Posts from the ‘the places we go…’ Category

that pink gun!

jasper and jon get ready to go squirrel hunting while i take advantage of their Daddy/Daughter Time by reading in the tent under the trees with a soft breeze blowing.

sounds nice, doesn’t it?  it was.

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jon has jasper practice shooting first before they head out.

turns out she can hit towels drying on the barb wire fence pretty well 🙂

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hello, hon!

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off they go.  while i have a Mom Moment and worry horribly about what could go wrong and if they will have a good time and if she will be sad when she sees a squirrel get shot and if there are snakes and if i should take a nap or read.

(it all goes well, they have a wonderful time and i read instead of napping)…

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around the campsite?  her pink gun joins the crowd 🙂

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dad found some antlers for jasper early on in the trip and it wasn’t long before she found something to do with them.

i love stumbling across little Jasper Tableaus like this 🙂

the next morning, dad took jasper squirrel hunting with him while jon and i ran our long run (18 miles, y’all, 18 miles through the hill country.  it was hilly.)…  i am kicking myself that i didn’t get any pictures of them as they walked off because it was a sight that i hope never fades in my head.

also, in a brave move, dad had her take her kitty ear headband off and wear a camo baseball cap.  jasper complied although she thought hard about putting up a fuss.

they headed off;  my dad and my daughter…   jon and i went for our run and when we got back to the tent, i found two more squirrel tails had joined the first one amongst the antlers.

and then it was time to eat (and boy, did we eat!) and get ready to pack up and head home.  dad decided to head back with us so he could get a little extra time with jasper but man, was it a long drive home!

thank you to all the starbucks out there (even the one in that small town that took FOREVER to make my drink) for keeping jon and i alert on the drive back, thanks to joe and connie for being themselves and making us feel welcome and even more:  thanks to dad for the special memories, the good times, the patience and playfulness that he showered on jasper every step of the way.

yep, that is camo…

wait, can you see them?  they are kind of hidden, right?

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oh, there they are!

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yep, i recognize that jasper face…  and the orange sock…  and yep, the kitty ears.

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while dad was at our house visiting, jon and i realized that jasper did not have one item of clothing that wasn’t colorful, bright, patterned or in some way completely ill-suited to being in the woods and not being seen.  not one item of clothing!

the kid likes the bright and patterned stuff, that’s for sure.

so we hied off to academy to find jasper some camo stuff…  i was at work but jon kept me in the loop with pictures, phone calls and “what do you think about this?” texts.

i thought jaz might balk at camo (no colors, “too boyish, mom!”, etc) but she instantly associated it with squirrel hunting,  her daddy and her pawpaw so there wasn’t an issue what so ever.

it’s so nice when that happens 🙂

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and no, i didn’t even suggest that she not wear her kitty ears headband.

always.  pick.  your.  battles.

s’mores, baby!

after a long day (a 5 hour drive, setting up camp, hiking, visiting with joe and connie), we end the day with a birthday party and a campfire.

those are both equal on the awesome scale, i think!

joe and connie cooked a big meal, dad got a italian cream cake (surprisingly good!  the frosting met with my approval.) and i had a birthday party – on my actual birthday!  i can’t remember the last time that happened!

another thanks to dad for being there, getting it all together and let’s not forget my gift (it was a good one; a heartwarming combo of shiny and beautiful with sentimental and familial connections).

it was a good day.

after the dinner and good company, we headed back to the campsite to hang out around the fire.

and eat marshmallows (because although there was already cake, there has to be marshmallows around a camp fire too) while we chit-chatted and enjoyed being there together.

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fire.  pretty.

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roasted, toasted and in my case, burnt-to-a-crisp marshmallows.  good.

(jon calls those shorts my Saggy Butt Cutoffs…  it wasn’t until i saw this picture that i fully appreciated why he calls them that…  still going to wear them though.)

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hello, Our Campsite!  (i kinda miss you…)

a hike out…

what’s the first day of camping without an official First Hike Out?

after hanging out at the camp for a bit and getting it “just perfect”, we went out to explore the surrounding hillsides.

jon was planning on doing some hunting (squirrel and hog)  so we were hiking and getting the lay of the land at the same time…  it was a bit warm but not too bad.  i did forget sunscreen for everyone though…  again.

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and we are off!

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let me tell you something:  i don’t know if this is a Jasper Thing or a Kid Thing but we don’t go anywhere without jaz (and myself) ending up with pockets and hands full of Stuff…  rocks, flowers, nuts, you name it; if she thinks its neat, cool or pretty, she wants to cart it home with us.

most of the time, i am pretty good about limiting her to how much she can bring home with her but this time, i don’t know…  it was hard…  i mean, they were really cool flint rocks!

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by the time we were heading back down the mountain, my hands were full, pawpaw’s hands were full, jaspers hands were full and jons?  you guessed it – full!

pretty flowers and flint turn out to be hard to say no to…  especially when she is willing to haul the rocks herself!

and yes, she is totally wearing a set of kitty ears.  really, are you surprised?

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how do you know a campsite has a 6 year old girl in residence?  flowers in water bottles are everywhere!

hey, they brighten up the place if you ask me 🙂

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not just flowers everywhere but piles of rocks as well…  and again, i kind of love it.

after all, if i am honest with myself?  if she hadn’t collected and gathered the rocks?  i probably would have…

mountain home, here we are!

dad was in mountain home (down in hill country past fredericksburg) to visit family friends…  we love to camp down there and it was an opportunity to see dad again, introduce our jasper to her uncle joe and aunt connie and get our camp on!

it’s so pretty down there – i love camping out there and wish we did it more often (bit of a drive for a weekend lark, is the problem)…

jon and i stayed up way too late on friday packing and loading, woke up way too early on saturday to drive down there and yep, it was totally worth it!

i knew it would be…

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we camped out by the creek under scrub oaks – it ended up being a particularly good site once the storm hit that night…

the low trees protected us from the worst of the rain…

(although i still had to construct a towel dam to prevent my sleeping bag from getting wet!

