Friday, August 30, 2013

Meanwhile, back in Austin...

Guest post from Hazel:

 While Mom and Mitchell were in Boston, Dad, Turner and I were having a blast too!  Thursday we woke up really early to take Mom and Mitchell to the airport. Then Dad took us to my old school for the day since he had to work. I hadn't been there in months, so it was great to see all of my old friends again.  I saw my teacher who is now nine months pregnant.  Dad thought the baby might pop out while I was there on Thursday but it didn't.  Turner ran to his old teacher like he had never been gone!

Thursday night Dad made us a really yummy dinner and read lots of books to us.  We went to bed without any fuss.  Everything was a lot calmer with fewer of us in the house.

Megan and Ryan at Kiddie Acres
Friday was a real treat.  Dad took the day off work to spend the whole day with us.  We did lots of fun stuff. Dad finally brought us to the gym so we could see where he goes to work out. Turner and I were pretty impressed. They had lots of exercise equipment, and even a kids club just for us. We stayed there and had a lot of fun. Then we came home for a yummy lunch and nap. 
Dad had to wake us up from our nap, because Friday afternoon we got to hang out with our friends Megan and Ryan. Yup, Dad had 4 kids to watch! Dad took us to the most fun place ever - Kiddie Acres. Turns out that during the middle of the day during the week it's not that busy at Kiddie Acres. We were the only ones there, so we had our own personal attendant who followed us around and turned on whatever ride we wanted.  Each of us took turns picking what ride we wanted to go on next. We rode on every single ride they had, most of them twice! My favorite thing was riding on the ponies.

Giddy up!
We dropped off Megan and Ryan and came home for more yummy dinner and a bath. Dad was once again surprised at how easily we went to bed.

Turner really liked this horse
Saturday was super awesome. In the morning, we headed over to the school playground to meet up with all of the kids from Mitch's kindergarten group. Even though Mitch wasn't there, all of the kids and parents were happy to see us. We were having a great time, but we had to leave early to go to a picnic!

This is for you Bubbe! (a UF alum)
The picnic was downtown, and it was made up of a bunch of the SEC school alums in Austin. We met our friend Dylan and his Dad down there and hung out with all of the Kentucky alums.  Papa was a Kentucky alumni, which makes all of us honorary Kentucky alums. The picnic was so fun. They had a bounce house, a Rudy's barbecue, and games, and cookies. The Florida group even brought a big alligator that we got our picture taken with.

We were exhausted after the picnic and took a long nap.  We spent Saturday afternoon with Dad running errands.

Sunday was even more fun. We met up with Megan and Ryan and their parents to go swimming at their pool.  Their neighborhood pool has three different pools.  One is a giant kiddie pool that Turner really loved.  Another one has fountains and is shallow enough for me to run around in.  And they also have a big pool that we could practice swimming in. Megan and Ryan's dad took cool pictures of me under water.

We had to leave swimming early so we could get a nap ahead of our wild afternoon and evening activities.  Our friend Will had a birthday party at Soccer Zone. It was a lot of fun - we played soccer, ran around, saw a bunch of our friends there, and had cupcakes with soccer-ball icing on them.  After the party, we came home and played with Dad for a while. Then we went to Freebird's for dinner.  It was a great day.

Unfortunately, the weekend came to an end, and Monday it was time for Dad to head back to work. He dropped us off at the school we now attend two mornings a week. We had a good day there.  When Dad came to pick us up, we didn't want to leave! Instead of heading home, Dad took us over to Rita's to have a delicious Italian Ice snack, and then headed home for dinner and sleep.

Tuesday, Dad had to work again so we spent another great day at our old school.  We were expecting to see Mom and Mitchell Tuesday night, but it didn't quite work out that way.  So we saw them the next morning. As soon as we woke up, we climbed into bed and snuggled her. 

We are certainly happy to have all of our family back, but we had a great time with Dad. And Dad was floored at how much easier we are to handle when its just the two of us.  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Last Hurrah: Boston

Mom was kind of sad about sending me off to kindergarten, so we decided to take a trip to Boston together the week before I started school.

Thursday, August 15, we got up bright and early and Dad, Hazel and Turner dropped us off at the airport. Hazel and Turner did a good job saying goodbye because they were excited to have an adventure with Dad. Mom and I said goodbye to Texas food next; Mom got a brisket breakfast taco before we got on the plane. 

