Spring Break 2019

Lake Ouachita State Park

JKLMN is spending Spring Break 2019 camping at Lake Ouachita State Park. We are literally within a 30-minute drive to home. Living in Hot Springs means we are only a short drive away from many, many fantastic camping spots. Actually, people drive here for a vacation from all the surrounding states. We are blessed to have this right here in our own backyard.

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We have not camped at Lake Ouachita State Park in at least 20 years. I actually believe the last time we camped here was when JB and I were just dating. We camp most often at the Core of Engineer parks on the other side of the lake, most often at Brady Mountain. The State Park campground here has recently been renovated and it is now one of the nicer ones on the lake. We thought it was about time we spent a week here.

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20+ years after our first camping trip together to Lake Ouachita State Park

Saturday, March 16, 2019

We have NO PLANS for the week. We want to fish, hike, bike, read, watch the fire…just relax in general. Today we managed to do all of this.

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My plan for the week, relax & read.

I started the day with a 3-mile run exploring the campground. It was a slow, cold run but I felt good after. The minute Logan woke up he went straight to the bank of the lake and started fishing. I don’t think we’ll see much of him this week, he’ll spend the entire week fishing.  About mid-morning we decided to take a ride on the boat to do a little fishing along some other banks. Fishing with JKLMN is always interesting We didn’t catch any fish but we did catch the boat, the fishing tackle bag, and a buoy.

 

Nanny and Papa joined us for the afternoon. Once they arrived we headed off for a hike. We hiked the 4 mile Caddo Bend Trail. It was definitely an adventure. The scenery is beautiful. I love hiking along the lake. Macy and Nanny spent the ENTIRE 4 miles complaining but they made it. Logan, Noah and their friend Cannon ran way ahead of us for most of the hike . They were having fun checking out dead trees, rocks and sticks. We were all exhausted when we finished but we made it!

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Johnny and Logan spent the evening out on the boat fishing. Macy, Noah and I spent the evening reading and watching the fire. I think we will all sleep well tonight.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY and Happy 12th Anniversary to my sister and her husband!!!!

Today has been a beautiful day. The weather so far has been fantastic, sunny, not too hot and not too cold…just right. My parents, sister and her 2 kids came up to visit us today. One thing that is great about vacationing close to home is that all our family can come to spend time with us.

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Look at these love birds!

We played a mean game of Uno (Memaw rigged it for our nephew Carter to win, LOL), then tried some fishing. Let me tell you, fishing with 4 kids under the age of 9 is an adventure. I’m not sure there was any real fishing going on. Johnny and Big Daddy spent most of their time untangling lines. Thank goodness the kids grew bored with fishing fairly quickly. We spent the rest of the afternoon grilling burgers and chilling by the campfire. Good food and family makes for a great afternoon.

Johnny, the kids and I finished the evening exploring the lake looking for the perfect island for the boys’ “Survival Challenge”. We’ll keep you posted on how that goes. Then we read by the campfire for a while before bed.

Monday, March 18, 2019

I feel like this morning was ages ago. We have done so much today. I finally managed to get my lazy bones out of the bed around 8am, by that time Johnny had already been up for a couple of hours and enjoyed watching the sunrise. We started the morning with a delicious breakfast of eggs and bacon. Let me just say, breakfast on the lake is always MUCH better than breakfast at home. There is something about cooking outside, drinking a cup of coffee and listening to the peaceful sounds of nature waking up.

We finished breakfast, cleaned up and then had to make a quick trip into town. We were running low on a few supplies (milk & firewood) so we decided to get that trip out of the way. A few stops later and we were back at camp ready for action.

Johnny and I started the afternoon with a little run. He kicks my booty every time, even though I run 2-3 times a week and he only runs a few times a month. Once we finished our runs it was time for some geocaching!

