Best Weekend EVER!

Friends, I just spent the weekend camping out with Cy and these boys and had one of the most precious weekends of my life!


Y’all, there is NOTHING I love more in this world than my family!  And spending time with them is my favorite thing to do.

This past week, the boys were on Fall Break, but we were busy trying to finish their bathroom, and we didn’t have plans to go anywhere or do anything.  Plus, the funds were low. :)

But by Thursday, I started getting the itch to take the boys camping.  We’ve never been truly camping as a family, you know, sleeping in a tent and all.

I ran the idea by Cy, and by Thursday night, we were at Walmart buying supplies for our trip. 

It was one of those Carpe Diem moments.  The boys are growing up so quickly, and we need to “seize” this time with them.  

To say the boys were excited about this trip was an understatement.  They love anything that has to do with outdoors.  

So Friday afternoon, we packed up and headed to the Mammoth Cave National Park for a weekend of camping.  We are lucky because we live only a couple of hours away from this beautiful park.


It was very interesting trying to pack everything we needed for the trip, but we squeezed in our car like sardines and headed out.  


We immediately started setting up our tent. 

I was taken back with how old Jonathan looked near Cy.  Wow!  I can’t believe how much he has changed over the past year!



We got a 10 man tent because I wanted a lot of room inside.  I do not like feeling crowded in a space, and this tent was perfect!



Eli and the brothers LOVED it!




Once we got everything unpacked and our campsite set up, we headed out for a walk.

The boys love exploring in the woods.  Cy and I do too.  :)

The weather was absolutely perfect!  In the 60’s, crisp and cool. 



Mammoth Cave National Park has a ton of trails to hike, and we took one that headed toward the river.


Walking these trails was heaven on earth to me. 


Cy and I kept saying to each other, “It doesn’t get any better than this!”


It started getting dark before we made it to the river, so we headed back to our campsite.  We were all so excited to get our campfire started!


We roasted hot dogs and s’mores.  Perfection!

The best part was sitting around the fire for a couple of hours just telling stories and talking.   I hate to admit it, but I don’t remember the last time we did this without interruptions.  We didn’t have cell service where we were at, so we had no devices.  It was JUST US.  And it was more precious than anything I could ever hope for.  It was fun listening to the boys and hearing all of their different personalities.

Those moments will be etched in my heart forever.

As the fire started to wind down, so did we.  :)  We snuggled in the tent together, and “tried” to sleep.  It took a little while for the boys to get use to campground noises.

The next morning, Jonathan and Luke got up before dark and headed out to look for some fire wood to get the fire started.  Once they had the fire going, the rest of us got up for breakfast.  One the menu, bacon and eggs.  Yum!

We were scheduled for a tour of Mammoth Cave at 12:45, so we had some time in the morning to hike down to the river.

Eli wore his back pack all day.  When I asked him what was in it, he said, “The first aid kit, water, and my bible.”  Sounds like he had everything covered! :)


The trail was absolutely gorgeous!  We were amazed at all of the beauty we saw!



We made it down to one of the natural springs.  It seriously looked like something out of a movie.  


And we saw the biggest birch trees I have ever seen in my life!  The bark was peeling off like wallpaper.


It was like a boy’s dream come true.


So grateful for this man.  There is none better. :)


Adam (who looks exactly like my dad) said “This is the best trip ever!”


I made the boys stop for a picture.  I wanted to capture this moment in time.


Do you see what is on Jonathan’s lap?  That’s Troop.  I don’t think I have mentioned that we got a new dog on my blog.  We have had him a few months.  He was a rescue dog and is a terrier mix.  He LOVED walking the trails too!

Eli collected leaves during the whole walk.  He kept saying, “Oh mom!  Look at this one!”  And I would ooh and aah.  


