Saturday, March 29, 2008

Together Again

Easter Day in Manor, Texas 2007

Well, my son left on a plane back to Mobile this morning after a great week of family time. I will tell you that this farwell was 100 times worse than when we first moved to Austin without him. As I am writing right now about it my eyes are not dry. I have spent my whole day crying on and off as if he were dead and gone instead of a days drive away. In one desperate moment after I dropped him off at the airport, I actually had real thoughts of packing up, selling my home and trekking it back to Mobile just to be near him. Fortunately reality kicked in and I realized that mama bird can't keep the babies in the nest forever.

Anyway, on with the week. Saturday, Toby had to work all day so we spent time catching up and showing Lucas around the neighborhood. The wind around here is great for kite flying so here they are flying the kite.

Toby was didn't have to go in until late Sunday so we took Lucas to the cool park down the road. They just added a disc golf course that Toby and Lucas took advantage of while he was here.

During the week, we took him mostly sightseeing to Mt. Bonnell, Lake Travis, Barton Springs and McKinney Falls. Lucas isn't the type to like walking around downtown or visiting the capitol. The weather was great for outdoorsey kind of stuff so that is mostly what we did. Here are some highlights.

Shortly after this pic was made, Lucas had to jump in the water and save Summer from being swept down the river current. I'm glad he was there because I was fully clothed and reluctant to be the "hero" of the day!

We also took a walk out into the greenbelt behind our house. Our neighbors built a gate out into it so they can have easy access....which means we have easy access too. Lucas said it was a kids dream come true back there. I agree. It's so peaceful..almost like an enchanted forest. Derrick, our neighbor built a swing for the kids back there. Here are some pics of the greenbelt.

Summer's birthday was on Friday so we had a little informal birthday party. It was really nice having Lucas here for Easter and for Summer's birthday. Here are some pics from Summer's party.

Lucas was trying to play a video game and Summer was more interested in rough housing with her brother....something he and Toby taught her of course. :-)

Summer made her a lookout tower for the greenbelt.

The Birthday Girl.....Happy 7th Summer!

Summer and Ginny

Summer and her two friends from next door, Leslie and Phillip

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Makes You Think!

We have a community paper that comes out once a week and this was submitted by a Manor resident. Being the black sheep that I always have been, I really loved the message behind it.


I was shocked, confused, and bewildered
As I entered Heavens door.
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or it's decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp,
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alchoholics, the backsliders and crack heads
Were all sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, "What's the deal?"
I would love to hear your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
God must've made a mistake.

"And why's everyone so quiet,
So somber? Give me a clue."
"Hush child," said He, "they're all in shock.
No one thought they'd be seeing you."

Judge NOT.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Movie Day

Since the weather was kind of rainy this week we decided that our weekly field trip would be to take in a movie. We don't hardly ever go to the movie theatre. The last time we went we saw Monster House, and that was nearly two years ago.

I had seen the movie "Spiderwick" advertised and thought it looked like it might be a good movie to see in the theatre. It was St. Patrick's Day and it was a Monday so that left us being the only ones in the theatre watching the movie. It was like we had our own little personal was great! The movie was pretty good too. I don't know if I would have liked it as well at home on my T.V. but the movie kept my interest in the theatre.

Today we took a trip downtown to check out the Austin Museum of Art. It was a little larger version of Space 301 in Mobile. I was actually looking for an Art Museum like the one at Langan Park in Mobile, but have yet to find it yet. There are many art museums here I will have to sift throught to find it. That is one of the drawbacks of living in a larger city, it takes you longer to find your "favorites".

For example, I woke up the other morning craving a good Cracker Barrell breakfast. After thinking about it Toby and I ealized that we have not even seen a Cracker Barrell in Austin. How can a city like Austin not have a Cracker Barrell! Anyway, after internet research I discovered that there is one in Round Rock which is about 20 miles north of us. Too bad.

Anyway, while we were walking to the museum downtown today we passed by the OMNI Hotel. It was massive and fancy looking so Summer and I decided we wanted to check out the inside. When we got in there Summer spotted the glass elevator. Summer seems to think that glass elevators are like amusement park rides so off we went to take it to the top.

