It’s just not July Fourth without hanging out in a body of water. We spend the weekend in our hometown which is commonly know as East Texas or the Piney Woods. The Angelina National Forest and Lake Sam Rayburn are the best part of living in this area, especially if you are outdoorsy like my family. I grew up fishing, camping and boating on this Lake. Check out our video too.

Great Motto for the world right now.

Being Summer of 2020, we did not make any big plans because things have been cancelled and new rules have been made. We only planned on having fun and spending time with family. We drove to Ryan’s moms house Friday afternoon and played outside. It was pretty humid and the car ride made the girls itch for some time outside. The girls ran through the grass and the sprinklers in the backyard. Ryan had just hooked the trailer to the riding lawn mower for rides around the yard when a storm blew in. I watched as the trees whipped against the darkening sky and leaves blew in with a relief of cool air. It was only sprinkling at first but then a downpour forced us to seek shelter inside and on the porch. Norah took a nap while we watched the rain.

Practicing our driving skills.

The next day was Saturday the Fourth and it was just as hot. We took an impromptu drive to the lake with a bag full of watermelon and our swimsuits. We drove out to Martin Dies State Park, an hour drive from Ryan’s parents house. We found a covered picnic table overlooking the lake. There were other families spread out across the lawn. It was not overly crowded.

Our view from our picnic table

Ryan and the big girls went swimming while Norah and I worked up a sweat and ate way too much watermelon. We could see Ryan throwing the girls in the air on the far side of the swimming hole. We decided to walk over and watch them from the shore. We noticed a shower and a swing set nearby along with wooden benches and more picnic tables. We played on the swing for a little while and decided to cool off with the rest of the family.

Swimming area Martin Dies State Park

The water was a mixture of hot and cold. Areas of cool would swirl through your legs and then all of a sudden and warm wave slide passed you unexpectedly. They girls enjoyed jumping off the banks into the water where Norah and I were watching. After a while we spotted a family we knew. It was such a random meetup since the husband is Ryan’s coworker.

We were already headed out of the water when I noticed that all the swimmers were headed out of the lake in front of me. I followed their gaze out over the water and noticed two thin, black figures gliding across the water. The first thin strip was the ridged top of a snout and protrusion of a head jutting out of the water. The second figure of black was the back following in sync with the head. The alligator had swam across the area behind our family picture toward the swimming hole on the right. It seemed to be curious but turned to swim away. As the gator distanced himself from the crowd, a few brave swimmers decided to decided to venture back in the water. A few moments later the alligator ended up turning around and swam right into the roped off swimming area. The swimmers quickly exited the water.

We left shortly afterwards to grill burgers and pop fireworks. Norah’s reaction to the fireworks was so fun to watch. The girls burned sparklers and popped Roman candles while Pop Pop (Ryan’s step dad) set off the big fireworks.

We went to mass the next morning and ended the day with a swim at our friends house. Ryan headed back home for work and the girls stayed behind for a week with my mom.

Water and watermelon are our favorite things.
Camp Yaya

A simple weekend is best spent with people we love. I am amazed at how much fun the girls have being outside. They swung from tree limbs, ran in the rain and took a ride behind a lawnmower. Summer memories are so vivid and I hope that years from now they will remember having fun and not worrying about the circumstances at hand. Ryan and I work very hard to control our emotions concerning the obstacles of 2020. We try our best to explain things in a very objective manner. We want their memories of fun and not of fear. Video link

Love and blessings,


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