River Road Camping with Cousins

This weekend we camped with Corey’s cousin and his family for the first time.
It was a blast! We had so much fun, even having to tent camp ūüėČ

I grew up around River Road and I have never thought about camping there before so it is funny that out of towners introduced us to this side of camping.

I guess having littles for the past 6 years, we never were planning on tubing so we skipped campsites near there-until now anyway.

This was an appropriate way to celebrate this little man turning 6 months old!

Happy Half Birthday G. 

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2PM Coffee Break with homemade marshmallows.

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She didn’t want me taking photos of her sunburn and posting them on Facebook. I reminded her that I was on a Facebook break…so they were going on the blog!

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C decided that she was going to make her own kayak since she was too little for the real ones.

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We actually used the dutch oven this time for an apple pear crisp. It was AMAZING, until we looked for the leftovers only to find the racoons had gotten into it and ate it: RIP crisp.
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I was so happy that we used this after lugging it around for 14 years and I sent this to my dad. Of course his reply was “too many coals on top”. I should have asked him before, but I had ZERO service (which is my favorite way to camp). So it was literally a crisp since the top got a bit burnt. It was just extra “campfirey”.IMG_2214IMG_2216

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Nothing like food roasted over a fire while watching Finn’s “favorite show”- which was the tubers and kayakers getting stuck on the rapids and trying to make it down the river.

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I really truly did not have service, so this is for everyone that thought I was ignoring them all weekend…I sorta was, but I still love y’all.

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Poor Finn was asking when we were going to be home as soon as we left. The site at K&L Campsites was only 40 minutes away from our house, but he was snoring by the halfway mark. I love a good day that wears him out!

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These cutie cousins had such a great time and were already planning their next trip.

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We stayed at the K&L On the River. We had no electric or water and I had to say that I am amazed at the price for that, plus Corey’s cousin paid for early check in, but they still could not set up yet because there were still people in the site. What the reason for allowing people to pay to arrive early is pointless. They also did not give them the reserved site that had water. All told, it was a pretty nice site and the restrooms were cleaner than any state park we have visited, which was impressive. We did not use the showers because you had to pay for use, which we never have experienced because we normally camp at state parks, which has showers for campers. Be prepared to sleep on rocks, there are no tent pads, which is neat because we had 3 tents on the site but does not make for a comfortable sleep (so says my husband who slept on a pallet on the ground.)

We also had the short picnic table so you could not sit on it and get your legs out of it again!

 

 

We’re Starting Baby Led Feeding-Weaning

When I say we, I mean Gunnar.

That is the gist of Baby Led Weaning, or BLW. It is not weaning like we American’s use in the traditional sense though. This is a baby weaning ONTO solids, not off milk. I will still be nursing for at least another year or so. The foods he will be trying are for his practice at chewing (or gumming as he is toothless) and putting food to his mouth and tasting different things.

Food before one is just for fun.

I posted on my BBC blog about things we were going to do different this time but this is one thing I did not discover until just a few months ago when I also decided I was not going to pump and give him a bottle.

Here in the US, the baby food companies have marketed to parents their purees in “stages” starting at 4 months. I am guilty of buying in and giving my kids organic cereal and fruit as soon as they could sit up. Chloe got cereal at 4.5 months because we were in a meeting and I was not comfortable nursing in a room with people…I REGRET it so much because knowing what I know now about the gut, it was way too early and maybe why she has cavities and allergies now. (This was also one of my reasons to not pump).

The basics of BLW is giving them sticks or chip sized portions of softish food and letting them play with it when they are ready.

-6 months old (or within a week like we are) and interested in your food
-Sitting unsupported
-Able to bring food to mouth
-No tongue thrust

You do not put food in their mouth for them, you do not grab it when they gag and you watch them.

BUT WHAT IF THEY CHOKE?

From what I have read, babies have a gag reflex that is at the front of their mouth, where adults have the reflex at the back. This allows them to gag quicker (which looks terrifying) and not choke. Letting them lead how they eat actually allows them to learn how much to take in sooner than putting a spoon of liquid in their mouth that is swallowed no matter what. There is more of a choke risk going from spoon purees to solids than there is starting at solids. But you must watch them because they can break off a large chunk and there are safety guidelines to follow of course.

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We technically started with pears because he grabbed a slice I was eating so I let him lick it. Then I gave him a slice of watermelon which he nommed on.
This steamed bell pepper slice was his first “official” BLW food and he did pretty good with it.
At first, I thought he still had his tongue thrust because he was just licking it. I thought we were going to have to wait a week to try again but then he started sticking it in his mouth and mushing it more. I still don’t think he ate any of it, but that is to be expected.

