summer splash

...and just like that it's summer in Austin. We're approaching our last week of school, and I told the kids our first week of summer break would be filled with mornings at the YMCA (so I can get my workout on) and afternoons at splash pads, museums, parks and pools. I'm calling it "Mom Camp" (tentatively...I haven't worked out all the details on the official name, and the kids haven't paid me yet, so...).

In preparation for keeping the littles happy--and exhausted--for an entire week, I thought I would get the ball rolling with a visit today at our nearby splash pad in Bailey Park. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn't crazy crowded even on Saturday. That gives me hope that this nutty idea of mine to entertain the kids during a week of sweltering Texas afternoons might work out after all.  


bubbles...bubbles again...

Are we bored with bubbles yet? Today we moved the party from the front porch to the back, and Catcher the bubble master joined the fun:


countdown to crazy

The kids are feeling it. The parents are feeling it. The school year is coming to a close. I've put a moratorium on all play dates until school is out. I just can't handle the craziness funneling through the air threatening to touch down any second. I swear kids are like animals. Summer break is looming on the horizon, and their inner beasts are dying to break free. And the more children you pack into one space, the wilder it gets. 

After your standard afternoon whine fest (not to be confused with wine fest, which I would welcome) I looked to an old standby to turn the little ladies' frowns upside-down: bubbles! What kid doesn't love a little bubble action on a hot afternoon? I just hope they still think it's fun tomorrow...and the next day...and the next day...


wine tour

The skies were clear in Austin yesterday when we picked Alex up from the airport at 10:00am. It was his birthday, and the little Wheats and I had big plans. We packed my camera, a picnic lunch and some toys and headed west on 290. A mile or two outside of Austin we encountered dark skies which gave way to thunderstorms and massive downpours. Alex had no idea where we were going, but I had a plan and drove through the sheets of rain with sheer determination. Nothing--not even a much-needed rainstorm--was going to stop our day of good old-fashioned family fun.

Torrential rain aside, it was a beautiful drive through hill country. I kept our outing a surprise from Alex until about an hour into the trip when little blue signs around the town of Fredericksburg began pointing the way to the wineries of Texas Wine Country (that's right, we have one of those here--it is Texas, after all, and we have everything). As we drove the winding dirt road to our first stop at Becker Vineyards, blue skies were fighting their way through the clouds. By the time we finished our lunch on the rain-soaked patio, the storm was making its way East across the Texas sky. The grounds were sopping, so the wee ones kicked off their shoes and puddle jumped after getting hopped up on lemonade, berries and baguette. I think the fumes from the wine seeped into their brains and released the sillies. Either that, or they were high on the fresh air of hill country. 

We saw sheep (Catcher's first, he said, but I'm not sure that's accurate) and enjoyed scenery that we don't find every day here in the big city of Austin. We also discovered that Texas wine is just okay, for the most part. Now I know why we live 75 miles from the Texas Wine Trail yet we've never been. I love to support local, but my future wine tasting adventures will take place in that other wine country out there in California.


faerie town

This morning the crew and I visited the Woodland Faerie Trail at Zilker Botanical Garden. I realize the words faerie trail sound a bit strange like I've stumbled upon some underground etsy world of craft-making, but I'm always one for an adventure. The girls were all in as soon as I mentioned the word "faerie" and insisted on wearing their dress-up tutus, turned faerie costumes for the occasion, and butterfly wings. Although it was my grand idea, I was a bit skeptic at first and wondered if Catcher would roll his eyes through the entire outing. But the trail turned out to be pretty cool. Cool in the sense that the kids found it fascinating and let their imaginations soar while discussing faerie customs (not cool like I want to start a new hobby making faerie habitats). Below is only a sampling of what we saw. This faerie stuff is serious business.

After the grand faerie tour we (or more like Catcher) decided we should check on a couple of our other favorite spots in the garden. We also crossed paths with a cute little lizard that we photographed for Alex because the kids thought he would enjoy it [smiley face].