I know you don’t get to see it on my blog much, but my husband is one of the funniest people I know.  He always makes people laugh and is always acting silly.  If you have met him in person, you know what I am talking about. :)

Here he is pretending to hold up this rock…


My little buddy…

me and adam

The boys found a big stick that they wanted to take back to our campsite for our fire.  


Eli tried to hang on…


But fell off the end of the line…


He tries so hard to keep up with his brothers. :)

This picture cracks me up.  It completely goes against the saying “smoke follows beauty.”  Hee.Hee.


After lunch, we went on our tour of Mammoth Cave.  It started with a bus ride to the cave entrance.


There were about 80 of us on this tour.


My silly husband thought it would be funny to get a picture with one of the tour guides.  Say hi to Ranger Chris.


It’s not easy taking pictures in a dimly lit cave, but I tried to get a few.  


Bottom line is…it’s A.MA.ZING.  Something you have to see in person to fully appreciate.


The boys thought it was the coolest thing ever.  We agreed.


We walked 250 feet down below the earth to view these majestic formations.

We went up and down hundreds of stairs, but it was worth it. 


After the cave tour, we headed back to our campsite for some more marshmallows. 


The boys and I went to the local showers and cleaned up for dinner.  We drove into Bowling Green to watch the UK Football game at Buffalo Wild Wings.  That was a ton of fun too.  Even though we got beat really bad.  We drove home at half time, and it was time for bed when we got back to the campsite. 

We snuggled up and slept much more soundly the second night because we were all completely exhausted. 

Sunday Morning, we had a little devotional and prayer around the fire, packed up the site, and headed home.

We all agreed that this needs to become a family tradition, and Cy and I said that we will never forget this weekend as long as we live.  The boys agreed.

I cannot tell you how my heart was filled to overflowing to be able to spend time with my family in the middle of God’s beautiful creation.  It was like medicine to my soul.

I hope we get to do it again real soon!

Have you been camping lately?



  1. As a mom of boys, I can relate. Camping trips were some of our favorite vacations. It’s been years ago, but one of our very favorite trips was to Carter Caves State Park there in KY and we toured Bat Cave – had to take flashlights, etc. as it was a “wild tour”. Boy heaven! And we have visited Jenny Wiley State Park quite often – we enjoyed many of their outdoor dramas on summer evenings while staying there. Both were on the eastern side of KY, we drove down from Ohio. Enjoy those boys! They grow up so quickly!

  2. I loved this post! I felt like I could almost experience those same feelings you had of your cup overflowing with God’s blessings! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Traci~ You have an absolutely beautiful family!! My four boys are a little bit older than yours so this weekend, two of my college boys were home so we enjoyed wonderful family time! You just have to blink and the time is gone :( Thank you for sharing your family with us. By the way, I see you with your make-up on!! A well made-up woman after my own heart <3 Love, Linda

  4. I loved Mammoth Caves camping. We had deer and wild turkey come into our campsite. Even in the summer, the cool air from the caves seemed to keep the campground cool and comfortable. I’d love to go back now that our youngest is big enough to really enjoy the caving part.

  5. Looooooovvvvvvveeeee this Traci!! So beautiful. Thank you for sharing this personal time with your family with us! Family time is the best. I’m so glad you all had an awesome time!

  6. Traci, My family has camped for over 40 years. When our oldest was two we went to Mammoth Cave Park & camped a few days. We took him on a four mile hike in the cave with my husband & me taking turns carrying him. Your pictures brought back so many memories of the time we went there. Later, after three children, we took them on camping trips usually twice a year all over the U.S. My children are now adults with their own children. We still try to camp once a year with everyone. My favorite place is Cook’s Forest State Park. That is the first place Dad took me & my four siblings camping back in 1964. Dad is gone now & I like to go back there every few years. Each time I go camping I think of Dad & the great times we had. Hope you & your family have many, many more times camping together. These are some of the best times of your lives.

  7. What a beautiful post. I just adore you & your family & the tear jerker tonight; “The first aid kit, water, and my bible.” So much awesomeness!!!!!