Of course I can never look out while we are riding in those things, but Summer was having a blast watching out the glass while we flew up and down. The place was so massive and had so many windows that when we reached the top Toby and I were both woozy.

I had idley made the comment when we first walked in the OMNI that we would probably see somebody famous while we were in there. Well, on our trip down a man walked into the elevator with us. He was facing me and making comments about Summer enjoying the view down and how his little girl used to love to do the same. All the while he was talking to me I knew that he looked familiar and I could tell the way he was carrying himself he was not "ordinary".

It was driving me crazy trying to place his face and voice. Finally, I figured out that he was David Birney. Not really that famous, but he still made me nervous while talking to him. Of course, there was a T.V. in the elevator so Toby was oblivious to anything going on. And of course he doesn't even know who David Birney is. It doesn't matter anyway, Toby's opinion is that they are people just like we are. We'll see what he say's when a celebrety comes downtown to the shop he works in and get a tattoo. I'm sure it will be a different story then!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Easter Egg Hunt

Summer had her first holdiday activity since being here in Texas. It was the annual Easter egg hunt sponsored by the Manor Community Center. She had a really good time running around hunting eggs and candy. Since it was on a day that Toby had to go to work, we stayed long enough for her to get her prizes and do the hunt. It was a beautiful sunny warm day for the activity. Unfortunatly, since Toby had to work very late the night before, we were rushing out of the house to make it to the hunt by 11:00 so I forgot my camera.

After we got back home Toby left for work and Summer headed out the door to play with the neighbor kids. They own one of those big blow up water slides so the kids were having a blast playing on the slide and in the water. They were also freezing to death because although the temps here were close to the 80's, the wind out here makes it feel much cooler.

I had went over next door for a little while to chat with the mom while the kids played. At the end of the day Summer and I both had sunburns from being out in the sun.

Because the trees are sparse around here there isn't much shade. Since birth Summer has never been in alot of sun. The home she grew up in was surrounded by shade trees so she was always protected from the sun. She is so fair skinned that I am going to have the extra job of keeping an eye on her skin this year.

On a different note....Lucas will be arriving this Fri. I can't wait to see him. I have been spending my time this week planning excursions.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Neighbors and Sociality

I am not a social person at heart, but since moving to Texas I had made a deal with myself that I would become more social.....for Summer's sake more than mine. I personally would be satisfied reading a book or surfing the net.

Since this was a new neigborhood, when we first moved in we didn't have any direct neighbors. I found myself getting comfortable with my seclusion. And of course Summer is used to entertaing herself, but I know that all children like playmates.

It seems since the first neighbor moved in that when it rains it pours. Now we are surrounded by neighbors. Since none of them have been observed selling drugs, playing loud offensive music, or sloffing down the street, I have made the assumption that that they are much better than what I hence came from.

It's been comfortable weather and Toby has been at work alot this week, (South by Southwest Music Festival) so Summer and I have been spending time outside pulling up weeds and roaming the yard. Seems like everyone else has been taking advantage of this too because in one day I met 3 new neighbors.

So far, I give my new neighborhood an A plus. Everyone is so nice and family oriented. It really does seem like we have died and gone to heaven. Maybe to someone else it may not seem like much....but you don't know light until you have seen the darkness. :-)

Anyway, I finally got a pic of the strange adult excercise park equipment I posted about a a week or so ago. Here it is:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Thought of The Week

"Authentic spirituality awakens the soul, reconnects us with the sacred, and fills us with the passion of life. Spiritual development is not about religious rituals and practices; it is about waking up to the wonder of life." -- David N. Elkins

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Lake Travis Wonderland

We finally got around to checking out the west side of Austin today. It has the reputation for being the most desirable area in Austin to live, including some celebrities like John Travolta and Sandra Bullock and other "rich folk" owning homes in the area.

The west side includes Lake Travis and Lake Austin, which in reality is the Colorado River. You could see the scenerary change as soon as you entered the west side of Austin. This is the area where the actual "hill country" begins. It is absolutley breathtaking. I have never seen a place where the topography can change so much within one city.

