Saturday, June 30, 2012

Take Me Out To The Ballgame!

Another guest post, this time from Hazel:

Its baseball season again!  Just like last season, Dad took me to the Round Rock Express game with our friends Clark and Ken on Friday night.  Mitch, Turner, and Mom went out with Zhenya and had their own adventure.

Just like last year, Dad was super impressed with how well I paid attention to the game.  We had seats right behind the dugout, almost on the field, and I watched just about every pitch.  Unlike last year, I started understanding a little bit more about the rules.  Like, I understood that there were two teams, and the team we were rooting for was in white.  I knew that the umpires dress in black.  During one point in the game, I asked Dad why everyone was booing at the umpire, and he said it was because the umpire made a mistake.  I said they should get a better umpire.  And, I understood what the bases were and that players were trying to hit home runs.  Unfortunately, no one hit a home run on Friday.  In fact, there wasn't much scoring at all.  But that's okay, it was a very close game and exciting until the end.  I brought my pink baseball glove, but didn't catch any baseballs.

A few other differences from last year.  I am using the potty now, so Dad didn't have to change any diapers. And, I ate part of a giant pretzel.  Also, the loud PA system scared me, but the nice lady at guest services gave me some ear plugs that fixed that for me.  She also gave me a temporary tattoo with a picture of the doggy mascot that I put on my hand.  I also enjoyed watching the mascots a lot this year.  Clark and I sat next to each other and Clark was great at sharing.  He gave me some of his snacks, and he even shared a game ball that he grabbed.

Once again, the fireworks at the end of the game may have been my favorite part.  I was really glad I had the earplugs for that. It was a late night, but Dad and I had a blast.  We have tickets for two more games later this summer - we might try to talk Mom and Mitch into coming with us.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hey from PA! (Guest post from Turner!)

On June 13, we all got up early to head to the airport.

Some of us got up earlier than others. Mitch knew we were planning on leaving around 6:30 or 7, and woke Mom up at 4:30 telling her he was up early to take her to the airport.

When we got there, Mom and I said goodbye to Dad, Hazel and Mitch and took off for our adventure to visit Grandma and Grandpa, all our relatives, and cooler weather in Pennsylvania.

Our flight went okay. I slept for an hour at the beginning of the first leg of the flight, and was reasonable the rest of the way. Grandma and Grandpa picked us up in Baltimore and once we arrived at their house, I burned off some energy playing in the sandbox with Grandma and Uncle Daniel and chasing their big dog Bruiser across the back yard. No one could believe I could crawl so far! I felt free!

We celebrated with dinner at the Tropical Treat, with Uncle Daniel, Aunt Lauren and Uncle Ryan. Aunt Lauren had to wake me up because I finally gave up my fight against sleep in the car on the way there. After a little food, we went back to the house and I had a good night sleep.

Thursday was a big day. Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Daniel and our cousins Amy and Mianna went back to Baltimore to see some big ships and the National Aquarium at Inner Harbor. As usual, I really liked watching the fish. Mom thought the shark tank was neat. We all liked watching the dolphins swim and jump around, and Mom remembered the rain forest from when she was a little girl. I also liked my ride -- Uncle Daniel's back. It was a great day, which we again topped off with some more of Mom's favorite PA food, Rocco's.

We took it a little easier Friday. Grandpa took Mom and me to Gettysburg to visit my great grandpa, Pop. I was excited to see him but sleep finally won our battle and I slept through the whole visit. I hear Mom Mom and Aunt Jane were there too. Mom was really happy to see everyone.

Mianna hung out with us Friday and I stayed with Grandma and Grandpa for more backyard crawling action while Mom had a haircut. Friday night Mom and Grandma spent some time out together and I had some quality time with Grandpa and Bruiser. Everybody had a good time, especially Bruiser, who cleaned my head with his tongue!