The next day, I gave him some pear and he mashed that in his mouth as quick as possible.

We are going to go slow because this type of feeding is freaking Corey out and he does not feel Gunnar¬†is ready for “food”. I borrowed the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook from the library so he promised to read it so he can see what to expect since this is so different than us giving a spoonful of mush¬†like we did with the other 3.

The hard part will be watching Finn so he does not give him stuff he is not supposed to eat yet!

Camping at McKinney Falls

We bought our popup camper last year and have been fixing it up and working on organizing it to go on many camping trips.

I plan on documenting our trips as much as I can because I know the kids will grow so fast and these memories will just be memories and forgotten moments at that.

cropped-img_1749.jpgOur spot, #15 was the ONLY site in the entire park that had no trees. You can see that there used to be one but it is long gone. We ended up sunburnt because we have no awning or canopy to get out of the sun.

Lesson learned: Call ahead and request a site with trees.

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We moved Gunnar around to stay in the shade. He was singing to the tree stump here.

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Corey had to wear G the whole time because I pulled a muscle the day before we left!

 

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Exploring the “cave” on one of the paths. Right before this, we discovered a bee hive in a tree and picked up a chunk of discarded honeycomb.

 

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We had to hike down to “Old Baldy”,which is the oldest cypress in the park. This is as far as you can go because recent flooding washed out the rest of the trail so it was closed.

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We met the nicest couple that gave us tips on upgrading from a popup to a hard-side. They also gave the kids this color packet that caused the fire to change colors. Thanks Mitch & Connie from Kilgore (if you ever see this!).

 

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Unfortunately, we either pack too much or still need some organizing…

Christmastime is here…

Well, almost anyway. But while I am baking pies for Thanksgiving and feeling excited about hosting 17 adults and children in my 1200 square foot home, I am thinking about how much God does for us each and every year.

Only one more full day before I put on Christmas music 24/7 and decorate my home in ways that remind me of our Savior’s Birth (even though I know it was not in December- yada yada, I love Jesus anyway)

I am part of the listening team for one of the local stations and they sent 199 Christmas song clips to vote on and what I realized is just how much I am drawn to the classics: Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra around ¬†Christmas. The newer songs on the radio are ok, but they do not spark the sentiments from my Childhood like the “oldies do”. However, in the room¬†listening with me were my kids and they DID like the new Toby Mac Christmas songs and I realized that have a brand new generation to show the world of Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra while we sing along to a new version of Oh Come All Ye Faithful together.

I will always LOVE the classics, but it is exciting to learn new songs along with my kiddos too.

Christmas is all about bringing back memories that are comforting and about making brand new ones for future generations!

A Mothers’ Day story

This is used with permission from my friend and our Troop Leader at Frontier Girls troop 205, Tami Larsen. She sent this email out to a number of us moms and I thought it so inspiring, I asked her if I could share it with you! 

I just love writing something for my mom friends for Mothers Day.  Most years, God lays something on my heart early in the week before Mothers Day, and I just can’t stop writing until I have it down.  But this week, I have felt pretty empty.  

 

Until today. 

 

Today, I yelled at another mom.

 

But not in the way you think.

 

I didn’t yell at her for how she was treating her children, or for cutting me off in traffic, or for being ugly to my kids.¬†

 

I was driving thru the HEB parking lot. It was pouring down rain outside ‚Äď I mean POURING. I saw a mom holding two toddlers on her back as she tried to run through the rain into the store. Besides being very wet, she looked tired and defeated. She seemed to be slowing down.¬† Something came over me ‚Äď almost instinctive.¬† Without even thinking about it, I rolled down the window and yelled through the rain as loud as I could, ‚ÄúKeep going! You can do it!‚Ä̬†

 

At first, she looked at me in much the same way YOU might look at someone who was suddenly cheering you on…in the rain…in the grocery store parking lot!  She was baffled, trying to figure out if she knew me (which she did not).  Then suddenly, she realized we were complete strangers…and she smiled. I mean a HUGE smile…filled with relief and understanding.  The weariness seemed to melt away.  A new resolve seemed to build within her as she ran the rest of the way across the parking lot, actually laughing with her young children.

 

It made me feel so‚Ķconvicted.¬† It made me wonder‚Ķwhy don‚Äôt I do this more often??¬† There are moms I see every day‚Ķfrom the closest friends to the most remote strangers‚Ķand all they need to hear is, ‚ÄúKeep going! You can do it!‚Ä̬† It could be with my words or with my actions.¬† It could be a smile, a pat on the back, or a hug at just the right time.¬† But all too often the moment just passes by.¬† Maybe sometimes I am just too busy.¬† Or maybe I am just not sure of whether to say something or not, or how to say it.¬† Sometimes I probably just don‚Äôt pay attention.

