Today, Molly donated all of her money to the Austin Zoo. The zoo was recently burglarized for an estimated $30,000 in cash and equipment. We discussed helping the zoo as a family, and Molly decided to donate all of the $14 she had saved up from her allowance. Molly asked if the zoo would need any more money after her donation. She was slightly disappointed to hear that it would still need more money, but we assured her that her generous donation was making a difference.
Claire is generous in spirit but is desperately saving up for some My Little Pony stuff. She has $7 and really needs a few more dollars for some stuff for her MLP videos. With some real shopping and budgeting experience under her belt, Claire is all too aware of the value of a dollar. To her credit, Claire had sent several dollars to Winter the dolphin a while back.
This year’s July 4th fireworks were out at the the Circuit of the Americas stadium instead of the usual Ladybird Lake, due to construction at Auditorium Shores. We didn’t feel like staying up late to watch fireworks in a stadium on the outskirts of town, so we skipped the fireworks and opted for the neighborhood parade in the morning instead.
The parade was a funny mix. It started with a few active soldiers from Camp Mabry, followed by some Civil War guys in Union blue, then some WWII units in real halftracks (wow) heading down the street. They were followed by families in old cars and local businesses throwing candy to the kids. The kids made off with a pile of candy, like a mini-Halloween in July. Once the parade passed, the crowd fell in behind and headed to the nearby park to enjoy some ice cream (gelato, actually), lemonade, and just run around and play.
Molly was feeling fitfully patriotic and wanted to bring her “America flag” to the “America Day” parade. Claire was mainly happy to see several of her school friends who she hadn’t seen since school let out for summer. I was feeling patriotic myself and made a comment about how America is such a big, diverse country with so many different kinds of people and places, and it somehow all just fits together right. Nobody cared about my moving comment. Still, it was a good time and a lot better than sitting in a Formula 1 stadium with two sleepy kids.
In the afternoon, I headed off to work like mad on my next app, which I am trying to nail down with a few days off this week. So Kit had the kids to herself for a quiet July 4 evening.
Today was not our first time to the Schlitterbahn, the amazing water park in New Braunfels. But it was our first time to go with Claire fully able to swim and Molly kind of able to swim (both thanks to many hours at Emler). Kit had the week off, and I took a couple days off too. We departed our house a little after at 8:00 am on a Wednesday with the purpose of getting there before it is (1) crowded and (2) hot. Or at least before it gets really crowded and hot. Actually, Schlitterbahn provides lots of shade and of course water, but we still wanted to put things in our favor with an early start.
We spent most of the day in the newer, eastern part of the park for a change, mainly Blastenhoff and Surfenburg. Claire was able to handle herself pretty well in the water, much better than last time we came a year or two ago. She absolutely loved The Torrent and found it difficult to leave. The Torrent is a large circular “lazy river” type of ride combined with a wave pool. Most people ride in a tube, but Claire and I both favored a free swim approach. We also tugged Molly along in her tube. Molly was thrilled and all smiles until the the fifth time through, when she said did not want to go again. Claire was a little bit heartbroken to leave her beloved Torrent.
Molly’s favorite was Han’s Hideout, a 4-story really drippy pirate boat featuring several small, kid-friendly water slides. Han’s Hideout was custom made for Molly. We all liked Kristal River and Kristal Cove, a basic wave-free lazy river that we got to float or swim around many times. Molly even did a little bit of (closely supervised, very brief) free swimming here. Kit is not a big swimmer but did her best to have a good time at this crazy water park. She did get stuck with all the bathroom trips for the girls and tended to get stuck watching Molly play in the little-kid areas, which is just not as much fun as splashing around in the Torrent. Kit made sure we had a fully stocked cooler and a good picnic table in the shade. We definitely got some smiles out of Kit on Kristal River, too.
By the end of the day, it was finally hot and crowded, and we were all getting exhausted. Claire started to seem just a little less safe in the water by herself. We’ll have to come back next year when she is rested up to take a fifth turn at The Torrent and Molly can do a little more free swim.
At the end of second grade, Claire brought home piles and piles of her art and other work from the year. It had been sitting around our house for weeks. Kit took some of her last week off to scan some of it. So here it is, a review of Claire’s second grade art.