The boys and I spent last week with my family in Arkansas. I am so grateful for opportunities to spend time with my family, and also to give my boys a taste of what summer was like when I was growing up.
Unfortunately Daniel and my brother-in-law, Robert, were unable to make this trip. We missed them but enjoyed getting together with my parents and siblings.
As our family has grown, it really isn't practical to spend much time at our parents house, so we decided to rent a house at Greers Ferry Lake instead.
My sister drove up from Tallahassee with her kids, then Jack, Isaac and I rode with them to Arkansas. Our brother drove separately from Nashville.
Before we arrived at the lake, we spent one night at our parents. The kids enjoyed picking blueberries and blackberries from the garden so that my mom could make us blackberry cobbler. Though I'm pretty sure they ate more than they picked!
And they also had fun driving the riding mower with my dad and being pulled around on a big, flat wagon by my brother. And we walked through the campus at Harding to show our kids where we all lived and studied many years ago!
The week we were in Arkansas, the weather proved to be unseasonably cool for summer in the south. This stroke of luck meant that we were able to enjoy campfires each evening, but it still got warm enough during the day to swim.
I'm pretty sure the kids would have been happy to hang out at the lake house with the water hose, but swimming and cliff jumping turned out to be a lot of fun too.
Our lake house had a beautiful view of Greers Ferry Lake, but since we weren't right on the water we didn't have to worry about the kids. It was perfect for spreading out, and we had a nice big kitchen for cooking meals.
We celebrated my mom's 62nd birthday and my parents' 41st wedding anniversary. We made them our family's traditional pistachio cake as well as baked salmon, shrimp with cocktail sauce, fried okra, and corn on the cob.
During the day we would swim at Devil's Fork, and were even able to take the kids cliff jumping at Dam Site Marina in Heber Springs. The water was so high that the causeway to the cliffs was underwater meaning you had to wade across!
After jumping on the island cliffs, we ended up going to the really high cliffs since everything was probably about 10feet under water.
My niece, Izzy, surprised us by being a little dare devil. At age 8 she was showing up plenty of teenagers who were too afraid to jump!
Jack and Levi stuck with the medium and lower cliffs, and Isaac was content to splash from the side or float around with me.
We all have so many fond memories from going to Heber Springs and Greers Ferry when we were kids and teenagers (and as college students!). I'm thankful for the chances to make new memories with my kids.
Before leaving the area we visited the Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery. They raise rainbow trout here and release them into the Little Red River. The kids were all impressed by the fish.
Jack and Levi (both age 5) loved spending the week together, and Izzy (8) and Isaac (2) are forming a special bond.
Family games in the evenings, and sunsets outside with s'mores around a campfire are the things that childhood is made of. Coffee on the deck, in the cool of the morning, is how every day should start. This summer I am choosing slow as often as I can.
We had such a fun getaway! We are looking forward to spending more time with my parents in Canada next month and the kids are already planning our cousin's camping trip for the fall!
Isaac splashing while the bigger kids get ready to jump.
Levi jumping off the cliffs.
Jack jumping off the cliffs.
Izzy jumping off the really high cliffs.
Isaac swimming with Uncle Mark.
Jack demonstrates swimming with no floaties!