Bought The Tent and Took Off

June 25, 2012 changed the way the Foreman family would vacation forever.  We spent 2 weeks camping in Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.  When we first started talking of going to YNP and GTNP I was planning the typical hotel, cabin vacation, but my son kept pitching other ideas like tent camping.  I was dead set against it because of bears and other wildlife.  After plenty of research and reading on how to camp with bears my husband and I decided to go for it.  We did the typical Texas travel trailer camping as the kids were growing up, but Texas camping isn’t the same as camping up north.  We have come along way and learned so much about how and what to bring, and do when camping.  Our first trip we didn’t know much and made a lot of mistakes, but the memories we made were the best.  Heres a snippet from the journal I kept.

“We went to Walmart and bought our groceries, tent, cooler, skillet, a roll of foil and spatula. We loaded up the stuff in our Ford Flex rental car and headed out to Yellowstone.”

Yes that is all we took with us!  Needless to say we were minimal camping!  I can’t explain the excitement as we set up our little 30$ Ozark trails tent.

Journal entry: June, 25, 2012

Emily was reading the instructions and we put up the tent. Brady was playing with the rubber mallet we had bought with the tent.  After driving the stakes in the ground he turned to Emily and said “REDNECK THOR” and swung down and the rubber part of the mallet flew off and almost hit Emily. Her response was “don’t ever do that again”.  We still laugh about that happening.

We learned so much that first year.  

  • We learned to make sure and buy matches or have a way to start a fire so you don’t have to borrow from the neighbors.
  • Invest in camp mats and leave the air mattress  at home.
  • Good sleeping bags are essential!
  • Be prepared for any kind of weather.
  • Good hiking shoes are a must along with hiking socks (merino wool is our preference)
  • If you might need it….take it!

I have decided to share the knowledge we have learned over the years camping.  Each year we have learned more and experienced do’s and don’ts and some of our stories are just plain hysterical.  Many of my friends have asked me, what do I need to do to go camping? I have decided to blog about our adventures and what we do, and what NOT to do! I hope you enjoy our adventures, and I hope it inspires you to take one of your own.

I will leave you with a snippet from my journal on our first camping vacation.

June 26, 2012, I woke up early (5:00 a.m.) and it was freezing. Brady had scooted up on our air mattress during the night.  The poor kids sleeping bags were directly on the tent floor.  I wasn’t thinking of the ground being frozen all winter. Emily was curled up in a little ball with her teeth chattering.  It was 34 degrees! Instead of breakfast (because we had forgotten matches) we dressed in the bathrooms because they were warm, snacked and drove to the gift shop.  Emily bought a fleece blanket and Brady bought a beanie hat that looked like a stuffed bear.  That night they wrapped up in double layers.  Emily wrapped her blanket around her feet and brady had his hat on.

Needless to say research the weather before you go.  Freezing that first trip made such an impression on my 12 year old son that anytime we go on a trip he is more than prepared.  He takes jackets, rain gear, shorts, swim trunks and everything in-between.

These are some of our  best memories! It has been so much fun looking back over my journals from vacation.  I am amazed at how far we have come.  Look for more about how to camp and what you need in the coming weeks.

Blessing, Cathy

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4 Weeks of Digging Deep

Monday started my less than 4 week major crack down on my diet.  I shared before that I have slowly let the scale move back up and I have found all the new clothes I bought after losing so much weight are snug (not going to have that).  I am going to have to dig deep and stay committed to the process for the next 26 days…We are going on our big camping vacation mid June and I refuse to buy bigger clothes just to be comfortable.  I have really cracked down on the eating and I am trying to make better choices.   I find its not the meals that get me, its the snacking or “nibbling” here and there that really add up!  My family has really been encouraging me to beat this thing and helping me stay accountable and I can’t thank them enough.  We all need a support system and some form of accountability. I have found that my family helps me in their own quirky way.  True story here….We were having dinner one night at a great barbecue place and I got a peach cobbler with ice cream to share with my daughter.  My phone goes off (we don’t use technology during meal time) and my son says hey mom your phone went off, you need to look at it…..he texted me my weight…..that cobbler didn’t taste that good after that.  He is awesome at making me laugh or encouraging me by challenging me. My daughter on the other hand encourages me by trying to eat as clean as possible with me.  I don’t see her as much since she is in college but when we are together if she sees me struggling she will lay her hand on me and just says “mom”.  She has such a sweet way of reminding me.  Through all this I have incorporated my family and I couldn’t do it without them.  One new thing that I am doing that really helps the snacking at night is walking with my husband.  Everything I do usually has a purpose.  When I am walking it’s to warm up to go run, or I am getting ready to weight train or work out, but never do I walk for just walking to enjoy my surroundings.  My husband has cerebral palsy and has a limp and we are preparing for a hiking vacation this summer in Montana.  To encourage him and help him be ready for all our crazy hikes he has been walking at night.  He is an amazing guy that lets nothing stop him.  He does move slower than most and struggles with some tasks due to lack of flexibility. We walked 2 miles tonight just enjoying each other laughing and racing each other to the driveway.  I don’t tell him enough but after 25 years of marriage he is still my rock and my inspiration. I see the things he has accomplished and I find I have no excuse but to keep trying.  I have a goal of 10 pounds in the next 4 weeks and the only way I can achieve it is by leaning on those that are walking with me in this battle.  I hope you have a source of encouragement and motivation.  Find one and reach out to those around you if not, it can make all the difference in the world.

Blessings, Cathy

You are braver than you believe,

Stronger than you seem,

Smarter than you think

and

Loved more than you’ll ever know.

-A.A. Milne

Absence of 1

Week 2 of our daughter being away at college and when I stop to think about it I still catch my breath and try not to tear up. Emily turned 18 on August 15 and moved to school the next week. Our firstborn is growing up! It is possibly one of the hardest things to do, yet one of the most exciting. As we drove away after helping her get settled, the 3 of us (her dad, brother, and myself) cried. It was such a special time for us shopping for her new place, hanging curtains and pictures, and best of all the quiet talks about life. The years pass so quickly and it’s here before you can blink. Continue reading

A Day to Remember

January 14, 2013 is the day my firstborn received her acceptance letter to Texas A&M. The letter is such a bittersweet thing for Mark and I because it means she is growing up. We are taking each day moment by moment and enjoying it to the fullest. God has big plans for her and Mark and I can’t wait to see what God is gonna do in her life! I have kept a journal of our family since the day she was born and I can’t wait for her to write her own story!
Jeremiah 29:11
Proverbs 3:5-6

Blessings and Gig em!