Monday, August 1, 2016

2016 Summer Road Trip - Atlanta

Turner and me in an airplane cockpit at the Tellus museum
We spent four days in Atlanta this summer. We had a great time as always. Bubbe always plans a lot of fun things for us to do.

We went to the Tellus museum and saw dinosaurs, airplanes, gemstones, and panned for gold. The highlight was a planetarium exhibit. Instead of the normal stars and planets, there was a thrill ride. We looked up and it looked like we were on crazy roller coasters. Hazel and Dad loved it; I wound up closing my eyes during most of it.

Tellus wasn't the only fun thing we did in Atlanta. We also had dinner with my cousin Lizzie, who is getting bigger each time we see her, and my Aunt Laurie and Uncle Jonathan. Lizzie is a very messy eater!

Hazel, Turner, and I helped Bubbe bake a delicious dirt cake, which turned out to be for my birthday party in Atlanta. Our favorite part was when Bubbe turned on her mixer too high and splattered the ingredients all over herself and her kitchen. We laughed and laughed. Even Bubbe had to admit it was pretty funny.

Waffle House
We went to see a great puppet show at the Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts. It was called "The Little Pirate Mermaid"  The show was great - it had lots of fish and the characters were really funny. We all liked it a lot. Before the show, we were able to walk through a puppet museum, and afterwards, we even made our own fish puppets!

We ate at some fun restaurants while we were in Atlanta. We went to the Varsity, Provino's, and even Waffle House. It was Mom's first time at Waffle House. Papa would've enjoyed all of the food we ate - Varsity and Provino's were especially his favorites.

The weather was very warm while we were there so Bubbe put out a small pool, sprinkler, and 100 water balloons for us to play with in her yard. Even Lizzie came out to swim with us. Hazel grabbed a small slide and turned it into a water slide. Bubbe and Dad found a cute video from a few years ago when she did the same thing. Hazel is very creative.

Sitting on Papa's bench
As long as we were in Atlanta, Bubbe made sure we got our teeth cleaned. We all had very clean teeth, and behaved very well at the dentist office. Mom and Dad were very proud.

The days went by pretty fast in Atlanta, and we were all very sad when it was time to leave, but Bubbe had to get back to work, and we were off to our next stop - Panama City Beach to visit Aunt Jen, Uncle Ben, and Annabelle.

On the way there we stopped at the Chattahoochee Riverwalk for a picnic lunch. We had stopped there last year, but my stomach wasn't feeling very well last time, so we didn't really get to do much. This time, we watched people fly over the river on a zip line, raft down the rapids, and swim in the river with their kayaks and dogs. It was a good stop, and it was nice to have a relatively short drive day.

We arrived in Panama City while it was still afternoon.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

2016 Summer Road Trip - Pennsylvania

Our next stop was a week in Pennsylvania with Grandma and Grandpa. We left Kentucky very early, and despite a long stop to get Mom's sore throat checked out, we made great time. We even got to Grandma and Grandpa's in time to have dinner with them! We ate outside, where it was nice and cool, and Aunt Lauren, Sadie and Uncle Daniel joined us for some great Rocco's food. After that we even had time to jump in a wading pool with Bruiser and then catch some fireflies.

The next day, we met up with our great-grandparents, Mom Mom and Pop at the Famous Hot Wiener. It was really nice seeing them for a nice lunch.

Our next big thing was Saturday, when we went to Pinchot Park and camped on Grandma and Grandpa's RV. It was a really great time. We hiked around, launched jump rockets in a nearby field, caught more fireflies, kayaked, played lots of cards, and played with our new friend Lana and Sadie. We also had the chance to go swimming on a lake beach and make banana boats and s'mores over a campfire. I had a big moment when I enthusiastically washed everyone's dishes one night.

On Sunday, we went back to Grandma and Grandpa's to do laundry and meet up with Mom Mom and Pop and Uncle Ryan's dad for chicken and waffles at a really nice restaurant, the Altland House. Mom was excited to eat one of her old favorites, and to see Pop and Mom Mom again.

