Monday, August 30, 2010

Car Conversation

Kevin took the boys to school this morning. When he got to work he sent me this snippet of their morning conversation.

Daddy: Are you a good baby Ryan?
Ryan: Yes.
Ryan: Are you a good driver Daddy?
Daddy: Yes.
Ryan: Mommy’s a bad driver.
Connor: Mommy’s a good driver. Mommy’s a good driver. Mommy's a good driver.

Ryan might just find himself walking home tonight...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Discovery Green

It has been a busy, busy summer. The boys absolutely loved visiting Discovery Green last year so we wanted to make sure we got a chance to get back out to the park this year before it was too cold to play in the water. Yes, too cold. I know that sounds crazy given this is Houston and it is still 100 degrees outside. Not to mention that we will probably be wearing shorts come Christmas. Apparently the boys didn't get my "cold" tolerance, because their little lips turn a nice shade of blue and they start shaking when they get wet and stand in the shade. Seriously. It was 110 in Balmorhea in July last year, and we had to get out of the spring fed pool because Ryan was turning blue. And a a few weeks ago when "we" were "washing" Great Grannie's motorhome and I had to stop in mid wash to go inside and get towels for the boys - not to dry them off, but to wrap them up in because they were cold. July. In West Texas. Over a 100. Clearly they are not my children.

Okay, well maybe this one is. I swear he's part fish.

Though he isn't trying to breathe the water - at least not intentionally. Oh, no. He's trying to drink it like the big kids were doing. He got a scraped nose for his efforts.

Not that it stopped him for even one second.

Pictures like this just make my heart melt. Oh, so sweet.

Then the pushing and jockeying for primo water space started. You knew it couldn't last, didn't you?

Luckily we spied the ice cream truck. Brawl averted. Until Daddy only got one ice cream for them to share. Like that was ever going to work...

We also ate dinner at the park. On the patio beside the pond where they race boats. It was beautiful. And peaceful. The pink sky of the sinking sun reflected on the shiny new building across the street.

A perfect end to a perfect day.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

4th of July - Rescheduled

We always look forward to the 4th of July at Uncle Randy’s. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with folks that we don’t see very often.

A chance for the boys to play with their extended cousins.

And did I mention the water slide??

Because the boys LOVED the water slide. :)

They had a particularly good time helping Uncle Randy water his yard. :)

And did I mention the tractor rides?

The boys loved the tractor ride, too.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Slumber Party

We had a slumber party at Grandma and Grandpa's house this weekend. It was a great opportunity to try out our new (clearanced for $24) bike trailer in the late evening early morning out on the trails when it wasn't quite so hot.

So we packed up everything except the kitchen sink, and oh, yeah, the bike helmets (oops!).

Luckily Kevin "[kept] it on the road" as per the boy's frequently exhorted instructions.

We rode over near the "lake" and golf course. Then decided to walk around the trail by the lake.
Or maybe I should say jogged?

Either way they had lots of fun being carted around in the trailer, running the trails, avoiding other pedestrians, and keeping an eye out for alligators.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

TGGN: Part VII: The End.

Head out on the Highway
Looking for Adventure
And whatever comes our way

Our just one day, and one night turned into over 900 miles. 900 miles of smiles, and laughter and just as many pictures to remember it all by.

By the end we were all exhausted and a little delirious.

So much so that we had quite a time laughing at the bug splats and were quite impressed by this one who managed to splat across the entire windshield.

I guess you just had to be there.... :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

TGGN: Part VII: McCallister Park

As we set out from Caprock Canyons State Park finally headed home we had just one stop left to go. McCallister Park in Lubbock. It wasn't on our original itinerary, but as we had passed it on the way we had promised the boys that we would come back and let them play.

It was one of the coolest parks we have ever seen. There was just so much to explore - from the huge 2 store house with its corridor paths leading up and down and all around.

To it's Wild West downtown with ramps, and stairs, twists, and turns. The boys had a blast exploring just a quarter of it's nooks and crannies in the hour we let them play.

Connor particularly liked the two story spiral slide. Connor and I went first and almost got stuck in one of the hairpin turns on the way down. Though no one would have ever known as we couldn't stop laughing and squealing long enough to actually call for help.

There was a little something for everyone at the park. There was a whole area of musical instruments for whack-a-mole style play.

And all kinds of wooden creations to inspire your imagination.

And even a separate toddler area with pint sized fun for those with non evil-canival toddlers.

Though the only thing of interest the boys in that area was the swings. Why do tame when you can do what the big kids do??

Friday, August 20, 2010

TGGN: Part VI: Caprock Canyons

After dinner at Cracker Barrel and a quick look at the clock we decided to head to Caprock Canyons State Park and spend the night. According to the GPS we would have about 20 minutes to spare if they followed the same 10pm gate close time as Palo Duro Canyon.

After a frantic 10 minutes at/around/near the deserted visitor center just before 10pm we finally found the road to the campground and heaved a sign of relief as we found a spot, backed in, and got hooked up. Inside the gates. In a real spot. With electricity!

