praying against and ending human trafficking. They will debut a documentary (scheduled for December 2010) about trafficking called Nefarious: Merchant of Souls.
That last topic isn't exactly "vacation-y", but it's something I'm passionate about. It goes hand-in-hand with my passion for adoption, since many children who "age out" of orphanages are easy prey for traffickers who promise legitimate jobs, then send children into hell on earth. The Red Letters blog on the sidebar is also devoted to trafficking, if you're interested.
Now, we've spent two nights in our own beds (but I'm not caught up on laundry!), and my kids are getting used to regular life again . . . and being forced to shower and bathe a little more regularly again. :o)