For Fourth of July, we went to a party at Aunt Lauren and Uncle Ryan's. We went to Uncle Ryan's cool media room and watched the entire Harry Potter movie. After listening to the story in the car, it was fun to see how they portrayed the characters and compare the differences between the book and the movie.

For dinner, Uncle Ryan made burgers, Aunt Lauren cooked corn on the cob, and Grandma brought watermelon and other yummy side dishes. After dinner, they had a birthday party for me and Sadie with cake, pie and presents! I got a metal detector which was super fun at our beach stop later in our trip. I also got some great books, games and a sling shot. Since it was raining we didn't watch any fireworks, but we did play with sparklers. Uncle Daniel lit a whole pack of sparklers at once, which was very cool and scary at the same time.

Tuesday, we had a fun breakfast with Aunt Lauren, Sadie and Mianna at the York Market. After breakfast and shopping, Mom and Hazel headed to see Aunt Chris and Uncle Larry. They had a nice visit; Mom was very glad to spend some time with them. That evening we went to Tropical Treat with Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Lauren, Uncle Ryan, Sadie, Amy and Mianna, and Uncle Daniel. We ate tons of yummy food and ice cream and Turner got to feed a goat.

Our last day in Pennsylvania we visited Gettysburg. It was a blast. When we first arrived, a Park Ranger asked if we wanted to join the kids' army. We signed up and were told to meet outside at 11 a.m. That gave us enough time to go watch the movie and see the cyclorama. Both told the story of the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg. We all asked a lot of very good questions about why they were fighting, and tried to understand why people would fight wars. After the movies were over, we went outside to join the Army. Mom and Dad had to assure us that we wouldn't really be fighting in a real war.

There was an excellent park ranger who brought all of the kids up front, gave us a quick physical and inducted us into the army. He then explained what it would be like to be in the Army during the Civil War. He showed us the uniforms, the food and how to load a rifle. Then we put on our foraging hats, grabbed our rifles and started training. We practiced marching, learning how to turn, about face, and march in line. We practiced loading our rifles and firing, which took nine steps. Finally, we were ready to go to battle. We marched into position and the park ranger asked me to be the lookout scout. I went ahead of the group and called back that the enemy troops were approaching. After that we marched into position behind fence, and used our rifles the way that we had trained. We won the battle and came back to cheers from our adoring families. Finally, the park ranger called up each of us one by one to congratulate us and give us our discharge papers. It was loads of fun.

Turner and Hazel were pretty tired after all of that, so they headed back to the car. Dad and I did a quick run through the museum; I wish we could've spent more time in there - maybe next time. We also never made it to the actual battle field, so that will give us something else to do next time we visit.

That afternoon, we went swimming at Gigi and Uncle Darrell's pool. Aunt Lauren, Sadie and Grandma joined us, and it was a lot of fun. Hazel went down the slide about a million times, and eventually talked Turner into doing it a few times too. It was a blast!

We were sad to leave Pennsylvania, but we left very early the next morning for the very long drive to Atlanta. Listening to the second Harry Potter audiobook, we made very good time. We even had time to drive a bit along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We saw some beautiful scenery, stopped at an Alpaca farm, and had lunch at a Blue Ridge Music Center. We managed to get in to Atlanta in time to have dinner with Bubbe.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

2016 Summer Road Trip - Kentucky

We had a great couple of days in Kentucky. We were all careful to wear blue (and especially not red) while were there.

The best part of the trip was Whispering Woods Riding Stable, where we all went horse back riding.  Turner and Hazel hopped on Huckleberry and King and were led by the awesome stable hands. Mom and Dad were surprised when they put me on Apache, showed me how to control the horse using the reins, and just let me go with no one holding the horse. But I did really great, and really liked it. Dad's horse was Papi and was a pretty good horse. Mom got a rambunctious horse; Dad was surprised to find out it was Mom's first time riding a horse. Once all of us were on our horses, we rode them on a trail. It was really fun.

After the horseback ride, we played on a fun playscape they had there and went back to the house for lunch. Later that day, we went to the old James Pepper Distillery that Dad's friend is renovating. We got a tour of the building, which is still being finished out, and grabbed a flight of ice cream while we were there. Dad got a growler of sour brown ale to take with him too.

