Monday, June 30, 2008

Ohio Trip Recap

I've had a hard time cutting down the rest of our photos to appropriately cover our trip. What can I say? From Little K pulling onions to drawing with Cousin Bentley, splashing in PaPa Don's hot tub or playing house with Grammy and chasing the dogs, we had a wonderful Ohio trip.

Thanks for the memories -- mine and Little K's. The photos can't capture the happiness I have in watching my own daughter relish time with her Barrett family the way I used to do as a child. There's even room for me to pick peas still. Amazing.
Until the next nap time...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pea Pickin' Memories

The remainder of Day 4, Saturday, found us at Aunt Kenny & Uncle Brad's for an all-American picnic. Cousin Lauren had returned from Europe and filled us in on her faves. Little K enjoyed chasing 3 dogs around the yard, picking peas and cuddling with Uncle Brad.

Day 5 begin with a trip to church with PaPa Don. Grammy went earlier, of course. On the way home, we stopped by Iron Horse Park for a whirl at the playground. Quite muddy, we bathed at the house just in time for the Barrett clan to return for a huge lunch. How I'll fit into the airplane seat tonight, I'm not sure.

We picked peas again today as a last effort to ingrain the memory in Little K's memory. That has been my favorite all these years. You could the pea-picking song for blocks.

Ha, Ha, Ha. You & me
Out to the garden to pick some peas.
Ha, Ha, Ha. You & me
I'll eat pods and & you eat the peas.

What fun this trip has been. Until the next nap time...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Which Hairdo Would You Like?

A long history of barbershop continued this morning in Ohio. While PaPa Don read the newspaper, Little K fixed his hair by spritzing it with Princess Spray, combing his hair and then adding a few bows. When PaPa Don explained that boys don't wear bows, Little K said that she'd add a blue bow.
I love watching this. When my sister Colyn & I were young, we'd add creative hairdos to PaPa Don's top, too. If PaPa Don fell asleep (as he often did), he'd be surprised when he awoke. One time, we added red mousse to his hair so he was VERY surprised upon awakening. We've painted his nails before. We even added make-up. PaPa Don says that his ability to fall asleep so easily is due to his clear conscience. I think he secretly may enjoy being donned over by a little princess.
We're off to scavenge at some estate sales. Hopefully, we'll find a treasure or two. More later.
Until the next nap time...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Day 1 in Ohio was fun but traveling with a 3-year-old who didn't nap is exhausting in itself. Little K was well behaved on the plane, singing to everyone on board. We landed just before 5 pm and were picked up at the airport by PaPa Don & Aunt Margaret. Little K proved to be on her 2nd wind as she was "jabber jaws" for the 30-minute ride home. One mile before we arrived, she was dozing off.

Later, Aunt Margaret had a special drink so Little K decided she also needed one. Sans alcohol, Little K soon had her own tottie -- a caffeinated drink. She was all performance at dinner at a seafood restaurant with multiple saltwater fish tanks. After dinner, Uncle Brad insisted he & Little K needed ice cream, although the rest of us were stuffed beyond belief. A short visit followed dinner back at Grammy and PaPa Don's and then we all retired to bed. I looked forward to a good night's sleep, but Little K was overly tired and woke up about 10 times last night. Oh well.

Today, Day 2, Uncle Huck read Little K a book about his dogs in Vegas. (See above. This is my mother's youngest brother Shannon, whom we call Huck.) It was too cute of a photo opp not to take. Aunt Kenny rode her bike over to visit and then cousin John stopped by to update us on his college registration at University of Kentucky in the fall. Wow, how time flies! We picked peas today. K especially liked cousin John tossing peas into the air for her to catch with her mouth. What a show! Uncle Huck & Aunt Margaret headed back to Vegas today but we were lucky that our trips to Ohio coincided. Perhaps we'll be able to venture west this year.

After naps (including mine and PaPa Don's), we fed the birds and filled the hot tub. K discovered two ducks in the yard so we quickly pulled out some bird seed to fill them. As I sit hear typing, "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" plays in the background. Aunt Kenny, Uncle Brad & John will join our Barrett group for dinner tonight. How blessed we are to have such family and memories. What will tomorrow entail? No clue. Talk to you then.

With love... until the next nap time...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Last weekend, we spent a relaxing weekend at the family ranch. After reading the book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, I made a special effort to reconnect with the outdoors. We all loved it. From hiking and searching for the noisy woodpecker, to fishing and dancing in the back of the pick up truck, it was so fun.
I was pleasantly surprised at how much Little K seemed interested in the animals, plants and exploring. When Sunday afternoon came, I don't think a single one of us wanted to leave for Houston. That just means we'll look forward to a return trip.
Tomorrow marks the beginning of my trip with Little K to OHIO to see my grandparents, K's great grandparents. Trent is staying behind to work. ugh. I'll be sure to add blog updates to keep in touch. Little K is looking forward to eating PaPa Don's peas from the garden and cooking with Grammy.
Until the next nap time...

