Thursday, November 29, 2007

More Christmassy

Joey just couldn't wait.

He is in love with his Kindergarten teacher and he couldn't wait until closer to Christmas to get her the perfect gift.... a snow globe. Right now, he is mesmerized by snow globes. He even told the teacher last week that would be her present, and each day he wanted to go shopping (around 8pm) to find the right one.

Yesterday, the rare opportunity arose, Max had chess club, Emma had a playdate, and Joey and I had an hour to ourselves. I told him THAT was the right time to shop. So we drove over to Breede, the most wonderful Hardware/Housewares store I know, because that would be just the place for snow globe shopping.

I was right. As we walked in the front door, there was a beautiful one. It had Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in it. I said, "Oh Joey, they do have snow globes! Look at that one." He took a look and said... "No Mom, it's got to be more Christmassy." Ouch. We'll be working on that during Advent.

Anyway, just like I'd imagined, Breede had about twenty to choose from on a shelf towards the back of the store. We settled in and started listening to the music boxes for the top choices. Joey was very careful to put his ear right next to them and sing the words if he knew them. As I was watching him, being so careful, I could hear the garden center right outside the door. There was a little fountain running, and that kept mixing with the music box twinkles and Joey singing some of the right words and making up the rest. And I had such a nice moment.

He did eenie meenie and inky binky bonky to choose between the final two. He kept going until he got the one that I knew he liked the best. It had a penguin inside, played "We wish you a Merry Christmas", and had a bright green glitter covered base. Joey kept singing, "I wish you a Happy Christmas and a Go-od New Year".

Joey and I used to have lots of time together when he was in preschool, and now I hardly ever get him alone. (and not begging for a "date" to eat Happy Meals) It was really lovely.

When he got home, he must have played the music for two hours, staring at the snow and the little penguin inside.

He told us he wanted to take it to her this morning. So we wrapped it up after breakfast. He walked right up to her first thing and gave her the present, and she opened it and he was just beaming. It was really great. It sort of lurched me right into the holiday spirit-- now I feel More Christmassy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy Surprise!!

We are so Excited!!!!

Emma entered the Zilker Park Christmas Tree Coloring Contest
and she won the Senior Division!

This means that we (the whole family) get to attend the tree lighting ceremony this Sunday to see another girl from our school-- a little sister of Max's friend--- light the big Zilker Park Christmas tree. Emma gets to stand on the podium with her.

Emma's big night comes on December 9, when they open the Trail of Lights. Emma got us tickets to the VIP party before the official opening. We got VIP parking passes allowing us to bypass the police barricade (my favorite part of this by far!) And then Emma and the Mayor will cut the ceremonial ribbon opening the Trail of Lights. THEN... if that wasn't enough.... Emma and her parents have the opportunity to ride in the sleigh with Santa and Mrs. Claus through the Trail all the way to Santa's house where they will disembark and have photos taken.


Free Parking!!!!!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

On the last day of the Thanksgiving Weekend, I never even got out of my pajamas.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Pretty Food

This was the prettiest thing I cooked yesterday.
Cranberries with Clementines.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!
Gobble Gobble

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Season of Shows

The way they get you to come to PTA meetings at Bryker Woods is to have your kid do some sort of performance that you don't want to miss. Therefore, I predict I will go to three evening PTA meetings this school year. Max's was this month, when the third grade classes sang patriotic songs for us. It was actually very cute, and the program had improved from the year Emma's third grade did patriotic songs consisting of the Navy, Army, Air Force and Marine songs. Max's group did "This Land is Your Land", and "Fifty! Nifty! United States" which were much more catchy.

Joey's class held the pilgrim/indian show. They got to choose which they wanted to be and the class only ended up with two little settlers and a dozen native Americans. Joey is on the back row, but his "girlfriend", Jillian is on the front row. She is the teeny blonde in front of Zach who is just to the right of Joey.

Emma and I talked with Jillian and she told us, about Joey.... "I like him and he likes me".

Joey says...."She chases me, and I like it."

The Kindergarten Room

Mrs. Black, Carlotta the doggie, and Joey

Joey asked to have his picture taken with Mrs. Black's visiting daughter, and later wondered if she could be his babysitter.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Monday's Adventure.... Enchanted Rock

He really is a ham.

About half way up.. looking over to Little Rock

Lunch at the top.

Exploring a cave passage.
(I stayed out!)

We left Joey clinging to the side of the rock so we could get this photo!
(actually, no, don't call CPS, it is a trick shot!)

I first heard about Enchanted Rock when I was in High School. I remember Mrs. Carroll, Geometry teacher and German Club Advisor, took the German club to Fredericksburg and Enchanted Rock on a field trip. When I was at UT I heard about it, but never took the trip to see it. I have thought about a visit all these years.

