Archive for the ‘vacation’ Category

Family vacation, well kind of…

March 18, 2010

** I am reposting this one because in case you have not noticed ( I hope you haven’t!) I have been gone all week and should be home tonight. We have been on vacation ( can you call it that with this many kids?) and I thought I’d repost my last crazy vacation in hopes that this went a little better…. I guess you will find out soon enough!

I owe you an apology, I feel like I lied. I was gone on vacation ( if you can call it that :)) since Wednesday and I didn’t say anything. I just hate to announce that no one will be home, just incase anyone might want to break in and steal some kids toys, or dirty clothes, since that is about all that we have anyway. If you are planning on it, just don’t do it at night you might trip on my clutter and break an ankle šŸ™‚

For the past year I have been on and off trying to pull together a family reunion of sorts. With siblings in college and across the country we were never sure until the last minute who would make it. Everyone made it at one point or another, and I am thrilled to say there was a 12 hour period where we were all in one place at one time!
I am the oldest of six, there are 4 girls and 2 boys, just like my kids. My parents have 11 grand kids and counting. That’s me on the bottom left holding the baby, my kids are scattered all over the photo! What a cute family, huh?

But forget about all of that… this is the real story.
My husband ditched me the night before we were to leave at 7am. Not that this had been planned for a year or anything, but he had some things at work that he couldn’t miss. So we loaded up the truck and trailer, I said a few nasty things to him and the kids and I were off! It’s not like we were staying at the Ritz or anything, for crying out loud we were camping, I love camping, but not by myself with 6 kids and a sick baby. Or towing a trailer with nightmare trailer mishaps still fresh on my mind.
Have I mentioned that we are in a severe drought? The entire state is almost 30 inches behind in annual rainfall, we are not allowed to water our lawns AT ALL. The hill country is really suffering, entire lakes have dried up. Knowing this you are probably not surprised at all when I tell you that I caught in a torrential downpour on a two lane, windy switchback road without the trailer covered, and everything getting either ruined or soaked. So I had to jump out, dig for the tent tarp, untie all the rope, cover everything and retie it all complete soaked with my kids all crying in the truck and screaming my name. It was AWESOME, I hope I can do it again soon…
Oh yea, and I drove out of San Antonio on the WRONG highway for 90 min. before I realized my mistake. That was really AWESOME as well. My 5 hour trip was a good 8 hours at this point. If my children teach your kids any new 4 letter words, I apologize, it is my husbands fault.
Oh and did I mention the baby is sick? Just ask the entire campground, they all know he isn’t feeling well and didn’t want to get any sleep either.

But anyway, deep breath…. onto more fun things, like dead animals and rabid squirrels. This is the beautiful view of the gorgeous valley where we camped at my favorite camp ground, and most popular Texas state park called Garner. This place is really magical, and have I mentioned beautiful?

But that isn’t what the kids came for, no, they came for the wild life.

Like rabid squirrels. We were sitting down by the river when a squirrels fell out of the tree right next to us, it landed right there with a HUGE thud! We watched it for a minute laughing, it seemed kinda stunned. It tried to run away… and couldn’t. Then it got really sad, the poor thing was trying to hop while dragging its head on the ground. It was having some kind of seizures and acting bizarre. I thought it might have hurt itself when it fell out of the tree, but my brainiac brother gave us the run down on rabies and was sure that was the problem. At this point all the kids came over to see what we were looking at. The poor thing tried to climb a tree again, but only got part way and curled up into a ball. This is where we should have walked away with the kids. But no, we let then stay and watch.

If we were not in a State park I would have killed it myself to put it out of its misery, but if I am going to get arrested and fined $500 it is not going to be for killing a sick squirrel!
Quit reading at this point if you are an animal lover, I am just warning you. Now that the dying squirrel has a proper audience of small children, it dramatically starts coughing up blood and slowly falls down the tree and dies. Right at the feet of all my little girls! So we are all now fairly traumatized. Please don’t mention squirrels to my kids unless you want to rock them to sleep at night and tell them about animal heaven for the 1,085 th time in the last 72 hours.
We didn’t do much better later in the day. Next they found a dead bat, and a very large dying insect. I was expecting at any moment the bat to jump up and eat the insect right in front of us. That would have been priceless.
So when we came across this cute little baby bird I feared the worst. It was just learning to fly and its leg was stuck in the nest. It was wearing itself out flapping like crazy. My brother climbed up to where the nest was and tried to free it, only he dropped it on the ground first. Don’t worry, it lived, we came back the next day to make sure our luck was changing.