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it didn’t take long for jasper and pawpaw to find something to do while jon and i set up camp!

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she rode the branch while pawpaw pushed it up and down!

there was lots of “yee-haw“ing and rodeo moves, i assure you.

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campsite is set up, fire ring is done; now it’s hang out time…

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a pile of blankets and sleeping bags and pillows?  made for a girl playing kitty!

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the kitty is getting territorial…  or so i was told.

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luckily, pawpaw was always willing to toss the girl up in the air and make that branch move!

i’m sure he got tired of doing it but he did it every time jasper asked…

(thanks, dad!)

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there we are:  our little temporary home away from home.  it’s always interesting to me to see how quickly our campsites become Our Campsite.

water, fire, trees, stars, family, toilet paper and marshmallows – i’d say we covered all the bases 🙂

mineral wells hike…

the ambrose family and the hyams family try to do outings as much as our varying schedules allow…

most of the time, it’s local parks, cookouts or family bike rides/runs but sometimes we manage a full day away!

this time, we pulled off a lake mineral wells state park expedition

we loaded up our coolers with picnic foods, packed the kiddos swim gear and laced up our hiking boots…

it was a gorgeous day – started out cool and never got over low 90’s, i think.

in fact, i woke up early to get a run in before we left and it was only 55 degrees when i ran!!!  i was stoked!

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jasper climbs up a rock and strikes a pose!

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and then it was duncan’s turn to strike a pose 🙂

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jaz makes sure her kitty ears are on before clamoring around the rocks some more.

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the guys, the boy and the girl go exploring while heather and i gossip away 🙂

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jon’s the last one to come back through the crevice so now it’s time for us to get busy hiking!

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off we go…

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heading down to hit some trails…

summery things in natchitoches…

natchitoches has a green market on the weekends that we love the wander through when we are down there – even when it’s so hot that sweat is rolling down your back.

that’s pretty hot but…

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not too hot for Full Tiger Face!

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the downtown area has recently set up a beautiful fountain area with greenery, water and cool little hang out spots – would be perfect in the evenings with the breeze coming off the river!

hi, deborah!!!

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and when all else fails, we take jasper to the park!  she can run, play, sweat and sleep well that night!

it’s also to help prevent her from, “becoming a couch potato, mama!”

damn straight.

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away she goes!

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that would be a daddy-size spoonful of ice cream there.

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jasper, gram and jon – don’t they look hot?

(i mean actually hot, like temperature-hot, like sweaty mcsweatersen hot!).

it was a good visit 🙂

and then off to gram and pop’s!

not too much longer after we got jasper back, it was time to head to natchitoches…  well, two of the three of us headed off anyway.

jon and jasper went down to natchitoches to take care of some things and i stayed at home to finish the work week out.

i was actually dreading that house of ours being so empty – no jasper?  no jon?  what to do with all that empty time?

well, turns out?  plenty of things to fill the empty time and i loved every minute of it.

(yeah, i missed ’em but did you know when you are the only one in the house and you put a book down that it will stay there until you move it?  like it will still be there after you come home from work!  or when you clean the floor it stays clean for hours?  hours.  i had forgotten about that.)

jon had tons of stuff to do while in natchitoches but he made sure that jasper had a play date with the daughter of a good friend of ours  and got her “energy out” at the playground.

jasper always had plenty to talk about when we talked each evening – all those stories!

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jasper hitches a ride on the mower!

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arnetta titled this picture Left-Handed Homework 🙂

because even in the summer, kids have homework now!

they eventually came back home and i drove my co-worker crazy all day ‘cuz i was that excited about them getting home that day.

because it turns out that while that book might still be there and the floor might stay clean;  well, it’s just not nearly as much fun without the two of them.

neena’s! again!

jasper had a trip to colorado springs planned with her neena and richard but when the fires got close enough that even the hotels were evacuated?  yeah, the trip was canceled.

but mom and jasper decided to spend the week together anyway!  jasper headed on over to spend some time with her neena and all the dogs, cats, horses and yes, this time, there were even cousins to play with!

she was, quote:  “disappointed about not seeing real live mountains” but she still had a blast swimming and playing with her canadian cousins.

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her daily swim!

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julia and jasper lilith enjoy each other’s company!

jon and i enjoyed our kid-free week as always but this visit fell close enough to the last visit (that one was a week long too!) that we were missing her something awful by the time she came home!

thanks, neena and richard for taking such good care of our kiddo and for making each visit such a joy for her!

and also?  thanks for giving her back 🙂

while she is gone…

mom is really good about sending us pictures of The Jasper Adventures when mom has her all to herself.

i worry less and we get a kick out of seeing jasper do things that she can’t do in the city.Image Hosted by

like catch tiny baby toads!

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ok, well she can swim at our house but not with lindsay!  hello, girls!

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i see you jasper lilith!

(jasper tried on 7 – count them – 7 bathing suits before settling on one she liked…  see how kids teach a person patience?

because i sat through 7 bathing suit changes – calmly…  and enjoyed the fashion show she was putting on.

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a bedtime snack of strawberries and creme!

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a swim in the lake!

sometimes a lake is better than a pool!

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perhaps because a lake can have lily pads?

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while mom and dan the horse trainer work with the horses, jasper hangs out under the trees and “makes art”.

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i kind of think that what jon and i made wins hands down!

(but her bead collage thingey is cool too)…

thanks, neena for taking such good care of our jasper and being such a good neena!

p.s.  big thanks for all the text updates, photos and bedtime calls!

a big hug from us all!