Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Cancun in December

The family spent a week before Christmas in cancun to celebrate the wedding of a friend (and mom had a birthday too). We traveled with another family also attending the wedding, so Alice had a built in friend for the trip.

While in Cancun Alice got to swim with dolphinss, play at a water park and snorkel for the first time. We swam every day in the hotel pools and got some sun while everyone back in Texas enjoyed a cold snap with below freezing temps.

The family returned a few days before Christmas, just in time to prepare for our first Christmas to be spent at home!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Alice's 2016 Election

Well, the long difficult election cycle has concluded with a clear winner.  Here are some notes about how Alice experienced it.

Alice started off really liking Bernie Sanders.  She followed him on YouTube and was enthusiastic.  Then he lost the primary to Hillary.  Alice was not happy, and initially didn't support Hillary.  As the general election debates got started she quickly became a supporter of Hillary.  During the debates, the three of us watched all three from the couch with popcorn.  Alice often kept a running commentary during the debates as she found Donald to be rude and an interrupter of others talking :-)  She enjoyed the debates and supporting her candidate.  We loved Michelle Obama's speeches, especially her first one where she coined "they take the low road, we take the high road".

Alice went to bed on election night worried that Hillary might not win.

I woke her up the day after and gave her the news, "Donald J. Trump will be our next president."  She almost started crying.  But we talked about democracy and how to respond to challenges and those we do not agree with winning a contest, etc.  Also, had to explain why moving to the U.K. or Germany was not the right response :-)  She understood quickly and we easily moved into the rest of the day.

We watched Hillary's speech the day after and her message to young girls hit home at our house.  My daughter listened to her and afterwards said that if there wasn't a woman president by the time she was an adult then she would have to do it herself.  I almost cried (no surprise) with pride.

It was fun watching Alice experience this crazy election.  By the end she could spot hyperbole coming from either side of the contest.  She could identify what she liked and didn't and she picked out policies and behavior that she supported and didn't.  Was really cool.  Glad its over, but it was a cool experience to enjoy with the kiddo.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Couple of Recent Pictures

Fairly recent family photo.

Alice likes to climb this tree in "Green" park, which makes me and Cristy nervous.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Updates from 3rd Grade and Life in General

We're a few weeks into 3rd grade, and everything is going quite well.  Alice is enjoying her class mates and teacher.  This is our first year for real grades and she's taking to it well.  Homework everyday, but it is pretty easy.  She, of course, would prefer not to do all this work, but since she has to she is doing her best and making it fun :-)

Outside of school
Alice is really into her tablet: mine-craft and apps where you record audio and video and share them with others.  She's riding her bike much better than ever before.  Cristy and Alice go on bike rides around the neighborhood when they get the chance.  She has many good friends and weekly play-dates or sleep overs.  She likes rock climbing and shows some real talent for it.  Singing and piano still factor in with practice and weekly lessons.

Cristy & Alice about to ride (2016).

The good life
Her favorite place is in her bed with her doggies and her tablet, preferably with cookies and milk on the side table.  If its night time then she also likes her mommy next to her, both of them with their tablets up and going, maybe in mine-craft together (with Dad too (from other room where there is music)) or maybe doing their own thing and talking about what they find; next to Alice's milk is Cristy's wine glass.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

3rd Grade: Day 1

Alice was "nerv-cited" for her first day of third grade.  She had her outfit planned ahead of time.  Her shirt says something approximating only needing love, lattes and free wifi.  Below she is showing her Harry Potter backpack.

Our known milestones for this year are letter grades, and her first male teacher, Mr. Jackson.  3rd Graders are also promoted out of the "front" playground and now take recess on the "back" playground.

This picture by the tree in our front yard is a family tradition now.  We do it every year.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Summer 2016 Music Recital

Alice's Music School has three recitals a year, they are optional and relaxed, she loves them and participates in every one.  We love going and often her grandparents make it too.  The Meadows made it down for this one.

Alice selected a funny and interesting song for the recital, Dumb ways to die.  Its a great video, and with slightly different origins than her usual selections.  This song is part of an Australian public service announcement campaign by Metro Trains in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, to promote rail safety (wiki).  She did a great job, was really confident, got laughs from the crowd, and I think everyone had fun.  Cristy and I are really super proud of her.

