Sunday, December 28, 2008

LBJ "Library" and Museum

Seems like I have been getting cabin fever lately. My adventurous side has been stuck in the house too long because of cold weather and a little one with a cold.

So, since Summer is much better, my goal was to find something to do that did not require being outdoors in the cold.

One of the attractions here in Austin is the LBJ (Lyndon B. Johnson) Library and Museum. Of course with the name having the word "library" in it, it was not ever on the top of my list of things to do. I can go to a library anytime I want.

Boy was I surprised to find out the LBJ Library was not your typical library. It was much more of a museum than a library. I was very impressed considering the mental picture I had in my head of what I would be visiting. It turned out to be a very interesting place. Summer even asked if we could go back tomorrow which is really strange for her because it was more of a political museum than anything.

Although, it will probably be one of those places we only visit once a year, I do give it a thumbs up.

I don't have many pics of the inside of the museum. They were weird about cameras in flash allowed. I wonder what the meaning of the no flash thing is...

I don't know what this had to do with a library or LBJ, but it was in front of the museum.

Summer playing on the flight simulator. She very patiently waited for her turn to play on this thing.

These things were really creepy. There were a few of these beings around the museum....the one of LBJ was really realistic, he was talking and moving.

Here is Summer comparing her weight on Earth to what she would weigh on other planets.

Summer looking out at the city through the 10th story LBJ window.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Day Seven.....



Gone. See ya next year my grown up baby.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day - Day Six

Gosh I can't believe it has already been six days since Lucas arrived...I guess time does flies when you're having fun.

And as usual I have spent most of my day trying not to think of the inevitable. I think I may be getting a little use to it though...or at least better at sucking up my emotions. Either way, when I look back on the year I have managed to see him 3 times....that's pretty good I would say, or at least the best we can do for the moment of now and what I use to make myself feel better. Nobody likes a mom that's an emotional basket case like I was the first time he came to visit.

Anyway, on with Christmas Day. Of course my daughter woke up with a fever and sore throat. I don't know what it is, but ever since we got back from Alabama she has been sick on and off with various ailments. Hopefully it's just a passing thing and she will get back to her normal self soon.

After we finally got up and moving around we opened presents. With Summer not feeling well it kinda put a damper on any outdoor activity we might have done so we just hung out at the house. Later on during the day Toby and Lucas did go play disc golf at the park up the road.

Looking back, I don't think it really bothered any of us to be just hanging out at the house, eating, watching movies, and just plain spending time together......which is mostly what we did all week. In my opinion, it was a great week and I think all my family members would agree.

Toby and Lucas playing with Summer's Magnetex with her.....they ALL love to build.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

San Antonio! - Day Five

We all did a pretty good job of sleeping in this morning, but that's part of the fun in holidays. :-)

Lucas decided last night he wanted to take a trip to San Antonio. I think he had ulterior motives behind his wanting to visit San Antonio as in, he may be looking at San Antonio as a home residence after he finishes school. There are potential employment opportunities there for him. Unfortunately "The Music Capitol of the World" is not really big on the Airplane business.......

But before we set out for San Antonio, Lucas wanted to take his mountain bike on a ride in Walnut Creek. After all, he did carry it on the back of his car 500 miles for a reason.

He enjoyed his rocky trail ride and was impressed with the biking trail. He was back by noon for us to make our day trip to San Antonio. One thing I didn't take into consideration was it was Christmas Eve and there were more travelers on the road than usual. It wasn't too bad of a drive but it did take us a little longer to get there than it would otherwise.

Since this was just a day trip, we just headed to the Riverwalk. Lucas had seen pictures of it in a brochure I had and wanted to see it in person. Actually, the Riverwalk was the only thing we had time to do with just the few hours we had.

Here are some pics of our day:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Too Cold! - Day Three and Four

Although we were hoping to spend a lot of time outdoors, that just hasn't been happening the past couple of days......not unless you like hanging out outside in 40degree temps with misting rain.

Toby had to work Monday and Tuesday anyway and I'm sure he wouldn't want to miss out on being dragged through the woods. :-)

The other day when Toby and Lucas had their little shopping getaway they bought some remote control helicopters that are meant to be flown in the for each Toby, Summer and Lucas. The boys and Summer of course were having a blast with these things that reminded me of bees flying around in the house.

