Ikes Tat

We thought now that Isaac is walking, he could walk himself down to the local tattoo parlor and get inked.....or it was the work of older sisters :)


Ike's First Birthday!

How did my baby turn one? I remember when I found out we were having a boy, I was not disappointed by any means, but after two girl I thought, “What am I going to do with a boy?” I soon found out that I would cuddle with him and love on him and completely spoil him. This little guy is so sweet (and very handsome I might add) and it totally a mama’s boy. His has a huge smile for such a little guy and is very even tempered. Isaac has truly been a blessing to our family and it been fun to watch him develop over the past year.

Ike started walking a couple of months ago but every time he took a step we heard” Look! Ikey’s walking”….PUSH! So he decided enough with that - took a break and decided in early July to take another shot at it.

Jared’s parents and his brother were down for his birthday and his sisters baked him a cake, which he devoured hand and fist. He got lost of “manly toys”, abacus from Erinhis favorite by far was a helicopter from Grandma Linda – like father, like son!

The Great EasTex Canoe Trip

Jared’s parents came to town for a week and offered to take our kids for a couple of days so Jared and I could take a much needed vacation. We have never had the night away from the kids in 5 ½ years so needless to say we were very thankful for the offer.

I have been eyeing kayaks for sometime and saving my money and Jared pitched in the last little bit as my birthday present…and some kayak paddles and life jackets. We ended up buying a Sevylor Inflatable Colorado two-person Canoe. After doing some research we decided on paddling Village Creek up in Big Thicket National Preserve. Big Thicket is known for its ecological diversity. It’s the cross roads of the several different eco systems and houses four out of five carnivorous plants native to the US.

There are no camping facilities in Big Thicket; however it’s free to apply for a National Park Service Backcountry camping pass, which allows you to camp on most sandbars on the river within the preserve. We decide the first night we would camp on the river and the second we could stay at Village Creek State Park.

The day before we were to port out Alex paid northern Mexico a lovely visit dumping rain on most of East Texas. The forecast was not in our favor (try 80% chance of rain all three days) but we were hell bent on canoeing and so we headed off ignoring the forecast (and packing lots of food because I can be wet but wet and hungry is just miserable).

We used a local outfitter, Piney Woods Canoe Outfitters to drop us off and pick us up. The guy was great, gave us lots of good info about the area and was reasonably priced. He told us that they lost 50% of their canopy trees during hurricane Rita and Ike. I thought that was a lot, but after we got on the river, it became apparent that we were in a eco system called Sandylands and these towering pines and hardwood were rooted solely in sand.

The first day we paddled around 10 miles and we had a rough start. Jared jumped in the river for our first portage and forgot his cell phone was in his pocket and swamped it. We had a little inner tube to pull behind us that carried our tent, cook stove, clothing, water, cooler and pretty much all of our supplies. They lasted a whole 20 minutes before catching on a tree branch and popping. So we stopped and managed to pack everything on the back of our boat. And then around the three mile mark Jared snapped his paddle and it started to pour.

The first day was an exhausting day of paddling, there were at least 30 trees to cross and scores more to dodge (and dodge well since we have an inflatable canoe). There was lots of “LEFT! LEFT! NO YOUR OTHER LEFT”! Amazing we didn’t fight and we found the canoe tracks wonderfully, almost like a kayak. After five hours of paddling and porting we found a beautiful secluded sand bar. I guess the nice thing around canoeing in the rain is no one else is on the river.

It stopped raining enough to set up camp before it opened up again and poured. We cooked dinner in the rain and finally set off to bed. The only people we saw in two days passed by us that night around 10pm.

The next morning we set off for the last 14 miles. This day was much easier as the park let the outfitter come in and cut trees to make passable channels for paddlers. The day ended up being overcast without any rain – the weather was beautiful and the river was amazing. Lots of cypress trees with rows of knees and moss handing from their low branches. It was amazing; the only thing missing from the picture were alligators (thankfully).

We completed our journey for 24 miles after another 6 ½ hours of paddling at Village Creek State Park. As we got out of the river it started raining again. Realizing that our equipment was all wet from the night before we decided to cut it short and head home.

But not before heading to Goings BBQ, the local restaurant in Lumberton, Tx. It was the best BBQ I have eaten and came with a live country western band in the corner equipped with appliqué Texas blazers from the 1970’s. A perfect end to an EasTex outing.

Eliza's 3rd Birthday!

Eliza turned three on June 27th! Where has the time gone? It just seems like yesterday Jared and I were sitting a Clear Lake Regional L&D room laughing at the morning saga as the color slowly came back to Jared’s face. She was born with a spark in her eyes and I knew from the first time I held her she would make life full and vibrant. From that day life would never be the same as our family grew to four.

Eliza is my rough-and-tough girl. She takes on the role of the Alpha child in any play group (for better or worse) and is extremely competitive. And with the flip of a coin she can be so sweet and shy. I love her energetic character and her mildly sarcastic sense of humor.

Eliza has learned this year to love bubbles, kitties and playdoh. She is always “helping” in the kitchen (why typically results of me bleaching food coloring out of something). She must have clean hands (even if the rest of her is fifthly), insists on brushing her teeth at least twice a day and has a growing fear of public restrooms. She LOVES Frog and Toad books and when all is silent at night she still asks to be rocked.

Happy Birthday Sweetie!