Thursday, July 17, 2014

It's Not An Adventure Until Someone Wets Their Pants

Yesterday, as a special summer vacation treat, we took the kids to the Blue Bell Ice Cream Factory for a tour. As tours go, it's not terribly exciting, but of course, the pay off is a free scoop of Blue Bell Ice Cream at the end.  Before the tour began I took every kid to the bathroom.  Except one.  One particular boy who refused to go potty.  I will not mention which boy because later in life he may read this blog and I don't want him to be permanently scarred because I told the world this story. 




So anyway, the kids were awesome during the tour.  It was about 45 minutes long down lots of winding hallways with windows looking down on lots of machinery.  They all stayed quiet, held hands, didn't run down the hallway. It was sort of amazing.



 Then we arrived at the ice cream parlor and they all waited patiently for their scoop of ice cream.  We found a table in the VERY crowded room full of other tour goers and settled in to enjoy our dessert.  



Then suddenly this one particular boy jumped up and said he had to go potty.  Except, clearly he had already gotten a head start on the event.  The big, round telltale marks on the front and back of his drawers. I rushed him to the restroom and he did have to go, but we did not have a change of clothes handy.  
Foolish foolish Mama!



I took him back to the table, hoping no one else would notice wet pants and quickly put him back in front of his ice cream dish.  Trips to potty are contagious of course, so as soon as I sat him down two more kids wanted to go.


So back to the potty and then back to our seats.  And by now everyone else is almost finished and my ice cream is a big bowl of melted mess.  Brian takes a couple of the kids to the car, so that Wet Boy can get changed. And we won't be any more embarrassed by his increasing aroma.  I shovel a few more bites in my mouth and hustle the rest of our pack to the van.


And that was that!  A boring tour, a rushed bowl of ice cream, and another pair of peed in pants.  Just another day with the Wood Family.  But remember, it's not an adventure until someone wets their pants!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Summer Portraits

I just can't get enough of these beautiful faces.  I want to do some new portrait shots to hang in the living room and I'm trying to decide which ones to hang on my walls.  What do you think?  Which shots are frame worthy?




































Thursday, July 3, 2014

Camping: Party of Eight--Take Two

We are not quitters.  We are gluttons for punishment.

I WANT to like camping.  What I want more is for the travel trailer fairy to leave a trailer in my driveway for all future camping trips. But assuming that is not going to happen.....

We took our second camping trip this week to Pedernales Falls State Park.  I did a ton of research to be sure that we did not repeat the disaster at the beach.  Pedernales Falls is about 30 miles west of Austin, in the hill country.  The Pedernales River runs through this park and it is gorgeous.




On-line it looked like a perfect trip.  It is very scenic!  Lots of hiking, swimming, tubing, and exploring. Although it is very close to Austin, it doesn't seem to be a super busy park.  A lot of places I researched were pretty much booked up this whole holiday week, but since we have the luxury of weekday camping we got a reservation with no problem.

We heard from a few people that camping is definitely better if you stay more than one night, so for this trip we stayed for two.  There was enough to do at this park that we could have stayed for three nights.  We definitely plan to go back at some point, probably when the weather is cooler and try it again.

It was a bit of a car ride, but I guess we need the practice for our big trip coming up in a few weeks.  The weather was great.  Not nearly as much humidity as in the Houston area.  And miraculously, we did not encounter a single mosquito!!!

Our kids had a blast! Here are some of the highlights:

Hiking the Falls--I love hiking (that's hiking with a small "h") and the kids did, too.  They were amazing, scrambling along the rocks, crawling over boulders, jumping over puddles.  They inspected every grain of sand, every nook and cranny.  I definitely want to spend more time rock climbing here on our next trip. Even Kat managed to hang with the big kids until the very end of our hike.












Kickin' it at the Campsite--This park had great campsites.  Really big and flat.  Lots of shade.  A picnic table and a grill/fire pit combo. One of our neighbor campers brought us over some extra firewood so we had a real live camp fire on our second night.  It was awesome.  Not a mosquito in sight, so we were able to sit out for a couple of hours and soak up a real camping experience. The site did have a bazillion fire ants, but I think that is an unavoidable Texas hazard. We also had a huge raccoon our second night who was very eager for us to put out the fire and go to bed.  But he did a great job of cleaning up all the Oreos and M&Ms that we dropped on the ground.












Floatin' in the River--This was the highlight of the trip for the kids.  They are all big water bugs and they loved this new experience of exploring and floating a river.  Most of the area we stayed in wasn't above anyone's head, but there was a really great spot with a rope swing off a huge old cypress tree.  Grace, Haven, Manny, and JoJo all gave it a try.  Haven and JoJo went back for several more swings.  There were enough other people around that you didn't feel like you were in a scene from Deliverance, but not so many that you were bumping into strangers the whole time. And yes, even I got in the water that day!
























An Evening Stroll--After a day of hiking, and hours of swimming, our kids still weren't worn out enough so after dinner on our second night we took them out to explore another trail along the river.  We got to chatting with another couple and our little chinchillas decided to take a dirt bath.  We just couldn't get enough of the river.  We are definitely coming back here again! 










Now, I don't want any of you to leave my blog thinking this was some perfect rainbows and unicorns trip.  It was still hell hot! And being hot does not bring out my best qualities.  I got stupidly sunburned on my neck and shoulders which made sleeping on the second night very hard.  I do not enjoy gravel in my bed, assassin bugs in my tent, pooping on a tiny little toilet by the light of my phone.  The ride home totally sucked.  The kids were tired, grumpy, and irrational.  And I probably was, too.  



But yes, we're still gonna do it again!  Oh travel trailer fairy, where are you???

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