Friday, November 27, 2015

Camping Party of 8: Thankful for an Early Christmas Present

You might have noticed that I'm not exactly a traditional kind of person.  So spending days and days preparing a traditional Thanksgiving meal and event are not something I get too hung up on!  You may think I am depriving my children of important formative events, but I say pish posh!  We're living our own, new traditions!

One of those new traditions will probably be an annual Thanksgiving camping trip! Because we LOVE CAMPING!!! (Be prepared for a bazillion photos below!)

And this year's Thanksgiving camping trip was made about a bazillion times better compliments of Grandma and Grandpa Wood.  This year for a very early Christmas present they bought us a travel trailer. Next to getting a baby girl named Grace in my stocking for Christmas 2007, this is probably the best Christmas present ever!!!!!


Camping will never be the same (I got to sleep in a bed and with AC).  Hallelujah!

Our first annual Thanksgiving camping trip was to Inks Lake State Park!  And it was awesome!  We had never been camping at Inks Lake.  I was a little concerned that it might not be much fun if we couldn't get out on the water for swimming, but this park had the best hiking of any we have visited so far.

Inks Lake is in the Hill Country of Texas, just Northwest of Austin. The park is in a rolling hills area with lots of scrubby trees and gorgeous rock formations.  We got to climb steep rock trails, see a water fall, and climb trees.  And then we had lunch and took a nap (in our air conditioned trailer) and did it all over again!

One of the really miraculous things that I love about camping is my kids get completely unplugged. We let them play their tablets on the ride to the campground, but once we were there I didn't once have to encourage anyone to get outside and play.  They LOVE exploring and running and climbing and chasing and yelling!  We have to work a bit on the yelling.  It starts a little too early for many of our campground neighbors.  An older couple walked up to Brian on our first morning at camp and said, "You must be the famous Daddy! We heard your name being called about a 100 times this morning before breakfast!"

The biggest downfall of our trip is that it was drizzling rain off and on most of the time we were there. Which meant enormous amounts of mud and dust and sand have made their way home with us. It also meant we had to cut our marshmallow roasting session very short.  So Brian and our die hard roasters stood in the rain and roasted up a bag.  Then we all piled into the nice, dry trailer, the kids watched a movie and the Bigs played gin rummy!  And then we went to bed in our nice, dry (and did I mention air conditioned) trailer.

We will definitely plan on coming back to Inks Lake.  The swimming holes look awesome and the park was better than we could have hoped for.  The scenery was amazing and the kids had so so much fun.  And we did it all without one bite of turkey!

We are home now and we will be spending the day wiping off dried mud and putting our permanent supplies back in the trailer (we need to give it a name) so that it is ready for our next trip.  We are planning a big drive out to New Mexico so Grandma and Grandpa can see the cool present they bought for us. Hope we get a little snow, since only 2 or our 6 kiddos have ever seen any.  Can't wait for our next adventure!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Birthday Season is Over--Bring on the Christmas!

We celebrated 3 birthdays in October: mine, Haven's, and Katriel's.

Mine was not so important.  Let's just say I'm getting older. Brian does have a funny little tradition. He gets the kids to make party hats for my birthday each year.  This year's hat was pretty spectacular!

Haven and Kat's birthday was a fun weekend of celebration!  Brian's parents came down from New Mexico and his sister came from Kansas.  When Aunt Cathy comes to visit, it is always a party!  Our friends the Solberg's and the Pennington's also came for some cake and festivities.

A special treat for the kiddos was Daddy's special face painting skills.  Our kids LOVE to have their faces painted!  Manny was the cutest little puppy ever, but I have no idea what JoJo was shooting for.

So a quick kiddo update--

Haven is now 7 years old and in first grade.  He is about average weight, average height, average intelligence, but off the charts handsome and so so funny.  Also terribly athletic.  His best friend in the world is still Grace and he will go to any length to make her laugh.  He loves Minecraft, Ironman, riding his bike, and hitting balls in the yard with Daddy.  He also loves to dance, but gets embarrassed when you catch him busting a move.  His favorite food is beef stroganoff.  His favorite object is his crummy orange blanket that he's been dragging around since he was 2 years old.

Katriel is still in the category of HUGE when it come to 4 year old girls.  She is mostly in size six clothes.  She is also off the charts beautiful, inside and out.  She is our sweetest of sweet kids. Nothing makes her happier than holding your hand or cuddling on the couch.  She loves anything pink, anything with Hello Kitty on it, and anything girly.  She is our least athletic, least outdoorsy kid, but I expect she will be an early reader so she'll probably be just as happy curled up somewhere with a book, while the rest of the family is outside running around like maniacs.  She is going through a picky eater phase and has survived for weeks on almost nothing but white rice.  

While I'm here I guess I will post a few Halloween pics as well.  For the record, I hate Halloween.  I think it is the lamest of all holidays.  Last year I managed to avoid it by taking the kids camping. But we couldn't make that happen this year (and we probably would have been rained out anyway) so Halloween was sort of unavoidable.  My wonderful friends Kathryn and Hernando made it much more bearable by hosting a little weenie roast in their front yard while the trick or treating is going on.  So here are our sweetie pies in all their Halloween glory.

So now that we got Halloween over with we can move on to the real fun: Christmas!!!!  Bring on the jingle bells!!!
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