The past two days have been spent mostly watching movies, eating, and spending quality time together as a family. It's really strange how just missing one family member can change the whole makeup of a family. We are all glad to have Lucas around this week and I am trying really hard not to think about his departure.....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

An Unexpected Fun Filled Day-Day Two

Last night my very first Austin friend Ginny, called me to invite us to a last minute Birthday party they were having for her stepdaughter. I really hate last minute invitations but since it was Ginny I was up for it. If it weren't for her and her family our first month in Austin would have been a nightmare. We needed friends and they were there for us and I will probably always feel a special connection to them for being our "Angels in disguise".

Anyway, enough of the sentimental crap. I was not sure how Lucas would feel about going to a 10 year old b-day party but I knew the temps were only going to be in the low 40's and outdoor activities were out of the question.

So to end my dilemma and make everyone happy, after a brief visit to the party,Toby and Lucas left Summer and I at the party and set off to do some "man stuff" e.g. going to Fry's Electronics and Hobby Town, etc.

Summer was having a great time roller skating. She was born with the knack of roller skating like her brother was. I don't know where they get it's definitely not me. My fun loving friend Ginny forced me to put on roller skates and it only reinforced my opinion of roller skating and made me look like an uncoordinated idiot....blah!

After the party we headed home and enjoyed some good ole' family time with the remote controlled helicopters the boys bought at Hobby Lobby.

We are having a blast!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lucas's Arrival -First Day

Lucas finally rolled into Manor about 9:30 Friday night. He would have probably been here a couple of hours sooner but he managed to take a wrong turn and got WAY out of his way. I can say he at least saw an area of central Texas that we have never seen. :-)

It's a good thing he is a good sport. If that had been me detoured 2 hours away from my destination when I had already been in the car for 9 hours straight, I would have not been a happy camper. When he drove up in the driveway he was all smiles and didn't seem a bit agitated, even making jokes about his "sightseeing" adventure.

Saturday morning Lucas and Summer got up and put together the trampoline Lucas brought from Mobile. It is our original trampoline from Mobile and there is a whole story behind it.....I won't bore you with the details, but it's a pretty interesting story.

Here they are putting it together and then taking in some good ole jump time:

After they wore themselves out jumping we headed to Walnut Creek. It is one of my favorite places to go and I knew Lucas would love it because of the treacherous and long bike trails. As I suspected, he loved it there also. Here are some pics:

After we got home we made cookies and watched a movie together...Life is Good.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Counting down......

I have spent the last week preparing for the arrival of my son Lucas. It's not like we have been having the best outdoor weather anyway so I really haven't minded staying in doing "fall cleaning". I'm sure my son doesn't really care how clean the house is, it's just part of my hospitality when a visitor is coming for them to feel comfortable. In addition, I don't want to have any chores hanging over my head while he is here. I want to spend my time enjoying my family.

Speaking of being clean, I have never been one of those spotless kind of people. I have always liked things to be neat,tidy and clutter free, but never really did baseboard or ceiling fans and things of that nature all that almost never. My toilets and kitchen were always the main focus.

Matter of fact, in my old house in Mobile I barely ever mopped...mostly just wiped up when there was a spill. The house was so old and in need of a paint job that deep cleaning would have never been noticed anyway.....and of course very time consuming when there were other things that I wanted to be doing.

Having a brand new home is almost stressful for me. I don't think I have ever cleaned so much in my life! I feel very grateful and blessed to be able to have a new home and I in turn feel the need to "thank" by keeping my home in perfect condition....the way it was when it was acquired, clean and new. I spend more time than I want to keeping this house "new".

I never knew there were so many crevices and places in a house that would collect dust and grime until I started trying to keep one in mint condition. Whew! Now I know why there are things like Mini Maids for people who can afford them. I wonder when I am going to lose the cleaning battle here..........

Anyway, here I am waiting in anticipation of Lucas. I am trying very hard to keep in that moment of now and not thinking about how sad I am going to be when he leaves......

To be quite honest, I am also looking forward to not only having my oldest baby here with me, but having someone here that can tolerate my daughter and remain calm, cool and collective. It will be good for both of them to be together and "play" again and good for mama and daddy to get a little peace and quite.

I have many activities planned that I hope will promote my son' interest in moving westward. I am hoping the weather will cooperate by staying in the 60's and 70's so I will be more of a willing participant in "showing the sights".

Until next time......

No matter what you do, where you are, or what is happening in your lives, be
sure to have as much fun as humanly possible.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quote of the Day

Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is the only cash you have; so spend it wisely.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Threadgills and Austin Nature and Science Center

As I have said before, we have made it a point to try a new restaurant every weekend. We don't have the luxury of eating out a lot anymore like we used to in Mobile so we look forward to trying new restaurants.