We started our second day in Kentucky at the Kentucky Arboretum where we walked along the really pretty flowers, trees, and vegetables. Everything smelled very pretty and we found lots of vegetable gardens and spices. There were also some really, really old tree trunks we could climb on. Dad and I counted the rings on one of them and it was over 100 years old!

After the arboretum, we went on a tour of the Old Kentucky Chocolates factory. It was neat seeing how they mixed the chocolate. Mom got especially nervous when Turner and I got really close to one delicious looking chocolate mixer. They were making all kinds of delicious treats like chocolate covered cherries, and chocolate shaped pictures. After the tour, we got to try samples of chocolate covered potato chips and pulled cream. Then we each got to pick out a treat from the store. Dad and I got chocolate covered bananas, while Mom picked out some chocolate pecans. Hazel got chocolate mints and Turner got chocolate candies. We saw an awesome chocolate tooth that we thought Bubbe would love, but didn't think we could get it to Atlanta without it melting.

After a fun two days, we left Kentucky and drove to Pennsylvania through West Virginia. We were all very impressed with how pretty West Virginia was; Dad even liked driving on the road there.  We stopped in Morgantown for lunch at the Core Arboretum, and got into Pennsylvania in time for dinner.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

2016 Summer Road Trip - On the Road

As much fun as we've been having this summer, it started to get pretty hot in Austin. So we decided to pack up the car and head out on a summer road trip.

Our first days' drive was through Dallas up to Arkansas. Mom and Dad had a special treat for the car - we listed to a Harry Potter audiobook. Dad was careful to stop after each chapter to ask us what happened and make sure we were able to follow it. Hazel was really into it right away. I took a while to warm up to it, but really started enjoying it in the later chapters. It was harder for Turner to follow the audiobooks, though he really likes the storylines.

Our first stop (except for fairly frequent bathroom breaks) was at Buc-ee's. Mom and Dad got some breakfast burritos while we picked out a few treats from the famous Wall of Candy. Turner and I each picked out chocolate covered pretzels while Hazel went with her old standby of saltwater taffy.

After another couple of hours, we stopped at the Perot Museum in Dallas for lunch and a quick run of the awesome science museum. My favorite part was racing a tyrannosaurus rex; the T-rex was on a screen next to a track and we raced to a finish line. The T-rex beat me every time.

After getting to run off some energy, we hopped back in the car and drove to Arkansas. The hotel we stayed at had an indoor pool, and mom brought pool toys for us to play with. We swam until we were all very tired, had a nice dinner, and went to bed excited about our next day.

We got up early the next morning and drove to Memphis. The Memphis JCC has an unbelievable outdoor water park that we got to swim in thanks to Mom's connections at the Austin JCC. Dad, Mom, and Hazel went down the giant water slide, and we all rode on the lazy river. Turner and I played on the various water playscapes. We had a nice lunch, showered and hit the road again.

Our next stop was dinner in Nashville at the intersection that has a White Castle and a Krystal. We picked up food from both and did a taste test of burgers, fries, and milk shakes. The decision was unanimous that Krystal is better, and Mom declared that we can skip this stop in the future and just go to a more convenient Krystal.

We arrived in Lexington Kentucky pretty late at night, staying in an absolutely wonderful apartment that Dad's friend owns. She was super nice to let us stay there. After unpacking the car, we took a well deserved nights' sleep.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Cub Scout Camp

Hazel had her annual well visit today. She is 46 inches and 46 pounds, both in the 25th percentile. She was happy not to have to get any shots. You can see my latest growth chart on the right side of the blog or here.

We had a super fun time at Cub Scout camp this week. Turner, Hazel, and Mom got to come along too. We got to do archery, b.b. shooting, slingshots, water slides, swimming, and all kinds of crafts. I even got to do forensics, put up a tent, and touch a python! It was a really fun week.

On the way home, I told mom I know what the "S word" is. Then Hazel told mom she knows what the "D word" is. Mom was pretty freaked out and asked where we learn these things. Hazel said, "Kids! Inappropriate kids!" Mom asked which kids, and Hazel said they say these words a lot on Charlie Brown. So Mom asked Hazel what the D word is, and Hazel spelled, "D-U-M-B." Then mom asked me what the S word is, and I spelled, "S-T-U-P-I-D."  Mom cracked up laughing and said she is glad we don't use words like that.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Turner graduated!

