Each fall our small group (which isn’t so small anymore!) spends a weekend in the mountains–couples, kids, babies and all. (This year there were 34 of us!) It has become one of our family’s (and especially our girls’) favorite fall traditions for so many reasons.  I love the bonding. And the chaos. I adore seeing my kids running wild with their friends. (And I love running wild with mine!) The weekend really exemplifies what a small group should look like; my memories of us are those of being circled up at the dinner table, sitting around the living room on couches late at night, lounging in adirondack chairs out on the lawn while the kids chase one another, huddling around the campfire against the cold autumn night. It is the best example that “circles are better than rows” that I can think of.

Since we’ve been taking this trip for several years now, inevitably each one ends up with the moniker “The year that…”  This year, I’m certain I’ll always think of it as The Year Cricket Made a Hot Tub. The husbands in our group always end up in the hot tub at the end of the night (while the wives all snuggle up inside where it’s not freezing cold!), and somewhere along the way Cricket learned exactly what a hot tub was. I had packed our girls’ bathing suits (just in case), and when I told Cricket that, no, she was not allowed in the hot tub, she decided to make her own. She ran a hot bath, changed into her suit, and began recruiting. None of the other kids had brought suits, but that didn’t bother her. She found one willing participant, and when she led her little friend through the living room naked to the hot tub, the adults finally realized what she was up to. (What, you never heard of skinny dipping? Ha!) But our reprimands didn’t stop her — she found another friend, lent her E.V.’s suit and climbed on in. Oh, well! I suppose it kept them busy for a while? If Cricket puts her mind to it, nothing can stop her. All I can do is laugh and imagine the day her tenacity will serve her adult self so well. :)

Here’s to another annual small group trip with those we love and appreciate so dearly!