Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Central Market

As these summer days are coming to a close, we are quickly trying to get in some summery activities... did I mention school starts for BOTH kids next week? That is right, world. For the first time in 2.5 years I am going to be kid free for 2 days a week. Oh, the possibilities... which really just equates to more possible shifts at the hospital... with the occasional coffee date of course!

This past Saturday was glorious. By glorious I mean obligation free and COOLER... cooler as in 92 degrees versus 107. We'll take it. We were so excited to try Central Market's Saturday Night concert. First of all, I am going to throw this out there--- the North Lamar Central Market is the BEST most AWESOME family friendly store I know of. Like how I threw out the "I know of part"? Leaves me some room to slowly back out of my committal statement once proven wrong. I'm sneaky like that.

Anyways, we love this place. This playground is INCREDIBLE and it is very likely where we will be having Gabriel's 3rd birthday there. Yep, at the grocery store because that's how we roll. On Saturday nights they have live music and great dinner specials. This past Saturday was a group that played lots of salsa. And who doesn't like that?

This girl sure does. She came FANCY sporting her Barbie sticker Bindi

and super awesome topsy tail... sans topsy tail device. I know. I rock.
While Molly brought the fancy, Gabriel definitely brought the cool.

This place had an insane crowd. Apparently, there are a lot of salsa lovers in good ole' ATX.

But guess what?! Giant crowds, lots of kids, one lady with 8 trick dogs and still... no stress.

Way to go CM. Who knows, maybe we'll see ya next Saturday too.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Not a bunch of croc.

This picture reflects one of my favorite things about Rosie George. And recently, it has become ever apparent that I focus on the things I like about our CRAZY teenage dog versus the things that make me want to put her up for adoption... i.e. eating poop and rubbing it all over my bedroom floor. I am going to choose to overlook that horrible moment and instead think about this.

Hmm? Happy filter, perhaps? I wonder if I can transfer this whole concept to other unpleasantries in my life. I'll get back to you on that one.

But Rosie.

You might be thinking, "why in the world is that Dog going to eat that Croc?" I mean, "what kind of owner supports that sort of shenanigans..." And given recent Rosie George behaviors this could have very likely been the plan... except I know her. She isn't going to eat it.

I promise.
She just wants to cuddle it for a bit.

Every night after we put the kids to bed, Rosie will go through the house and find something that belongs to one of them. I have been observing this behavior for a couple weeks now and I am always intrigued to see what she can find. Quite honestly, she may have hit the motherload here. Gabriel is in love with his spiderman crocs. In fact, many a day he tries to nap in them (like today). They are sticky and dirty and I am almost positive would taste like a combination of ice cream and gravel if you were to lick them. A true Gabriel concoction. And why wouldn't you want to snuggle that?

Speaking of our sweet little man. Look who decided to be a BIG boy and last in his underoos all day long. Same pair. All day. Just sayin'. (Not the best shot because he was potty dancing to celebrate his success at the time. Rest assure though--- it was really cute.)

Rosie definitely has good taste because he is a great one to cuddle... and that ain't a load of croc.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Our Reprieve

I really had full intentions of blogging about our fantastic 5 days with Aunt Maxey in Austin...at least having a post up about one of the days... But the plan has changed. I am going to take pause and instead direct your attention to the true miracle we experienced today- our own little neighborhood bliss. Was it the 107 degree temps that we had today? No... no miracle there... more like a bit of H-E-double-hockey-sticks if you ask me. I am choosing to overlook the earlier scorching hours of the day and focus on the blissful raindrops that appeared in abundance late afternoon! That's right, folks'--- it rained!!!

I know. I am in shock still. And our yard? Well, let's just say I could almost here it shriek with glee too--- or perhaps that was just the cracks in the soil being filled with water. Sweet sweet relief indeed. My take is when a miracle like this happens you need to celebrate it and even better... make a party out of it! Have I mentioned how much I love our neighbors? Well, I do. Splashing fun in your skivvys? Sounds like a perfect way to soak up the rain!

I am really bummed that we didn't get a picture of them walking single file down the road in umbrellas.... it was very Abbey Road.

And what could be better than an umbrella commune?