Garner is a beautiful fun place. Most everything there was built in 1941 by the CCC. Every night in the summer they have a dance at the main lodge. All the campers in the camp ground get dressed up and show up to dance. EVERYONE dances! It is so fun! My 4 oldest kids were asked to danced by other kids in the park, it is a blast! This is the dance area under an old beautiful tree.

My Brother-in-law dancing with my daughter.

Now, during the day you spend all day on the river. It is called the Frio. Meaning freezing. It is spring feed so it is always cold and crystal clear! This is how Storie looked for 4 straight days, well, when she wasn’t making me walk her to the bathroom every hour 3 blocks from our campsite.
I just threw this picture in because I took it, and I think it turned out REALLY cute. It is my niece Sadie.
Ummm and this one because someone needs to spend less time on the computer and more time teaching their children how to eat a banana. Obviously takes after his fathers side of the family šŸ™‚
Well, and this one because it was priceless. I caught her looking at her reflection in the bumper, she was fascinated by the dirt on her face. In a really cute way, not the I am a bad Mom because my kids were filthy, kind of way!

Now to the end. If you read this far, pat yourself on the back. My trip did get better, my husband showed up for the last day and a half and helped me pack back up to go home. I knew he wasn’t going to miss jumping off rope swings.

When I got home the house was spotless, except for the shoes and stuffed animals the dog had murdered while we were gone. The dog has a separation anxiety problem…
So again, I am sorry I didn’t just say I was going to be gone. Thank you for all the help with guest posts and for putting up with me reposting old posts!
Its always good to be home, even if it takes a month to put it all away! If you are interested in trading laundry services with wild animal sitting services you met the right girl. You can do my camping laundry and I can kill your wild animals in front of your children. Any takers??


Tips for traveling with 6 kids….

December 24, 2009

When you plan on being in the car for a 19 hour trip one way you must do the following…

– Pack everything you THINK you might need and see if your husband can fit it all in.
– Always bring very messy snacks, like sticky candy and powdered donuts.
– Never underestimate how often a 3 year old needs to pee, and never try to call her bluff.
– Pack the diapers and wipes together in the bottom of a suitcase and pack it first so it is hardest to get out.
– #1 thing to do, forget your glasses so your husband has to do the ENTIRE drive by himself while you play on the laptop.
Tips for getting a hotel with 8 people.
– There is a reason they charge $39.99 a room. Fork out the extra $20 for the $59.99 and you might get clean towels.
– Always say, “It’s just my wife and kids” they never could imagine you forgot to tell them about the “other” 4 kids that will be sharing the room also.
– Get 2 queens not 1 king. The king only invites ALL the kids to sleep with you.
– Bring sleeping bags and make the big kids use those.
– Lay all 4 girls the wrong way on the bed… you can only fit 2 the correct way but if you pack them in like sardines you only have to bring in 2 sleeping bags. Hey, their small, and they still think it is fun to be uncomfortable all night.
– NEVER let the baby play with the remote. This is a hotel/motel you never know what channels they have.  The 1 year old might flip to something COMPLETELY inappropriate with all the kids watching while Mom is in the bathroom and Dad is cleaning out the car…. They also charge you for the remote when it magically disappears and you can’t return it to the front.

Time to start thinking about vacation next summer?

October 23, 2009
Having a large family we don’t take many expensive vacations. Not saying that I wouldn’t like to, it’s just not very economical for us! By the time we put 8 of us on a plane, rent a car, rent 2 hotel rooms, plus eating out and admissions to places, we could have bought a small island somewhere!
Just about every vacation we take right now involves camping and driving to the destination. Which is fine with me, I love to camp and so do the kids.
But right now is the time to start making reservations to some camp grounds. Many start booking 11 months out. Our favorite park, Garner state park in Texas, books solid within hours each day they release camp sites 11 months away. We already have our sites for next July.
But all is not lost if you decide to go last minute and don’t have reservations. Last year we wanted to go to Dinosaur State Park, up by Dallas and didn’t have a camp site booked. We were unable to stay in the park ( they also fill up FAST) but we did find a private campground outside the park. These are usually more expensive, and you will have to pay the park fee every day on top of that, but you have to suck it up if you didn’t make reservations a year away!
Like the dino footprint?!
The camp ground had these adorable little cabins that we rented spur of the moment. They were quite a bit more expensive but my little one had just gotten out of the hospital with asthma problems and I was exhausted. So the extra money was worth it to me, not so much the husband, but hey, I was the one up all night nursing šŸ™‚