Friday, June 20, 2008

When Mom and Dad Share It All

Here's a great article from the New York Times on mothers' and fathers' role and how those roles can be redefined for more balance at home. Enjoy. It sure gives me some ideas. What do you think? Is the division of labor (or household chores & childcare) divided equally amongst you and your spouse?

Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fish Tales and More

We love fish tales!

Last Thursday, we met some friends at the Fish Gallery, located near Kirby & Hwy 59. Each Thursday in the summer, the Fish Gallery has storytime starting at 3:30 (till 4:30). We heard two cute stories about fish and an octopus as they were read aloud to us. It was amazing to listen to the stories while gorgeous fish swam in the huge aquarium behind the reader. What a backdrop! The Fish Gallery also made it nice by providing free juice and water for visitors. Kids were invited to sit on the floor while parents sat in chairs. There was quite a big group for an event that just began.

Next, George showed us how he feeds the fish and explained what the different fish like to eat... from red worms to live crawfish. It was really a sight to see. Then we toured the aquariums, where we saw Nemo (a huge hit!), eels, several types of starfish and much, much more. Kids could even touch some of the animals, although Little K & her friend Grace screamed at the suggestion and promptly hid behind me. Oh well. After attending 5 times, your child gets a "special gift".

The Fish Gallery at 4527 Lomitas, Houston, TX

Until the next nap time...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Chill Out in Brenham, TX

I love summer. The hot, humid weather seems to force even my work schedule to slow down a bit. Who wouldn't love that?
This weekend we took a drive to Brenham, TX. to check out a few spots that were recommended in a recent issue of Texas Monthly. We had actually been to Earnie's Restaurant before but enjoyed every bite. There was great shopping for young & old. I picked up two shirts and a wreath. How is it that we were celebrating Father's Day and I took off with the stash? Any ways, the town had just finished its Sesquicentennial Parade so everyone was in a jolly mood.

Interestingly, my husband had never made the trip to the Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham so that was a must. My aunt mentioned a water park nearby so we voyaged that way to check it all out.
The Blue Bell Aquatic Center competes with many of the Houston-area water parks with its great offerings. Check out the ice cream-themed water sprinklers and slides! Amazingly, this place is half the price of Houston water parks:
$3 Monday - Friday 11 am - 8 pm
$3 Saturday 10 am - 7 pm
$2 Sunday 1-7 pm
What a splash!
After driving by, taking photos & wishing we had brought our swim suits, we decided we needed a cold treat from the Blue Bell Creamery. Since the tours are only available weekdays, we just browsed the shop and enjoyed the tasty chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Yummy!
Brenham proves to be a relaxed town full of family-oriented offerings. Hope you can make the trip.
Until the next nap time...

Friday, June 13, 2008

San Antonio for Kids

Last weekend, we visited San Antonio. In truth, we were celebrating my father-in-law being awarded the top tax attorney in Texas by the ABA. Since the award ceremony was held at the Hyatt Regencey Hill Country Resort in San Antonio, we made it a family-filled weekend. For once, I have to say, we really seemed to hit things right.

Little K met her Great Grandma Helen for the first time ever. GG Helen flew in from Chicago. What a treat it was to see those two interact! I loved it when Little K pretended to take photos with the disposable camera and asked everyone to say "Hot Mama" while they posed individually for the shot. GG Helen didn't miss a beat. She was quite the "Hot Mama"!

I can't say enough about the hotel either. Super Kid Friendly! The Hyatt really makes it a treat for the entire family from the on-site playground and tether ball set up to the indoor face painting and evening ice cream parlor. The lazy river allows families to float around the campus in inner tubes. Even Little K thought it was a cool way to relax. Every day, families can treat themselves to a delicious breakfast buffet where children age 5 and under eat free. There's no skimping here. It's yummy. Saturday evening the hotel offered a family dinner buffet of Mexican food and festive decor in the courtyard. Don't forget the pony rides, too. The staff was incredibly helpful. Trent & I shared a room with Little K and still enjoyed the spacious room.

Saturday morning, we drove maybe 5 minutes to Sea World for a 2-hour stay that amazed even the biggest critic. Once she got over the initial shock of large animals jumping into air from the pool, Little K really got excited about Shamu's performance. I liked the fact that it was so close to the hotel so we didn't have to travel far after our hot trip through the water amusement park. Refreshing at the Hyatt was easy to do over lunch. I'd love to visit this hotel again.

After our celebrations concluded on Sunday, Trent, Little K & I headed to the Alamo. At left, Trent, Little K & stuffed-animal Dyno pose for a pic in front of the famous Alamo. The crowd was not too much either. Next, we headed to the River Walk and found the entry to the River Boats. Little K was especially interested in this, and yes, Dyno even traveled onboard the boat. Trent later told me that, while he initially hates doing city tours, he really liked the history that was shared on this one. Sometimes, you've just got to do it. I'm convinced that staying at the Hyatt for most of the weekend and then taking a short trip to the Alamo and River Walk is the way to go. I wouldn't change a thing next .... summer?