Saturday Mom and I headed out to a farmer's market in York with Aunt Lauren. I slept through most of breakfast, but really enjoyed looking around the market afterward. That afternoon we met up with Uncle Daniel at the New Oxford Flea Market, which Mom remembered from the good old days. We had another exciting evening when Mom Mom, Aunt Jane, Amy and Mianna came back for another fun visit.

Mom was excited to spend a laid back Sunday morning with her daddy and Grandma. Since Father's Day was Sunday, we went home to Austin to celebrate with Dad.

It was a great trip! I liked experiencing the single child life and Mom said she had fun laughing so much. We were happy to come home to Daddy, Mitchell and Hazel too. I hear they had a fun adventure while we were gone.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Time with Dad

With Mom gone, Dad fed us healthy treats!
This was a pretty different week for me and Hazel.  We had a lot of Dad-time.  Mom took Turner to Pennsylvania to visit Grandma, Grandpa, and the rest of the family, so Dad spent the whole week taking care of us.  It was pretty neat.

On Tuesday night, Mom told me that we were going to have to wake up very early to take her and Turner to the airport.  I took that very seriously, and made sure to wake everyone up at 4:30am (at least an hour before Mom and Dad had planned to wake up) by going into their room and reminding them we had to get to the airport.  After a quick breakfast, we all drove to the airport and dropped Mom and Turner off.  We were all very sad to see them go, but knew they would be back on Sunday.
After a while, we gave up and started cooking for ourselves

Dad still had to work a little bit this week, so after we dropped Mom off at the airport, he took Hazel to her school, me to my school, and then went to work for a while.  I had another great day at my new school, and even got to stay a little longer in the afternoon.  When Dad came to pick me up, he was in his car.  Mom's car was at the repair shop, which didn't matter since there were only two of us this week.  We then went and picked Hazel up - she had a great day too, since it was Splash Day at her school.  We came home and played with Dad for a while, and then Zhenya came over to watch us because Dad had a dinner meeting for work.  Zhenya let us stay up late, which was fun.

Mom's car was broken, so I drove this car all week
On Thursday, we had another swim lesson with Mr Bananahead.  Dad took us this time.  We did great!  The other mom there said she was almost crying because of how much I improved from my first lesson.  So far, we're learning to crawl along the edge of the pool, get on and off the wall, close our eyes when we get water on our heads, and how to blow bubbles and hold our breath.  Its pretty fun.  After swimming, we had lunch, nap, and quiet time, and then Zhenya came over again to watch us while Dad went to another work dinner.

On Friday, Dad took us to library story hour.  Mom had been taking Hazel to story hour, so this was the first time for me and Dad.  We all really liked it.  We danced when the lady played her autoharp, and we listed attentively when she read her story.  We even got stamps!  Afterwards, we got some great exercise by walking over to the supermarket.  On the way back home, my flip-flop broke.  Dad explained that its okay, sometimes things break.

With no Mom around, Hazel went all Lord of the Flies.
Dad had to go to work for a little bit on Friday afternoon, so Ella came over to watch us.  When Dad got back, he explained to us that Mom's car was going to be broken for a while longer.  Hazel told him that its okay, sometimes things break.  Anyway, since we needed to pick Mom and Turner up from the airport, we needed a car bigger than Dad's that could fit everyone, so Dad managed to find a suburban.  Hazel and I ran around in it and said it was the biggest car ever!  Friday night, we went to Taco Cabana for dinner and ate al fresco.

So this is what a Kolache is!
On Saturday, we woke up early to go to Houston.  Our plan was to visit the Houston Children's Museum and the Houston Zoo.  Dad had packed up the car the night before, so we were able to leave right after a delicious fruit-salad breakfast.  Hazel and I didn't mind the car ride too much, though we did make Dad stop in the middle of nowhere when I had to use the potty immediately.  It's good for Dad to be spontaneous like that.  Dad made another spontaneous stop at Chappell Hill, Texas, when a restaurant on the side of the road said it had the best Kolaches in Texas.  Hazel and I had never heard of a Kolache before, so Dad let each of us pick one out.  I got cherry and Hazel got poppy seed.  We agreed that Kolaches were really yummy.