 

But think of the way the world would be impacted if all the moms in the world became cheerleaders‚ÄĒfor each other!¬† We would all feel so renewed and lifted up.¬† We would be filled with a new sense of our ability to fulfill this amazing privilege given to us as moms.¬† The weariness wouldn‚Äôt be such a big deal any more‚Ķbecause someone out there understands‚Ķand is willing to cheer us on when we need it.

 

So, today I am here to tell you this.¬† I know you‚Äôre tired.¬† I know motherhood can be challenging.¬† I know you are dealing with more stuff than you ever imagined.¬†¬†¬† But I also know that Jesus said, ‚ÄúIn this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.‚Ä̬† (John¬†16:33)

 

Keep going, mama!  You can do this!  God has you in the palm of His hand…and He’s not letting go.  Keep running.  Stay focused on the reason why you do what you do. 

 

And while you’re at it…be another mom’s cheerleader today.  It is hard to focus on your own struggles when you are cheering for someone else.  And maybe you can start a cycle of encouragement you never dreamed possible.

 

I know it’s raining mama, I know the load is heavy…but keep going.  You can do it.

 

‚ÄúI can do all this through him who gives me strength‚ÄĚ.

Philippians 4:13

We don’t “do” April Fools.

Funny-April-Fools-Day

As my kids were ¬†turning the calendar in their morning notebooks, my daughter noticed on the calendar “April Fools” notated and questioned me about it.

No one really knows where the exact origin of April Fools came from. Some say it was from the swapping of the calendar from Julian to Gregorian because those that did not get the memo were celebrating the turn of the year in April and did not realize it had been already the new year for a few months.

You can read about some of that history here.

I explained to her that it is a day when people all over play tricks on each other, making them feel foolish, and that we would not be participating or celebrating it.

(I also told her that just because someone printed it on the calendar did not mean it was something we had to follow.)

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Eph. 4:29

Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. Rom. 14:19

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Prov. 13:20

 

When I was a kid, we loved this day. We played jokes from fake spiders and scorpions on the wall, to my best friend telling me she was moving away.

When I first lived on my own, we took it to EXTREMES. A friend and I staged an elaborate hoax that I was a German assassin sent to target officials. We set up a whole ruse and even got the Apartment security guard to bust in the room to “apprehend” me.¬†While in the moment it seemed fun and games- our friends were seriously shaken up during all of it, and I can only imagine the neighbors that saw us brandishing a fake gun¬†and shouting at each other in the parking lot were scared and pretty close to calling the police on us.

And then my friends were so mad they retaliated by stealing my keys and moving my truck, leading me to believe it had been stolen.

I know what people are probably thinking, “what’s the harm in a little bit of practical joking?”

Some of you may be thinking that sounds like a really good joke. And at the time, and for years after, I agreed!

But as I got closer to God, I realized the harm and danger in a bit of “lying”. ¬†I think back on what that “fun and games retaliation” could have led to and the trouble it could have caused.

I think of the boy who cried wolf for one; no one believed him when he was in actual danger.

Then I think of the seed of doubt that can be placed in the hearts and minds of people that are the ones at the butt end of these jokes.

And I think of how it feels to be called a fool.

I spent my life arguing until the other person gave up because I did not like to be wrong. I did not like to look like a fool or to look like I was an idiot, for lack of a better term. So I argued my case, stood firm and refused to let anyone tell me I was wrong. I did not put myself in positions to be made a fool. I became a skeptic of everything and everyone.

WHY then, would I choose to make someone else feel that way for the sake of a marking on a calendar and for a one-sided laugh?
Why would I want to create skepticism?

Our church ministry is founded on pillars we call the 5 E’s and 3 Cs.

One of those Es is Edification or Edifying.

Edifying is defined as :

the instruction or improvement of a person morally or intellectually.
“the idea that art’s main purpose is to supply moral uplift and edification”
But it is also to lift each other up, to encourage the body of Christ.
And the complete opposite of that would be to make someone look foolish, or tear them down and make them laughed at.
I did not write this post to take the joy and laughter out of people.
God LOVES laughter. He loves joy and cheer. He loves when people smile…TOGETHER. In unity and wholesomeness.
 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Prov. 17:22

I love my friends and family too much to make fun of them or play pranks on them that would leave them irritated, feeling foolish or naive.

So today, I will not be participating in April Fool’s Day.

Only¬†fools say¬†in¬†their¬†hearts, “There is no God.” Psa. 14:1

I am no fool.

You are no fool.

You are beautifully and wonderfully made.