Our flight was good. I kept myself entertained the whole time with a book and my iPod. I was kind of mad though, when we got off in New York instead of Boston. Mom had forgotten to tell me we had a layover. We made the best of it by eating fancy hot dogs, which I really liked. 

After another really short flight, I was happy when we finally arrived in Boston. Oma and Opa picked us up and we went to Salem, where we ate on the waterfront, looked at lots of neat ships and took a little walk before heading out to the house to drop our stuff off. It was a long day, but wasn’t over yet.

We headed back to Salem to meet up with Mom’s friend Sarah, who was leaving the next morning for a trip to Turkey. Although Mom got me some yummy peanut butter pie, I was tired, so after a quick visit, we headed back to Oma and Opa's and went to bed.

When we woke up Friday, we decided to take it easy for a bit. Mom slept in while I made some friends. The nine-year-old twins who were visiting their grandma across the street came over to play. One of the things we did was feed Oma’s ducks. About 50 of them fly to her yard every day because they know she will feed them birdseed. We also played tag and mopped Oma’s deck for her, something I really liked doing.

I liked the twins so much, later in the day I called across the street to them to come back. I went across, grabbed one of them by the hand and tried to pull her back with us.
Next Oma, Opa, Mom and I went to Newburyport, where we had lunch in a tiny lighthouse. I scarfed down my macaroni and cheese and turtle cheesecake, but Mom couldn't finish her enormous steak.

After that, we went by a playground, where I climbed a lot and scabbed my knee up when was running and fell over. We next went to Trader Joes and a light dinner of hummus and veggies, followed by a not-so-light chocolate dessert binge from our trip to Trader Joes.

I finished our fun day with a bath in Oma's whirlpool bath. I loved not only the jets, but I could splash all I wanted because of her glass shower doors.

We had a big adventure Saturday. Mom and I drove down to Wonderland T station, where we left our car so we could get on the subway into Boston. We were surprised to find that the blue line, the whole way to the Airport stop, was closed for the weekend. Fortunately, they had shuttle busses set up to take everyone to the first stop that was open. We next took the T the rest of the way in to Faneuil Hall, where we met our friend Jenny and her two daughters for lunch at Cheers. 

Then we did a walking tour. I wasn't crazy about the tour but did like one stop -- the cemetery. I liked seeing how old everyone was when they died. Most of the people were in their 70s but I found one person who died when they were 26. I told Mom, "That's just not right!" Mom agreed.

Then we took the T again, to Prudential, where we went to the top of the building. We were on the 50th floor and I was excited to learn that we were 750 feet up. After Mom listened to most of the audio tour, we went down and took a nice walk through the area outside the Mary Baker Eddy Library, where they have a large pool and fountain. I took my shoes off and stuck my feet in the fountain, and we liked seeing how beautiful it all is and what a nice day it was outside. We really enjoyed the cool weather.

We went back on the T, then the shuttle, and when we were back at Wonderland, took a short walk on the beach before getting back in the car. Dinner with Oma and Opa at a place called Londi's, where I had pizza and Mom had a cheesesteak.

Sunday was a fun but calmer day. We kicked the day off with breakfast at the Little Train Depot in Peabody. It’s a diner inside a 1929 Worcester Lunch Car. Nobody but Mom could believe I could eat a whole HUGE chocolate chip pancake. 
We next headed to Salem for some kayaking. While Mom and I were on the water, we saw a fishing boat pull up to the dock. When we came back, we learned that the fisherman had given Oma and Opa a large fish they caught. Next, we walked over to a nearby jazz festival. I was feeling a little burned out and grumpy, so we headed back to the house. I spent more time with Oma’s mop on her deck and Mom and I ewwwwed at Oma and Opa's fish, which they tried unsuccessfully to cut up. We had a nice cookout dinner and finished with ice cream at the Dairy Witch.
Monday Mom and I set out for Boston again, and met up with our cousins Katie, Luke and Ryan at the Boston Children's Museum. I really loved seeing my cousins and liked playing with the airplane, construction zone, kitchen and climbing structure in the museum’s foyer.

After saying goodbye to that gang, Mom and I got on the T and went to Boston Common. I splashed in the Frog Pond and played on the playground, then we walked across the street to the Public Gardens where Mom took photos of Duck and me at the Make Way for Ducklings statue. We rode on a swan boat and met up with our friend Zhenya, who moved from Austin to Boston five months ago.