It was really a tiring day because we visited all the county parks in the area surrounding the Lake. With the hills around here, there is continual climbing up and down. There is a lot of excercise to be had in this city.

We found a few places that we intend to visit again. And even though we didn't manage to visit "Hippie Hollow", the cities nude beach, we did get to see some naked swimming going on. I didn't point it out to Summer but she obviously saw it on her own because she came up to me and whispered "Did you see that boy swimming without his clothes on?" And they thought New Orleans was the city of sin. :-)

Here are a few pics of our day trip:

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Day at the Museum

We finally made it to the Children's Museum here. Today was Family Day Tues. a day where they don't schedule any school tours. We also got in for free due to a little trick my friend Ginny told us about.

I give the museum a pretty high rating. It was very interactive and the best judge was that Summer had a great time.

Here are some pics of us at the museum. Take notice of Toby in two of the pics. I didn't even realize he was doing these "antics" until I downloaded my pics off of my camera. He's pretending he is asleep if you can't tell.

After we spent a couple of hours at the museum we took a walk downtown to find some lunch. I didn't want to walk around too much because the weather had cooled off to about 68 degrees and Summer and I were a bit chilly.

Not knowing anything about the eating places downtown made it hard to decide so we just tried our luck at a place nearby the museum called Spaghetti Warehouse. It was really good food and it was affordable. It's been added to our list of favorite places to eat while downtown.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Walk, Wind, Walk, Wind

I got up this morning knowing it was going to be a tough day for me. I knew the kids next door were going out of town for the weekend and Toby had to work days. And.....there is NOTHING on T.V. on a saturday when you don't pay for cable.

I figured I would use my time wisely and get in some school time. After we got some "school" accomplished I decided, since it was a pretty warm day, that we would walk up to the Texaco.

You have to remember that we still only have one vehicle, and Toby was at work. Sooo....we decided to make the mile or so trekk to the Texaco. Mind you, if I had enough nerve to cross the rattle snake infested greenbelt we would not have as far to travel.

The day was very warm so after a few blocks Summer and I were sweating bullets (and I don't sweat). We finally made it to the Texaco and made our "treat" purchases.
Thank goodness for the relentless wind around here, or our trip back to the house may have been really hot. Thank goodness I'm not a "hair person" or I would never make it here. I don't know where this wind comes from, but it constantly blows. And I thought Chicago was the windy city. :-)

The trip to the Texaco and back took an hour and a half. By the time we got back to the house I was done for the day......unfortunately Summer wasn't. She wanted to go up to the elementary school up the road to shoot hoops. In hopes that she would wear out early for the night, I agreed to the walk up to the school. Fortunatly, on the way up to the school I remembered the neighborhood park on the way. We stopped there where Summer played basketball with a load of boys. They were just a couple of years older than her. I guess having an older brother has it's advantages, because she hung with them like she belonged there.

At the edge of the neighborhood park there is some woods. While we were there we saw some rabbits roaming around. I guess this explains the dead ones we saw in the road on the way to the Texaco.

After shooting hoops Summer wanted to play at the little park there with the boys. They had a really good time. One of the things I love the most about our neighborhood is it is very diverse culturely. You have a good mixture of mostly spanish, a lot of white and a little black. I like that Summer has been exposed to different races in her lifetime. I believe this will not make here feel that she is seperate from other human species.....after all we are all made out of the same thing.

The Pioneer Farm

Today we visited the Pioneer Farm here in Austin. After visiting the Pioneer Farm while we were in Troy Alabama, I knew that no farm could compare. But I do have to say that the farm here was very interactive. They even had people dressed up in pioneer attire, which really gave the feel of what it was like back in the day.

We also found out that all of the workers/volunteers there homeschool their kids. They were very nice and gave us alot of info about 4-H there at the farm and homeschooling in Texas. The nice lady we were talking to was also a unschooler, and after talking to her I felt much better about my slacking in "desk work" since we have moved here.

We had a relaxing time walking in the farm and taking in the information. After we got back home, Summer played with her new friends next door and Toby got ready to go into work. I really don't like it when he goes in at 7:00 at night, but somebody has to pay the bills. :-)