We've been having so many great adventures this spring, like camping, hiking, partying, I made it to the top of the rock wall in my rock climbing class, we've forgotten about our blog. We'll try to improve this summer.

Today, Turner graduated from preschool! He'll still go a little bit this summer, but we're proud of him and he's excited to start kindergarten this fall. He had fun at his graduation. He wore a fun hat, walked in a procession, sang "Down by the Bay," and ate cake and ice cream.

There were two things he didn't like though. He said Mom took too many pictures, and he didn't like the outfit he wore. He told Mom, "I look like an old man!"

Congratulations, Turner!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Turner is 5

Turner has finally turned five years old. He thought this would never come.

He went to the doctor today. He has really grown. He is up to the 50th percentile in height now (42.5 inches) and 50th percentile in weight (41 lbs). Guess all those veggies are paying off.

You can his growth chart here or on the right side of the blog.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A week full of excitement

This has been an exciting week. Some of the excitement has been good. Some has not been so great. 

Tuesday, Mom's friend picked us up from school. We were expecting Mom, but she was at the emergency room with Turner. He was outside trying to make a car out of his scooter and a chair when they were getting ready to come pick us up. He stood on the chair to put his shoes on, and fell backwards. When he fell, he knocked his noggin on the cement/stone wall around our patio. Blood was dripping from his head, and he really screamed. Mom was scared and called our doctor, who told her to take him to the ER. By the time they got there, Turner was calm. They took great care of him, and he was brave. He didn't even mind when they stapled his wound shut! At the end of his visit, they let him keep the squirter they used to clean out his wound, and gave him a popsicle. Turner told mom he liked it there.

The good exciting news this week was Hazel and I won our school science fair! Hazel's project involved putting dirty, dull pennies in lemon juice and salt. She took some out after a few minutes and left the rest in for eight hours, then took them out and rinsed them. Every few hours she recorded what they looked like. Some turned green and the ones that were in the whole time that were rinsed turned shiny.

My experiment measured how quickly temperature changed when we put a 1/2 cup of sand and 1/2 cup of water (they were contained in measuring cups) in hot water. I had a good attitude about doing the work. Dad showed me how to make graphs with the results, which I really liked.

When they announced our names this morning on the school news, we were really happy! Mom, Dad and Turner came to watch us get our medals from the school principal. We are all really proud of our double win! Turner asked Mom if he can do one next year so he can get a medal too. So next year, we're going to see if we can bring home three medals! Hopefully we won't give Turner a complex by setting the bar so high.

One other good exciting thing that happened this week was a very cool Cub Scout overnight that Dad and I did. We drove to Dallas and got to spend the night in the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

Our pack had rented out the entire museum, so right after dinner, we all had the museum to ourselves. First, we watched a really cool 3D movie about Sea Dinosaurs. We all kept reaching out in front of us trying to grab the things that came out of the screen! Then we watched a live science show. I was called up to be a volunteer and got to demonstrate how objects contract under heat. I held a rod with a metal ball over a butane torch and showed how the ball could fit inside a ring that it was bigger than just moments before. Dad was nervous seeing me so close to fire, but I did great. The show had lots of other neat things too, like freezing things in liquid nitrogen and then smashing them. Dad got mad when the woman running the show put her hand in the liquid nitrogen and then pulled it out quickly - he thought she was going to freeze her hand!

The room that Dad and I slept in
After the show, we had three whole hours to just explore the entire museum - all to ourselves! All of the exhibits that were usually full of people (10,000 visitors a day) were open to just us 130 scouts and parents. It was really cool.

My favorite things were controlling robots, riding an earthquake, racing a dinosaur, watching myself shoot a basketball in slow motion, challenging dad to a Predator vs Prey game, and looking at all of the dinosaurs. Finally, at 11:30pm, it was time to go to sleep. We got to sleep in the room with all of the dinosaurs. We were so tired from all that exploring that everyone went right to sleep.

In the morning, we had some snacks and headed back to Austin. It was a really exciting overnight.