The week before Christmas, our family took a few days off and headed away to southern Iowa for a two day family retreat. It was a much-needed time to take off from work + music practice and reconnect as a family. It is crazy how twelve people can live under one roof and yet weeks can slip by without extended quality family time. Several of us even chose to leave our phones at home and to completely “unplug” during our time away. 
We started out bright and early, just the kids, as our parents had to attend a funeral and were unable to come until a bit later. What a great group we were. It had literally been who knows how long since all ten of us were inside that van together. Probably years! =) 
During the little getaway, we ate amazing food, played games, read books, worked on our personal 2017 goals lists, went shooting, watched movies, sang Christmas carols, went on walks, and sat around and chatted. There was plenty of variety, with games ranging from Monopoly to Stratego, food ranging from grilled meats to baked delicacies, movies ranging from the Andy Griffith show to an hour-long marriage seminar dvd, family activities ranging from our favorite Bible Trivia game to a full-blown Bontrager Blitz Tournament, and conversation ranging from…well, we Bontragers can talk about a wide number of things in an amazingly short time, so we definitely had diversity in our conversation topics!
All in all it was an absolutely lovely time, with so many good memories packed in those two days. 
Here are the pictures. =)
“We may not have it all together…but together, we have it all.”



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  1. What a wonderful time it looks like you all had! It reminds me of us when we get away to GA to unwind and enjoy some TRUE changing seasons;) We LOVE the colder winter days! People in GA think we are so odd to be vacationing there! "Aren't you from FL?! You have the best beaches! Why are you here?!" We are from a little town in Florida where the weather rarely goes below 60:)
    I don't believe I have ever commented on your blog, but we are encouraged to know that there is another family who strives to honor God and live a full RICH life in Christ! Thank you for that.
    We first heard your name through the Paul Family. You were down in FL and they wanted us to meet you, but for one reason or another it didn't work out. Since then they have moved, I believe, but, wish we could have met!
    I pray your tour is smooth so far!
    With warm regards,

  2. I love this post SO much!!
    I'm so thankful that you guys got to getaway! and, how fun that all of the siblings got to do a little "van trip" to start it off!!
    I definitely have to locate myself a "Coffee Before Anything" shirt! ha!

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