Friday, August 7, 2009


Thursday, we left for vaca to lake catherine state park in arkansas. It is approximately 25 mins from hot springs.

We planned to leave at noon. We left at 2:30.

it was very cloudy with dark thunderstorm clouds the entire ride to lake catherine. But we did not get into any rain during the drive.

We stopped twice for bathroom breaks on the 5 hour trip.

Literally, right before our exit, a police car pulled in behind us and put on his lights. We pulled over immediately. As did the police car. But he stopped way behind us. And NEVER got out of the car. Eventually he turned off his lights. I got out since I was on the passengers side and made a motion to the police office as if to say---hey, what's the deal? But he never got out of his car. So we just took off. He stayed where he was at. Weirdest thing ever.

It did start raining as we got closer and closer to lake catherine. It was a very light, yet steady rain. We got to our campsite and set up.

Everyone was really hungry. I tried to get steaks and corn on the cob ready but it got too dark too fast. So we wound up having left over cavitini and the babies had pb and j's, their favorite. (I am so glad I had bray make an extra batch of cavitini to take with us. I'm a genius!)

we discovered that the water spicket was on the other side of the campsite from the electric hook up. And our hose was way too short to reach it. We went without water last night and this morning. Thank goodness the restrooms are really close.


At 10 till 5 this morning the a/c stopped working. The microwave wasn't blinking anymore either. The electricity was out. I woke up as did everyone else. I looked outside and we discovered that the entire campground was without electricity. We opened the windows. It was really cool outside. And it actually felt great. We all slept until 9:45 this morning! It was great.

We got up and ate breakfast. I made scrambled eggs. They put the eggs in a tortilla with cheese and hot sauce. I had a slim fast.

Then we went to the bathrooms and we all brushed out teeth.

After that we came back cleaned up and decided to go for a hike to the waterfall. We were told we could take a shortcut and the hike would only be a half of a mile. We'll somehow we got mixed up and wound up taking a pretty strenuous/rough terrain 2 mile hike. Up and down the mountain. With indyanna and boston in tow!

After the hike we loaded up the truck and headed to the nearest walmart. Gotta check out the local walmart in every town, you know! We stocked up on some things we needed. We came back to the campsite and had some sammies for lunch. Now the two babies and myself are going to take a nap. Ryan and the two teenagers are playing in the fire. Good times!

Bray, kay and I went to the marina and campground store to get fuel for the fire and bread. They had neither. Well, they did have fire starter but it was the exact same thing from walmart—just $10 more!

The kids were up when we came back. I made dinner, steaks and a veggie burger for kaylee, cooked on the grill and corn on the cob, wrapped in foil. I had a salad.

After dinner I took the kids to the bath house and we had showers. Nice and warm. Not too shabby!

When we got back in was time for our favorite time of the day. CAMPFIRE DESSERTS! We had tortillas with peanut butter, choc chips and marshmallows wrapped in foil put on the coals. It was SOOOOO good.

We ended the night with a game of uno with the babies.


woke up at 7am to the sound of booming thunder! It started raining and it rained and rained and rained some more. Heavy rain. Sprinkling. Moderate rain. Back to lots of heavy rain! The thunder was so loud and the lightening was close!

it finally let up around noon. We packed up everything because we had to change campsites today. Everything was so soggy and wet.

We moved campsites and discovered we had a flat on the trailer.

The new campsite is right on the lake. And there is a creek/runoff right behind us. It's really nice. There's a mountain right across the lake. Sweet stuff. Also there's a work plant of some sort. Water treatment or power? Kind not so sweet stuff. No big deal.

the kids spent the afternoon swimming in the lake. and ryan and i playing in the fire.


yesterday was sunday. It was also ryan and my 6 year anniversary. That would be the iron anniversary for those that want to know. We got up and ryan decided that we would go to hot springs. Originally, it was planned for monday but hey, this is vacay and you don't have plans on vacay, do you?

We had breakfast and then it was off to hot springs. We parked at the visitors center and walked bath house row. We watched the film about the hot springs and the bath houses at the fordyce bathhouse. We crossed the street and looked at all the shops on the walk back to our truck. Just as we got to the vehicle it started to rain again! The rain was light and it only lasted 10 minutes. We filled up all the empty water bottles we could find with the free hot springs water.

we, then, headed up the mountain to the tower in hot springs. When ryan and I were here 6 years ago I went to the top of the tower with ryan. This time I opted to sit in the shop and wait while the rest of them went to the top. Indyanna was very excited about this tower. All afternoon she kept asking, “when are going to go to the top of the tower?” when they finally came down, I asked her if she liked it. She said no. It was way too scary for her! However, she did say that if I would go with her then she would go again.

After the tower we found a nice little italian resturaunt named angels to dine at for dinner. They had amazing homemade foccacia bread with a homemade black olive and garlic spread. I HATE olives of any kind but found that if I put butter on the bread first, then the olive spread was pretty good. The butter tended to drown out the nasty sour olive taste.

indyanna really liked the bread and butter!

Ryan ordered chicken fetticini alfredo. The teenagers split a peperoni pizza. The babies split a spaghetti and meatball. And yes, I said meatball, singular. It was one huge meatball! I had the chicken and mushroom raviolis in a mushroom sauce, although I never found any chicken in the dish. It was all pretty good. Not the best i've ever had and not the worst either. Overall a nice dinner with the family.

After dinner, we set out for our campsite again. Hot springs was a very short 20 minute drive away. On the way back, boston passed out for the night. We put him in bed when we got to the camper and the rest of us sat around the campfire eating roasted marshmellows.