The insides were a little 70’s, flash back to my friends basements when I was a kid, but we had a blast.
My children who are used to camping were in heaven! They thought the little cabins were the coolest trip ever! We brought all the bikes because we had room with no extra camping gear which was a great choice. We rocked as parents for the weekend….
Had to throw in the token cute baby picture.

If you are thinking about camping next summer, you might want to see if you can make reservations now. If you would like some personal reviews on parks in Texas we have been to most of them, just shoot me an email!
I personally use Reserve America for almost all my reservations. Click HERE for their site. If you are going the day before you have to call the park directly.
What are your plans for next summer? Have you made reservations?


Campin’ in the rain, what a glorious feelin’, just campin’ in the rain!

May 24, 2009
We are back, a day early! Your choices areĀ severelyĀ limited as toĀ entertainingĀ 9 children, in the mud and rain, and preserving your campingĀ equipmentĀ when it has been raining for 12 hours and theĀ forecastĀ calls for 48 more hours of rain. Thank goodness for DVD’s, SUV’s and Redbox! Back in the olden days my parents would have made us play cards or actual thinking games in the tent while it rained, spending some quality family time fighting and yelling at each other!
I hate to even tell anyone where we went, it was soooo beautiful that I don’t want to advertise for them! I want to keep the place a secret!

They had this beautiful, I mean horrible, spring fed pool. You wouldn’t want to swim there the water is really cold and clear, it would be miserable in the Texas summer!
They have wonderful LARGE campsites, but who likes that? I like to be cramped and camping on my neighbor.Ā 
Look at this happy boy… I mean miserable child. What little boy likes to play in the water with sticks?? Keep them at home with video games, don’t bring them here.

I will be honest though… this is the face of a child that is unhappy about not being allowed to go down to the river unsupervised. Horrible parents aren’t we??

Just in case you wondered what you swim in when you forget your swimsuit… here it is, tada, your clothes!
Now, all Mother’s out there can appreciate this one… I sent my husband back to the campsite to do a few things and sent the baby with him. Ā A COUPLE hours later I could not find him. So I went wandering around the campsite looking for the two of them. I found this beautiful spot in the butterfly garden, thisĀ wind chimeĀ is NOT in the foreground, it is directly above the hammock. It must be about 10 feet long, it has the most beautiful sound. I have never seen anything like it. Imagine my surprise when I find this below the wind chime:
My husband and baby asleep in someoneĀ else’sĀ hammock! How cute are they though! Yes, the baby did wake up with hammock marks across his face.Ā 
This is the large spring fed pool that you wouldn’t want to waste your time visiting… Not very pretty huh? šŸ™‚
The kids under the waterfall that is directly below where we camped. Geeze, this place sucked, gorgeous waterfall and all… you sure wouldn’t want to visit this place.Ā I must have 20 pictures of this pose over the past 11 years, with all the kids on different trips. Paul with the backpack and a sleeping baby. Why don’t they make these things for adults?Ā 
Tucker’s nick name is El Tortuga, The Turtle. He puts it on all this baseball stuff. True to his name he spent most of the time catching turtles in the water. It was pretty amazing how he swam up under them and caught them.Ā 
Another view of this miserable place… šŸ™‚
My crazy 9 year old daughter flying through the air on the rope swing. Yep, thats her in mid-air!
I wish I had a wide enough angle to capture all 6 asleep on the drive back. But here are 4 of the cutest kids on the planet. Isn’t it fun to be a parent? We wore these kids out!

So this horrible place is called Krause Springs in Spicewood, Texas. I can understand if you want to come out and see how bad it is for yourself, just make sure we have reservations first!