Saturday, March 25, 2017


Today was opening day for Owen's big T-Ball season and it was a great morning! He has a sweet team with a kind coach, and they get to play all their games on the fancy little league fields all season. I took on the project of getting a good collection of photos of all the kids today, and I hope the other parents are happy with what I came up with.

Hooray for T-Ball!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Big Bend National Park

We had a much needed family trip to Big Bend National Park for the first half of our Spring Break week. Road trips like this are what I consider to be at the core of our family unit, so I've felt quite a bit of emotional weight on my shoulders since our big move here. We just hadn't been able to carve out enough time to really get away like this, so I was so relieved and excited to be out on the road with my 3 favorite people yet again. We have also been missing the mountains a ton, and more than one person had suggested we check out West Texas to get a good strong nature fix. Spring Break presented the perfect moment in time to explore our (gigantic) new home state once and for all. We will definitely return at some point, maybe even in a rented RV...but already have some more road trips in mind to tackle first including a jaunt to the beach, a New Orleans experience, and a trek to our family in Georgia. Feels good to have so many trips on the "to-do" list, and this first one under our belts to hold up as an example that we can in fact escape the city whenever we want to.
The kids and I took care of the grocery store run the night before we left. It was the moment it really sunk in for me that we were actually headed out for a good ol' Stith Family Adventure and I got so excited!

Headed out!

One of my favorite views. The outside world flying by, changing and getting more and more sparse, while my whole world remains steady and true right there in the car with me.

Anyone need anything? Discovered this "Target location" on the highway just outside Marfa, TX.

...and then 6 hours later, we had arrived! We spent the next couple of days mostly in the car because the only place we were able to find a hotel on short notice was in Fort Davis, TX about 2.5 hours away from Big Bend. We made the most of it by checking out Fort Davis itself by way of a McDonald Observatory "Star Party" the first night we were there and the Fort Davis National Historic Park the day we left. On our way back and forth from the park each day, we made stops in Marfa and Alpine because we had heard they were funky little towns worth checking out. Mostly we experienced them as little towns with extremely limited food options, but we are glad to have been there all the same. After all, who doesn't need the occasional late night emergency visit to DQ?

So, enjoy this photo dump of our lovely trip to the desert. While there we spotted at least 10 different species of wildlife (road runner, javelina, deer, coyote, greater earless lizard, hawk, vulture, jackrabbit, grey fox, burro...notice the absence of venomous snakes/centipedes/spiders--I'm not complaining!), swam in the Rio Grande, touched our toes to Mexico, hiked to a sand dune nestled in a spectacular canyon, and watched the sunset in the absolutely clear desert sky. Needless to say, I was hesitant to come on home. How many days until summer?

Sunset in Marfa, Texas

Downtown Alpine, Texas

"Greetings from Alpine, Texas"

Desert lunch with a couple of cuties

Tricky Zoe

I found it difficult to capture this park without a wide angle lens. Everything is just so huge!

Cacti everywhere

Greater Earless Lizard

Burro Mesa Pour-off. Can  you see the kids sitting in there?

Owen wanted to go for a serious shot

Didn't last long

My favorites

Gazing at Mexico

Soaking in a riverside hot spring on the Rio Grande. This was the highlight of the trip for me. I almost didn't get my suit on because it was crowded and the only place to change was a makeshift changing room in the middle of some bamboo. Thank goodness I came to my senses and realized what a rare opportunity it was. We then spent way more time than we'd planned alternating between the hot spring and riding the current downstream, laughing and playing.

Sand dune at the end of Boquillas Canyon Trail. I don't think playing here was nearly as fun as the kids anticipated because it was SO WINDY. They were troopers though and recognized how cool it was to experience despite the stinging pain.

The sun beginning to set in Boquillas Canyon

Wild burros across the way on the Mexican side. Nearby is an official crossing for those with passports (ie not us). You can take a boat across the river where guides are waiting to give you a donkey ride into riverside Mexican city Boquillas. Safe to say we will plan ahead next time!

Driving out of the park at the end of our last day, enjoying the gorgeous sunset

On our way home, but one more stop. This is a complicated place, as it's main purpose was to protect settlers and soldiers from Native Americans valiantly and desperately defending their land