A few months have passed since I posted a blog about travel, or about anything not related to my recently released books (You’ve heard, right? Check out the links in the left sidebar.). A few things have changed in these months — I moved back to Texas, I got engaged, I got married, I became a step-mom, I moved again. Life is busy. Life is wonderful.
Last weekend was my first camping trip with my new family — my husband and four step-sons (ages 5, 7, 9, and 12). I’m so very outnumbered, but in general the boys do a good job of reminding each other to speak differently and keep the body noises to a minimum in the presence of a lady. We received lots of fun camping gear as wedding presents, and all six of us were excited to venture out on our first trip now that the weather is turning warmer.
In the past few years I’ve become accustomed to camping with a few friends or by myself, so it was a challenge to me to come up with all the food for six people for the weekend and make sure we didn’t forget anything important for meal preparation. I’m ok by myself winging it with peanut butter and honey sandwiches all weekend — I knew the boys, however, would not be satisfied with such little sustenance and variety. I planned and packed accordingly, and the boys ate like they were starving all weekend (heaven help us during the teen years). Of course, I had more than one cup of coffee from my trusty percolator during the weekend.
This was my third camping trip in a row on the first weekend of April. Two years ago my sister, brother-in-law, and I took my niece camping on spring break/Easter in the mountains of North Carolina. Last year my friend Jen and I went camping on Easter/my birthday in the Columbia River Gorge and the Oregon Coast. And this year, I decided that three years in a row means it’s now a tradition. From here out, our family will make every attempt to go camping on the first weekend of April/Easter/my birthday. It’s the beginning of a family tradition, and a very good tradition indeed.
It was also our first trip with the boys where we used our new Texas State Parks annual pass. The past two years I’ve made good use of a National Parks annual pass. On our honeymoon Stephen and I phased out the National Parks pass a few days before it expired, and we purchased a State Parks pass to use over this year with the boys. So far we’ve visited (either as a couple or with the boys) Dinosaur Valley State Park, Monahans Sandhills, Davis Mountains, and now we’ve camped at Cleburne State Park. The boys enjoyed running around in the wilderness, climbing trees, playing in the dirt and the rocks — we didn’t even have time to take them to the lake this weekend at Cleburne, but they had a blast. With it being only 45 minutes from our house, I’m sure this will be a favorite camping spot for years to come.
Here’s to a new family tradition and the years to come!