Cousin Fun

One of my favorite things about being in Maine with Robert’s brother Brian’s family is seeing these cousins playing together.


Each of these kids explore this place in their own way, sometimes alone and sometimes with a buddy.  There is so much to do from low-tide exploring, to kayaking or boating in the canoe.  There is no shortage of fun to be found on these glorious 16 acres!


Exploring the coast always reveals treasures – each year the kids try to recover lost bouys to add to the collection.  This boy finds more every year!IMG_2167IMG_2262

The hammock by the water is a favorite swinging spot for just about everyone!  Wrapping up and screeching while someone pushes you, is the norm!IMG_2266IMG_2271

Jacob played with his new rod & reel as well as changing out lures for some coastal fishing fun!IMG_2349

Bubbles are a fun pastime when the adults are sitting around chatting.IMG_0767 2

When explorations are done, its time to pull out Axis & Allies for a full out battle!

IMG_0769Being in Maine is truly an adventure whether bonding with family or exploring!  So thankful for this place and Betsy & Leslie who very generously share it with us!

Day 1 {to Maine}

The first day is usually the easiest and when you leave on a Sunday it is for sure!  We started off about 6am with the oldest child behind the wheel!  Crazy!!


We made our way through Louisiana, Mississippi, and into Alabama to stop in Gladsden.  Not a bad little town, lots of hotels and a decent Walmart.



The most valuable learned lesson of today was how amazing a Nerf football is to have at the pool!!  The boys played for about 2 hours with another father and his son and their two friends – it was fun watching them.  The nerf football weighs about 10lb more than it should but it was worth it!7722069888_IMG_2097

Tonight we had Taco Salad in the room.  We brought pre-cooked & seasoned taco meat, a pre-made bag of salad, salsa, shredded cheese and guacamole.  Mixed it all together and dinner was served!  It was perfect, healthy, yummy and CHEAP!!


We are all excited to be heading North East!!


Kid Updates

{If you don’t want to hear all about the adventures of my kids, please feel free to skip}

Lately it seems like continues to hold me captive with busyness!!  The kids have been super busy, in a good way, but we are looking forward to a few weeks of no contests, interviews, etc!  Maybe we will stay home and get some real schooling done!!

Jacob and Peter continue to spend a lot of time advertising for Texas Brigades – trying to earn their way back as a leader to the camps next summer, earn some scholarship money, and earn an early-bird hunt!!

IMG_5543So we have been running around from the Wildlife Committee’s Fall Rendezvous, the Fish Hatchery, 4H clubs, and more that I am certainly forgetting!

Each time they do this they share their Brigade experiences and encourage other youths to apply.  This is an amazing program and you can read more about it on Jacob’s blog post, Peter’s blog post, or my post.

4H has kept us running too.

IMG_5506The kids did Plant ID at TVCC, then at the East Texas State Fair.

IMG_5696Then we did Livestock Judging at the State Fair of Texas, followed by the Interview competition there as well.


All have been great competitions and great experience!

Peter brought home 2 ribbons from the East Texas State Fair for photography entries!


Peter also bought a goat with Calf Scramble money from Henderson County.  His first show the East Texas State Fair – we have a long way to go, but we like Harvey (after the hurricane) and look forward to a great season of showing with him!!


Jacob earned the Gold Star award through 4H


Meanwhile Anna has gotten back to sewing.

IMG_4353 She completed her first quilt over the summer, and it working on some table runners for Christmas presents now!

IMG_4387Her Dudds to dazzle team met for their first practice too and they are excited about this year!!




Peter put the first batch of meat in the freezer with this sweet 100+ pound doe from a hunt in Kerens.


And of course, while there share about Brigades!!

IMG_1213And there we are, a few updates of the boys.  It’s been a busy few weeks, and we are excited for cooler temps and a reason to stay in a relax a little!!


Day 1 is over, well sort of.


We headed off to Maine today (a couple weeks ago).  We made an orthodontist stop on our way, and when we realized we were early, we changed our hotel plans.  At the time I thought it was a great idea, get 2 hours further today, 2 hours less to drive the next day.

So after rerouting ourselves and driving through Memphis instead of stopping outside Little Rock, we spend 2 hours with the car off on I-40 because of an accident.  But you know what?  It gave us a chance to stretch our legs, read a book, and pray for the first responders and people in the accident.  Being stopped made me thankful that we were fine.

So after checking in about 8pm (instead of 6pm) we were bummed there was no pool, but really there was not much swimming time.  Instead we cooked out dinner (in the instant pot) and enjoyed some tv.



Whew.  Day 1 over.  1 Geocache logged.  And we will be ready for day #2 tomorrow and our first official College visit the next day!  yay!!

Texas Brigades (Pt 1) : Waterfowl

Last week my youngest boy and I were able to attend the Texas Brigade Waterfowl camp.   I was a huge fan of Brigades before, but even more now!

IMG_4092These camps (there are 8) are all over the state of Texas.  First, they are leadership camps, second they are conservation camps.  I have loved these camps for 3 years, since my oldest attended his first : Rolling Plains Bob White Brigade.

Each camp is 5 days, and yes you drop off and normally go home.  Your son or daughter are there with a committee of leaders who are fully investing in training and mentoring them.  The leaders are amazing and some of the best in their fields.


The structure for the camp is that there are small groups of 5-6 cadets (first time camp attenders), led by a Assistant Leader (a returning cadet) and an adult.  For Waterfowl, the groups are flocks, Bob White the groups are coveys, Buckskin the groups are herds, and so on.  I was honored to be a flock leader for 5 cadets this past week.


There were so many amazing parts of my week (despite the lack of sleep, too much food, and hormonal teenagers).  I thoroughly loved getting to know my flock members and watching them transform throughout the week.  They bonded together, encouraged each other and each were pushed well outside their comfort zones.


My very favorite part was watching my most challenging child become a young man.  I tried not to be too close or in his space.  I wanted him to find himself with his own group.   He did.  He was not under the shadow of his older brothers here, since no one really knew them, they were meeting him.  He figured out what he was good at (Plant ID for one) and he did an amazing job.  He was one of the first youth to try to give his silver bullet, and kept at it until he earned the coveted trophy : his paracord necklace with a waterfowl band on it.


He did not shy away from anything (that I saw) the whole week.  Over everything, I delighted in seeing him come into his own.

Since we have been home he has written a thank you note that far surpassed anything he has ever written!  I asked him once to write it, and he did without another request.  The note was to the person who taught the majority of the plants, since he won a book for scoring the best on the plant ID test.

Next, I asked him if he wanted to make a video to talk about his experiences and what he brought him – the next thing I knew he had his stuff out and was practicing.
Did this camp change him?  So far yes.  So far I see a young man in the place my boy was before last week.


The boys will be sharing their experiences in upcoming posts, this summer someone attended Bob White, Bass, Waterfowl and Buckskin, so there will be lots of insight in the weeks to come!!