Each year, my family (the Tucker side) gets together for our annual reunion in Lake Guntersville, Alabama, for “Camp Tucker.” With our ever-growing family, we never know who is going to make an appearance, but we always manage to have lots and lots of fun on the water and with “camp activities.” Enjoy the rundown of this year’s festivities!
The Trip to Alabama
Most of the time, we have no problem taking the 10-hour drive in one day. With two 8-month-olds, however, we planned on stopping after about 6 or 7 hours to stay the night in a hotel. Once we were about 5 hours in, however, we decided that we wanted to try and make it the whole way, in order to save on money and effort when you have all that baby gear to cart inside a hotel.
We left our house right at the first nap time, which worked out great for our morning last-minute packing. We decided to stop off at our brother- and sister-in-law’s house in Christiansburg for a play/food break, which was about 3 hours into the trip. The last 30 minutes were a little dicey, as Audrey really wanted to get out of the car seat at that point, but we made it. With red eyes, the moment I pulled Audy Bug out of the seat, she immediately started laughing and flirting with us all. David didn’t understand why she was so unhappy in the first place, but he flirted with everyone too.
After that break and family time (along with lunch for all of us), we hit the road again and later stopped at a rest stop about 3 hours later. We climbed a hill to a pavilion where I could nurse in private, the babies could play in the shade in their new pack-and-play (Summer Infant’s Pop n Play), and we could also go to the bathroom.
We packed our own food, so we didn’t have to stop for ourselves, and that saved us some time. We stopped just once more, when it was close to the normal bedtime. We fed the babies with solids and nursing, and then we put them back in their car seats. As we drove down the road, we recited their bedtime books (that we know by heart), and after a couple tears (“We aren’t really supposed to fall asleep here are we?”), they were out.
We arrived at the lake at about 9:30 PM Lake Time (10:30 Eastern), and we let the babies stay up until my uncle (Uncle Steven/Stinky) and my cousins arrived. They got to meet the twins briefly, and then it was time for bed.
For most of the trip, we slept in the same room as the twins, and we realized that that was HARD. We put them to bed and then had to be really quiet when it was our time to go to sleep. Plus, during naps, we couldn’t go into our room at all. This meant that we were really spread out. We had their gear and our clothes in their room, our toiletries in my parents’ bathroom, our shower things in a downstairs bathroom, and my pumping supplies in my parents’ bedroom. For the last two days, once the house quieted down a bit (and some of our campers left), we all moved downstairs to our normal room when we stay there, and we let the babies sleep in the empty room across the hall. This was much better for all 4 of us to sleep.
Camp Tucker is all about eating, and this year was no different.
We went to Huddle House for breakfast 3 different times (only 2 days we didn’t have breakfast there). While there, the twins tried grits for the first time! They weren’t crazy about the texture, but they kept asking for more, despite making “yucky” faces.
My brother Josh was a rockstar and became our designated highchair holder and carrier, because we brought these chairs with us to all of the restaurants. We loved our new Ciao Baby high chairs!
While the babies didn’t enjoy this, we also got Char Burgers at least twice (although I could have eaten them for every meal). They are delicious burgers, hot dogs, fries, and milkshakes!
On a trip to Huntsville one day to go to Costco and visit the cemetery where my grandparents are burried, we also stopped at Gibson’s BBQ, where we used to always go with my family growing up. It hasn’t changed much, but the food is great! Here is where David and Audrey got their first taste of BBQ. They loved it, and we had to stop them eventually!
Many more meals were eaten on our back screened in porch. The weather was perfect!
Everywhere we went, we had our travel Ciao Baby high chairs, and we got so much positive feedback about them. They really were the perfect travel high chairs to bring along!
When we are at the lake, we are always busy moving from activity to activity. Usually it is food, then a trip to Mike’s, then a trip to Lowe’s, then more food, then out on the water, then food, then hanging out on the back porch. This Camp Tucker was similar, except we chose to stay on land because of the babies.
