As soon as we walked in the door at 9am, we were greeted with raffle tickets and balloons for the children, which provided a welcome, if noisy, diversion while Daddy tried on hunting boots.
Besides shopping for camo hunting gear, we spent plenty of time checking out the weapons, from toy guns...
...to compound bows, like the one Don bought to hunt with this year. I was specifically interested in looking at the pink bows (to match the pink and black .22 Sig Sauer Mosquito Don got me for Christmas, of course), and a helpful salesman showed me this option. I call this picture "Lydia with a pink bow" - not quite what you might expect!
While we were there, my generous husband did, in fact, buy me a pink bow and arrow set so that I can practice target shooting. Since I haven't been able to shoot my gun while pregnant, archery seems like a more mom-friendly sport to practice. After we made our large purchase, we headed outside to enjoy our picnic lunch and the free activities offered during Septemberfest. As it turned out, the kids' archery range was stocked with Genesis bows just like the one that I had just purchased, so we all go to try it out! Here's Hayden at his archery lesson:
We also practiced shooting a BB rifle, which the boys were great at! Hayden knocked down 5 targets with his 12 shots, while Donny got 9 out of 12. I was afraid to try at first, not wanting to find out that my preschooler is a better shot than I am, but 11 of my 12 attempts hit the targets, so I was happy.
The children also got to enjoy pony rides (though Lydia spent her first time on a horse clinging desperately to a stranger rather than the animal itself!), and Don and the boys tried out the rock climbing wall.
On his second attempt, Donny climbed all the way to the top! Considering how often he is afraid of...well, anything...Don and I were surprised that the height didn't scare him, and so proud that he ventured all the way up! Hayden made it as far as his four year-old arms and legs could reach, and I'm sure within a couple years he will be scaling the wall, too.
The other highlight of the outdoor activities was the Birds of Prey show, which we remembered seeing two years ago, when I posed with a bald eagle and bald Lydia:
The show was just as interesting two years later, with the same bald eagle showing off his injured wing. In the middle of the show, one of the falcons started squawking because a real wild bald eagle was soaring right over us!
After some more browsing in the camping, fishing, and bicycle sections, we concluded our trip with a promised stop at the fudge stand to buy a box of yummy dessert. Overall, we had a wonderful day and can't wait to go back again next year. Even Lydia spent the next 48 hours saying she wanted to "Go back to the big store on Sunday." It was such a blessing to enjoy beautiful weather, fun new toys, shared experiences, and some quality family time!
Elisha said, “Get a bow and some arrows,” and he did so.
2 Kings 13:15