Thursday, February 16, 2012

thankful thursday

We had a great weekend celebrating {very nearly -- their anniversary is on Sunday} 40 years of marriage for my parents. Our whole family {my parents, the 8 of us, my brother and his family, my best friend -- who is an honorary Carlson -- and her family, my grandma and my cousin}, 20 of us total, headed up to Trout Lake Camp on Friday afternoon for a weekend of family fun and celebration. The weather wasn't overly cooperative, but we had tons of fun anyway.

The whole lot of us {minus my Grandma, unfortunately}
Joe, Anna, Kirby, Sara, Brie, my mom, Haddon, Jacob, Lydia, me, Rebekah, Schaeffer, Jenn, Allie, Ava, my dad, Justin, Sam & Luke::

My parents and our family of 8 were the only ones who had seen, in person, the result of the years and years of hard work my dad has put into the new Timber Ridge Dining Hall, so it was fun to have the rest of our family finally have a chance to see it. It is amazing, that's for sure. He laid nearly every cement block that makes up the foundation and structure of the building, then proceeded to put stone on the {very tall} chimney and the pillars on the outside of the building -- and since the building stands on the highest point of land in Crow Wing County, saying he was up high when putting the tippy top stones on that chimney is an understatement! Praise God he was safe through it all, especially since he was often working alone, without another soul around! After that was done he grabbed a few thousand more stones and built 6 stone fireplaces inside the building. The main one of which is the largest stone fireplace in the state of Minnesota {and my dad thinks, although has no proof, possibly in the entire country}. It's HUGE! And beautiful. {and Lydia would have you know that she laid 3 of those stones too. She can even point out exactly which ones they are.}

The biggest of the 6 fireplaces
The focal point of the dining area::
When we arrived on Friday night we got all situated in our rooms for the weekend and had some hot dogs and s'mores cooked on the fire out back. One at a time, the 10 kids got tucked into bed and the adults stayed up to chat a bit before turning in as well. Saturday we ate, played some games, had a tour of camp, ate some more, climbed rock walls, went skateboarding, played air hockey, had a snack, played some board games, ate dinner, enjoyed the machine that automatically dispensed hot chocolate at the touch of a button, strained to hear my mom {who had laryngitis} say a few sweet words to my dad, looked at pictures from their wedding, toasted my parents and ate wedding cake, watched movies, played some more games, ate a bit more and turned in for the night. Sunday morning we woke up, ate again, took a "Doug and Marcia" quiz {which I won!}, had a family church service where Kirb preached on God's faithfulness, packed up our stuff, had brunch, took a walk {since the temps were a bit less arctic than they had been on Sunday}, made sure everyone went potty one final time and piled back in our cars for the ride home. It was a wonderful, wonderful weekend together. Between the 20 of us, hopefully we can find a major milestone to celebrate each winter as an excuse to do this again each February!

I am so thankful for my family and for the example of love, commitment and faithfulness that my parents' marriage is a testament to. What a blessing!

Here are a bunch more pictures from our weekend. Enjoy!

Our 6 kiddos in the bookshelves my dad built flanking one of the 2 basement fireplaces::

The Carlson boys take a turn::
My best friend, Allie & my cousin Brie::
Joe, with the Dining Hall seating in the background {aren't those windows fabulous, too?}::
Another view of the biggest fireplace::
Ama & a few of her favorite little people::
The other basement fireplace::
Singing "Head & Shoulders, Knees and Toes" on Saturday morning
{we must be at the "eye and ears and mouth and nose" part}::
I just think this is a funny picture of Sara. It makes me smile::
The cake cutter::
A rousing game of Scrabble::
Grandma and Allie::
Feeding each other cake::

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