There is a popular one here called "Threadgill's". The atmosphere was good and there was live music but the food was not any better than your every day food establishment.

I have found in the past the really best places to eat are usually unadvertised hole in the walls......forget the city guides and go out and search on your own and you will usually find your food jewel. Personally, I like the little joint up the road from us better and it's gentler on my pocket book!

Anyway, after we had our weekly restaurant critique we headed to the ANSC. Summer loves the place and so do I. My whole intent was to take Toby on the trail that led up to the top of a hill where you could see all downtown Austin. He didn't get to go with Summer and I last time we went. I have been wanting to show him for a few months and figured today with the comfy temps would be a perfect day for it.

Unfortunately, for some reason or another they had the gates to the trail locked. There were two other alternate entrances we could have used but they were a good walk away and the trek up the hill is not an easy one. I didn't want to add more steps and we really didn't have all that much time before the Center closed to be doing a whole lot of out of the way walking.

Even so, we had a good time....

Toby and Summer dig for fossils.

Checked out all the rescued animals....birds, vultures, owls, etc..

Searching for the queen in in the glassed in bee hive.

And checking out all the cool things in the "lab".

Next was a quick trip to Walmart to pick up few essentials. I made Toby park near the park area where I saw all the parrots congregating. Of course, when I have him with me there is not one parrot in sight. He still thinks I am crazy but I swear there is a band of parrots here!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Company Christmas Party

Toby had his company Christmas party and for some reason or another wanted Summer and I to attend it with him. I was really reluctant because we have been having some "issues" with Summer this past week.

In the end I decided to go. I would have wanted him to go with me if it were my party so I mustered up the courage to be social when I was not really in the mood.

The party was being held at a the Pasta House pavilion in Lake Travis. I really love the west side of Austin but it really wreaks havoc on my little old lady car. The hills are hell on her.....

Since most kids are in school at noon during a week day, Summer was the only kid there.....besides what few babies were there. There was a teenage home schooled kid there though. He and his father work for the company.

There was plenty of food, alcohol and entertainment.....that is for adults. After a while of being there I decided it was time for a beer. I tried a really good Mexican beer that I had never drank before. Too bad I only got to drink one of them "cause Toby decided he liked the same beer and he was drinking way more than I stopped at one and elected myself the designated driver. After all it was his party.

Summer was pretty bored for most of our 4 hours there but she kept her manners about her and tried to entertain herself as well as she could. I actually was quite bored myself so I knew that this was a special feat for her.

Unfortunately, we couldn't just attend and leave when we got ready. There was a "schedule" to the party. First you ate, then drank, then awards and recognitions, then played the Dirty Santa game, then got your bonus.

I think the only part Summer somewhat enjoyed was the Dirty Santa game. We ended up with a telescope which we have been wanting for a while so that was a plus to the day.

The day was o.k. The part Summer and I enjoyed the most was being with Toby.

Here are some pics of the day:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

One Year Later.......

Well it has been a year since we have been living in Texas. As I look back and remember the day we loaded up the last box on the U-Haul back in Alabama I can only remember the feeling of standing in the living room of the place I called home for the last 6 years.

Standing there making sure there were no possession accidentally left behind, I was reminded of what you hear it's like when your dieing....your life flashing before your eyes. As I stood in the center of my living room scanning the area of any stray possessions, I could "see" every happening of the past six years good and was my life in a rush of memories. It was a bittersweet feeling. I knew I was about to embark on the biggest adventure of my life. Still, there was the feeling that I was leaving what I knew and found comfort in.

As I write this my tears are flowing with the memory of the life, family and friends I left behind. Even so, I believe we let our life get a little too comfortable at times. To remain "alive" we must shake it up a little. I could have stayed forever in my comfort zone in my hometown but would have never experienced the things I have experienced in my 500 mile away move.

A year later, looking back I still would have made the decision to move. Sometimes I believe that people get attached to the memory of the way things were and want to "go home". I know if I ever moved back to my hometown it would never be the same as what I remember. People change and things changes.

I feel I am a much stronger person for the move and feel that my daughter as she gets older will have many more opportunities to pursue her life's dreams because of our location. As mothers, we all want to make sure our kids have the best opportunities that are available and within reach.

Now if I can just get my oldest baby here with me. :-)

I will always hold a special place in my heart for my hometown. I still have my Alabama car tag and will always keep it as a reminder of where I came from. Even though Alabama is not the greatest state in the U.S., I always say with pride "I am from Alabama". It's funny, nobody here seems to be as impressed with that as I am.....I guess that's what they would call "foolish pride". :-)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Parade # 2

We got up this morning and ran our usual weekend errands. Manor was having their local Christmas parade at 5:00 p.m and I wanted to get Toby back in time to rest before the parade before he had to go into to work.

While we were out and about we stopped by Academy and grabbed a track ball set. Summer and I have really been enjoying the yard games lately. I love badminton the best, but with the relentless wind here the birdie usually ends up down the street somewhere.

We have a nice collection of outdoor games now. A kick ball, football, hula hoop, track ball, basketball, jump rope, badminton, etc. I hoping to keep adding to our collection. If my plans go right we will have a trampoline by Christmas time.....of course you won't see mama partaking in that one.

Anyway, when we got home from errands, Summer and I pulled out the track ball set while Toby took a little cat nap. By the time it was time to leave for the parade I decided that it was best to leave Toby napping on the couch. I really didn't want to drag him to endure another Christmas parade only for him to be cranky. It was just right up the road anyway and I knew a small town parade couldn't last that long.

Summer and I ended up having a good time just the two of us. When we first got there we checked out the bazaar at the local church. I always love seeing the crafts and treats little old ladies make.

We then headed across the street to the park to wait for the parade. We ended up standing by a lady with a little girl about Summer's age. We made chit chat back and forth which made the time go by before the parade. Mind you, this parade does not even compare to the downtown Austin parade in's small town and it has small town features but we had just as much fun. Manor is a small town but it does have plenty of events to keep the town busy....and on a much smaller scale.

Here are some pics of the parade:

Here is Summer at "Grandma's Kitchen" making a cookie:

After the activities Summer got her picture taken with Santa. It turned out to be a really good picture. It only cost a dollar and it even included the jacket....couldn't get a Santa pic like that in the mall!

They were having a Christmas movie in the park too but I had to get the car back to Toby to go to, my idea of watching a movie does not consist of sitting out on a cold ground in the cold. :-)

When we left we took a quick tour of the town and looked at Christmas lights. It was a nice evening for us girls.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas Parade

We went to our first Christmas parade of the year today. It was in downtown Austin. I figured it would be like getting down to a Mardi Gras parade in Mobile but we got down there and parked with ease. Toby pointed out that Austin's downtown is much larger than Mobile's and more equipped to take a larger crowd. Either way I was glad not to have traffic trauma.

I really wanted Summer to see a large Christmas parade but I felt a little guilty about dragging my poor tired husband out of the bed to head back down to a place he had just got home from only a couple of hours ago.

He was a really good sport though and held Summer on his shoulders the whole hour long parade.

I did want to post this pic first. I was stopped taking a pic of the frost building and a woman standing nearby told me the story behind it's design. In the many times I have looked at this building I never noticed that it resembles an owl. The architect designed the building that way purposely. If you look you can see the eyes, the beak, and the ears. Pretty cool huh?

Here are some highlights of the parade:

After the very long parade we were all starving. Since Toby was such a good boy about the whole thing we let him choose the restuarant. He did a very good job. We ate at the Texas Roadhouse and it was delicious!

After our filling meal we headed to the house to rest a while. After our lunch wore off we headed to the park up the road. We took Brandi with us.

She thought she was tougher than the cows:

And she has never seen ducks before....I wondered what was going through her mind having never seen a duck before. All this outdoor stuff is new for her but she seems to be enjoying certain aspects of it.

It has been a good weekend.

Walnut Creek

Our motive for the day was to avoid the Christmas crowds of Black Friday weekend. The weather was a little cooler today, but still warm enough for the outdoors so we headed to one of our favorite spots, Walnut Creek.

We dragged Brandi along with us again. I'm not sure if she has decided if she likes getting out or not....she may very well prefer staying in her kennel after having to keep up with us. :-)

There are 17 miles worth of hiking around the creek so I printed out a map before we went so we could venture a different trail on the creek.

When we first arrived it started to sprinkle a little but we didn't let it stop us. The sprinkle eventually died out on our walk. It was a real adventure trying to follow the map. I guess Toby's trail map reading skills need some tweaking. I saw him pondering over the map and then mouthing the word "lost" to me so that our over dramatic daughter did not hear the word. I knew we couldn't get too lost...there are signs throughout the trail pointing you in the right direction.

Eventually we by chance ended up in the old trail area that we are familiar with anyway. It was nice to see the creek had filled back up with water.

After our walk we got hungry and headed for a bite to eat. Toby had to go to work that evening so Summer and I spent the evening watching T.V.

Here are some pics of our walk: