Back in August of 2015, just a couple of weekends before we left for England, it was time to go down to Texas to visit my family one last time. The drive is only a little over three hours, and it is always a weekend well-spent when we can hang out with them. This time, we decided to go camping as a family. The weather wasn't miserable, and we haven't camped as a family in a decade or something crazy like that. While we were missing a couple of family members, it was still such a lovely little outing amidst the chaos of preparing to move overseas. We were forced to slow down and remove ourselves from the stress of it all (as much as possible, anyway).
We got to Texas just in time to see Joshua perform with his high school marching band, which we absolutely loved getting to experience. Patrick has a long history with marching band, and it was fun seeing my Joshie out on the field with his sax!
We decided to stay home that night and leave for the campsite the next day. There was a meteor shower going on, though (part of the decision to camp where we did was to get away from light pollution), so we made our way to the roof of the house and camped out up there for a while. Oh my manta, how we laughed! I seemed to always be looking at the wrong place in the expansive sky; everyone would gasp a collective, "Woah!" and I would throw a minor hissy fit at missing yet another meteor lighting up a huge chunk of the sky. My Annie B laughed at me every time, which made me laugh right back. Joshua was the first to turn in, then Dad and April; Patrick, Anna, and I stayed out until nearly midnight making far too much noise while gazing at the stars. I'm sure you can guess that Patrick wasn't the one being obnoxiously loud. Oh, and we blinded ourselves quite a few times while taking pictures in the dark. Patrick might have rebuked us for the sake of his eyes once or twice.
The next day, we eventually made it out the door and to the campsite. We ended up at Lake Crockett at the Caddo National Grasslands in North Texas because it isn't far from the small town where they live. The campsite was only $4, we got a superb location right on the lake's shore, and we had the entire place practically to ourselves! It was fantastic.
Over the course of our stay, we mostly just chilled. It was so wonderful to be able to just relax and have a good time with people that we love. Patrick and I were also really glad to be able to use our camping gear one last time before we packed it away into the storage unit while abroad (we had intended on doing much more camping during the spring and summer, but time got away from us, as you can well imagine). April made the most delicious tuna sandwiches for an early dinner, and we basically munched on fruit and snacks that were already at the house. That night consisted of watching the gorgeous sunset and some more star gazing (which brought plenty more giggles). We all turned in pretty early, and I was lulled to sleep by the sound of the frogs in the night. Man, I slept hard, but I always sleep so well when we're camping.
The next morning consisted of waking up early (what else can you do when nature wakes you up?) and wandering around the campsite for the best pictures and the best lighting. I take far too many pictures for my own good, but there were some that I absolutely loved. Anna was my buddy the previous afternoon and that morning, just hanging out and chatting with me while I experimented with my camera. I love having her around! She's such a joy. Dad would pop in here and there to take some photos (I come from two parents who love photography; I was doomed from the start). Everyone woke up at varying points in the morning, but we were all awake to watch the sun rise. It was quite a lovely morning, which is a rare blessing in the middle of August in Texas!
The next picture is one of my favorites, but not because it's exceptionally good or anything. It's just my poppa taking a photo in his classic Greg posture. I love it and it makes me miss him even more than I do. This is also why I love taking candid photos of people rather than posed; you would never get this in a posed photo, but it's so essentially him that I want to be able to remember it forever.
I didn't post the other picture of this walk because April would kill me. To be grossly honest, there was poop on the floor of the campground restroom and it stunk to high heaven. April and Joshua had to walk past it, which resulted in shirts being pulled up over the nose for survival. Hahaaa! Oh, it was so funny and so disgusting. These are the memories that make trips like this! I do think this photo of April and Joshua is so adorable, though, so I'm totally okay with it being the substitute.
We eventually made breakfast and packed up the gear. I remember getting really stressed and frustrated and having to apologize for my behavior afterward. The fact is that that I was an emotional and stressed-out mess of a girl, and that reared its ugly head as we were packing up to leave our last stay with my family before moving to England. It was truly a wonderful weekend and mini outing, one that I will savor until I get to squeeze the heck out of all of them once again.