night swimming

Last night we had big plans. Through my future place of employment--did I tell you I have a part time job starting in September?*--we came across free tickets to the Austin Aces World Team Tennis match last night. The kids were excited because we promised them concessions at the event, and the parents were excited to have something to do on another hot Texas evening.

Plans changed, however, when we learned that the match had been pushed back from 7:00pm to 8:30 due to travel complications for California Dreams--that's the real name of the team the Austin Aces were hosting. If you have young children, then you know that nothing good happens after 8:30pm, so we were out. Breaking the news to the little ones after we had finished our early dinner (so much for planning ahead) brought tears to the masses. We had to act quick, so plan B turned into a little night swimming (by "night," we're talking post-dinner, pre-sunset) at the neighborhood wading pool. The evening was saved once we rolled in and had the place all to ourselves. I call that a win for the parents.

*I will be teaching high school History and English Literature at the Austin Tennis Academy. When I tell people I got a job at ATA, as "we" refer to it, the first thing people ask me is if I play tennis. I do not play tennis, but I can teach a small classroom of high school freshmen and sophomores who do play tennis a thing or two about humanities (I hope!).



Another hot Texas afternoon; another afternoon spent by the pool. This time we packed our big Texas car with another mom, two of our closest friends and a friend of one of the friends. After swimming in the welcoming-ly chilly, spring-fed pool at Deep Eddy for two hours, the car ride home was surprisingly noisy. What happened to all that wearing the kids out business?


99 in the shade

We almost hit 100 today in Austin. Almost. At 5:00 it was 99 degrees and the kids had just finished their pre-dinner dessert of ice cream sandwiches. We had no plans for this balmy Friday afternoon, so why not cool off in the wading pool at our neighborhood park? (Disclaimer: "cooling off" in this regard means sitting in a pool of water the temperature of your average toddler bath).

Things were great until we got home and sat down to a late dinner where Scout punched Catcher and threw a beach ball at us when she was sent to time out for doing so. She screamed hysterically for the next ten minutes while the rest of us tried eating our dinner in a civilized fashion, doing our best to ignore her shouts and protestations. I later learned that today is national tequila day, so perhaps there was a better plan out there for this balmy Friday afternoon.


they see me rollin'

I called it. Scout conquered the bike this morning, the morning of her fifth birthday. To celebrate--the birthday and the bike--the big kids rode their bikes (with Tillie on the scooter) to our favorite corner store for a delicious frozen treat this afternoon.


summer goals

Today the Wheat family kicked it into gear (as prompted by Catcher's tee shirt). In addition to swimming, which is going okay if you're keeping score, another Wheat family goal for the summer was to get number one and number two riding bikes. On their own.

It turns out that two years and five minutes is the exact amount of time it took for us to teach our eldest to ride a bike. Alex and I weren't liking our odds as instructors until my brother, father of five, told us a little trick about teaching kids to ride a bike: take off the pedals and let them scoot around until they're comfortable with the whole balance thing. Holy crap, it worked. We have seriously been trying to teach Catcher to ride a bike since he was Scout's age, and five minutes after we re-attached his pedals following this little balance experiment, the kid was whizzing around the blacktop like he owned it. Obviously we the parents felt quite the sense of accomplishment.

Once Catcher was king of the two-wheelers, we turned our attention to Scout. She got knocked down, but she got up again. She even rooted herself on by saying "It's okay if you fall. Because you just get back up, and you keep trying." Clearly her mind is in the right place. Her only stumbling block--and, trust me, I don't expect it to keep her hung up too long--is that she's about 1/2 centimeter too short for her bike. Today was the first day she's ever attempted to ride a bike properly, and her fifth birthday is in two days. I'm betting it takes her two days and five minutes to learn get the hang of it.



It's what you get when you cross a sno-cone with a beach. This afternoon was the hottest it has been in Austin this year--at a mere 97 degrees--so we finally agreed to take the children to Sno-Beach. One of Austin's original food trailers (according to the company's web site) situated in a parking lot along busy Guadalupe Street in our neighborhood, it was the perfect sugar-syrupy high these guys needed this afternoon. And if you stood in front of the mural painted on the side of the trailer and shut out the noise pollution from Guadalupe--and pretended the hot city breeze was really coming off the ocean and shooed away the bees going after your sweetness--then maybe you felt like you really were on a beach. Maybe.

Scout got into the spirit. Tillie, however, had a sweet little honey bee land on her lip and that was pretty much the end of her fun. She narrowly missed getting stung, but she let the entire parking lot know how she was feeling while screaming bloody murder at the top of her lungs. At that point we decided Sno-Beach wasn't parent-friendly. We loaded the sticky, sweaty little ones back into the hot July car and had them finish their icy treasures, which were more or less liquid at this point, on the way home.


whacky water

Taking on this slow summer living thing has meant I haven't brought my camera along on our daily outings like I used to--I'm trying to fly by the seat of my pants. For example, last night when we celebrated both Catcher's and Scout's birthdays with friends at the local pool and then dinner at our new favorite hotspot the Cafe Mueller by H-E-B (I'm kind of being sarcastic about the hotspot part but not really because they have a great happy hour), there was no camera slung around my neck. The camera was also absent on Friday night when we enjoyed an outdoor (FREE!) concert with the littles at the Bob Bullock History Museum. The last time I was agro-photoing, in fact, was Catcher's birthday last Thursday. On the way home from the secret beach we stopped off at a local splash pad to wash the sand and dirty Colorado River water off of ourselves. So here we are (or there we were) at the Pease Park splash pad:


seven and the secret beach

Scout asked me if I was 32 the other day. I'm pretty sure I turned 32 a month after Catcher was born, so the answer is no. I know this because yesterday was his 7th birthday. We wanted to do something new and fun to celebrate, so I hatched a plan involving a secret Austin beach--I would tell you more, but it's a secret (duh)--and left the children a note on the kitchen table saying "Good morning! Put on your bathing suits and get ready for a super secret adventure." Catcher tried to decode the message while Scout wondered who had sent the letter. Tillie was preoccupied thinking about what dessert would befall us on this blessed birthday.

We left the house around 9:00am and brought donuts--a Catcher birthday breakfast tradition--and watermelon on our super secret adventure. On the way there we heard rumblings about "Where are we going...just tell us!" and "Are we still in Austin?" But once we arrived at our destination, the ten-minute car ride and short hike down a windy path to our super secret location was all but forgotten. When the sub-ten group landed on the beach--I use the term "beach" very loosely here; it's really a quiet stretch of sand and rocks along the Colorado river--it was an instant playdate with nature. They learned how to skip rocks under the tutelage of their father (well, Tillie mostly just chucked big rocks into the river), and Catcher made friends with a big dog. Whenever a kid gets to hang out with a dog on his birthday you know it's a good one.