Every summer growing up, my family and our dearest friends would head up north to Green Lake, Wisconsin. It was the highlight of our summer year after year and is one of the strongest, most vivid memories I have of my childhood. The night before the trip, our house would be bustling with guests-the kids giddy with excitement and far too excited to sleep. The adults would be in the kitchen, laughing and reminiscing while packing up cooler after cooler with more sandwiches than you could ever imagine. The next morning we’d all circle up in the driveway to pray for our travels and for the week at the lake, and off we went.
This summer, to celebrate my dad turning 60 this coming fall, we decided to recreate it a little bit. We circled up in the house to pray over our travels and for the week at the lake once again and headed three hours south to Lake Travis.
We did the good ol’ fashioned caravan. Only the front vehicle gets to use GPS! We used to stop at a rest stop and unload coolers full of sandwiches, drinks and chips. For this trip, we stopped at a Whole Foods 30 minutes outside of the lake to get our groceries for the week. At Green Lake, every night a different family and house would be responsible for dinner. Italian night, Barbeque, Greek…we got to taste it all! We decided to use the same formula and each couple was responsible for dinner one of the 9 nights we were at the lake (aside from my parents of course!)
This was the first wave of the crew. My sister Jackie and her husband landed in Dallas from San Diego that afternoon so my parents picked them up from the airport and met us there for dinnertime. My little brother, cousin, older brother and soon to be sister in law came the next day!
Pulling up to the house had us absolutely giddy. The pool was almost a neon turquoise, the leaves were an emerald green and the sun had turned the lake into diamonds. What is it about that first day of a trip that fills us from head to toe with electricity?! There is just nothing like it. As the kids got their wiggles out running through the house, we spent an hour (okay, more like two) unpacking all the groceries, pool and lake accessories and clothing until we could finally jump in that pool!
I can’t even handle these little cousin buns!
We would play games for hours on end, taking full advantage of the baskets full of water guns, pool floats and toys in the garage. With 7 kids, one cousin, 5 significant others, two parents that wanted to be kids on vacation and four actual kids on vacation there was absolutely no shortage of fun. We could play games for hours on end and could make a game out of anything-which is what you see in this photo. A very competitive game of something I can’t remember for the life of me- but it was fun and funny and cut throat as usual!
Speaking of competitive games, there was a park in the neighborhood that had volleyball fields, wide open fields, playgrounds and picnic tables. We had the best volleyball game ever out there one day. I’m talking real life, real competition volleyball. The kids were such sweet cheerleaders for a while, but after the fun wore off and they realized we were pretty into the game, they made their own fun and played house for hours.
The World Cup offered the sweetest background to the lounging hours of the day. Nigeria was knocked out a couple days before this trip so we had no loyalty to any team, but you know how the World Cup goes. Instant fandom, right?
It’s no secret that my kids don’t eat sweets very much. It’s something I’m very intentional about and I don’t plan on changing any time soon…but my family definitely pokes fun at me for it! I decided they would experience their first S’more this summer and the lake couldn’t have been a more perfect place to do it. We used gluten-free graham crackers and dairy-free chocolate so it was safe and of course the chocolate melted by the time we started the fire because, Texas. As I expected, the s’more magic was as dreamy as I imagined it’d be. Their fingers sticky with marshmallow and eyes twinkling in wonder gave me all the feels that evening. I’ll remember it forever.
he requests every day to “wear his hair in a circle” like his uncles.
Those of us with offspring were the first to hit the porch for our quiet time (insert rolling eye emoji here), but at some point during the morning, every single person was out on the deck having time with the Lord. It was a beautiful routine of each day that didn’t go unnoticed. I realize how special and rare our family dynamic is. The fact that seven kids- not just seven kids, but five sisters…let that sink in-declare this family our best friends is unheard of. We hardly left the house for 9 days, spent evenings talking or playing games and spent every waking hour of the day together and yet there was no conflict, no gossip and no boredom.
It hasn’t always been like this, but I do know this picture right here of my mother studying the word is a deep root of this fruit. You can’t see my dad right next to her, in his journal and his bible. Every morning of every day since we were born, these two seek the Lord for themselves and pray for us together. Praying for our health. Our passions. Our future spouses. Our future children. It’s one of the things I’m most grateful for in my life- the umbrella they placed over our friendship within our family.
We spent this trip celebrating my dad, but to celebrate my dad is to celebrate my mother. I’m so proud to be the Singletary’s daughter and this trip was life changing in more ways than one.
Do you travel with your family? Do you have annual trips you look forward to each summer or remember from your childhood? Let me know in the comments, I’m so curious to know! And I’ll leave you with this Texas night sky from that beautiful lake: