My best memories growing up in Oregon revolve around going camping as a child with my dad, and also, my grandparents.  I love everything about it.  So when my mom suggested that instead of our usual girls trip to New Orleans over memorial day, we hunt for a cabin in the woods and take the whole family camping instead, I jumped on it.  It’s hard for our family of six to travel.  We had to give it up for awhile as when we’d travel after Jude’s vaccine injury, he’d regress, have demyelination and various chemical sensitivity reactions.  We’ve tried a few small trips within driving distance in the last year and he’s done amazingly well.  We haven’t taken the whole family back to Louisiana or Alabama though because of the logistics of taking food for 6 people for an extended period.  It’s hard.  We love to travel, we miss our old home territory and not being able to visit my mom in Alabama.  That will be changing very soon as Whole Foods is opening a new store in 2015 near her house at the beach.  I.CANNOT.WAIT.

Anyway, it’s hard to travel with food for 6 people and allergy issues since we can’t just drive through or eat out anywhere.  Camping is the PERFECT answer.  I cooked double meals for a week, froze one, served one for dinner.  We prepped all kinds of snacks and we were good to go!  We searched and searched for the perfect spot to go camping within driving distance of our home and found the Frio River Cabins.  We wanted woodsy, campfires, swimming in the river and the comforts of a cabin with a kitchen and real beds.  The location was perfect.  The water was cold but so clear and glorious.  The kids were able to roam, explore, discover, dig, bird watch, chase minnows and skip rocks.  We had hammock time, card games (Jude won at UNO!), meals over campfire, scary stories, wading in the river, swimming at a waterfall, we watching Maggie chase rabbits till she passed our from exhaustion.  We ate and laughed and fell in to bed with sun kissed skin, exhausted.  I felt so content and happy watching my family these four days.  It’s the happiest I’ve been in a very, very long time.  My 3 oldest kids even experienced s’mores!  It was such a big deal for them with their allergies.  For those curious, we used these marshmallows, these graham cookies, and this chocolate.  Far from healthy but an exciting special treat for them.  We even gave Jonah his very first piece of chocolate ever at almost 19 months.  He nodded “yes” as he chomped in to his first bite lol.

And the weather, oh my goodness, the weather.  A cold front came through the day before left.  That meant it was in the 70’s during the day and high 40’s / low 50’s at night.  It was perfect!  Swimming in the crystal clear cold water during the day and cold enough to warm up by a fire at night, perfect!  We couldn’t have special ordered better weather for mid May in Texas!

I can say, we will definitely be going back.  We made so many wonderful memories….I’m counting down the days until we can go back.  These days, they are fleeting.  This will be the last summer Ty’s at home and not working.  He’s about to turn 17 (!?!?) and we will have the challenge of working around his work/life schedule even more.  He’ll soon venture out and that doesn’t escape me.  We have to make as many memories while he’s here as possible.  I want to cherish these days with all 4 at home.  This trip and these memories are ingrained on my heart….

Consider yourself warned, photo overload ahead!  I took over a 1,000 photos, and these are some of the faves.  I used both my Nikon D700 and my new Samsung NX300.


These crack me up….my sweet Jude experiencing smores for the first time.  So funny!


We really enjoyed our time around the fire, telling stories, looking at the stars, watching fireflies….


My baby boy with his very own walking stick??  Swooooooon.  Steal my heart cute.  And I think Maggie loved the river more than all her people combined!


You know what else makes me swoon?  A baby wearing daddy.



Right before our trip I stumbled upon Jude’s old “happy camper” tshirt and it was the perfect fit for Jonah.  Great timing and so stinking cute.



The property was stunning.  Woods, the river, mountains on the horizon.