    PS. Your hair looks great long.

  8. oh wow what a trip down memory lane this created for me. thank you so much for sharing and the little comments about different family members was so great. Adam looks like Dad Cy is funny Jonathan is growing up too fast and Eli is ready for life with his backpack contents. Having been to the unusual cave formations helped too. I am so totally glad for your retreat.

  9. Thank you for these sweet photos and retelling of your weekend — what an inspiration to take our kids camping again! All five of your guys are adorable — such a sweet family. You always look beautiful but your long hair looks especially beautiful and young — camping gave you a natural glow : ) Your family’s love for Jesus shines through.

  10. This was such a great post. You truly captured the joy, excitement, and love that you experienced this weekend. The pictures were beautiful. I could feel your happiness reading the story. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Traci, I agree with Tricia, these are some of the best times of your lives. Your post brought back so many memories of our family camping trips. Since you live in Lexington and went west, I thought I’d offer my favorite campground of all is Bailey’s Point on Barren River Lake in KY. They have about 50 non-elec sites and they are just unbelievably beautiful and fairly private from each other. I hate tent camping where you feel like you’re in the Walmart parking lot.

  12. WOW….. you nailed it!! BEST TIMES OF YOUR LIVES… family together (and without phone service!! lol) Awesome!! I love, love, love, Eli’s comment concerning what was in his backpack… I sat here and realized I had tears running down my face!!! Precious!!!

  13. Your sharing this took me back to camping and also going to Mammouth Cave with our two sons. We also had a blast and never a dull moment with boys. Time certainly does go by quickly so keep enjoying these special moments when you have them all to yourselves. You and Cy are truly blessed with these 4 beautiful sons, and rich beyond measure. Thank you so much for sharing as the memories stored in my heart came to mind once again.

  14. Thank you, Traci; I feel blessed to be able to share your retelling of your beautiful weekend. I am a once-in-a-great-while commenter, mostly lurker, but I just wanted to tell you how simply seeing your words and pictures was so lovely, I can only imagine how it must have been for you, in person, and with your family. Your post was lovely, every photo, every word. Thank you, God is Great.

  15. We live in Oregon, which is camping central…we ended buying a 5th wheel (glamping) and we try to do 10 trips a year with our family. We all bike, so we toss those in, a raft and it’s endless fun!

  16. Thanks for sharing your sweet camping trip story with us. I can almost smell the campfire, almost breathe in all that fresh air and can almost taste that bacon cooked on the open fire. Sounds like you all had a great time. It’s so good (and healthy) to clear your head, share some quality time with your family and just bask in the love of God, of nature and each other. You are so blessed, Traci, and your sons are blessed to have you as their mom. I love that you and your family are what’s right in the world. And I’m blessed to be a witness (via your blog)to a loving and well loved Christian family.

  17. Thanks for sharing!! Brought back memories of my own. I live in Alabama but Bowling Green is my home town and still have family there. Mammoth Cave was a yearly school trip. My dad loved to eat at the lodge for lunch on Sundays. Beautiful place to visit!!

  18. This brings back memories of when my children were young and we camped all of the time. As you say there is nothing like it in the world. Those were days that are planted in my mind forever. Thanks for bringing those memories back to mind.

    God Bless!

  19. That Cute Guy I Married and I have two daughters and when they were young both Mr. Cute Guy and I both worked, long and unusual shifts. Living on the west coast of Canada, there are lots of spots where we regularly camped. But one random Thursday, Mr. Cute called me at work and said, “Let’s go to Jasper and Banff (in Alberta) this weekend!” We had a Toyota Hatchback. Long story short, we borrowed a huge canvass (I said it was back in the day, didn’t I) and off we went, leaving the island on the last ferry and driving all night in the worst rain ever, arriving in Alberta at dawn. All four of us talk about this particular trip all the time, even after all these years have passed. You created a wonderful memory for those boys. Cheers….barby

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *