Saturday, May 29, 2010

A New Toy

After years of owning soft side pools, we finally bit the bullet and bought us an above ground swimming pool.

To be quite honest, I could totally live without the irritation of a backyard swimming pool of any sort. There is a huge park pool right up the road and more than enough swimming holes and lakes to take a dip in when the mood strikes. Not to mention, I wouldn't have the irritation of controlling, monitoring, and keeping peace among kids that show up out of the woodwork that seem to think we installed our pool as an extension of neighborhood amenities.

No, I don't just let any kid enjoy the pool. The rule is if you were Summer's friend before we got a pool than you are more than welcome to come swim when you are invited AND with your parents written permission. I am not a babysitter so if you don't feel comfortable with your kid in a large pool without adult supervision it's best you keep your kid at home. I don't sit out in the full blast sun to watch my own kid swim much less the neighborhood kids. There is not one lick of shade in my yard and I don't go outside to get toasted unless I am working in the yard or plan on jumping in the pool myself.

So, hopefully the new will wear off the pool and life can get back to normal around here and we can enjoy our new pool without little longing faces peering over the fence, the phone ringing off the hook, and the doorbell ringing.

On a more positive note, I took my first "spin" in the pool today. I enjoyed it a bit more than I thought I would. Just looking at it doesn't appear that big but once you get in you realize there is plenty of space for the three of us. It's a great source of exercise, family bonding, and relaxation.

This is only the beginning though. We still have to build a deck, level and spread the rock hard clay, and somehow regrow a large area of destroyed grass. I have seen my future for the summer and it involves working and sweating like a man. I would say we won't be ready for pool parties until next summer...*sigh*

Here are a few pics of our home project:

The first thing that had to be done was install a gate. Our neighborhood is safe and quite but it is full of kids of all ages. I've heard stories of neighbors making themselves at home in another neighbors pool while they are gone. Better safe than sorry.

Our soil is not really soil in my opinion. It has the consistency of half dried glue when damp, but when it's dry it's hard as concrete. To put it bluntly, I hate it. It has been the one and only thing about this area I can say that I truly hate.

I'm assuming the poor guy having to dig in the crap hated it too. Even though he spoke Spanish there was that universal language being spoken (sh** and ****ing) while he was trying to manipulate the "dirt".

At one point I think Summer was enjoying the boxes the toy came in more than she was enjoying the actual toy. That's kids for ya...

So, after enjoying a day of fun in the sun I am sporting a nice sunburn. It's not my first and I doubt it will be my last.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Barton Creek Greenbelt - Campbell's Hole

I have to admit today I just wanted to go to the thrift store or maybe even a book store and browse.

I knew my family would not feel the same enthusiasm I had for a relaxing day of browsing, or at worst they would let me have my way and then proceed to make me feel aggravated and annoyed (Summer) or make me feel rushed (Toby).

So, we ended up doing an outdoor activity...something that everyone always agrees on.

The longer I live here the more I'm surprised at the amount of water access that is available in a city that is hundreds of miles from a coastline. Lakes, rivers, and swimming holes are not hard to find. I lived on the gulf coast of Alabama my whole life and was lucky if I found a single swimming hole especially one that was not overrun by drunken rednecks or worse. Gosh, sometimes the redneck in me does miss the drama.....

Anyway, my favorite attribute is the water is clear and not infested with stinging or biting creatures...well except for the occasional snake making his way across the creek.

So enough glamorizing Austin, its already got the big head.

Here are some pics of our hike along Barton Creek Greenbelt. Our destination was Campbells Hole about a mile down the trail. There were closer accesses to the hole but we always like to get a little exercise and work up a sweat before we dip into the cool creek water.

Toby and I decided that we didn't think it would be so cool to live so close to the edge of this bluff...

Can't beat creek side entertainment.....after all, this is the "Music Capitol of the World".

Thoughts become things, choose the good ones!!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Brushy Creek Lake

Looking for something simple to do today we decided on Brushy Creek Lake Park. Yeah I know, how can a creek be a lake and a tell me. Anyway, I had been there before on a playdate but never had been able to walk the trails or check out the creek.

Not much to tell, so I'll just post a few pics of our day.

Everywhere there were fields of pretty yellow Coreopsis.

On our hikes Toby and Summer's highlight is the exercise equipment randomly spaced ever mile or so.

The creek side shade was cool and a nice escape from the sun.

The wind had it's way with my hair in this pic, but I posted it anyway because I liked the pic of me and Sum.

After our hike the "kids" were ready to play and cool off in the park amenities.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What's Been Up...Daily Life

Aside from our weekly day trips not much of anything goes on at our house...well, for me anyway.

Summer has gotten to the age where she requires little care. As long as I get her pointed in the right direction for the day and prepare what meals for her that she can't yet concoct herself, I am home free for the day able to finally immerse myself in my own interests.

Summer spends most of her spare time on her computer socializing or socializing with the neighborhoods kids...yes, much socializing. Socializing is her main interest these days.

I am one of the opinion that humans find interest in things that are good for them at that moment and time of their life. Things they need for their developmental or emotional growth. Sorta like craving water when you're thirsty or a bath when you're dirty.

