Last week we spent 5 days in the Texas hill country an hour west of San Antonio at Mo Ranch. Aaron was invited to teach several marriage seminars throughout the week at our friends’ church’s yearly family camp and they were kind enough to invite all of us to attend.
It was our first time being away from home for that long with the kids and I’ll be honest, I was nervous. Very nervous. I know how much work it takes at home parenting these two littles, that I was really nervous about how much energy it would take being away from home not knowing if I would be by myself a lot of the time with them while Aaron taught. I was worried about how they would do in a new place, I was worried about keeping them safe, sleeping in a strange bed, and surrounded by strangers, only knowing one other family there.
This week away far exceeded my expectations! It was both recharging and exhausting at the same time because vacations with littles is guaranteed to be draining. But I was genuinely happy with the amount of freedom and flexibility this camp provided for our family of four. The kids went into preschool every morning and evening while the adults attended worship and Bible class. Then, we all had lunch together and had about seven hours in the middle of the day for fun and family time. And everyone from their church welcomed us with open arms, loved our kids like they were their own, made us feel a part of their community.
One of the highlights of our week was spending it with some of our best friends. We told the kids a few days before that they would be camping with their friend Q, and from that moment until they saw her they asked every few minutes when they would see her. That taught us how much they love Q AND to not tell them surprises until the minute before they happen! haha!
One of my absolute favorite things to do in the entire world that I don’t do near enough is to float the river. There’s something so amazing about sitting in a tube as the river pulls you along, getting so hot you can barely stand it then jumping in the freezing cold water to cool off. You start to feel too cold in the water so you get back in the tube again until you feel scorched and then you repeat the whole process over again. It’s magical.
I haven’t been since college and every single summer since Aaron and I started dating I’ve sworn that we would go on a float trip each summer. One summer we actually planned it but a drought made the river too low and there was no current so we canceled. It has seriously bummed me out that we haven’t taken the time to plan a float trip.
But Mo Ranch had a stretch of the Guadalupe River starting at a rapid and wading area that was about a quarter mile hike from the camp grounds. We made the hike several times throughout the week to play in the river. Unfortunately, we didn’t bring any tubes so we weren’t able to float down the river back to camp, although we could have swam the distance but didn’t feel comfortable doing it with the kids in just their floaties since we were told it got pretty deep and a quarter of a mile swim is a lot for 2.5 year olds. It was still fun floating in the wading area and riding the rapid like a water slide.
This is heaven…
On this day, we planned to go to the river for the afternoon. We got all the way down to the beginning of the hiking trail that leads to the rapid and a life guard stopped us to tell us that we couldn’t get in the water for 20 minutes because they heard thunder. Since it would take us 20 minutes to hike all the way down to the wading area, we went ahead and started walking so we could get in by the time we got there. We made the hike, got in the water, and five minutes later it started pouring rain! Aaron and Cason were having none of it and wanted to leave immediately. But Gracie and I just spun and twirled in the rain like The Sound of Music. It was absolutely gorgeous being out in the middle of nature away from everything and experiencing a thunderstorm like that and not caring about getting wet! We hiked the quarter mile back to our car in the pouring rain, singing songs, and dancing in the rain. I hope that’s a memory they look back on with warm, fuzzy feelings, embracing the moment and remembering being crazy in the rain!
When we weren’t in the river during our free time, we were sitting outside our room while the kids napped or we hiked around the camp grounds trying to teach the kids how to play soccer.
On the last day of camp, we hiked up to a place called chapel on the hill for worship. The view from the top of this hill looking down onto the rest of the camp was stunning and gorgeous! I couldn’t help but think what a beautiful place this would be for a wedding. It would be hot, but so pretty!
This picture pretty much sums up our week at Mo Ranch…fun but exhausting! We had a wonderful time as a family, getting to know other people, and diving deeper in the God’s word, and…I’m going to brag…learning some wonderful marriage lessons from my husband’s teaching. This week gave us a glimpse of what we long for in our future…traveling as a family to teach and help change marriages while exploring and enjoying the places those travels take us!