Friday, August 31, 2012

Family Vacay! Texas Style!

This year we kept our vacation much simpler. If you don't remember, last year we went to Disney World! And next year will be a biggie too (more on that later). But for this year it was camping at "the river" (ie The Frio River in the Hill country of Texas-kind of west'ish of San Antonio I guess you'd say). It is a gorgeous place to be. We have been going there for most of our married years. But one of the neatest things is that the first time we went there and Harold looked around he said "This is where we came every year when I was a kid."!!!??? A total fluke! We went with some of my co-workers so I didn't pick the place and he certainly didn't! So, our kids' favorite vacation spot is the same one where their daddy grew up! There is a state park very near where we go but we prefer the smaller family owned campground.

I have to say also, my kids were just as excited I think to spend a week at "the river" as they were to go to Disney World for a week. And let me tell you, I was excited to spend about $350 (including groceries) as opposed to the thousands spent at Disney. Disney was very exciting and I wouldn't trade our time there but I'm so glad that the kids still consider a camping trip to be the best.

Now, for the pictures!

                                  I'd rather have my toes in the river than in the sand any day! 

This kid loves to fish! Here he is getting ready to look for some small ones for bait!

All 3 of my big kids love to swing from these ropes all day long! And it's fine with me...I can sit with my toes in the water and watch them. 

Haley is fearless! She has always been that way
(unless there are shadows in her room at night-
but that's a whole different ball game!) and it
has contributed greatly to my gray hair count.
Apparently while I was downriver talking to a
new friend for a bit, her daddy witnessed her
do some kind of river trapeze act and get herself
just like this only UPSIDE DOWN over a bunch
floaters (people floating the river in tubes)coming
down the river! While it was an amazing trick
he told her not to do that ever again! LOL

  Jared amazes me! See the 2 ropes there? The one he is hanging on and then the striped one? He was able to swing out and then catch the other rope and he actually went back and forth 5 times once! Let me tell you, it takes all of my body strength to hold onto that rope just to get safely out over the water! (now, if only I could turn the picture and make it stay that way!)

Even daddy got in on the action! (I did too but it's my blog and I'm choosing not to share that picture!)

 Nathan is super happy to stay safely in very shallow water. Definitely not the daredevil that his older sister is. Phew!

Hanging out with the big guys.
Wearing a life jacket in case of a rogue
wave I guess ;)

 A good nap is always in order! Thankfully no one got the camera when I fell asleep in my chair!

This is my view while laying on the riverbank while my children play...heavenly!

Haley really needs her own goggles, huh? Once, when we felt she was getting too far away from us we called her back and she said "I can''s too rivery!" I guess she was referring to the slight current? We laughed so hard!

Awwww! Acting like they like each other while eating some semblance of a breakfast (yeah, those are fruit loops!). When we camp nutrition is optional ;)

Ok, so it's not huge...he doesn't care. As long as he catches something! That's bait! 

I think he needs a bigger tube! ;)

Painting suncatchers while we were getting dinner started....I need to make sure I bring an activity every time we go camping!

 Best sissies! I {heart} this! At first Lindsay made some new friends and didn't want to include Haley but once I informed/explained that this was FAMILY vacation and that her FAMILY would be included....she was pretty much fine with it. 

Sword fight with a pink fishing pole while wearing
your pj shirt, pull-up, white socks and too-big
black cleats....when you're 2 that's the best ever!

And this {extremely unflattering} picture reminds me why I will be glad to get home! Because at home, my "sink" is at waist height and doing dishes doesn't make my back hurt. Ouch!

 And it's over :(  Nathan waited patiently all week to help with the lowering of the camper since he is not strong enough yet to help with the raising. (we kept the crank hidden all week just in case his patiently turned into not so patiently...)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Love/Hate and Girls' Weekend!

I love summer. Because there are very few organized activities that keep us busy every evening and most weekends. I hate summer because it' I love summer because I don't have to "crack the whip" with homeschooling. I hate summer because it' I love summer because I can wear flipflops for just about anything I need to do (ok, for real? I can do that anyways where I live!). I hate summer because it's soooo hot!

This summer has been pretty just right for the most part. Has it been perfect? No. Sometimes I wanna scream because everything is so unstructured (and if you've never go a little nutso if things are too unstructured for too long. True story.)

I got to go visit my bestest friend Wendy and we had such a great time. This is our third time to meet even though we've been super close for about 11 years now. But, we've also collectively given birth to 7 children in those 11 years, so it has limited our ability to travel the long distances to see each other. Especially the years she lived overseas! We had great fun at Niagara Falls and Letchworth State Park. So low key! And this was our first ever girls only trip with no breastfeeding any babies or even having any with us. Just us girls. So relaxing. :)

this might not look like much to write home about but it was really funny and a little frightening honestly! Yeah, yeah... Anyways, we were laying on a blanket talking and eating our crunchy lunch (who knew sugar snap peas are so good?) and this squirrel literally was within a foot of me! I kept thinking "What if it has rabies or something and bites my nose?" Thankfully it didn't but it got so close!

Letchworth State Park: This was actually my favorite over Niagara. Don't get me wrong, Niagara is beautiful but (as Wendy warned me) very touristy and commercial. I much preferred the naturalness of the State Park. Just a little bit of God's glory and it felt like just for us! (And the Asian people that took this picture of us)

Despite my fear of bears (Wendy reassured me repeatedly that there were no bears at the park. I don't know how she knows that, but she promised me! I asked her why, then, were there bear things in the little gift shop!?) we enjoyed some very mild hiking and sitting and talking-2 girls can talk a lot without 8 kids interrupting them! ;)
The only thing we saw that scared us was a creepy guy (I didn't take his picture) that we made up all kinds of fun horror stories about and this:
Well, it might not look that scary but when you almost step on it going down some old'll make you scream like a...girl! But on girls' weekend that's okay.

 This just fascinated me. I took a bazillion pictures of this rainbow that God showed us just because we stopped to admire His handiwork (at least that's what I surmised). Gorgeous!
 Oops. this is sideways because I forgot to edit it. I started to take it out but I can't make myself do it. I want to show how something doesn't have to be the biggest or most impressive to show true beauty. What a peaceful scene.
 I *think* you could walk on that thing somehow. I was quick to assure Wendy I was just fine to look at it from below.

Overall it was just an awesome time and beautiful country! My flights were so smooth and quiet. I read books. BoookS! No one had to be fed, I didn't have to think "If I take a drink from the flight attendant s/he will want one and what if it spills everywhere?" or anything! I just quietly did as I pleased. Oh, and I tried my first Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich! Yummo!

I missed my kids and would love to show my family this place in the future but wouldn't trade my girls' weekend...

Next up: Family vacation!

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