Monday, September 27, 2010


Ahh, camping. Doesn't everybody love camping? The idyllic settings, the stillness, the s'mores. Who could ask for more?

Camping always sounds nice, but I'm learning that actually getting out for a trip is easier said than done. The last time Scott and I went was 3 years ago, in August. It was 104 degrees. We happened to pick a campground that was hosting some sort of terrible redneck family reunion--so not only were all the good camping spaces taken, but the place was absolutely overrun with loud, uneducated, profanity-spewing drunken rednecks. We ended up next to a group of particularly beautiful folks who woke us at 6 a.m. with loud arguments about how best to cover up the pile of human feces in the middle of their campsite. To top it off, we almost lost Scott's wedding ring and I ended up with about 60 bug bites on my feet and ankles alone.

Still, we told ourselves, we had fun. We love camping. Right? But in the three years following that particular trip, we haven't really even come close to having another go at it. A big part of that had to do with Exhibit A and Exhibit B showing up last spring. Who wants to go camping with one baby, let alone two? But toddlers are better. Right? So we became semi-determined to tackle an outing this fall, in a noncommittal "if-it-works-out" sort of way. And when Scott's long weekend coincided with the first true cold front of the fall, we decided to go for it.

It was, in a word, wonderful. The weather, the activities, the food, the company--perfect. We rented a screened shelter (basically a bare cabin) at Mineral Wells State Park. It's only an hour from home--so, we reasoned, we could easily turn around and come back if things got really bad. Here's our humble abode-for-a-day:

The view from our porch:

As far as activities, we thought we'd tackle a trail or two, and otherwise sit around and watch Noah and Lily eat rocks. But we got an added bonus in the form of a spillway that comes over the dam at one end of the lake. It's the wildest thing I've ever seen--an actual sidewalk and road that they allow water to trickle over constantly. It was fun even for Scott and I, and the twins absolutely couldn't get enough.

You can tell the sequence of some of the pictures based on the state of relative dryness of Noah's clothing. Early:


...and then we gave up even trying to keep him dry...

This morning we packed the kiddos on our back and tackled a lakeside trail. The terrain was rough, but pretty and very fun. Scott went first and cleared out most of the spiderwebs with his face, which was very kind of him. In related news, there's a species of very large spider living all around the lake that must not have any natural predators. We could have easily counted over a hundred dangling from the trees overhead in just our short hike.

So all in all, it was a great trip. I'm not sure I want to go for more than a 24-hour outing anytime soon, but I could see us taking more short camping trips in the near future.

Ahh, camping...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

hats off... er, on

Lately Noah and Lily have been obsessed with hats. That's not particularly new--they've enjoyed playing with random cowboy hats and baseball caps for a good while now. But for the past couple of days they've wanted to wear their sun hats that we use for zoo trips and such. And instead of the off-on-off-on routine they usually pull, they just wear them... for hours! It's so funny to see them toddling around in their hats as if they have every reason in the world to do so.

If there's orange and green in the plaid on his cap... does that mean the hat pulls the rest of his outfit together?

Lily prefers to wear her hat pulled low over her eyes, and then walks around half-blind. I have no idea how she manages not to walk into things constantly. She wore it this way during her snack, and just groped blindly at me whenever she wanted another bite of cheese or cracker.

It makes me feel like I'm interacting with one of those cutesy bonnet-wearing shepherdess girls that show up in country-esque drawings.

See what I mean?

The other night Scott was reading the kiddos a bedtime story. They just cuddled right down on his lap and sat there, pretty as a picture. Until I actually wanted to TAKE a picture, that is.

In other completely random news, our crepe myrtles have decided that it is June again. After flowering all summer, the blooms finally petered out a few weeks ago in what I assumed was the natural end-of-summer way. But after the torrential downpours of last week, they have found new energy (and flowers). I was just trying to take a semi-artistic picture of the flowers at an angle, but Lily wandered into the frame. And I think it's cuter that way.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

an unplanned family trip

So it's been a while since I posted. (What else is new?)

A couple of weeks ago, Scott's grandmother passed away. She had been suffering with Alzheimer's for some years and it's so nice to know that she is finally at peace. I never got to know her before her illness, so I look forward to the day when I can REALLY know her. We traveled down for the funeral and to visit Scott's family, and it was neat to hear everyone's stories and memories.

Here she is in an early picture. I'm not sure how old she is, but she can't be more than a few months different in age from the twins right now. Lily looks a lot like her, don't you think? Her face isn't so round, but she definitely has those eyes.

And although our purpose in traveling was for a funeral, and although we drove down through THREE HOURS of solid Tropical Storm Hermine, we had a wonderful time visiting Scott's parents, siblings, and extended family.

Baby Elijah had really changed since we saw him last! He is 8 months old now, crawling everywhere, and very alert and interactive. It won't be long before he and the twins will be able to play really well with each other. Assuming, of course, that my children ever stop stealing toys and biting long enough to ever play with ANYONE.
Granddad likes to transport babies in various vehicles:
The babies enjoyed it pretty well, too. Noah especially appreciated being Lily's grab-bar for the wheelbarrow ride.
We also had the chance to spend the day at the Texas State Aquarium, which was a lot of fun. Noah enjoyed terrorizing the hermit crabs...
Lily and Gemma just happened to pause in front of a scenic mural.
Noah hanging out waiting for the dolphin show to start. Babies' maximum wait time: 3 minutes. Dolphin show wait time: 20 minutes. Dolphin show length: 15 minutes. Any way you add it up, it was a tedious business. That, and jumping dolphins make Lily cry hysterically.
But although dolphins weren't Lily's fave, she enjoyed lunch much better. Here she is chowing down on the sauce that came with her meal. She didn't actually eat the fries--just dipped them in the sauce and licked them clean, over and over. Until it was GONE. It wasn't until later that we found out she was eating SPICY CAYENNE tartar sauce, and not some sort of southwest ranch dip, as I had thought. I tried a little--it wasn't for wimps! But apparently my child's love of uncommon baby foods extends beyond black olives.

We also took the babies by the beach for a quick look-see. They had an absolute blast. I'm sure they'd be up for a full swim day, although Mommy's nerves may not be ready. Here is Noah eating sand:

Noah hunting seagulls (unsuccessfully, thank goodness):

And just a couple of beach bums...