Having had some practice we got the bed made, the kids changed, and practically fell into bed within minutes of having stopped. We were all sleeping soundly until around 3:30AM when the smoke detector went off for apparently no reason rudely waking everyone but the boys up from a sound, sound sleep.

The next morning by the light of the sun rather than the moon we ventured out to check out the park. After our quick tour we made a stop by the campground bathrooms and braved the showers. After chasing a huge grasshopper out of the shower area I got the boys ready for their 2nd ever shower. The first not having gone so well... Connor LOVED it. He could have happily stayed and played in the water all day. Ryan enjoyed it, too, expect for the whole getting wet part. :) He was just warming up to the idea of getting anything above his neck even the least bit wet about the time we had to get out.

After our shower Grannie and the boys and I wandered through the surprisingly empty campground.

We admired the sunflowers.

We found the playground, an impressive number of giant ants, and more giant stickers in one place than I think I have ever seen in my life.

After a quick break in the AC and some breakfast we wandered back down into the canyon area to take some pictures and look for the hiking trail the woman at the visitor center recommended.

I thought I had seen a sign for it on our earlier drive, but as we drove both in, and then part of the way back out we didn't see it. So we stopped at a parking lot near where we thought the trail head should be. Instead we found a faint, but overgrown path leading out into the rocks. Within just a short distance we lost the path near a 8' drop down into the dry creek bed.

Having given up as we started the trek back out, sure enough there it was. Clearly marked on the side of the road. It was a 4 ft wide trail, recently bulldozed. Exactly as described.

Both the trail and the nearby area were covered in some sort of quartz which glittered in the afternoon sun.

Just a short way down the trail we came to the natural bridge. Without water running through it it would have been easy to miss. Even when we spotted it were weren't 100% sure that this was it. But as my mom descended down on one to take a look she could clearly see through to the other side.

Despite my heckling about creatures living inside she brazened her way across to take a peek out the far side.

Caprock Canyons State Park is also the home of the official Bison Herd of the State of Texas. Throughout the park there are metal bison hiding in the tall plains grass and a whole herd at the amphitheater area.

From a distance, they look quite real.

At the visitor's center Grannie helped the boys see three real bison grazing in a large field nearby.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

TGGN: Part V: Random Oddities

When Great Grannie got in the car she had no idea that I had spent several hours the night before with internet access. Internet access and Google. She's probably never even heard of Google to know just how afraid she should have been. :) It was just one day and one night afterall... But thanks to the internet, and Google you can find all kinds of random obscure things to visit. And believe me when I say I had a whole list. :)

Because seeing caddies in the ground just wasn't enough. Not even close.

Because there were tractors in a field along the side of the road near Palo Duro Canyon. Though "near" may have been a relative term.

When we stopped to see the tractors there was a suburban pulled off in the grass near them. As we got out to take pictures and have a good laugh we noticed that the passenger was semi-surreptiously doing something near the fence. In surprise we thought that it might have been a cache. Not too long after they left my mom rooted around to see if she could find it. And she did.

It turns out that it wasn't a cache, but a letterbox. And not just any letterbox - one with the letterbox equivalent of a travel bug. Not knowing much about letterboxing it was interesting looking through the logs.

Unlike a cache where you just sign your name and track everything online the letterbox had a booklet where each person who had found the box had stamped their own stamp onto a page and and written a little something about their find. There was also a stamp (this one being a tractor) included in the box for you to stamp your own passport like book to have a record of your find. I actually really like the passport concept and having your own stamp, too. What a neat idea!

Here's information on the actual letterbox we found:

From there we made our way back to I-40 heading towards Great Grannie's one request on the trip to see the "big crosses" on the highway near Amarillo. Though before long we were taking another exit off the highway leaving Great Grannie wondering what we were up to. I don't think she actually believed us when I said that we were going to see a Slug Bug farm.

But sure enough, right where google had said they would be we found the row of old Volkswagens buried in the ground and covered with grafitti.

Next to the parking lot where we stopped to see the Volkswagons was a single old car that had also been covered in grafitti.

Having run out of random vehicles buried in the ground we made our way down part of the old historic Route 66 towards Groom, Texas.

As we pulled off the Interstate again we jokingly told Great Grannie that we were going to see the Trans Ams. :) Before long though she saw the giant cross she had mentioned passing on a previous visit.

And indeed it would be hard to miss. Along with the giant cross, in a large circle surrounding it's base there are a number of statue vignettes. As Grannie and Great Grannie perused them the boys ran around in circles around the base of the cross. That is until I realized that there was something covering the ground and blowing in the breeze. As I got closer to get a look I at first thought they were bees, but then realized that they were actually giant flying ants which Connor was running through and merrily stirring up.

Not long after I dragged the children away a woman came out from the store and sprayed the ants. She said that they came out typically just once a year for a few days after a big rain and then would be gone again almost as quickly as they had appeared.

We stopped by the store for a quick look before heading off to find dinner. Connor thoroughly enjoyed getting to hitch a ride on Great Grannies walker again.


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