28 April 2010
Thanks to my sister Jeanne telling me about a sale today at J.Crew. She knows I like their stuff, and she knows I am overdue for some shopping for something other than groceries and cleaning supplies!
Espi, I would love to marry you all over again in brown, if you don't mind.
Show me some art. Then take me for a martini and live music.
Let's do some sight seeing in some quaint mountain towns.
I just want to dance with you all night long like that first night we met.
If you want in on the awesome sale go here.
19 April 2010
Taking off from San Antonio area kept us on the road for 10 hours truckin' to a favorite Texas state park Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo. It was a LONG day of driving made even longer by the discovery that the park was closing at 6:00pm, and we weren't going to make it. Talking to the park office, based on our location, we could expect to arrive about 15-20 minutes after the gate closed. The park ranger was so kind to say he'd stay late to let us in. This last stretch was quite painful: hungry and tried cries and whines abounding! But we arrived and survived.
Our camp site was perfect for the kids: lots of room to run around, tucked in a portion of the canyon wall, and next to a shallow stream. It felt so good to know that this was our "home" for a couple nights.
When sleep called that first night, Espi and I were up seven times with Little A. Teething, upset stomachache, or simply exhausted?? It was hard to figure, but surprisingly it didn't hold us back too much the next day. After breakfast, we took a favorite hike that ends overlooking the amphitheatre and with an amazing panoramic view of the beautiful canyon. The morning was warm, but cloudy and VERY windy. We toughed out the wind and were enjoying the hike until H turned to look at "Daddy" and her sister, tripped, and landed into cactus! Poor girl! Espi saw it happening and felt so bad that he couldn't stop her (Little A was on his shoulders). I pulled a needle-sized prick out and many, many hair-sized. It could have been worse, but it HURT. We were ready to turn back, but, surprisingly, H really wanted to continue. Fortunately though, the end of the trail was just around the bend.
(near the start of our morning hike)
(at the turn-around, right after H's fall)
(with the kids at the visitor center's overlook before lunch::I can see the lack of sleep in my eyes!=))
After lunch and naps, we hiked one last trail...or better said, a small portion of one last trail! The sun was not hiding behind clouds now; so it was hot and still windy. So windy, in fact, that it looked like a dust storm was in the far distance above the canyon wall. We figured we'd hike for about an hour. 30 minutes in and 30 minutes out. And all the while, Espi and I dreamed of someday camping with family so that MAYBE ONCE we could hike or bike a trail IN FULL again while the kids played with Abuela or Grandma and Grandpa.=)
(near our 30 minute turning point, loving the color of the earth against the green trees)
Wanted to show (above) the mileage on the trail and the arrow noting where we turned around. The last time we hiked A SMALL PORTION of this trail, we had only H. Both times, we turned around about the same point. We have some room for growth here!
In spite of the short distances hiked, we truly had fun. Thankfully, we all slept well our second night before heading home because our last day of driving was probably the worse yet with two unhappy babies. AD just wanted OUT, and A was so tired. H just took it in stride, that trooper. Texas gave us great adventures, but home was a sweet, sweet site.
(left to right: AD frontpackin', Lulu, H, Espi, A jog strollerin')
09 April 2010
While the temperature warmed, that morning we set out to see what Crystal Cave was all about. The trail map showed it was only about a HALF-MILE in, but again we left the jog stroller behind to make it up the rocky terrain. Thankfully, we had no "party-pooper" this time (and I was ready with diapers!), but we were getting WIPED climbing the rocks with the weight of the two little ones. We set a time to turn back if we didn't reach the cave by then. Last minute, we saw the sign on a tree: "CRYSTAL CAVE DO NOT REMOVE CRYSTALS." It was a fun find. You have to enter the pitch-dark cave with a flash-light to see the sparkling rocks that surround you.
the sign::entering the cave::we all took a peek, except AD::climbing back down the trail felt so much better than climbing up!
