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After enjoying Galveston for two days, we packed up and headed to a retreat center that is owned by my parent’s church.  We spent the next five days relaxing, napping, fishing, swimming, making smores, going to an aquarium, and catching up on laundry.  

Because I tend to focus on organization, I want even our vacations to have an element of organization to them.  Otherwise, it’s ridiculously crazy.  Packing for this crew of nine with multiple stops all over the state of Texas and beyond was not easy.  Here is a post to my vacation packing solutions.  Because we were making so many stops, I used laundry baskets to hold the daily bags instead of suitcases.  This way, I could grab the pajama bag and one or two day’s bags when we were going into a hotel and not have to unload the entire van.  This worked like a charm:)

Another organizational element was meal planning.  We were going to have five different households represented and would need to find a way to share the load with cooking and cleaning up.  So, we decided to let each family fend for themselves for breakfasts and lunches (except one morning when my cousin prepared a wonderful crockpot breakfast burrito recipe that we have already repeated at home after the trip) .  Then, we divided the evening meals among us.  We had tons of left overs and were able to a smorgasbord the last night.  

Here are a few pictures of our time at the Danbury Lodge. 

 Timmy and his cousin, Heston.

 Look at that beautiful, green grass behind him.  Ahhhh.

After a week or so the laundry was really piling up so I was allowed to use the laundry facility at the lodge.  This laundry room had the capability of nine loads of laundry all going at once and it had a large folding area.  I took a picture so that Peter can build one of these for me on day:)

One morning the kids were treated to feeding the fish that were recently stocked in one of the ponds on the property. 

We ventured out one morning to an aquarium in a nearby town.  This place is also a hatchery that takes part of replenishing ocean life in the Gulf of Mexico.  So, the kids were able to hear about how they are working to protect specific species in The Gulf of Mexico.

We took the kids on the tour and here are the happy “after tour” faces.  Hehe.  In their defense, it was humid, hot, humid, and well past lunch time.  Did I mention humid?  Living in Arizona for over a decade, I had forgotten the relentless torture of humidity.

Then another day, we were able to spend a morning fishing in the ponds.  I don’t think that my kids have fished before but they caught on quickly…no pun intended:)  Everyone enjoyed this so much, we decided to start fishing in the “catch and release” lakes behind our house.

 Timmy didn’t last long at the fish pond.

As hot and humid as it was, we still had to do one bonfire and make smores.  This was Timmy’s first smores.  Can you see the sugar rush in those eyes?


This place was beyond beautiful with all of the green grass, ponds, and places to relax.  I really cherish the memories we made here with family.

And, yes, Nathan is passing me up.  How can that be?

Next on the agenda, Dallas/Forth Worth.  Stay tuned for those adventures:)