Stopping to Smell the Cookies: a relaxing start to our time in Texas

We arrived in Texas feeling a little exhausted. We had more or less been on the go since Thanksgiving when we went back to Pittsburgh to visit family. In the first 3 weeks of December, we hopped, skipped, and jumped from Tennessee to Florida, staying in 6 different campgrounds as we made our way down the east coast then headed to the Gulf coast. While we spent 3 weeks in Naples visiting family, that was its own wonderful kind of nonstop busy. Even though it had only been 3 weeks since we left Naples, our campsite in Texas was our 10th spot in our 6th state (in 2 different time zones). So yeah, we were tired.

Luckily, we had 0 expectations about doing anything or going anywhere during our 4-night stay at this campground, and even luckier, the campground was just what we needed. In the Thousand Trails system, campgrounds are often first-come-first-served, so on arrival, you drive around and select your own site. This campground was situated right on a lake with lakefront sites throughout. While we would have enjoyed being right on the main lake, we love having full hookups even more (and many of the lakefront sites did not have sewer), so we ended up at a site that looked over a branch of the lake. It was still waterfront enough to constantly see ducks and herons just outside.

In our research on the area prior to our arrival, we knew that groceries and other amenities were a good 30 minutes away, so we meal planned for the week and stocked the fridge before we left Arkansas. We used to be so good at meal planning and have kind of fallen out of the habit while we have been traveling so much, so it was nice to start to get back into the groove, rather than staring at each other every night trying to figure out what to make.

We also knew there was not a whole lot we wanted to do or see in the surrounding area, and quite frankly, that was a huge relief. Our first morning there, we did venture out to see the rest of the lake, but after that, I was more than content to explore the campground and enjoy a little down time.

The campground, even in early February, had a lot to offer, and I can only imagine what it is like in the summer. Will and Bird took advantage of the lake access and went out fishing on the various piers and banks, Will had the paddleboard out one day (it was far too windy for my liking) and did some fishing, Little Bird loved running free across a huge open field (that is touted on the campground map as both a baseball field and a driving range) and finding all sorts of treasure (including ants that were thankfully not of the biting variety, though it did lead to a very confused toddler who was stripped down and examined from head to toe on the front steps of the camper), and I took a few amazing walks around the sprawling campground, especially exploring the defunct sites in a hidden corner, enjoying the bluebirds flying all around, and heading out every evening to catch the beautiful sunsets.

While going at a fast pace and seeing all there is to see has its benefits, we were able to slow down and appreciate the laughter and the fun that we can have just being together. For example, Bird and I made cookies, which is something we do not often do, and as I would hand her a ball of dough, she would grasp each one in her 2 little hands and take the deepest smell she could take before placing it on the cookie sheet. In appreciating the delicious chocolatey smell, she fully embodied our desire to take things slow (however, it was only in this one instanceā€¦do not let that fool you; she ran around here like the crazy, busy toddler she is and completely ransacked the place the rest of the time). I know we have fun and laughter when we are out exploring, but it felt different having long stretches of time with no errands or activities to distract us.

Life was catching up to us in ways we had not had time to recognize as we pulled into this Texas campground, so having this break in the action was a very welcome reprieve. While I am excited to get back out and really explore all that Texas has to offer, I am so glad we took advantage of this time to rest and regroup. I want to continue to take time to smell the cookies and appreciate the downtime as we continue on this great adventure.

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