Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Day Away

We are a day-trippin' kind of family. Despite both of us growing up camping with our families, we've done little of it in the past 7 years. Why's that? Because we've had a series of bad sleepers, and oh my it's miserable to take non-sleepers camping. So in all that meantime, and since our move to Texas, we've taken to day-long rambles.

Bluebonnet season is the best time for a drive away from home, because it can be quite breathtaking, and also because in this part of the country, there's just not much color to be had. Most of the year, nature's palette is rather bland, especially given the long drought.

After BB's long, tough school quarter finished up, we were all eager to spend a day away from home. Each year in the spring, we take a drive just to see the wildflowers. This outing includes a stop at the most magnificent nursery/garden center you can imagine. Just a beautiful place...the main buildings are flanked on each side by a solid acre of blooming something. One year, it was two enormous plots of bluebonnets. Last year, it was poppies - a sea of red. We took our drive before the flowers hit their peak this spring, but still saw lots of loveliness by the roadsides and at the nursery, where the above photo was taken (that's a California Poppy in the foreground).

I don't know what these are called. They resemble roses, but I don't think they are. Either way, MK looks pretty behind the blooms, doesn't she?

The weather turned out to be very cloudy and windy, which made wandering outside a bit un-fun.

But we still did our usual touring around the gardens themselves and the shop. You may wonder if little CA became ill on our excursion? I am happy to say that she was just fine. This was her way of examining the pottery whilst still obeying BB's instruction not to touch it with her hands.

Looks pretty convincingly sick to me, though...

The little ones always like to play with the dirt, gravel, and rocks. That's what had her mesmerized for the moment as she sat in front of the bluebonnets. Did you know there are white and burgundy varieties of bluebonnets? So pretty.

After a quick snack, we moved on from the flower nursery. Everyone was just too chilly. But we had no plan. Then BB remembered a state park/natural area nearby that we'd visited once in the past, so we headed that way.

It's one of the many misnomered places we've found since taking up residence in Texas (such as the beloved "Hill Country" region, which is indeed beautiful, but what they call hills are really small undulations, but who's measuring anyway? ;-) The park we visited has "Falls" in its name. It's a river. With some down-hilly sections. But, we'll go along with it and call it a Falls. Anyway, it has typical rugged Texas beauty. Most of these photos are rather monochromatic, due to the cloudy sky and dry rocky landscape.

I loved the perfect heart-shaped leaves of the clover above, which I spotted on the path down to the falls.

When rains are intense, all or most of the rocks are under water. I have never seen it at that stage. I bet it's quite beautiful and overwhelming!

But for now, the river levels are low-ish, which meant we could scramble and explore the rocky, moon-like surface of the sometime riverbed. We were glad to see the clouds begin to break up. It made for perfect spring weather.

There were lots of cracks and crevices in the rock, some shallow and others deeper...

Like this one:

He lowered all the kids (not the baby) down into that crevice, then climbed in himself. Said he felt a bit claustrophobic. Don't tell him I put this photo in the post...;-)

See what I mean about monochromatic? But still, it was peaceful and rugged and harsh-beautiful.

Look! A ready made play-pen for the little hikers! She wasn't wild about staying in the hole long enough for me to get a photo.

One of my favorite photo-treats of the day: spying these, which I believe are some kind of wild roses, growing nearly out of sight in one of the much wider crevices. I love finding hidden loveliness and unlikely beauty, especially springing from those barren rocks....

But as if that wasn't enough - that little photo op from the Lord - this fellow was hanging out among the roses:

I tried for several shots of him while he was among the roses, but he was wiggly. When he fluttered out of the flowers, his landing spot was my jeans. Love it!

CA pretending to nap in one of the many crater-like holes in the rock. She's so funny!

What was endearing about these photos was that they just sat that way together - no posing. Just little girls who really like each other! Smile.

BB had to do more than his share of work during our exploration, since CJ had to be carried so much over the random terrain. She rewarded him for his services here.

BB took the big ones further along than the little ones and I could go, so Dimple Wimple did some exploring of her own. I was impressed with the way she handled herself, climbing up and dropping down the different levels of rocks.

While BB was off with the big 4, they apparently had to jump across water several times. One of those times, he could not steady LC well enough, and she took a chest-deep dunk, much to her shocked dismay. It was the big adventure of her day. We're never prepared with changes of clothes when such things happen!

It's only partly jest when people say that Texans bow down to the bluebonnet. I think we all love it because in so many parts of Texas, it graces an otherwise bland color scheme for one month out of the year. The bowing down part is only partly jest because I did indeed have to get into a rather humbling pose to snap this shot (think lying on my side on the rock, only because I can't lie on my stomach anymore). These flowers were a couple of just a few scratching a pretty little living from the rock crevices.

A kind couple saw us...oh wait, let me back up. We drew attention to ourselves in this way: we came to a narrow, somewhat deep crack in the rock, so some of the bigger kids hopped down into it. CA, who was a little too far ahead of mom and dad, parked herself (seated) on the edge of the crevice. The kind couple (and BB) was near enough to observe CA's plunge down into the hole. She simply got too close and fell right in. Grace of God that she didn't smack her head against the opposite side on the way down. She was totally unharmed - very like her...she does scary things and rarely gets seriously hurt.

So it was after all that excitement that the couple offered to get our whole family in a photo. Like I said, kind folks.

Upon arriving home pleasantly exhausted, I saw this on the kitchen countertop. I'm sure it was there before we left, but I missed it then...

What a wonderful thing to know - that one of your children felt happy and took the time to say so. Turns out LC did this. And how very like her. She's just a happy kid. Easy going, satisfied, sweet and sensitive.

And after our beautiful day away, I carry happy memories in my heart, treasures from the Lord....


  1. Great photos Beth! Your beautiful family make me smile (and sometimes laugh). Praise God for such a fun day trip! Praying for you guys. xo

  2. Ha!! I literally laughed out loud at the pic of BB! Funny guy! :) Such great memories and how fun it will will be in the years to come with a adventurous baby boy!!! Love the family pic by the way!!

  3. love how you guys relax together.

  4. I'm finally catching up on your blog! The six weeks since Shepherd's birth have been busy (of course) but so much fun!...but blogging/blog-reading fell off my priority list for awhile. :)

    Anyway...I LOVE these photos of your family having fun together. Days like those are so refreshing, and SO needed (as I know you know.) And I actually got a little teary-eyed when I saw your baby bump in the family pic. What a blessing, another sweet gift from the Lord! So excited for you!