We walked with Zhenya to the North End, and passed another fun cemetery on the way, then had dinner. We looked and looked for a restaurant that had pizza for me and eggplant parmesan for Mom. By the time we found one, we were starved! When the food came, I learned that Zhenya ordered mussels – via my nose – and totally freaked out. I told Mom the smell hurt my nose so she took me outside for fresh air. When we came back, Zhenya had packed up her food, but I still wouldn’t eat any of my pizza. I had totally lost my appetite. I played with my iPod until Mom and Zhenya finished eating, then we went out in search of cannollis. They’re so yummy!

By the time we finished, we realized we had 10 minutes to get to our train or we’d have to wait until 9:30 at night to catch the next one. Fortunately, Mom had spotted bike taxis across the street from the park where we ate our cannollis, so we took one of those to North Station and after running for it, barely caught our train. That bike taxi was the ride of my life! I loved it! It was a great end to a great day! I was super tired on the train ride back.

Tuesday was our last day there and we took it easy. Mom slept in for the last time while I played with Oma and one of the twins from across the street, Aubrianna. We fed the ducks again and played on the deck. I really enjoyed Aubrianna. Since we came home, I've been sleeping with my photo of her.

Mom said we had to get to the airport around 2:00 for a 4:00 flight, so we headed out in the afternoon. When we got to the airport, Mom was surprised to see she misread the flight info. Our connecting flight left New York at 4:00. We were supposed to leave Boston at 2:00! 

Fortunately, we came across the nicest airline employee ever, who just put us on another flight. He didn’t even charge us anything, which made it a lot easier for Mom to explain to Dad what happened. We were supposed to get into Austin at 7:30, but instead flew through Detroit and got in at 10:30.

We were very sad not to get to talk with Hazel and Turner that night because – since Mom was able to arrange for a babysitter while Dad picked us up -- they were asleep when we got home. It all worked out in the end -- we were happy to see Daddy after our fun Boston adventure and it was fun seeing Hazel and Turner when we all woke up Wednesday morning.

To look at pictures from our trip, click here.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Off to See America: Heading Home

Friday morning we said goodbye and packed up our car to hit the road. 

Our first real stop was Nashville. Dad had learned there was a Krystal, his favorite restaurant, at the same intersection as a White Castle, a restaurant he had never tried that has the same kind of hamburgers. We knew the time was right for a slider showdown.

Mom went into the Krystal, where they were incredibly slow and kind of rude. After a long while, she came out with some food, and we went across to the White Castle. That time, we went through the drive through. They were also very slow. Dad said the service was a draw.

Next it was time for a taste test. Mom said Krystal won on the milkshake front, by a lot. Dad liked White Castle’s fries better; Mom liked Krystal’s better. Both Mom and Dad agreed, surprisingly, that the burgers are the same. Dad was especially surprised at the outcome.

Mom is going to write the next section because of some graphic content.

While we waited for our food at the drive through, I noticed a police car pull over a car across the street. I didn’t think much of it until -- 10 minutes later, after our food finally arrived – we pulled out of the parking lot to find the same car at the gas station across the street surrounded by cops with their guns drawn and the guy in the driver seat waving his hands out the window. We don’t know what happened next because I screamed at Evan to floor it.

After that, we just left Nashville as quick as we could. 

Home at last!
Our next break was Memphis. We went to the Pink Palace, a big museum. It wasn't a children's museum but it had clean bathrooms and was a good chance for us to stretch while looking at strange oddities like a shrunken head and a tyrannasaurus rex that roared at us and scared the wits out of Turner. 

After that short stop, we headed to our hotel in Arkadelphia. It was pretty crowded. We had a dinner Mom packed, went to bed, and had a nice swim before heading home the next morning. 

We are pretty glad to be home!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Off to See America: Indianapolis

We got into Indianapolis pretty late, so we went straight to bed, but the next day was really fun. We woke up to an awesome breakfast with Auntie Ann and Uncle Bob, and had a relaxing morning hanging out. They had a fun toy kitchen and trains for us to play with, and Turner liked pushing a baby doll around in a stroller. Uncle Bob took Dad and us kids for a nature hike by a meadow while Mom visited with Auntie Ann and Mom’s cousin, Barbie.

After a great lunch, Mom and I went back down to the meadow while Turner and Hazel napped. It felt great to take a walk in such a beautiful place. Later, we headed to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where we walked around outside at the 100 Acres, a beautifully landscaped space, before dinner with Auntie Ann and Uncle Bob. It was great visiting with them, but it was once again time to say goodbye for the next leg of our trip – Louisville, Kentucky, to visit Tabi, Mike and their 11-month-old son, Bowman.