Alice also performed a duet with another student.  Luckily the other student was singing a song Alice had done for the school talent show, traveling solider by the Dixie Chicks, so she was able help out.  After a couple of late night practice sessions the girls were ready and sang well together.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Padre 2016

So I've lost count of how many times we have gone to Padre, but it has been at least 2 years since we last came. We have decided that - yes, Padre is the best beach in Texas. We did some of our favorite activites such as "poop castles" on the beach, and swimming in the condo pools, breakfast at Pier 19 and dinner at Pirates Landing, but we actually found a few new things to try this time around.

We came at the right time for turtle hatching season, and made it to an early morning public release during our stay. Apparently it is a highly attended event, so Alice had to climb up on her daddy's shoulders to see. This gave her the best view and she took our photos for this event.

Another new experience for us was climbing the Port Isabelle lighthouse. We all had legs achy for days after this morning :-)

The last new experience was sailing The Black Dragon pirate ship. We have seen this ship each year we have gone to Padre, but have avoided it because of either hot weather or crowds. This year Alice saw it and emphatically said she wanted to go.
We decided to go on the last cruise of the day which at this time of the year included watching fireworks - yeah! Alice really enjoyed participating in the pirate events, and mom had a few pina coladas and got attacked with water guns. Alice got to participate in a sword fight and go on a treasure hunt. I was quite impressed with their ability to keep the kids entertained, and the adults too.

We had a fantastic time (again) and hope to return again in the future :-)

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Spring Break 2016

This year the family went to Devils Den State Park in Arkansas.
We broke the trip into 2 days and stayed the night in Dallas with Didi and Pop and had dinner with Gammy and Papa. The next morning we got up and continued our trip to Devils Den. It was about a 5 hour drive from Dallas, so not too bad......UNTIL we got within 5 miles of the park.
GPS and advice from locals had us taking State Hwy 220 the last few miles to the park.  We were told there is some construction on Hwy 220, but it was open - so with that advice we continued our drive.
I don't know what State Hwy 220 looked like before they started construction, but I can tell you what it looked like when we drove down it!

Our little Prius was not made for 'mud doggin' and there were a few times I thought we were going to get stuck. There was no cell service along this route and Mom was close to tears by the time we got to the park. 

It may had been a bad start to our vacation, but the bad luck stopped there.  Our cabin was nice - full kitchen, AC, cable TV, jacuzzi tub....a lot like the cabin we had a few years back in Robbers Cave State Park in Oklahoma. The family, including the pups made the cabin home for 4 days in relative luxury (minus cell and wifi) which turned out to make the trip more relaxing.

There were many beautiful trails to hike and a clear stream running through the Park. For the most part it was quiet, and Alice and I spent a lot of time hanging together in a hammock outside our cabin in the relative coolness listening to birds and talking and each night we took a bath in the jacuzzi tub. These were Alice's two favorite activities at the park.

Dad enjoyed the hikes, seeing the scenic outlooks, and finding treasure (animal skull). The dogs enjoyed walks and sniffing new stuff, and we all enjoyed the great weather. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Happy 8th Birthday Sugar-bear!

Alice's birthday took 3 diffent events to celebrate.
On January 1st, Mom and Dad surprised Alice with a trip to Houston's America Girl to get the brand new Girl of the Year. Alice has been talking about going to AM on New Years day for months, but we never committed, so it was a surprise when we woke her up and loaded her into the car. We stood in line and waited for our turn to enter the store and see the new girl. Her name is Lea Clark.

The second event was her birthday party on the Saturday before her birthday. The theme was Pancakes and Pajamas ( and mustaches too :-). The girls (20 2nd graders) came for breakfast in their PJ's. Dad was the  pancake chef and the girls topped them with syrup, sprinkles, chocolate chips,sugar sprinkles and whip cream. While the girls ate, a balloon artist made them animals, crowns, etc....  Next the girls decorated pillow cases with fabric paints and lastly, we played musical chairs. I'm pretty sure everyone had fun.

The last birthday event was a small intimate affair at home. On her birthday Alice got to pick what she wanted for dinner. The gourmet meal she selected was........McDonalds - cheeseburger, fries and a shake. Afterward we had red velvet cake.  Happy Birthday sugar-bear!