We got to Houston for a couple of days this Christmas. My mom and I coordinated everyone between Austin and Houston, but we came up one stocking short, so we improvised and used a gift bag for Noni’s “stocking”. Molly wanted to make sure Santa Claus was clear on this, so she wrote him a super sweet note:
The gift bag is for Noni. We only had three stockings.
Btw: the cookies are stale, you do not have to eat them!
Have a merry Christmas.
Some pics from Christmas Eve dinner, which we got on the table hot and delicious despite being coordinated across me, None, and Noni’s helper, Patience.
We also saw an amazing and slightly scary performance of A Christmas Carol at the Alley Theater.
Claire and Molly produced some self portraits true to their age recently. Claire is enjoying a selfie stick (with a built-in microphone!) that she got from her grandparents this past Christmas. It is perfect for musical.ly and the occasional self portrait. Molly did a classic first grade crayon-based self-portrait. (Is she wearing lipstick?) I added myself too, doing a trick that Claire taught me with my lips. Weird!
My parents were visiting this weekend, and Molly, Claire, my dad, and I went down to to the clubhouse to read and do homework. Molly found some dominoes in the game cabinet, so we gave it a try. This was Molly’s first turn with dominoes. Molly, my dad, and I played a few rounds while Claire did homework. Molly loved dominoes and made up her own nonsensical rules. We also played the standard rules. The game was fun but surprising easy and lacking in strategy or really any surprises at all. Are we playing this right?
The girls had lots of fun on the beach in Galveston while waiting for Pleasure Pier to open. There was no shortage of hermit crabs to scare, and the gulf waters were warm enough to wade in, even right after Christmas!
here are some pics from our bi-annual trip to Anacortes, Washington to sail with Kit’s parents aboard the Molly Claire. This year they planned a special trip for us to Victoria, Canada, which was a fun and beautiful destination. This was both girls’ first international trip. The biggest perk of Candid? Kinder Surprise eggs are legally available unlike back home.
We made a quick trip to Houston this weekend to see my Dad for his birthday. Kit stayed home to study for some big doctor test coming up in August. We were in Houston for one full day and a morning.
Highlights included ice skating at Memorial City Mall, Molly’s first time to skate. It took about 30 minutes for Molly to make her way around the edge of the skating rink while she held to the side on for dear life. On Claire’s turn, she didn’t fare much better. Both girls really liked the American Girl store across the hall from the skating rink.
Also, there were hours of swimming in the townhouse pool, featuring the big deep end and lots of sunshine (and lots of sunscreen).
We had chocolate pie and James Coney Island for my dad’s birthday. He and my mom went to the Astro’s game while the girls and I headed back to Austin.
Before we left, I managed to do a quick baseball home run session with Eric in the blazing sun at our old junior high. Eric’s five-year-old son, Luke, took a few solid swings but didn’t connect for a homer. When Eric and I were batting, Luke was in the dugout, safe from the flying hardballs. But we did have a couple of game delays when Luke yelled “Firefly!” and ran out into the field to chase a firefly. What a great little kid moment, even if it was someone else’s little kid.
We made it up to Iowa for a Fourth Of July family reunion (Kit’s mom’s side) this year. This trip was Molly’s first to Iowa and her first time to meet most of the Iowa side of the family.
The girls had a blast. They met their first-cousin-once-removed, Jayvon, who was a boy but was close to Claire’s age and was lots of fun. He and Claire really hit it off and spent lots of time playing tennis, basketball, and just goofing off during the boring family farm meeting at the hotel. Molly tagged along some with them too. I keept an eye on them, but Claire didn’t want me to hover too close.
The whole family got to ride in the (locally) famous Yale, Iowa 4th of July parade, which really was a heck of a parade for a tiny little farm town. We set off daytime fireworks on the family farm. We spent hours in the hotel’s indoor pool. Molly was the lucky recipient of a swimming noodle with a head and tail. We named it Hydra, and she spent hours riding it around the pool. Hydra got silly and mad and tired. I spent 95% of my attention making sure Molly didn’t drown herself, so I didn’t get to play much with Claire in the pool. Luckily, Claire got to play with Jayvon and his dad, Scott, who had some really good ways to splash and toss the kids.
Here are some photos of the fun and patriotic weekend.
Grammy Joyce was in town for a few days while I went to South By Southwest Interactive 2015 and the kids started Spring Break. With Joyce around, I could stay at SXSW and not hurry back to get the girls. Plus the kids just like to see her.
Today, our nanny Sarah took over watching the kids for the rest of the week. They kicked things off with lunch at Jason’s Deli and a fun trip to Jumpoline Park (see photo). That was a good way to kick things off in a week where most of the girls’ friends have left for vacation and we’re stuck here at work.
Also, it was St. Patrick’s day. Don’t the girls look good in green?
To celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday, the family met up at his favorite place: Siesta Key, Florida. Phil and Noni flew in from Houston, Uncle Tim and Aunt Cindy came down from DC, and Kit, me, and the girls flew in on on our first family flight since last summer to the two Washintgon’s.
What you’ll find below is lots of pictures of this great but brief family gathering. We all stayed in a cozy off-the-beach house together. We had only one full day all together, and a couple of nights, but it was really amazing to have everyone together, especially for an occasion like my dad’s big birthday. His official birthday meal was a “taco bash”, which meant a huge volume of taco meat, shells, and fixings delivered to enjoy on the sunny patio, truly Phil-style.
A few quick notes, and then on to the pictures…
Claire was fanatical about swimming on the beach. She was brought almost to the point of tears when we had to leave each night.
Molly was fanatical about the beach toys that came with the rental house. Her favorite was her little plastic beach wagon, which is featured prominently in the pictures. There was also a little plastic dinosaur, which Molly named Rexi. Molly built entire sand castles for Rexi and carefully took him around everywhere. Tragically, at some point Molly lost Rexi to the sea. She handled it pretty well, and we hoped that a mermaid might adopt it.
Molly also had a project make the ocean “less deep” by dumping one tiny shovel-full of sand at a time into the ocean. She got her little scoop of sand from a spot about 20 years inland and carefully carried each scoop to the sea, making sure not to spill any until she actually got to the water. She did this for nearly two hours.
Besides Rexi, we also lost two pairs of goggles (mine and Claire’s) during the trip, plus Molly’s at home just before the trip. When Claire lost her goggles to the sea, she was in a near state of panic because it meant lost ocean swimming time. After some negotiation, Molly kindly agreed to share her replacement goggles with Claire.