There's a state park not too far away on Lake Texoma that was highly recommended. Joel went online Friday afternoon and rented a shelter for our family.
We packed up our gear (more stuff than we take on a cross-country trip, it seemed!) and headed out after lunch. The kids were very excited!
Upon arrival, we set up our tent (inside the shelter) to give us the official feel of camping. We made the beds for the kids, arranged all our food items, and set out our camping chairs. Then, we all changed into swimsuits and headed to the beach area of the park.
We splashed around for about two hours and then headed back to our campsite after the sun began to set. We took showers to rinse off at the nearby bathrooms and then Joel started the fire for dinner.We had incredibly simple meals for our first camping experience: hotdogs, chips, and fruit for dinner; cereal, muffins, and fruit for breakfast; and sandwiches, chips, and fruit for lunch. We took more fruit, crackers, and banana bread for snacks.
We made sure to include marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers for making S'mores, though! The kids enjoyed toasting the mallows over the flame. They quickly proclaimed the burnt spots as "gross" for sure. That didn't stop them from asking for more.
Aside from the neighboring party's loud music, it was quite peaceful and the kids went to bed just after 8. We joined them since we knew the sunrise would wake them early and we were pooped as well. Next time, we'll make sure to plan ahead enough to bring an air mattress for us! The girls had inflatable toddler beds and Asa seemed fine on his pallet of fluff. Thankfully Joel packed the body pillow for me. But, the poor guy definitely roughed it more than any of the rest of us.
After a quick breakfast, we were off to play at the park (swings and a slide near our site). We met our neighboring campers on our way back (not the ones with the loud music). They were a sweet family and offered us some of the bread they had made. It was similar to the chipate we ate in India, which makes sense because they are from the Middle East. After a nice chat, we headed out to explore around the park.
We walked out onto one of the fishing piers, then climbed down some rocks to be near the water. The kids took turns throwing rocks into the water, trying to make a big splash.
Joel caught a crawfish, much to the delight of all three kids!
We drove to see the other camping areas of the park and then stopped in at the little store on the water. We saw huge fish and some turtles swimming in the water.
Often times we would find Asa off by himself playing with sticks or rocks (or, in this case, a little Lego man he found).
During one of our walks, we caught sight of this beauty. The kids were incredibly curious to know what kind of spider it was, so we snapped a picture and looked it up once we returned home. It's a garden spider, harmless to humans. Whew! Trust me: they were thrilled, not me.
It was a fun excursion that we will certainly repeat in the months ahead, I'm sure. Now that we've taken the first plunge, we won't be so hesitant the next time an opportunity arises for us to take a day or two and explore some nature nearby.