Finally, with November here, the weather is cool and beautiful, the kids had a teacher's in-service day, and David had a work holiday. So we decided to make the trip down. We thought it might be crowded due to Veteran's Day, but it seems only Austin schools had a day off, so we had the park almost to ourselves. The weather couldn't have been better. The clouds were beautiful and kept the sun from being too intense. There was a great breeze on the rock and all the kids are like little billy goats with lots of energy for climbing. Just a perfectly fun day.

A big bowl feature at the summit.

We all laid down on the rock and it was really comfortable because
the slight curve stretched out your back just right.

It's been dry, but there were little pools here and there. Some were just puddles and some had the start of little ecosystems in them. Later, when we got down, the Ranger's station mentioned that they are used to learn about how little ecosystems develop.
If you click and enlarge this photo (taken from Little Rock looking back at Enchanted Rock) you will see tiny people to give you a sense of scale. We walked up Enchanted rock first, then over to Little Rock, then "off road".
Little Rock

More amazing life taking root

Just one of the big old rocks scattered about. This is where we started to blaze our own trail, and just beyond we got to ....

I was the most nervous about our "off the beaten path route". The kids and David didn't seem to mind the 10' drops between the boulders they leapt among, or the possibility of SNAKES that I was so acutely aware of!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Happy Halloween

Yes, they are going for increasingly scary costumes each year.
Emma is dressing like a pre-teen, which is scariest of all.

Joey visits Mrs. Black's house.

How many more years will I see this scene?

The loot!

Max is always the leader in candy acquisition. We think he is young enough to want the candy and his hands are big enough to really grab a nice big handful when offered.

Today was actually a real scare. About mid-morning I checked my email from work to see one from the kids' principal. He said the school was under modified lockdown. Apparently, someone robbed McBride's gun shop which is less than a mile from our school. The Austin Swat team was trying to figure out if the crook had actually been cornered in the store, so as a precaution, the daycare and three nearby schools were on lock down.

Today the store was having a Beretta show. It really makes me question the wisdom of gun rights, knowing that semi automatic weapon shows are being held just up the road. I'm not against guns that are designed for hunters, but ones that really are only good for killing people would be better left out of my neighborhood.

I never worried about our kids. Our school is amazing and kept them all safe. I'm very thankful that this was a non-story.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Catching up...

Today was a wonderful day. Full of adventure! Documented with fabulous photos! Inspiring! Awesome!.....but you won't hear about it until Wednesday at the earliest.

That's because today when I was taking all the good photos, I realized I'd never posted any of the others on the camera during the last month. So today, you'll see : Picking out Pumpkins!

Tomorrow... Halloween!

and Wednesday.... well, you'll have to wait and see......

Max and his friend Uma. She has been pumpkin shopping for each of the last three years. It is sort of a tradition to take her along.

Joey age 6

....and at age 2!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Friday, November 09, 2007

I've got ART!

Today, I bought TWO beautiful pieces of art. I couldn't afford the Three Muses in my earlier post (Robbin is painting me a smaller version after her big show in the Bahamas). But today's purchases were by my friend Luis Abreux.

I met Luis about two months ago. Each Friday, we have Art Day at Robbin's house. Luis joined the three of us, Robbin, Connie and I, and he is fantastic. Watching him work is hypnotic and apparently the city is starting to notice him. He escaped from Cuba two years ago, in a dramatic, multi-stop plane flight. Connie and Robbin met him at an art show at Austin Interreligious Ministries. He even won a recent Best of Austin Award in the Austin Chronicle:

Best Surprise! We Have an Art Show Here!: Austin Area Interreligious Ministries Hosting Luis Abreux
One step in the door of the agency’s Eastside location, and all eyes become riveted to Luis Abreux’s vibrant, fantastical work. Vivid colors reminiscent of the painter's native Cuba and the dynamism of the topics command attention; it's as if his subjects were run through a Chuck Jones-meets-Picasso daydream. You may be tempted to stay and gaze for hours or wish you could take them all home. The local nonprofit gave the honor of their first foray into the art world to Abreux, whose recent situation qualified him for their services, allowing him to participate in his own assistance.
701 Tillery #8, 386-9145

So today, I visited his house and saw the dozens of paintings he has in every room, more than dozens, at least a hundred! I picked two small ones, and fell in love. He let me have a "friend rate" and wished them well in their new home. Photos will be posted momentarily!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Three Graces

My friend Robbin painted this wonderful picture, it is called Three Graces and guess who is in the middle! It is the first time I've been painted into someone's artwork, and I love it. Connie is on the left and Robbin, the artist, is on the right.

I love love love it.