Saturday, April 19, 2008

Inks Lake

Last weekend, we took Grace on her first camping trip. While some of you may challenge this particular definition of camping, the only good way that we know of to camp with a toddler is in an RV or camper trailer. I have mentioned in the past that I would really like to someday own a travel trailer or RV so that I can share with my family some of the joys I experienced as a kid RVing with Pa, Mema and my sisters.

I do enjoy tent camping and Brenda and I have gone once before with Billy and Angie. While we had a good time, I knew Brenda wasn't all that excited by the prospect of tent camping with a toddler. Somehow I needed to get Brenda to warm up to the idea of someday owning a camper trailer and the idea of camping in general. We have been to a couple of RV shows and she has seen how they can deliver some nice features and conveniences that would make camping more enjoyable. She has had the opportunity to "visualize" the camping experience, but it wasn't tangible.

Fortunately, one of the founders of the company I work for owns a 28ft travel trailer. It has 2 bunk beds in the rear, a queen bed in the front and the convenience of a kitchen, A/C, heater, hot water and bathroom in between. He also had graciously offered to me for our use whenever we pleased.

We planned a trip to Inks Lake, which is a beautiful state park about 60 miles from us. This also happens to be a great time of year to be outdoors, so I reserved an RV pad with water and electricity months ago in anticipation of this opportunity. While we had some minor road bumps when it came to getting packed up and out of town, the weekend was a wonderful success. I really wanted to make sure that Brenda and Grace both had a great time, especially if I was going to have any luck in keeping my RV dreams alive. The weather was almost perfect, it was a bit breezy and cool (Grace stayed in a long sleeve hoodie and jeans the whole trip), but it was really pretty. We had smores by the campfire, we took our bikes and went riding, we walked a lot, we watched the ducks on the lake, we relaxed and did nothing at all, we stared at sky and counted the stars. Basically, we did everything you are supposed to do on a camping trip.

We also kept alive a little tradition that I share with Billy in that we do not resort to hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner and cold cereal for breakfast. When we camp, we eat well. This trip was no exception, we started our mornings with pancakes and sausage or french toast, we had steak for dinner or grilled pork chops with baked potatoes. We did not skimp on anything.

This is not to say that we didn't learn a few things along the way. It was definitely an educational trip. We learned about giving each other some grace, we learned to make sure that the water hose and power cords can reach their intended outlets BEFORE you unhitch the trailer and level it. We learned that you always take long sleeves no matter what the weatherman says. We learned that toddler can entertain herself for hours with 2 buckets and a handful of rocks. We learned that the secret to a toddler sleeping well is all about running their fool legs off all day outside and that the secret to Mommy and Daddy sleeping well lies in the power of videos of Sunday School Songs. I learned that there are only 4 stars in the sky... just ask Grace, I told her that there were many, many more and she just said "NO. Four stars!"

So my dreams are still alive. We survived our trip and came home with wonderful memories. Check out some of our pictures in the photo gallery.

Monday, April 7, 2008

A Close Call!

Thursday morning, just as I was about to head out of the house, I got one of those mind numbing, bone chilling calls that nobody likes to get. Actually, to make it worse, it was a voicemail that nobody likes to get. It started out like this, "Honey, I am okay, but I was just in an accident..."


Frantically, I called Brenda back, who was shaken up, but overall, doing pretty well. She wasn't hurt, adrenaline was pumping, but nothing physically wrong. She was merging onto I-35, headed to work about 7:15am. Traffic was about normal, slow, but still moving. In the lane next to her was a Ford Bronco. Somebody cut off the Bronco, and when he slammed on his brakes, his wheels locked up and without any control, slid right into Brenda. Fortunately, no one was injured.

The passenger side is pretty banged up, but it wasn't sufficient to deploy the airbags or break any windows. Thank goodness the guy had insurance, and he promptly accepted responsibility. Brenda didn't push for a police report and they parted after exchanging information. Brenda is taking the car to the body shop today to have it fixed up. I can't tell you how thankful I was that Grace was with me that morning. The accident didn't end up being all that serious, but the shock and surprise would have been enough to push the whole situation over the edge.

Remarkably, we ended up having a great weekend after that little incident. We got lots of work done around the house. The yard is mowed, the pool is sparkly clean and Brenda took care of a good bit of the inside spring cleaning as well. That's not to say that there aren't projects, because there is always SOMETHING we could work on!

It wasn't all work this weekend, we also got to spend some time with friends on Saturday night. That is something we haven't had the chance to do much of lately. Sitting around, eating fajitas, and catching up with friends has become a precious and uncommon way to spend an evening. Grace was really, really good this weekend. I think we may have finally gotten past that double ear infection. She is done with her meds, and she seems so much happier, and much less congested. Sunday we went to the park to feed the ducks and got to see lots of little ducklings trying out their sea legs. It was fun to watch Grace's eyes light up when she saw them. She talked about it all evening long. If everything works out like we plan, this next weekend we should have some bluebonnet pictures to share. Check out the photo album to see some pics of Brenda's car. We may have to start a betting pool to guess how much the damage costs!