Until the next nap time...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

June 14: KBR Kids Day

KBR Kids Day along Buffalo Bayou: Sat., June 14, '08
Here's something fun to do with your family this weekend!Buffalo Bayou Partnership will be hosting its second annual KBR Kids Day along Buffalo Bayou. Join us for a FREE day of adventure and bayou-rific activitiesKBR Kids Day on Buffalo Bayou. Saturday, June 14, 2008 10am-2pm at Downtown’s Sabine Promenade (Sabine Street between Memorial Drive and Allen Parkway) Click here for a map and directions

Family fun festivities include:
  • hands-on activities with over 20 Houston non-profit organization partners
  • Up close with birds and bugs on the bayou
  • bayou boat rides and kayak demos
  • wildflower plantings
  • bat games and fishing lessons
  • bayou scavenger hunt
  • live music, park performers, balloon artists and much more!
Special appearances:
10-11 am - Skateboarding demonstration with PUSH skaters at the Lee and Joe Jamail Skate Park and Houston Texans TORO mascot
11 am-noon - break dancing performancesnoon-1pm - Houston Rockets Power Dancers
1-2 pm - Houston Rockets CLUTCH mascot
Parking available at City Lot H and C(Memorial Drive between Sabine Street and Houston Avenue)
Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bellaire Aquatic Center is a Splash

If you haven't checked out the new Bellaire Town Square Family Aquatic Center, you're missing a great way to cool off with the kids. An you don't have to live in Bellaire to enjoy this water park.
I especially like that Bellaire has provided a family-friendly place for kids of all ages. My friend Jenny took her daughter (who turns 2 in September) here last weekend & had a blast. My nephews (ages 7 & 10) think this place rocks!
The Aquatic Center is located at 7001 Fifth Street, across from the Bellaire Recreation Center and is open 10:30 am – 8:30 pm Monday – Saturday and 1-8 pm Sunday.

Fish Gallery Starts School

Little K loves fish and, of course, the Little Mermaid so I'm excited about this fun treat.

Starting tomorrow, the Fish Gallery will have storytime every Thursday starting at 3:30 (till 4:30). This will continue throughout the summer. The activities are for kids of all ages and includes a touch tank, scavenger hunts and music. After attending 5 times, your child gets a "special gift". Check it out.

The Fish Gallery
4527 Lomitas , Houston, Texas (Kirby/59)

Until the next nap time...

Monday, June 09, 2008

Great Resources for Parents

I'm slowly pulling things back together after an insanely wonderful weekend in San Antonio. I'll post details later. However, I now have several tidbits related to kids and parents that I want to share.

With summer and swimming upon us, water safety is of utmost importance. Our friend Amy shared this story as a good reminder. Thanks, Amy.

Juli sent me this link to a short article on about balancing work & life as a mom. I can be a bit defiant or so I'm told so it's no wonder I like this article. Here's a great quote from the article: "Being forced to seek balance within ourselves, we can make our unsteady, stumbling days feel less and less like disaster and more and more like a joyful dance -- the dance of a wildly, wonderfully, perfectly unbalanced life."

Finally, Andrea submitted this link about a new way to share photos & updates with your family & friends. Check it out.

Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Story of the Tomato

This spring we decided that our family would start a small garden. Great PaPa Don has an amazing garden in Ohio. It's been so much fun over the years that we tried one ourselves. Remembering to water the darn plants in the Texas heat remains a challenge. However, yesterday, we reaped the "first fruits of our labor" so to speak.

The blackberry plant finally turned one of its red berries to a rich black. Little K was quick to snatch it up. Before I knew it, the sole blackberry was gone. "Yummy!," Little K said.
The tomato plants are at last turning their taut green jewels into luscious red. Here, my husband Trent & our daughter Little K pull two of the reds for a pre-dinner snack. Now here's where the comedy enters.
Little K & I took the tomatoes inside to wash them. My daughter was so eager that she kept putting the fruit up to her mouth. Before a bite mark in the red flesh appeared, I grabbed it. At the same time, I'm thinking What's a little dirt? It's not that big of a deal if the tomato isn't washed. Unless of course, there's a caterpillar crawling on it. YUCK!

I showed Little K the caterpillar & cleverly explained that that's why we wash our food before eating it. The caterpillar wanted some food, too, but now he's been washed away. Little K looked at me with unconvinced eyes. My husband & I promised there were no more caterpillars.
I carefully sliced the beautiful, home-grown tomato. We sprinkle pepper on it and start eating them. Suddently, Little K stares right in the middle of her slice and drops the tomato in alarm.
"There's a DOG in there!" she exclaimed.
"There's a what in your tomato?" I ask half amused.
"A dog. There's a dog in the tomato," she said assuredly.
My husband & I peer into the tomato, only to find the fruit's innards -- tasty & as Mother Nature intended. We howled in laughter while Little K quickly moved on. There was no convincing her that a DOG could NOT fit into her tomato slice. Oh well.
Until the next nap time...