Thursday, May 13, 2010

Howdy, Flat Chloe!

So, I started to describe what Flat Stanley is all about, and then had a thought: isn't this what Wikipedia is for? So if you've never heard of Flat Stanley, here you go:

My cousin Chloe, a third grader in Fresno, California, sent me her Flat Chloe to visit our family and San Antonio for a few weeks. I was so honored! Natalie took to her immediately, as you will see in the pictures. I was alarmed that Flat Chloe had no feet, much less shoes, so I made her a pair of cowboy boots to match her outfit. We took her all over the place--downtown San Antonio (including a stop at Schilo's for their homemade root beer... mmm...), IKEA, Austin, the Hill Country (yes, she was with us on the ill-fated wildflower drive fiasco), Five Guys Burgers and Fries, my triathlon. At home she helped me sew, and we made hootinanny pancakes and crepes together. Unfortunately a bout of the stomach flu knocked us all down (well, all but Flat Chloe) midway through her visit, so a few of our plans were canceled. Still, I think she had a pretty good time.

Here's Natalie giving Flat Chloe loves at the Alamo.

No visit to San Antonio would be complete without dinner at Rudy's, home of the self-proclaimed worst barbecue in Texas. (Don't you believe it.)

Flat Chloe even got to go on a field trip to Seaworld with my friend Valerie, a dolphin and beluga whale trainer. (It's nice to have friends in high places.)

And here we are at the state capitol in Austin. Again with the Wikipedia: It is the largest state capitol in the nation, thus proving that everything truly IS bigger in Texas.

Thanks for the visit, Flat Chloe! You were the perfect guest.
Posted by Picasa

One Wild Day

First of all, check out these pictures:

Ugh, aren't we just so cute that you want to throw up? Smiling and hugging and wearing color-coordinated outfits, all wrapped up in wildflower goodness? Uh-huh. Here's the true story of The Day of The Wildflowers (I'm lifting the following story from an email I already sent because I don't think I can relive it all by writing about it one more time):

"The wildflowers have been outstanding this spring, following a couple really rotten years, so I did lots of web-based research and found a great drive for us to do together. We set aside a promising Saturday at least a month in advance, because our Saturdays fill up like crazy, as I am sure yours do, too. I looked forward to it for weeks and when the day came... I set off with such a good attitude. An hour out we stopped at our favorite bakery for cookies, then pressed on to "The Willow City Loop", which was really, really beautiful. Bluebonnets all over the place, and even some very picturesque longhorns grazing in a field. ("Look at the beautiful flowers! Oooh, don't they smell nice? Oh, Nat, look at the cows!") Ella was bored the whole time, and highly vocal about it. Natalie was ultra-grumpy, and threw fits every time we stopped the car and got out because she wanted to sit in the front seat and "drive" the car. After a couple hours of this, all I wanted was a family picture so we could prove we'd been there. We found a likely spot, with a little bald patch in the midst of the flowers, good for sitting. I sat, Greg brought me Natalie, and she she arched her back and threw her head straight into my nose. Yeah, it's all fun and games until Mom gets hit in the nose. We did take a picture, finally, and luckily I was wearing sunglasses so you couldn't see the tears streaming down. Then, as we were shoving children into the car, I heard Greg say, "Don't step on the flowers!" I turned and saw a kid just stomping the heck out of a patch of bluebonnets by the road. His mother immediately whipped around and yelled, "Don't tell my child what to do!" which sparked a big long argument. Meanwhile, I had detected that Natalie's diaper was full to overflowing and had to change her on the trunk of the car while Redneck Mama continued yelling and Greg defended his (shaky) ground."

"Then we went home. Oh, wait, we also stopped at some port-a-potties and after getting Ella settled in one ("Don't touch that, and EW, don't touch THAT") I opened the door to the neighboring one and there was a man inside, LUCKILY facing away from me, who bellowed in a very shocked way. Um, hello? That's what the lock on the door is for. I got back in the car, told my family that I was DONE making fun for them, and sulked all the way home."

I have since recovered and once again found myself on the "Let's Have Some Family Fun" bandwagon last weekend when we drove up to Austin to see Ralph (Of the Disney-affiliated "Ralph's World"--ever heard of him?) in concert. More on that to come. I'll just say that as no noses were nearly broken, I called it a success.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Triple Wheeze

So, in the 5th grade I was diagnosed with activity-induced asthma, and I spent at least the next 15 years wheezing. After I got married I finally saw a specialist who helped me get things under control, and I can now do most anything without any medication at all. Really, it is a miracle. I can remember dreading having to run "The Mile" in middle school because by the end I would literally be on the ground, gasping for air. (You would think that the oh-so compassionate PE teachers would have noticed something amiss, but nooooo...) But today I did a freshman triathlon--200 meter swim, 10 mile bike ride, and 2 mile run. And I finished! When I signed up my cavalier attitude was something along the lines of, "I know I'm slow, but I'll do it just for fun." A couple days ago, though, panic set in, and I was sure I'd be the last one to cross the finish line. I had a nightmare at 2:30am about running before swimming and therefore messing everything up. I woke up at 5:30 this morning thinking, "Why am I doing this again?"

But you know, I did it! Here I am plugging along in the swim. The pool sure didn't look that big, and I only had to do 4 laps there and back, but wow was I glad when it was over. I think my swim cap is super chic.

Here I am leaving the transition area with my granny bike. I love it--it's super-sturdy and comfortable to ride. Also super-heavy and slow, but oh well. The ride was by far my favorite part, but the whole time (as my lungs adjusted to life after the swim) I couldn't stop thinking, "And they expect me to be able to RUN after this?!"

And I'm off! I didn't make it very far before I had to walk (oh, and readjust my $5 shorts so they wouldn't fall down around my ankles) but I did run on and off the rest of the way. I ran the last 200 yards to the finish, of course.

And here I am with my babies, who cheered me on with their daddy every step of the way. I came in 197th overall (out of 250+)--not bad for the little wheezer that could!
Posted by Picasa