We love Dad, but we sure miss Mom and Turner!
We told Dad that we wanted to go to the children's museum first, and it did not disappoint. First we went to the outside part and played in all of the water areas. We got pretty soaked, but it felt good since it was pretty hot outside. Then we went inside and Hazel painted her face. I played Connect Four with Dad on a giant Connect Four board (I won both times!) We played in a kitchen for a long time, and then played in a car for a while. Hazel's favorite part was probably the animal hospital, while I liked the water area the best. By the time we were ready to leave, it was almost closing time. So we missed the Zoo entirely, but it was okay since we had such a fun day. We drove back to Austin and had a quick dinner, bath, and went right to bed. We are excited to see Mom on Sunday.

All of the pictures from this post are from our day at the Children's Museum.

Monday, June 11, 2012

School's out!

My first year at Caraway wrapped up at the end of May with a bang.

The week before school let out, we had a field day. We played games and spent a lot of time outside. It was very fun. I came home from school with a tatoo of our school's mascot, an owl.

Another highlight was my class was part of a big dance put on for some of the parents. We've been working all year with fifth graders who volunteered to work with us to put on this production. There were many kids, and it was pretty chaotic, but Mom was really proud of how we all did.

The day before school let out, we had splash day with our PE teacher. I had to wear my bathing suit to school and while we were running over to school, late as always, Mom was putting sunscreen all over me. We had pools, sprinklers and slip 'n slides. It was fantastic and nice that my teachers put so much work into making sure we have lots of fun.

We will miss everyone this summer, and we're looking forward to seeing them in the fall.

In the meantime, my head teacher from Caraway spent one of her first days of summer vacation helping me transition to the school I will attend two mornings a week this summer. A few days later, I started there and had a great first week last week. My first day, I said my favorite things were playing outside and putting together a state puzzle. Mom and Dad are really grateful to my teacher for helping me ease into things, and we are all very happy that I love my new school so much!

Rainy days, sunny days

Last month, we had a lot of rainy days. Now it's starting to get pretty hot.  With more diverse weather than usual, we have had the chance to do lots of fun things.

One rainy afternoon, we headed down to a place called Foodie Kids, where Hazel and I hung out with a bunch of other kids while we each decorated a cupcake. We picked out colors for our icing and chose things to put on top of the treat, then we had at it! We finished up by eating our creations. I really like to cook, and this was right up my alley. Mom could tell I was really into it. I answered all the questions the lady asked me and really followed instructions. I hope we can go back again soon.

I was still in school every day back then, and one day while I was there, Mom took Hazel and Turner to a bookstore downtown for a program called Tiny Tails to You. A couple of ladies had a petting zoo in a room in the bookstore. After listening to a few stories about animals, Mom, Hazel, Turner and all the other moms and kids went into a little fenced in area where they could hold and look at lots of animals including bunnies, a tortoise, a bearded dragon, a hedgehog and guinea pigs. Hazel held a baby bunny. Mom held one too, and Turner tried to grab it. After that, they worked on a craft. Hazel made a bunny out of scraps of paper! The whole thing was perfect for Hazel, who loves bunnies and even goes around most of the time pretending she is a baby bunny.

Mom, Hazel and Turner have also been spending a lot of time at the library lately going to toddler story time. They go two days a week and really enjoy the lady who leads it on Fridays. She brings an autoharp and really seems to enjoy spending time with children. I am excited that I'll be able to join them at library story time this summer, when I will only go to school two mornings a week. More on that later this week.

My Sportball class wrapped up last month. After four weeks of soccer, we'd switched to four weeks of t-ball, which no one -- including the instructor, who said it's harder to keep kids' attention during t-ball -- liked as much. I am going to take a break from sports for a little while. Maybe I will try again in the fall, along with Hazel, who really wants to do it.

Our swim classes at the Y are also over, and we started with a new guy, Bananahead last Thursday. I am not excited about swim lessons, but Hazel likes it and Mom and Dad say it's important to learn to swim. So we're sticking with it.

