Monday, May 9, 2016

A Silver Lining for Mother's Day

 So lots of you have asked, and YES, we did get a new trailer.  Our insurance company came through with a very fair settlement and we were able to find a new trailer much quicker than we expected. And much closer to home.  It was owned by someone who lives in our own subdivision. It was literally less than 10 minutes from our house.

It's a newer model than what we had, with several awesome features that we didn't have.  It is a bit shorter than the other trailer, but with the slightly different configuration, the bathroom is bigger and the kids beds are bigger, so it worked out well.  

We took it out for its inaugural camping weekend over the Mother's Day holiday. I can't think of a better way to spend my Mother's Day than camping with my kiddos.

 We spent the weekend at Pedernales Falls State Park.  This is definitely in my top 5 favorite places to camp.  It has awesome hiking!  Easy enough for Katriel to navigate, but challenging enough to keep my mountain goat boys happy and active.

And there were also plenty of trees to climb.  Our campsite was awesome!  Perfectly flat (a bonus for travel trailer parking) and surrounded by so many trees that you could barely see any other campers around you.

The Pedernales Falls themselves are just beautiful.  There is a great observation area and then a long hike down a set of stone stairs to the falls. The hike to the falls started a little rough.  Manny took a fall on the gravel trail and tore open his knee and shin.  Luckily, my little girl scout Grace is always prepared with her first aid kit.  We poured sparkling water on the wound, Brian sopped up the blood with his shirt, we slathered on the ointment and covered him in band-aids.  After some copious tears we were back on the trail!

Haven is a climbing maniac.  He is so fast, so sure footed.  I love to watch him scramble up rock walls like a stroll in the park.  There were several spots where he climbed on ahead of us and I had to find an alternate route for my tired old knees.

 Grace is also quite the climber.  Although she could care less about sports that involve balls or competition, she is so strong and athletic.  I just loved watching her and Haven race along the rocks!

 And then we found a snake.  Louise flipped out.  She was paralyzed.  There are a lot of things about my Lulu that are very rough and tough, but she is no match for a water snake!

A little water break!

Check out all those band-aids!

After our hike we headed back to the trailer for lunch and a nap for Mama to avoid the heat of the day.  Our new trailer has amazing AC!  Then later in the afternoon we headed to the swimming hole to float the Pedernales River.

It is miraculous that Daddy was not lost down stream.  He frequently was being used as a flotation device.

My sweetest little mermaid was content to splash around the shore with Mama, while I stayed out of the sun to preserve my shockingly white legs.

My grumpy little mermaid had obviously gotten worn out by our hike and needed to take a little rest by the water.

The next day was Mother's Day.  We got an earlier start to try and do a little more hiking and swimming before we had to head home.  Unfortunately, right about the time we hit the trail it started to rain.  But the kiddos were troupers and we finished the whole hike. We picked some gorgeous wildflowers.

We climbed more trees!

We got to see another set of beautiful water falls.

We tried to take an obligatorily Mother's Day photo.  Failed!  Brian took about 10 shots.  This was the best of the lot.  Manny not only had his eyes closed, but was squeezing them like he had just seen something terrifying.  Haven was angry that it was raining and we weren't going to get to swim.  And JoJo was just making one of those JoJo faces.

It was a great trail with lost of interesting plants and caves.  "Look Mama! It's the Crood's Cave!"

On the way home we stopped for a Mother's Day lunch and I caught a few more pics of my sweetie pies.  Four years ago on Mother's Day, Katriel and Louise arrived home from Kinshasa to complete our family.  So Mother's Day is always one of the sweetest days of the year for me.  It makes me want to squeeze my babies extra tight.  Hope it was a lovely day for you, too!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

And then this happened...

It has been far too long since my last blog post.  I guess because things have just been chugging along, mostly normal as usual.  Or in the case of our house, abnormal as usual.

My parents came for a visit from Wyoming.  We hit the aquarium and the zoo and had a blast!  We've been loving our Texas spring weather with lots of bike rides and picnics.

We spent an amazing spring break camping with awesome friends.

One of our recent awesome highlights was Grace's 9th birthday.  My baby girl is so not a baby anymore.  I get emotional on all of my kids birthday's, but this was such a fun day for Grace our whole family that I didn't cry once.  We started the day with a family breakfast at Waffle House.  I played hooky from school to spend the day with my sweet baby.

After breakfast I took Grace for a special treat haircut and one of those obnoxious little girl spa places.  It was early on a Wednesday, so we had the whole place to ourselves.



After her haircut, we came home and played until dinner.  She choose Chinese takeout as her special birthday dinner treat and a cookie cake for desert.  Then presents and more play.  After she had opened all the gifts from her brothers, sisters, grandparents, and aunts, she turned to me with a brilliant little lit up face and said, "Thank you so much for the wonderful birthday.  I loved everyone of my presents!" Music to a Mama's ears!!!

Then the very next day this happened...

Someone stole our travel trailer.  Our brand new to us, only owned since November, present from Brian's parents, our beloved family travel trailer was stolen in the middle of the night from the storage facility, just a few miles from our house.  Someone broke into the area, cut through a back gate and through an alarm cable.  They took someone else's trailer first and then when no police arrived (because it turns out the alarm system was not turned on) they came back and stole ours, too.

It has been over a week now since it was taken.  No, it hasn't been recovered. Yes, we have insurance. Yes, we will get back some kind of settlement.  No, we don't have any idea if it will be enough to get as nice a trailer as we had before.

We are all understandably very blue about this event.  It's, of course, just a thing, just a piece of property.  But even in the short time we owned it, we filled it with a million lovely family memories. We also filled it with a lot of personal items and sentimental things.  The pink fleece blanket from Grace's first big girl bed is in that trailer.  The Spider-man sleeping bag that JoJo got for Christmas is there. Five brand new pairs of kids hiking boots in all different colors of the rainbow are tucked in a storage bin under the couch. Our hammock that held all my kids for hours and hours of swinging.

They all just drove away in the night with a mean spirited stranger.

But it's just a thing.  And we'll get new things.  And we'll go camping again and make new memories. JoJo is already scouring the Craigslist pages for the perfect new trailer. Say a little prayer for our trailer search, that we can find just the right fit for our just right sized family.  Sleeps 8 and doesn't weigh too much for our van are sort of hard to find.

And hopefully sooner than later.  I just read an article that hiking is good for your brain and that it improves the symptoms of kids with ADHD.  I'm a believer.  I need to get my kiddos back to the woods and quick!!!

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