Sunday, July 19, 2009

MCO XXI - recap...raw & uncut :-)

We've only been home since Friday evening and already the clarity of last week's events have become blurry. I will try to re-cap our vacation as best as possible.....

Hmmmm......for those of you that do not know, I guess I should recap all in attendance (it varied throughout the week).
(1) From Pennsylvania - My brother, Marty. His wife, Vicky and their son, Andy was able to make MCO for a few days (Their daughter Christina is currently in Europe)
(2) From New Hampshire - My brother, Chris. His wife, Jamie and thier daughter Anna. (Chris' son and other daughter Sarah made an appearance later in the week)
(3) From Kentucky - My brother, Paul and his wife Penny. (Their daughthers Rachel and Becky made an appearance later in the week although Ryan was not able to attend this year.)
(4) From Maryland - My sister, Marysia, her husband Mike and their kids - Tommy, Lauren, Andy and Julie.
(5) From Ohio - My sister, MArgaret, her husband Mark and their kids - Chris and Kate.
(6) From New York - My Aunt Sue, Uncle Ron and, of course, David, Madeline and me.

Friday (7/10) - Traveled to the 21st annual MCO at Gifford Pinchot State Park in Eastern PA. Our travel time was approximately 6hrs. We arrived at 11pm. Although Madeline only briefly fell asleep in the car, she had enough of a brief second-wind upon arrival to say hello/good night to all of her aunts and uncles at the campfire.

Saturday (7/11) - Marysia, Margaert and I headed out to the grocery store to get what each of us needed for the week. Margaret's family surprised Madeline with a 3-wheeled scooter. Luckily for David, this surprise helped to occupy Madeline while Mama was shopping. In the evening we had our appetizer night for dinner. This is somewhat a new tradition at MCO. For dinner, each family makes an appetizer to share with everyone. We select a time and all congregate in one cabin to enjoy the feast. In the evening, the brush with wildlife began for the sister-in-law headed back to her (& Chris') cabin only to rush back in a freenzy because their was a snake on the porch of her cabin. My nephew, Andy, (a 22 yr old Eagle Scout) saved the day by catching the snake (Black Rat Snake) and CARRYING IT back to the site that we were at for the appetizer night!! It was pretty cool to be able to touch the snake. Although Madeline wanted to touch it, she backed down when given the opportunity.

Sunday (7/12) - More wildlife in the morning..... a turtle in the grassy area outside our cabin. Again, Madeline wanted to touch the turtle but backed down when given the opportunity. However, observing the turtle was a great learning experience for MAdeline. My niece, Julie was brave enough to pick up the turtle and move it to a grassy area near the lake's shore. In the afternoon, MAdeline and I headed to the beach and met up with some of the family there. MAdeline was having a blast playing with her cousins. Why didn't David head to the beach with us? David was busy with kitchen duty.....another annual tradition. Each year, the men get together to work on concocting an awesome batch of chili. In years past there has been "mystery meat" in the chili...deer, buffalo, or last year I brought along kangaroo meat. Yet, this year there was no mystery meat....although the chili was still excellent! Another MAJOR WILDLIFE ENCOUNTER>>> Later in the evening, my niece, Lauren went back to her cabin just in time to see a black snake climbing into their cabin (my sister Marysia's cabin) through a very small hole in the window's screen. By this point in time, my nephew Andy already left the campout so my brother-in-law, Mike, was left to try to catch the snake and get it out of the cabin. My nephews thought it would be funny to lightly rub my ankle with a stick while I was watching the snake-catching attempt. Needless to say, I left out a good, healthy scream. As far as the snake catching goes (photo here is the frenzy surrounding the snake catching attempt).....the snake crawled into a heating vent. Despite Mike taking apart the heating vent, the snake was not found. So.....who knows, Marysia and her family may have slept with a snake in their cabin for the rest of the week. (Although Andy left, Rachel and Becky arrived very late this evening)

Monday 7/13 - David, Madeline and I had a lazy day. We headed back to the beach and had a picnic lunch there. Not sure what day it was but we had more brushes with wildlife. Saw some deer roaming the field across from our cabin and also saw a huge Barred Owl. Our pictures of the owl didn't turn out but my sister-in-law, Penny, got some beautiful pictures of some during the daytime (see above). We also had our annual MCO photos (serious and silly). You can see them below on my last post (date Friday 7/17).

Tuesday 7/14 - I am thinking that this is the day that we went on a mini-hike with Madeline. Boy......she can be a girly-girl. Yet, we did have fun climbing on some rocks that were on the trail. We also caught (then released) a butterfly. (see video below). Now, I am not sure anymore on these dates but I am thinking this is when my nieces, Becky & Rachel left as well as my Aunt Sue & Uncle Ron. Yet, if I am not mistaken, this is the date that my nephew and niece, Matt & Sarah, arrived.

Wednesday 7/15 - Quite and eventful day! We were able to reconnect with another couple (Greg & Rebekah) that we met while in Astrakhan, Russia. They live only an hour away from where we were camping. It was wonderful to reconnect with them and meet their twin boys, Josiah & Jachin (their Gotcha Day was 5 days after we left Russia). It was so nice catching up with Greg and Rebekah and Madeline had fun playing with the boys. I wonder if love blossomed as Madeline began calling one of the boys "honey boy" and David said he heard one of the boys call Madeline sweetie.....too funny! After Greg & Rebekah left, David, Madeline and I headed down to the beach. Madeline was excited to try out her new orange noodle that we bought at WalMart the day before. Wednesday was also Marysia's birthday. In the evening we all got together at Marysia's cabin (no snake sighting) to celebrate with cake. Included with Marysia's gift was a bonus......yes, you guessed it - the figurines that we have been passing back and forth from my mom's house. I asked that Marysia not sneak back the items to me before the end of the week because I didn't want to loose or break them in my upcoming move. Yet, Marysia vowed to return them to me as a housewarming gift.

Thursday 7/16 - Another day at the beach. The noodle gave Madeline a lot of confidence in the water. Most importantly, we were at the beach with Madeline's cousins again. Simply watching her older cousins and her wanting to keep up with the older kids also gave Madeline a lot of confidence. She improved in her ability tremendously over the course of the week.....but especially on this particular day. Madeline was completely dunking her head under water. You have to check out the video below!!

Friday 7/17 - So sad....another campout under the belt. After heading out to breakfast with a good majority of the family, we said our good-byes and headed home.

Saturday 7/18.....discussions for next year's campout out have already begun!!

1 comment:

Patti said...

Looks like fun! How neat that you got to reconnect with some Astrakhan adoptive parents. It looks like Madeline is really enjoying swimming. Hope things are going well as you prepare for the big move.