We’re easing our way back to “normal”, in this case meaning a more fun summer than last. ☀️ I jumped on a pool pass at the Austin Motel (“So Close, Yet So Far Out”). This hotel pool turns out to be less crowded and more fun than neighborhood social club the High Road, which we tried the summer before last.
One thing I love about Molly is that she’s not trying to be an adult yet. She made a “sea raft” out of swim noodles, held together with goggles. We played with our pool toys, Sammie the Seamonster and Ollie Octopus.
And we took lots of underwater photos, using my iPhone as a bit of a pool toy itself. I guess it could use a cleaning anyways. 🤷🏻♂️
What have Claire and Molly been doing with all their free time now that they’re out of school for the summer? Besides playing in the rain, having friends over, swimming, and watching Jessie, here are a few pics of their indoor activities so far this summer.
With all the rain we’ve been having lately, the backyard has turned into a water park for the girls. Molly, in particular, loves going outside to play, especially when it is raining. She likes when it is raining really hard best of all. She and Claire will spend hours at a time out there just splashing around and playing with their toys.
They even set up a water park for their My Little Pony toys. The park is inspired by Schlitterbahn and features a giant water slide with a big pool at the end of it. There is also a “natural pond”, which is basically a big puddle. And the Swamp of Doom in the muddy grass area. Claire made a map of the park and even added a snack stand for refreshments (it’s alternately a smoothie place, a fish taco place, or Benny’s Fish ‘n’ Chips).
Here is Claire’s note to her nanny, Jackie, who spent most of the summer with Claire. Claire loved having a nanny for the summer. She could have friends over, go summing, go shopping, cook, or just take it easy. Jackie took special care to make sure Claire had a fun summer and did not sit in front of the TV very much.
We kept Molly mostly in her pre-school routine throughout the summer, although she did get to come home early some days and had the last week of the summer off with Claire and Jackie.
Jackie would later tell us that this card was the sweetest thing she had ever received, and it made her cry.
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.
We went for a swim today at the new Westenfield pool. It was just rebuilt from the ground up — a brand new main pool, a kiddie “beach access” pool, new changing facilities, plus lots of bench space and shade. I love this pool.
We took the girls there for the first swim of the summer. And this was the first family “free swim” we have done in almost a year. Both girls are a lot stronger swimmers than a year ago. Claire can fully swim on her own, even in the deep end. Molly can swim in short spurts on her own, and loved jumping into the pool from the side. She did this over and over — just in, and then a short swim of 5 to 10 feet to me. We had the usual awkwardness of “who has Molly”, and traded off some so Claire and I could go swim in the deep end. Claire and I pretended to be a dolphin family (pod?) swimming in the deep end.
After a while, though, Molly was shivering. Then she was turning a little blue. The pool was too cold! That is not something we normally even have to consider in Austin in the summer. But there was poor slightly blue Molly. She was blue and cold, but she did insist she wanted to stay in the water and swim. Over her protests, we got her wrapped up in a towel and got home, where the girls put in try, warm clothes and enjoyed a hot chocolate to warm up. Yes, that’s right. Hot chocolate to warm up in June. There were no complaints form the kids over that!
Today I got a call that we had a special delivery. Would I be home between 12:00 and 12:15 to collect it? At first, I thought this was a trick or a joke. But I said yes and prepared myself for anything. I mean, normally you don’t have to be there to receive a normal package. UPS or FedEx don’t call ahead to let you know they’re on the way.
So at 12:15 I found myself signing for a box of homemade chocolate chip cookies, still warm from the oven. They turned out to be from our nanny agency. We had hired so many babysitters over the summer that they thought it necessary to thank us by having a batch of homemade cookies delivered. Sure, it was nice to get the very, very yummy cookies. But it was a shock. I can honestly say this is the first time I have been treated like a “high roller”, with unexplained gifts of appreciation like this. Of course it makes sense now that babysitters would be what pushed us over.
Had we really been using that many babysitters?
Yes. Yes, we had. With Claire out of school and in lots of half-day camps, we had been burning through the sitters and camps. It is nice (on the wallet) to have the kids back in school!
But Claire loved some of her sitters. She would just play Legos with the best of them for hours, literally like 4 hours of straight Legos. Lots of the sitters were interesting people, too. There were a couple of real musicians who had shows that night. There was a screenwriter. A police trainee. Even some career sitters. In the end, some great afternoons for Claire and some warm cookies just might be worth the small fortune we paid for then.