After our four day stay in Columbus, Texas; we headed directly west a couple of hours to Medina Lake, Texas. Getting out and hitting the road bright and early has not been as easy as we were hoping for. It seems that always on the days we want to get out early, there are all sorts of drama and time wasting which sets us back. I’ll chalk it up to getting out of the house with two girls. :-p The route to Medina Lake (on the other side of San Antonio) was relatively simple and uneventful. As we approached the top of the mountain, we looked down and saw what turned out to be Medina Lake. We took a photo of it because we simply thought it was beautiful and picturesque. We didn’t know at the time that we would be camping right on the edges of the lake. The campground we stayed at was Thousand Trails at Medina Lake and to our surprise; it was quite vacant and isolated. The campground itself sits within the woods surrounding Medina Lake, with approx 20 premium sites right on the edge of the lake. Those sites, although gorgeous; don’t have sewer hookups, so that pretty much ruled us out for our four day stay. Usually the first night of any location, we just take the time to relax and appreciate a safe drive, good dinner and easy night of sleep. One thing we were waiting desperately for, was a working laundry facility. In Columbus the campground had a broken laundry facility, so we had to stockpile our clothes in hopes of Medina’s laundry being our savior. Luckily for us the laundry was in fine working condition, but it was about a mile away from our setup. Somehow, the girls decided that riding in the empty laundry baskets around the campground would be the most exciting thing they would do all day. Who am I to judge. Look closely in the background of all these shots of the girls. There are about 15 deer grazing around the campers near us. We thought that Columbus had a large deer population, but turns out that was nominal compared to the amount of animals around Medina Lake. I ventured out on the 3rd morning to get breakfast started, and look who decides to prance across my path. It really was surreal to see SO many deer in one place. The couple camping nearest to us would feed the deer every morning and at any given time they would have 20-25 deer near their RV. As with most every morning, the girls settle into their homeschooling routine. Shayla at the kitchen table, while Leighton situated at the table in their bedroom.
Once school was completed, we sent the two of them out around the campground on a photo scavenger hunt. Check out the previous blog post to see the hunt and it’s photos. Jen took the day to head into San Antonio to go shopping for food and supplies so the girls were left with me for the day. As they set out on their photo hunt, I was able to get a bunch of work done inside. Check out the deer walking by my window as I was writing the Disney Food Allergy blog post about Shayla’s first restaurant experience. Cole was supprisingly neutral about all these deer. Jen sent me the above pictures and was a little too excited that Target sold beer and wine. She also mentioned that we need to dig out the dry storage bins in order to fill them with our new stockpile of supplies. More on that below. After the scavenger hunt I got the girls set up to begin installing the US Map Stickers. We have been back and forth about putting one of these on our RV; but ultimately “everybody is doing it”, and it will prove to be a good tactile reinforcement of all the places we’ve been. The rule of application we settled on was we are only allowed to place a sticker on a state that we had stayed overnight in. Some RVers use the theory that if you meerly drive through a state, that should count as a sticker. We figured, however; to keep it more purist and implement the sleepover rule. What do you think? Would you do the sleepover rule or drive through rule? Leighton trying out our Google Cardboard in preparation of some of our 360º photos to come in the future. Nice Eyes!
So one of the things we learned in Texas is that in the more rural towns, organic/non-gmo foods are not commonly available. The huge grocery store chain in the area is H-E-B and they have tons of products that are self labeled and organic. The largest problem we have found with store branded food products; is they are almost always produced in a facility that handles allergens that Shayla can’t have. In lieu of store branded items, we have to always stick with small label, privatly manufactured items. So we learned the hard lesson that we wouldn’t be able to shop for our weekly items each Friday as we were used to; and a stockpile of food was necessary moving forward. Above is one of our storage bins filled with the dry goods which we can’t always find. We keep two of these bins in our “basement” storage space.
Although we are in the heart of Texas and cattle ranches are all around us; finding grass fed local beef was proving to be harder to find than we thought. That is until we stumbled upon the super cute small town of Bandera Texas. Within that town we found a butcher shop that sold blocks of beef, 1/4 cow, 1/2 cow etc. We ended up ordering 25# of local grass fed beef. After 24 hours they would have our order ready to pick up so we could head back to the RV and try and fit it all into the freezers. One of our ‘free’ days (non-working day), we opted to head to downtown San Antonio, TX and visit the famed Alamo. The girls brought their American Girl Dolls for a photo op, then we returned them to the truck for napping. The quintessential tourist photo of the girls in front of the Alamo Shrine.
The Live Oak at the Alamo pictured above. After the Alamo we headed downtown to the Riverwalk in San Antonio for lunch. We found a little BBQ restaurant on the river bank. Part of the walking tour process, we had the girls all search for Urban Letters to ultimately spell some words with once we collect enough of them. Here are a few letters we found in downtown San Antonio.
Um… why was I not invited to the Cocktail Conference Jen took these photos while doing her workout along the banks of the lake. Great shot of the girls captured on Jen’s phone. Jen’s photo of the girls prompted us to do a family shot on that same lake. One of the things we struggle with on a daily basis is getting the girls to harness a sense of urgency. More often than not, they get distracted and lose focus on daily tasks. The lack of attention usually results in us falling behind on our schedule, and consequently takes time away from the girls’ free time and/or their expectation of free time. So in an effort to get them to understand where time goes during the day I made a basic linear timeline of a typical day, and all it’s obligations and some added free time blocks. The girls would first have to start building their timeline based on the time they got their day started… then add in school time, lunch time, dinner time, brushing teeth, getting dressed, etc. Ultimately leaving them with small spaces for “free” time. We showed them if they each lunch in a half hour instead of one hour, they gain 30 minutes of time. And so on… It partially clicked with them and we are working on a more permanent professionally made timeline. I’ll keep you posted. Another great sunset to enjoy on the tailgate of the truck. Medina Lake She’s a pretty girl… After showers it was movie night! On our last morning in Medina Lake, the girls ran to our bedroom and got us up to see the family of deer hanging out right behind the RV. Great way to end our stay in Medina Lake and remember the wildlife that lived around us all weekend.