I don't know about you guys, but sometimes trying to get my kids out the door when it is not a school day is like pulling teeth.  My kids like their PJ's and they like to stay in them all day when they have a day off.  I can't really blame them because I like having a PJ day every once and a while as well, BUT today, New Year's Eve was NOT the day for that.  The weather here in Central Texas was going to be in the mid to high 70's!  Yes, you read that correctly -MID TO HIGH 70's - so there was NO WAY we could spend it sitting in the house playing with all our new Christmas gadgets, a day when the wild was calling our names. I would like to say thanks to my friend Carrey-Leigh for telling us about Chalk Ridge Falls which is located just past the Still House Hollow Dam. 

To keep the teen from complaining about hiking I promised him that if he gave me a hard time, was mean to his siblings EVEN ONCE, or made me think for even ONE SECOND that he was not having fun that I would take his ever-loving XBox and make it mine for an entire week.  My threat paid off because this hike ranked up there as one of my all-time favorite hikes. 
We started out walking along the river bank.  It was so quiet and peaceful.  We skipped a few rocks, played a little trash can rock ball and then we started building a dam....
Completed project!!
We aren't ones to stick to a path.  I like paths, but we always tend to wander off and climb things....
Crossing this tree wasn't too bad, it was climbing up to the path above that made me cringe as Girl went straight up and started pulling her brothers up.  I was terrified someone was going to fall and we were going to be hitting the ER, luckily we all made it to higher ground, safe and sound!
Unfortunately I had my camera set on the wrong setting so all the pictures on this cute little suspension bridge (the one on the right) did NOT turn out. It was a super fun bridge for the older kids - as we were crossing they started jumping up and down and swaying back and forth.  Well Boy 3 did not like it at all and had a good freak out on all his siblings once he finally got off.  He totally attacked them.   Yelling, screaming and hitting them.  I must say they deserved every bit of it and it was very hard for me not to laugh and to make him stop.  Once he got it out of his system he was fine and posed for me on the next little bridge we happened upon.
If you guys have been following us for a while you know what happens at the end of a hike.  We all gather things on the hike and then at the end of the hike we vote on the coolest thing that was found. The two pictures below are of our 'cool' things.  C (on the left) found this dried fish skin, that's right, I said DRIED FISH SKIN.  On the right we have a rock that was just picked up off the ground.  No thought put into it.  Tree bark, a 'spanking' switch (she has been talking to her Granny - NO REALLY!), a bigger rock, and a collection of little shells.    Can you guess what won?  That's right, the dried fish skin.  The collection of little shells came in second. 
Oh, just one more thing, remember the name, Chalk Ridge Falls?  You would expect to see water fall right?  Well normally there is a water fall, but due to the extreme drought Texas had this summer it was all dried up.  If we go again before we move I will make sure I post pictures.  It looked like it would be beautiful.
Boy 3 showing you what is left of his pear.
To get to Chalk Ridge Falls: Exit from I-35 and head west on FM 2484 for about one mile.  Turn right onto FM 1670 and head north for 3.5 miles.  Look for the park entrance on the right.  Proceed down the winding driveway to the parking area near the trailhead.
You can only imagine the emotions this stirred up within me.  As I uttered the words “Boy 1, since your Dad is not here, will you help Boy 2….”  The lump in my throat was so big I couldn’t finish the sentence.  Without hesitation Boy 1 picked his brother up and helps him put the angel on our tree….trying to hold back the tears, I took a few pictures and then went outside to catch my breath.

How did our boy get so big?  It wasn’t that long ago that Hubby was holding Boy 1 up to put the angel on our tree….