Apparently, nothing. Best tent city ever and even better way to cool off and burn energy before bedtime.
Don't be a stranger, rain!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Our Dallas Date

I didn't want to let too much time go by without mentioning what an incredible time in Dallas we had this past week. Besides celebrating one fantastic four-year-old, I finally had an opportunity to celebrate some of my favorite things about Dallas. Now, while 4 days is quite lovely in Dallas, it still wasn't quite long enough to visit with all the people we love... and I was very sad that I didn't get to see my Grandma... always great fun to be had when we come back and play!

In (technically 4 days) I celebrated:

Book Club and the amazing women that make up that group.
Dinner with my family
Visits with my siblings
Scottish Rite Park
Chick Fil-a
Bennie and Ms. Caroline playdate
Avery Bug and Miss Tiffany (and cooper!!!) playdate
Kaycee Pool
Backyard dinner at Uncle John's and Aunt Katy's
Uncle John's birthday bonanza
Love Field to get my love
Molly's Birthday Bonanza
Tony's Pizza
Baker Love
Family time at Gigi and Haji's

What a couple of days!!! It felt really nice to just "live" in Dallas for a few days. Now Aunt Maxey is visiting in Austin too. Feels like Christmas... a little bit of Dallas in Austin sure feels like home to me!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The baking bug

Baking has never been a strong suit. In fact, let's be honest here... the smoke alarm was more like background music to my time in the kitchen. I like to keep it interesting? um, no.

But... that was OLD Julie. I am SO much better now. I was digging through my pantry before I ran to good ole' HEB today and realized that I have a lot of things that I never end up using and inevitably either let collect dust or land in the trash. So, tonight I decided to just get crazy baking and I couldn't be happier with the turnout...and, no . Not one use of the fire extinguisher. Hooray.

My favorite homemade banana muffins. So easy to make!!!
I was on was on such a roll that I decided to throw together three jars of chicken tortilla soup too. Now I have lunch set for a couple days this week. Perhaps I should start to make this a habit.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Molly's Birthday Bonanza

Can you believe it world? We have one of these now...

This past week we celebrated Miss Molly, Uncle John and all our favorite things about Dallas... well, a good chunk of them. That is a post for another time...

This year we decided to copy my friend, Tiffany's, approach to birthdays and keep it nice and low key for the big 4. We had family members that were just getting back in town, friends with little babies and it was a lot easier to just keep this party nice and small this year... never a nice thing to plan an event that forces everyone you love to hang out in 106+ degree weather for lengths of time. You heard that right. It was hot. But don't you worry... we managed to have a bunch of fun.

Yes, Molly yet again had another party evolving around water as everyone before has... but come on, what else is there to do in August? We avoid chuckie cheese with all our might and bounce town was booked out. We like to swim... and Molly had a way cute new swimsuit too.

This year, we escaped Dallas for a party and headed out to good ole' Richardson. And while I didn't see the pool until a day before the party--- it did not disappoint. Good thing my sister really knows the ins and outs of Richardson!

Aloha, Birthday Party!

When you arrive first it is REALLY hard not to eat all the snacks... Birthday girl was ready to party!

and so was her partner in crime...
All this water to swim in and the kids can't step away from the "Guaca-molly." Such great cousin fun!

We also had the chance to spend the afternoon with the HAPPIEST.BABY.ON.THE.PLANET. I kid you not, this little guy is hilarious and he has some GREAT party tricks.

Birthday cake is SO exciting!!!
So much to wish for in year four.

Personally, I wish for a day where Gabe will actually eat with only utensils. So far, that day has not arrived.

Molly was really into her "mail" this year and wanted to read all the cards. A girl after my own heart.

Who knew that low key meant WAY relaxing?!

And when a birthday princess picks the restaurant, you know that you are in for a GREAT dinner. Tony's, we have missed you!!

Happy Birthday, Molly! You are already off to a great new year!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy Birthday, Molly!!

Oh Molly Girl,

What an adventure this past year has been. It seems like everyday you are discovering some new FABULOUS thing in this world or embodying yet another personality. We have loved all versions of you... even when we were forced to call you Jasmine, Elasti-Girl, Susan, Kim, Karen, Melody, Anastasia... and the many other people you became. You always keep us guessing, Molly.