After hiking, the girls soaked up the fun in the water, but it took the last out of them before they crashed in the truck in route to abuela's home.
rock collection::shoveling rocks and sifting water
Visiting "home" did Espi good. This is where he grew up. His long time buddies live here. Of course, he loves seeing his family and eating his mom's good cooking. But, as he said, he got to enjoy his time here more than usually because he wasn't working on day-consuming projects for his mom, like he has for many years now--helping remodel her house for sale and then remodelling her new home. There will be more projects in the future, and he is happy to do this for his mom. However, having a slower vacation like this is so refreshing.
Before children, Espi and I visited most of the San Antonio Missions; this trip we saw several of them again. I could spend much more than several hours here taking in their history and structures, but with the kids, we managed to walk through quite a bit, considering. Aren't they beautiful!?
walking the church grounds at Mission San Jose::the church doors at Mission San Juan
H and A's highlight was simply playing at Abuela's with their cousins. They played so hard, morning til night outdoors as much as we would let them! Baths every night were a must!
posing for the camera::pausing from making blueberry pie (with blue bonnets)::Little A missed the cue to turn around
Our evenings in Texas usually mean grilling out or simply lighting a campfire with friends and enjoying their company and the cooler temperatures. Our last night here, cousins joined us for BBQing at two of Espi's dearest friends' (husband and wife) home. It had already been a big day of playing hard outside for the kids.
in our friends' yard of wild flowers
Our kids and cousins were having so much fun, but they were all EXHAUSTED. When the cousins had to go home they were crying so hard as they said goodbye "until next time." Soon after that, I was planning to leave early because the girls looked like they could fall asleep on the spot! Then our friend offered to have the girls take a bath at their place to cool down. They needed a bath anyway! and it did wonders for them! They live in a simple home FILLED with salvaged finds. I couldn't resist taking this shot of the girls in their claw foot tub. They looked so cute!
our friend getting AD smiling::cleaning up and cooling down after playing hard all day
So our time with Texas friends and family came to a close for now.
And the morning would call us on a 10 hour drive to the second largest canyon in the U.S.
05 April 2010
Soon we found out, too, that snow was expected at our first camping reservation in North Texas. We cancelled and decided to skip right to our second camp spot near San Antonio. We left that Thursday afternoon, and with a sleep-stop in between, we arrived to over-flow parking at a packed Garner State Park the following night at 10pm. Our reservations would begin the next day; so we settled into camper-parking-lot sleep relieved that vacation was READY TO BEGIN.
trees, glorious trees
Our first day at Garner was chilly and cloudy and kept us in the camper mostly unpacking and setting up. It was a still a welcomed, relaxing start.
early morning at the playground::girls exploring a massive, hollow tree::throwing and skipping stones
Our second day was cool but sunny and got us out to play and explore leisurely.
hiking the cliff
On day 3, we planned to hike the infamous cliff after breakfast. It was sort of ambitious with 2 tiny ones where no jog-stroller could venture, but we figured we'd just give it a try and see how far we could go. About 1/2 way up, Little A was a party-pooper, LITERALLY. I usually pack a couple diapers in the front pack, but I completely forgot! The "peak" wasn't going to happen this time, but we still saw a pretty view of the river and rolling hills.
This view shot makes me laugh. Little A had a little romper under her pants and jacket. Once we "surveyed the damage" to see if the trip was "salvageable" (but no such luck!) Espi snapped her up with the romper over her pants, as he said, to keep it contained.
sportin' her new goggles::THE cliff is seen in the background::the cold water safely kept A at bay
After a diaper change...and lunch, we headed to the Frio (cold) River to get wet. The combination of COLD water and mid-70s took the "swim" out of our water play this year. Espi did go under all the way! and the girls both got wetter than me. We still had a lot of fun wading, playing catch, creating with rocks, enjoying the sunshine.
our river-side set up::attempts at paddle-boardin'::H's shot of "mom and dad" (no photo alterations--my legs really did match the white rocks and could be blinding if stared at for too long)