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    Eisley Avalon (months three and four)

    Growing // At twelve weeks of age, Eisley was 14 pounds, 13 oz. (95th%) and off-the-charts tall. She will get weighed again at her next well check (which I still need to schedule), but I’m guessing she is around 18 pounds now? I need to move her into 9 month clothes this week.
    Eating // Thankfully, Eisley is much more calm when nursing now and she is taking a bottle again. She eats every 2-3 hours throughout the day. It’s strange to think she’ll be starting solids relatively soon.
     
    Sleeping // Eisley typically takes a decent morning OR afternoon nap and then catnaps the rest of the day. She sleeps from about 9pm to 8am each night. Every once in a while, she’ll throw me for a loop and wake up at 6:30am, but she has also been known to sleep until 9am like a teenager. For the most part, I am able to wake up before her for coffee and Bible reading, which means I am starting to feel like my normal self-again after the postpartum haze.
    Doing // Eisley started giggling right at three months of age. She likes having her neck tickled and smiles all day long. She is still loving her play mat and it sitting in her baby bouncer less and less. We tried her in the Bumbo yesterday, but she’s still just a little too floppy for it. Our pool is finally warm enough for her, so we’ve taken her swimming a few times this past week.
    Loving // Baths, when dad holds her facing out, her play mat, walks in the stroller, being worn in the Solly or Ergo, sucking her thumb

    Tolerating// The swimming pool, wearing a life jacket on the ski boat

    Milestones // Visited Ga and Pa in Arizona, went camping in Orondo, went on Uncle Josh’s boat, went to Forest Home Family Camp, started laughing when tickled

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    Saturday Snippets

    Art projects for your kids…

    This worship album is so good…

    I’ve heard this stuff is amazing for aging joints…

    Trying this aluminum-free deodorant

    Some wisdom on Jeremiah 29:11

    Hilarious messages about motherhood

    Biblical wisdom on a variety of topics…

    When my kids don’t worship my little gods…

    I officially bought these shoes and love them even more than I did in 8th grade…

    I don’t eat “clean” by any means, but these clean chocolate cupcakes look amazing…

    An illuminating narrative about how mental illness and the local church

    I’m excited about this new parenting book

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    Why Forest Home Family Camp is the best vacation ever…

    We went to Forest Home for the first time last summer. We had heard it was fun, but had no idea what to expect. Now we are headed back a year later, and I can honestly say it’s probably the best place to vacation for a family with young children.

    I’m just going to be straight-up in this post…

    The cost of camp starts around $1300 for a family of four in the most basic housing option (two family cabin with shared bathroom space… but there are fancier and more private options at other price points). That might seem steep, but actually it’s quite the opposite.

    If you consider what you receive when you attend Forest Home Family Camp for one week, it’s a screaming deal (this post is my way of shouting about it). There is no way to take a restful, week-long vacation with your whole family for less money.

    At Forest Home, you get:

    • Every meal prepared for you for a week (and it’s really good food)
    • Housing in a cute little cabin for 6-7 days
    • Access to fun activities such as a pool, splash pad, field games, miniature golf, big swing, zip-line, ropes course, hiking, etc.
    • Program activities such as lake day and skit night that will have your whole family laughing
    • A shake shack with delicious desserts and a coffee shop with truly excellent brew (and I’m super picky)
    • Excellent Biblical teaching daily, times of worship, and seminars to help your marriage, parenting, etc.
    • Amazing morning childcare that is a combination between Sunday School, preschool, and the best adventure camp ever
    • And last, but NOT least, a childcare assistant (CCA)… otherwise known as an amazing babysitter who comes to your cabin every night and plays with your kids and puts them to bed while you and your spouse enjoy the nightly worship session and then hang out together kid-free. This is the icing on the family camp cake.

    This is not even an exhaustive list of how good family camp is, but it gives you a general idea. As a parent, I often feel conflicted over how to spend my very limited time and money when it comes to travel. On the one hand, I want to do fun things as a family and bond with my children as they have new experiences. On the other other hand, parenting is exhausting and I want a break from my kids to invest in my marriage and even rest by myself every now and then. When it comes to planning our vacations, it feels like we need to pick one or the other…. leave the kids with grandparents and escape by ourselves or take our kids somewhere awesome but come home feeling depleted.

    When I went to Forest Home last summer, I discovered I didn’t have to be trapped in that travel dichotomy any longer. At camp, I was able to spend tons of time with my kids as they jumped off the diving board and tried the ropes course for the first time. We treated them to milkshakes and taught them how to slip ‘n’ slide. But we also got a break from parenting… Micah and I could play putt putt at 10pm and zipline in the dark, knowing the whole time that our kids were safely sleeping back at the cabin.

    The whole week was the perfect mix of adventure and rest. A blend of family time and date nights. An opportunity  to leave the responsibility of cooking and cleaning behind. A chance to be filled up with truth from God’s Word.

    And here’s the funny thing about family camp. It’s perfect for when your kids are young and childcare is the greatest gift, but as your children get older, they’ll be the ones begging to go back to Forest Home. Most families go the same week each summer, so the kids become friends and run around camp together all week, year after year. The girls come back to serve as CCAs when they become teens, and lifelong campers often become counselors. Sometimes those counselors fall in love and get married. Sometimes they get married AT camp.

    We heard all these stories and more last summer, and we are so excited to go back again, so we can tell our own tales about beautiful Forest Home.

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