One of the nights, we always have an “Awards Ceremony” that centers around someone, where they get all kinds of gifts. We don’t know who will be the recipient(s) until we arrive, but then it just make sense. This year, my Aunt Liz was the lucky “winner,” as it was her birthday. Check out the toilet glasses that we found at Mike’s for her!
As I mentioned before, we took our annual trip to the cemetery where my grandfather and grandmother Papa Bill (William Daniel Tucker, Jr) and Gran Chloe are buried. We visit them each time we come to Alabama, and this was a special trip because we were able to bring the entire next generation. The picture below has 3 William Daniel Tuckers (#2, #4, and #5… We should have taken a picture of my dad as well to get 4 of the WDTs!).
If you know my dad, you know that he has a thing for flamingos (Does anyone remember this post from last year?). One of the Camp Tucker jobs was to set out all of the metal flamingos (and other birds) and display them. Tim and I had fun finishing this to surprise him.
Each year, we add to our picture wall. I have had so much fun over the years being the official camp “photographer” and adding a couple of pictures to the wall. Pretty soon we will have to extend it to another wall entirely!
The big event of Camp Tucker 2014 was decorating the big lure that my dad procured from a local artist. It was previously decorated, but we painted over it and made our own creation. We are pretty fond of it!
The Other Fun
My dad has a list for each of us when we are at the lake. I was able to complete mine, even though things constantly got added to it!
After everyone left, we were able to take the babies out on the boats, and they actually enjoyed themselves!
I was also able to sneak away for a jet ski trip with my brother, since I couldn’t go out last year (being pregnant with twins and all). We took a “tour” of the lake like we used to do on the first day that we arrived. Of course, that was when he couldn’t drive a boat by himself and I got to control the speed. It’s a little different when he is 19 and a lot more adventurous than I am!
We were lucky to have very mild weather for an Alabama summer. This meant that we could be outside ALL THE TIME on our back screened-in porch.
I made these Camp Tucker onesies for the twins, complete with our official logo and motto. They sat in Papa’s chair to take these pictures!
Right at about the time we went on our trip, Audrey and David really started talking and laughing with each other. While their play may look like it hurts the other one, they don’t mind at all. They laugh and laugh at each other all day long.
In their 2nd bedroom, the ceiling fan cord hung down, so that when Tim picked up A and D, they loved looking at it. This was about the time that Audrey started saying “va va va” for anything shiny and jewelry-like. This cord was definitely a “va va va va!”
While at a trip to Walmart, I found this $10 Cabbage Patch Kid dressed up like a dog (looking very much like our Lucy). I quickly got it for Audrey, and once it was cleaned, she proceeded to give it many many kisses. We have now named it Desi (you know, like Lucy and Desi?).
On our last morning there, we dressed up Audrey and David in the same Snoopy life jackets that all of us had worn as babies. No wonder all of the babies screamed bloody murder when they put them on. They were so tight that we didn’t even bother zipping them up. Thank goodness we had bought our own for this year!
We also entered the world of the Squiggle Monster during the trip. This was one bedtime where they just would not stay still. Notice how Audrey has thrown herself over David to get to the book.
We had the largest gathering of campers than in many past years. Although not everyone could make it, we had a lot of people come! I’m sorry I don’t have pictures with everyone in this section. I wasn’t the best Camp Tucker photographer this year!
My under Steven and my Dad (along with his dogs Max and Winston):
My younger brother Josh (with David and The Lure):
My nephew Liam:
Sadly not pictured: my cousins Ashley or Ryan, my brother Tee and his girlfriend Megan, or Uncle Lee and Aunt Liz and their two kids.
On the way home, we stopped at Kevin and Lauryn’s house again and stayed overnight. The next day, after a leisurely wakeup, we stopped at Virginia Tech for a quick view and to pick up some outfits for football season!