Geocaching is a real-life treasure hunt. There is an App you can use that tells you where all the cache’s are in your area and it gives you clues on how to find them. Macy started out not very happy about being forced out of the hammock and onto her bike but by the time we found the last cache, she was having a good time. We found 5 today in all. We’re hoping to find some more when we do another hike in the next day or so.

Tonight I am exhausted. We’ve had our dinner (grilled pork chops, YUM), relaxed by the fire and had our showers. I think now it’s time for reading in bed until I fall asleep with the book on my face.

Goodnight!

The rest of the week…

Well, here I am 4 months later finishing this blog. I guess we were having so much fun the remainder of the week, or I was just too tired, that I never finished writing about the week’s events. Here are some things I can remember.

  • We did more biking, hiking, and boat riding
  • The kids found large limbs to use to make walking sticks. Giving the kids an ax & machete to do their work was scary but they’ve got to learn to be independent.
  • The boys did their “Survival Challenge” on an island along with our friend Jason Vincent and his son Cannon. They had tons of fun and Noah is asking to do another one.
  • Macy and I threw the softball ALOT!
  • We all learned how to play dominoes.
  • The week was so much fun and a great break to reenergize us to finish the school year.

We already have reservations to do it again next Spring Break!

Technology Rules

Lately I have felt like our kids were out of control. They were not listening, clearly disobeying and we spent more time yelling than giving kind words. Last Friday something snapped. I had had enough and it was time for changes, big changes.

Our kids, like most these days, have all of the “gadgets”. Between the three of them they have 2 iPads, 2 televisions with Roku boxes and DVD players, 1 Chromebook, 2 Nintendo DS’s, and 1 Xbox. These kids have more technology in their hands daily than I ever had until I was well into adulthood. That being said, they were constantly looking at a screen of some kind. I know what your thinking, set some rules with all of this tech. Well, we did. The typical limits on how long you can watch, what you can watch, when you can and can’t watch etc. But guess what, we’ve been busy and we got lazy.

Yep, parents get lazy. We’re tired, we’re busy and sometimes we just want something to entertain the kids so we don’t have to. I never thought I’d say that, I’ve been using “screen time” to babysit my kids. They were quiet, I was happy…or at least I thought.

Like I said earlier, their behavior was out of control. I wish I had caught on to this sooner, I wish I had seen the signs earlier, the more screen time my kids had, the more disobedient they became. They were talking back, not listening, just plain disobeying. Yes, I know all kids do these things but we had reached an all time high. I was fed up.

The light came on as I was driving home from work on Friday. I called my husband and told him to go to the kid’s rooms and take away all of their electronic devices. ALL TECHNOLOGY! I have taken away electronics before but it was always as a punishment. You bring home a bad grade, you lose your TV. You refuse to clean your room, you lose your TV until the room is clean. Things like this. This was the first time we had taken away the electronics with absolutely nothing attached to it. We gave them no way to “earn” them back, no timeline as to when they will get them back.

I will be honest, I was dreading the weekend. I was sure they would drive me crazy, begging to get their stuff back, and they did for a while, then they stopped. I think they could see that we were serious this time, we were not backing down. No amount of begging would allow them to have their stuff, it would only strengthen our resolve.

Guess what, we had the best weekend we have had in a long time. The kids played with toys they had not played with in months. They played games with each other, they fought much less and they listened more. To top it off, they started helping out around the house a bit (tiny bit) more.

We have now been without the tech for 5 days. The only place they can watch TV is in the family room with us, that is if we even have it on. We have watched baseball as a family and had discussions about the game and players. We’ve watched documentaries and had discussions about those. We even played a few rounds of UNO tonight.

All in all, I can say that I’ve always heard that screen time has a negative effect on kids behavior but I never put much stock in it. However, I have now seen the proof in my own kids. Their behavior has improved in just 5 days. No, they are not perfect. They are still kids. They still fight, they still push their limits, they still try to push my buttons but it’s different. I feel like we are gaining ground.

I don’t know when we will give them any of their electronics back but I do know that when we do, their time allowed on it will be VERY LIMITED.