Yes, contrary to popular belief of the general public my homeschooled child gets plenty of socialization.

Here is Summer and her friend Jacqueline flying a kite my friend Robin gave her.
Eventually all the neighborhood kids got a hand at it that day. Luckily there is enough wind around here that it doesn't take too much effort to give them lift off...

Summer and Jacqueline. Jacqueline is one of my favorites of Summer's friends and the least dramatic, even though she tends to be a bit more sensitive than the rest of the girls which makes her one of the biggest whiners. :-)

This is Summer and Angela. Angela is the troublemaker of the group. She is also where Summer learns all she needs to know about sex and boys. Even so, Summer and I like Angela's spunk and outgoing personality.

This is Lesly. Her and Summer have been friends on and off for the past 2 years. They have a very love/hate relationship. You never know what it's going to be like for these two from day to day...

These are just a few that I have captured pics of lately. Playmates are not hard to find...for Summer anyway.

Last Sunday I took Summer and Jacqueline on a "field trip". Jacqueline always requests that I homeschool her. She is very intrigued by what Summer and I do for school each day.

I decided to take them to downtown Manor and give them a tour of Manor for an example of our school experience...History.

They got a snow ice from the local snow ice stand....Math

I then took them to the park where they played on the exercise equipment...P.E.

Then I took them to the local cemetery where they read and pronounced the names on all the tombstones...Reading and Spelling

After we toured the cemetery, we drove over to the railroad tracks where we walked the tracks and identified different bugs, trees, and skipped rocks into the creek...Science

In my experience, nobody is learning anything unless they are having fun while doing it or it interests them. Life is short....LIVE IT. Period.

Before we went home there was recess.....

On a different note, I thought I would post a pic that always gives us a chuckle when we pass it by. The Pink Monkey is an all nude club not far from the house. The huge pink monkey that sits on the roof of this place appeals to little ones and amuses big ones. Click on my link if you are nosy enough to see what the Pink Monkey is all about. Hmmmm....I even see where they are taking applications. :-)

Well I think that's about it for now. See ya soon!!!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sunsets are Beautiful Aren't They?!!

Beautiful isn't it??!!!! I love sunsets. Most people do.

You probably think I took this sunset photo....well I didn't. I "stole" this sunset pic from someone I love with all my essence.

There is a hint ingrained somewhere in this photo that will give away its origin.

Whomever guesses where this pic was taken and who it was taken by is the winner of the day!!!!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lake Travis - Sandy Creek

Lake Travis is as close as you get to the "beach" without taking the three hour drive to the coast..minus jelly fish, sharks, humidity and sticky salt water. Surprisingly, today was the first time since we have lived here that we have actually went swimming in it.

Lake Travis is the fifth lake down in the chain of Highland Lakes on the Colorado River in central Texas. It's over 60 miles long so there are plenty of "spots" along the lake to swim and boat.

Since there are several swimming areas to choose from I decided to move from east to west along the lake. Eventually I plan to explore them all, but for today I decided we would check out one closer to us, Sandy Creek.

I don't know why this area was inappropriately named "sandy" or "creek". There was nothing sandy nor creekish about this swimming spot.

Either way, I thought it was a great place to swim...that is if I felt more compelled than to just go in as deep as my knees. Again, the skies were partly cloudy and the water is very cold. It takes alot more Texas sun and heat for me to jump into frigid water.

The water color of Lake Travis is a beautiful emerald green and the rock along the edges made it easy to get in and out of the water...although, you also can get a few bumps and bruises from the waves and current slamming you up against the rock.

What made this place even more perfect to me was that we were the only ones there. "I like my privacy" as Shrek says.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hamilton Pool Preserve

The last time I was at this place I was with my brother, his wife and daughter. That was 2 years ago...Gosh, I miss them. On the day we went, Toby had to work and was not able to go with us.

Since then, I have been wanting to get back there to show Toby paradise. I knew he would love it as much as I did.

So Hamilton Pool Preserve was our destination. Words can't do this place justice so here are A LOT of pictures to tell the story of our day...

The hike to the pool was .25 mile downhill. I'll leave it up to your imagination what the hike back up the hill was like for me...

The Pool itself...

Bear with me. I know I have alot of pics but I was having a hard time choosing my favorites..

I didn't get any further into the pool past my knees. The water was FREEZING and the day was windy and partly cloudy. After Toby and Sum had their feel of swimming in ice we decided to take a hike down to the river...

This is a cool small waterfall tucked back along the trail. Summer and I urged Toby to try and slide down the fall into the little pond below it. Long story made short, Toby managed to get millions of some kind of tiny worm/leech looking things ALL over him. In his shorts, pockets, etc. It took us forever to get those sticky little worm things off of him. I'm still laughing as I remember it...

I had pictures and a video of the whole thing but somehow I lost 1/4 of my pictures after they were downloaded...I guess that's what I get for laughing so hard at someone else's misfortune...

Toby spotted this very large fossil on the way down to the river. We wondered how many people had passed it by and never even noticed it.

Finall the river...If I'm not mistaken I think it's the Pedernalis River...

It was another wonderful day in paradise.