Memorial Day weekend kicked off summer, and we did it in a big way.
The weather was good and we went to the pool, played in the sprinkler in our yard, went to two parties, had lots of meals outside (including grilling at our house), ate yummy summer foods like corn on the cob and watermelon, and generally enjoyed the time together. Dad said it was hard to be back at work after all our fun.

Mom has also taken us to a couple of splash parks since summer began. We went to Champion Park one afternoon last week and Quarry Splash Pad with Vishnu one morning. We also visited Brush Creek Park's splash pad over the weekend. Our outings were fun, and gave us another chance to eat al fresco, which I have announced is one of my favorite things to do.

Speaking of Vishnu, I've been spending a lot of time meeting up with friends at the playground. We've also been meeting up with Zhenya a lot, and even took her to one of our favorite places, the banana stand! The other day, I asked Mom why Zhenya can't always be with us.

Turner has been up to some new tricks. He has started making a car sound when he plays with cars and we suspect he has imitated some of our words, like "pinata." The other day when looking in the mirror, he yelled, "Hey!" 

One of our friends, who is sick, wrote this (abridged) story about him in her blog. Mom said it was pretty amazing when it happened, and we're proud of Turner for helping our friend feel a little better.
One of my friends came by to drop off some food with her one-year-old the other day. I was thanking her and holding her hand when I got a little emotional.  As we were holding hands, her sweet little 1 year old reached down and joined his hand with ours.  He was very intentional, he didn't want to let go.  How sweet that he knew the love that we were sharing and just wanted to be a part of that. Isn't it when we go through the "desert" when we become so much more aware of these little blessings that God surrounds us with?  I hope that I never again lose sight of these many blessings once I am out of the desert. 
Click here for photos from the last month.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A visit with Aunt Lauren and Uncle Ryan

May was so crazy busy, by the time my parents could sit down to help me write this, we were all too tired to do it. So we're a little behind.

The biggest thing that happened in May was an end-of-the-month visit from Aunt Lauren and Uncle Ryan. They were here for a whole week!

Aunt Lauren and Uncle Ryan's flight came in at night, after we went to bed. I knew they'd be here when I got up, and I was super excited to see therm, so I went down to wake them up. Hazel argued with me that 6:45 was too early and the sun wasn't out yet, but I told them all it was time to start the day.

Dad thinks the funniest part of this was that Hazel was yelling at me, right by their bed at full volume, not to wake them up. Whatever, it was my job to wake them up and I did it really well every day.

They had a list of things they wanted to do in Austin and we showed them some of our favorite haunts.

One thing we focused on was food. We took them to (or at least told them about) some of the best restaurants in Austin.

We had brunch at Kerbey Lane, lunched at some food trailers on South First (including the best one of all, Bananarchy), and had delicious food from the can't miss Chuy's and Rudy's, just to name a few.

Mom and Dad had a chance to escape with Aunt Lauren and Uncle Ryan a couple of times during the visit. They played a lot of games and just hung out a few nights, which Mom and Dad really liked.

One night Mom met up with them downtown at the Continental Club, where they watched Toni Price belt out some tunes. Rumor has it, they hit Amy's Ice Cream afterwards, but that was after my bedtime, so I can't verify the story.

Turner's teacher, Miss Kimberly, came over to stay with us one evening while Mom and Dad both went out with them to Hula Hut, Mozart's and the Drought House. We like Miss Kimberly a lot. She stayed with Hazel and me when Turner was born.

Saturday was the best day of all. Mom, Hazel, Turner and I went to San Antonio with Aunt Lauren and Uncle Ryan to show them the Children's Museum, the Alamo and the Riverwalk.

We had a really good time. We had so much fun, I had to ask to leave the museum when I'd had enough. When we got back to Austin, we hit Central Market and ended the visit with a night of grilling great food.

We were all sad to see them head off Sunday morning and hope they aren't too tired to come back again soon.

Click here for photos from our visit.