This year we met Pinkalicious, Fancy Nancy and the gang. They are life long friends for sure. You danced your way into ballet and went to school for the first time. What a year!

I can't wait for all the memories to come in year four. I hear great things about four.

Love you always,

Rockin' River

Okay, so today we visited the coolest little water park EVER and I am sooo sad that we are just finding it at the end of summer. Boo. This definitely could have been a cousin hot spot for us... oh well, I guess there is always one more reason to visit us next summer.

We went to the Rockin' River in Round Rock, Texas today with some child life specialists, their kids and their friends. It was a big group and really fun to meet new people!

We had a blast...which also meant a TIRED crew for the remainder of the day. Early bedtimes? Nah, that would have just made too much sense.

If you live in the area and haven't been, I think they are open for two more weeks? You should check it out! There is a lazy river...

This superfun water "castle"
And Gabriel's dream slide. He tried really HARD to convince the life guard that he was tall enough to go but it remained a no-go. Whew. Don't think I am ready to be chasing him down giant slides just yet.

And look at miss attitude. This picture posing is getting more and more elaborate by the day.

Such a fun day... and look, you can tell how tired they were. Success by all accounts.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Our FlutterBy

My family has always held a special place in our hearts for Monarch butterflies and Mockingbirds because in many ways we have always felt like the spirit of our loved ones from the past have chosen to send their spirits to visit us at butterflies and mockingbirds. Okay, I know this seems strange and I am okay with the judgement derived from the previous statement. But the way I look at it is pretty simple... in the career I have chosen, I have witnessed true miracles that were beyond explanation and I have come to accept that there are MANY things in the world that are just unexplainable...especially, in regards of the bridge between life and death. And at the end of the day, this belief that I hold brings me peace and allows me to feel a connected moment with someone I have loved from my past. So, that by itself makes it worth it.

Today, my little family spent the morning at one of our favorite splash parks (Brushy Creek Park). Despite the fact that you are in DIRECT sunlight the entire time you are not in the water, the park continues to be a family favorite. This morning was extra special because we had a nice visit with a "flutterby". This Monarch butterfly would not stop circling our family! Wherever we went on this splash pad, it was there. It was especially taken with Molly... I mean it is her special time of year with a birthday less than 6 days away and all... this butterfly wanted to celebrate Molly for sure. At first Molly was nervous because she kept thinking it was going to bite her.

And then, just like that...it crawled into Kelly's hand.

Molly and Kelly decided it might be a little thirsty so they put it near some water on the ground. Molly thought this was the coolest thing ever.
While Gabriel thought his bucket was the coolest thing ever. They have very different interests, these two.

Very different.
Eventually, "bucket head" started to visit with butterfly too... and managed NOT to step on it. I mean, how tragic would that have been? eek!

Such a great little visit this butterfly had...
spending its time at the splash park with these bucket heads.

As we walked away it flew off to the trees... I guess it had its fill of fun too.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cousins in Austin!

I am so so grateful that our schedules have allowed that two weeks has been the longest we have gone without seeing family all summer. It has really helped with this transition to Austin and we have high hopes that we can keep this rhythm :) (Lots of sales on Southwest right now...just sayin' ;)

And while the Rickens and one Nonnie were only here for about 27 hours, we sure did manage to pack a bunch of fun in! We even made it a mini 'beach' reunion...

It seems in the weeks since our last visit to Emma Long, there have been lots of boats come by. It was definitely much dirtier. Perhaps it is also because we have just come from the pristine white sands of Destin. We still had some messy fun though... and stopped by the MUCH cleaner pool on the way home.
I think it is safe to say that these kids had a blast.

I remembered that I had wanted my mom to see the Peacock Preserve at the foot of Mount Bonnell. I love this place so much. Unfortunately, the peacocks were a little hot and while in abundance they didn't open all their feathers---despite our numerous attempts to scare them, flirt with them and pretend we were "Kevin bird". Such a pretty place! Apparently, it is where all the Gabriel's hang out. We met two there.

And what better way to cool off after a fun sun filled weekend than with Amy's. My sister said something about one going up in Dallas maybe? We will definitely be looking into this... if so... hooray for Dallas!!! First Torchy's and now Amy's?!

Can't wait to see you guys in 9 days!