We played a couple of games of uno. And taught ryan how to play farkle. Then it was night time for all.


this morning I got up at 9am. I grabbed a book and a drink and took my lawn chair to the edge of the water. I read for a while as the others slept. I finally woke them all up at 10:30. we had breakfast and then bray did the dishes. (the teens are rotating days dishes and helping me cook) btw, breakfast was over around noon! Kinda funny how you get on that very relaxed and late schedule during vacay! Heck the babies haven't gone to bed before 11:30 since we've been here!

After, breakfast and clean up, bray and kay got in their boats and floated in the lake for a while. Ryan and cleaned up the camper and campsite some. A storm started moving in so we put away everything that we didn't want to get wet. It started raining and I decided to take boss and nan to the nature center.

We spent an hour there looking at the different animals and talking to the park interpreter. Her name is julie. She told us all about her job and the animals. There were 2 snapping turtles, a soft shell turtle, and 2 red eared sliders inside, and 8 box turtles outside. Inside, there was also a toad, various fish, a tarantula, a copperhead, 2 speckled kingsnakes, pygmy rattlesnake and a little baby snake that i've forgotten the exact name of--it was some sort of milk snake, i think.

indyanna and boss in front of the box turtle habitat. if you look REALLY close, in the bottom left hand corner you can see a couple of turtles.

The kids were given a pair of binoculars to color as well.

At lunch time we all had sandwhiches in the sandwhich maker and then the kids laid down for nap. While ryan made the third trip to walmart!


tuesday morning, indyanna and i got up earlier than anyone else.

picture of the lake early in the morning. (you can see an animal got into our trash overnight!)

we decided to go fishing. i caught a small fish within 5 minutes! of course, it was really hooked and i couldn't get it off. i had to go wake up ryan and tell him i needed help getting the fish off.

after i caught the fish ryan spent most of his extra time trying to catch a fish too! LOL

(i was the only one who caught a fish this vacation and the last!)

after breakfast, we decided to go thrift shopping. There are tons of thrift stores in hot springs. Ryan stayed at the campsite with the babies and let them swim and then made them lunch and laid them down for a nap.

Kay, bray, and I headed into hot springs. We, of course, stopped at the local starbucks for some much needed internet time. Then off it was to the thrift stores. Most of the stores closed at 3 or 4pm so we only had time to hit a few. The first store was awesome. Kaylee got 8 ties for .50 cents each. Here in dallas, using thrift stores, we paid an average of $3 for each tie for her tie skirt. I bought an AWESOME magazine called craft 'n things, a purse, and dr. dobson's book dare to discipline, all for the grand total of $1.75. we stopped at 2 other stores. One was a children's thrift store. I wish I had had the babies with me. They would have scored! As it was though, I just bought indyanna a purse. It's really cute.

We went back to the campsite and had some burgers for dinner. Then of course some yummy toasted marshmallows for dessert.


i woke up very early wednesday morning (6:55am) to the sound of the awning clanking around. The wind was blowing pretty strong and a storm was moving in fast. So I got up and went outside to pick up all the towels and bathing suits that were hanging out on the line. Ryan joined me shortly after I went outsite and we continued to pick up the floats and blow up pool, firewood and a hatchet, and we just made sure that everything was secure for the incoming storm. When we were finished he and I hopped in the truck and listened to the radio. The kids were still asleep in the camper.

The big storm that we were waiting on never really happened. It sprinkled for about 15 minutes but not really any rain to speak of. However, the wind stayed strong and COLD for a couple of hours. Ryan and I decided at 8 am that it was time to wake all the kids up and make the most of the last day of camping.

We had a big breakfast then I made an apple crisp to snack on. We played a couple of rounds of uno and ryan and the babies built the fire and fed the squirrels. Around noon it was finally warm enough to go on a hike and swim. We hiked to the waterfall and had a blast swimming in the pool below.

The water was freezing but by the time we got there it was really hot and humid out so the water felt great. We played for a good time and then ryan spotted a snake. That was the end of the waterfall swim for the carman family. Others that were there didn't seem to care that a snake was nearby. They swam anyways.

we went to the nature center for family nature scavenger hunt. lots of fun!

after that, we headed back to camp because it was time for the babies to nap. kaylee and I decided we wanted to go to the local store that also just happens to have internet. LOL. We hung out there for an hour or so. When we got back to camp the teens and I hung out by the fire eating more roasted marshmallows and waiting for the babies and ryan to wake up. As we were sitting there a water plane landed on the lake right in front of our campsite! The person must have been practicing cause they took off and landed 3 or 4 times. It was really cool to watch.

For dinner we headed to the local store (the one with internet) for dinner. They had a small resturaunt inside of the store. We all had burgers and kaylee had a chilli dog. My burger was delicious! It started getting windy as we ate and the weather report was that there were more storms coming. On the way back to the site we discussed packing up and leaving that night but ultimatly decided to just pack as much as we could or until the rain got too bad and then we'd leave in the morning.


we got up and cleaned up the camper and campsite. We had waffles for breakfast and then headed home!

We stopped in texarkana at tamolly's for lunch. The fajita's were great!

We stopped in mt. Pleasant for a potty break and some mcflurries.

We made it home at 6:15pm. It was a great trip but I was glad to see my own shower again!


Jennie said...

wow that was a LOONNNNNNGGGG post. It looks like you guys had a pretty good trip even with the little hiccups in weather and A/C working.

alisha said...


Danielle said...

Your stories were great. Made me almost feel like I was there! Sounds like your vacation was just what the family ordered. So many good memories to share for a long time to come. And hey, you almost made it a week without internet! :)

Decah said...

Sounds like you all had a wonderful time in spite of the few weather related issues. Reminds me of when mother and daddy used to take us to Arkansas for vactation. Only we didn't have a tent or camper, just threw a quilt on the ground and enjoyed the night air and stars. Great memories that all of your family will have for years to come.Thanks for taking the time to share!