Dads’ Spring Break

My friend Joel had his girls for spring break this year, and so did it.  We decided to take our girls on a road trip and, thanks to AirBnB, ended a 14-bed ranch near Fredericksburg.  We invited Claire’s best friend Susie along for good measure.  So it was two dads and five girls, although I often referred to us as seven girls. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Highlights:

  • Late nights (like 10 pm!) in the hot tub
  • Fire pit and s’mores
  • Hearty meals for seven, with ingredients bought from WalMart – spaghetti and meatballs, pancakes, cinnamon rolls
  • A ride on the “mule” to see the neighbor’s baby goats
  • Enchanted Rock.  Molly and Maddie were the first up to the top!  They won on pure enthusiasm, which the other girls lacked.
  • The Pacific War Museum.  I tried to squeeze in some short lectures on how crazy that war was and how cool Nimitz was, with only limited to moderate success.
  • A fudge store that Maddie was constantly dying to go to.  I got a chocolate-covered pickle, because what the hell?
  • The girls’ definite favorite, Earthbound Trading Co, a New Age / hippie store.  We came back at least three times.  Claire ended up with a Himalayan salt lamp, a Ganesh, some ying/yang balls, and some polished stones totaling about $72. I admit I got three stones myself; those things were so dang smooth!
  • Luckenbach, TX.  This may have been a little too “country” for Claire, who wanted to get out of there for fear of being shot.  From looking around, I think we were in greater danger of getting run over by a bicyclist.  Or maybe cat allergies.

Pics…

 

A Fun Day in SA

Kit was schedule to run an audit at a hospital in downtown San Antonio on Monday, and she had a nice hotel room right across the street on the Riverwalk, so she invited the rest of the family along to enjoy a quick trip to S.A.  We had lots of fun for a one-day trip, mostly exploring the Riverwalk, swimming, and eating.  The girls did not want to leave on Monday morning after a final swim at the hotel, but I had to get back to work in the afternoon to catch up with the team on the happenings at Apple’s 2015 developer conference (WWDC).

dsad

Enchanted Rock

We finally made it out to Enchanted Rock on this beautiful Saturday afternoon.  The kids were tired by hiking up the rock but had a good time.  I’ll just let the pictures do the talking on this one.

All Orange

Molly is all about the orange.

Tonight for dinner, she had macaroni & cheese, mashed carrots, and orange slices.  I didn’t realize until the end that everything she was eating was the same glorious orange color.  Well, okay, fortunately the milk was white.

To top it off, I then realized that she was wearing an orange shirt, as was I.

Molly’s teachers tell me that that she only eats orange-colored vegetables.  Sure enough, she still gobbles up baby food carrots and sweet potatoes, but normally won’t touch any other kind of baby food.
Where does this orange obsession come from?
Maybe this fondness of orange, combined with her disposition on yelling “AGGIE!” when upset, show Molly, the family’s only Austin native, to be a huge fan of the Longhorns, her hometown team.  She’ll be yelling “Go horns!” soon enough.

A Girl Named Leo

These days, Claire won’t tell you who she is, but she sure will tell you who she isn’t.

The other day, Kit said, “Let’s go to dinner, y’all” and Claire responsed, “I’m not a y’all!” We couldn’t tell whether Claire was intentionally making a joke, but it was funny either way.

Today when I picked Claire up from daycare, her teacher, Ms. Laura, said “Goodbye, sunshine!” to which Claire, of course, responded, “I’m not a sunshine!” Claire had a coy smile on her face when she said it, so I think it was actually meant as a joke. Ms. Laura got a chuckle out of it too.

Even if you call her by her actual name, that is “Claire”, she takes exception to it. She insists on going by June or Leo (from Little Einsteins), Dora or Diego, also of TV fame, or one of her classmates like Ian or Sydney. If I say, “It’s time to go to school, Claire” she insists, “I’m not Claire! I’m Diego!” She also insists that Kit and I are Dora or Boots or Leo or someone else to go with her character. We don’t really “do” anything anything else to act like these characters, but Claire seems to get a kick out of it anyways.

By the way, she does not just occasionally pretend to be Leo or Dora or whatever. She does it all the time, all day. You can never get away with calling her Claire, even during the course of an entire weekend. It is always, “I’m not Claire, I’m Leo”, sometimes even if you did not actually call her Claire. You might simply say, “I’ll be right back”, and she will respond, “I’m not Claire, I’m Diego.” I guess she just wants to be sure we know.

The Big Move

I was reviewing the blog, and I realized there was nothing at all posted about the little matter of, oh I don’t know… moving half way across the country! You will notice that, besides this post, there is nothing else at all during the actual move. This post was written a couple of months later just to fill in the blanks while I still remembered anything about it.

This was probably some of the most interesting and challenging times in Claire’s life so far, but alas, I simply did not have the time/energy to write up anything about the move. The long and short of it was that we did successfully sell our house in Atlanta and move to Dallas.

My dad and I headed out with the big truck a few days ahead of Kit, Claire, and Joyce, with the goal of getting mostly settled in before everyone else got to Dallas. Kit, Claire, and Joyce stayed in a “hotel house”, ate Chik-fil-et in the room, and did a little swimming at the pool, all of which Claire talked about for some time afterwards. She would sometimes asks, “When are we going back to the blue house?”

Claire (sort of) saw two new states, Mississippi and Louisiana, on the trip to Dallas.

Here are some quick high- and low-lights of the move, from my perspective. Claire was, by design, not along for most of this.  (I should probably ask Kit to add some additinal comments for when she and Joyce had Claire…)

  • Getting more and more behind schedule with the house closing moving around
  • A couple of real country folk loading up the Penske 20″ truck somewhat sloppily in Atlanta, and Joyce squeezing everything from our storage unit into the last remaining space in the big truck on a very hot late afternoon on Cheshire Bridge Road
  • Paying something close to a dollar per mile with record-high gas prices all the way to Dallas
  • Thinking I really should not be driving this gigantic truck half way across the country, or even around the block. Shouldn’t “they” require some sort of training or a license before I get behind the wheel of this monstrosity?
  • The formerly road-weary Muffin riding shotgun on a bed of pillows and blankets, and sleeping most of the way.
  • Nearly getting lost trying to avoid a traffic jam in Birmingham.
  • My dad tailing me in the Accord, although most of the time I could not see him.
  • Driving endlessly in East Texas as the sun was setting trying to find a hotel where I could realistically park the truck. I called by dad on the cell phone just in time for him to exit at a junky hotel in Longview that did accept big trucks. Menacing guys hung out on picnic chairs outside their rooms, and there was a Days Inn sign sitting wrecked in the woods past the parking lot. My dad remarked “It’s not even good enough for Days Inn.”
  • Eating dinner in the outskirts of Longview at some half-deserted catfish restaurant in what seemed to be an office building or warehouse.
  • Finally pulling up to the beautiful townhouse in Dallas and waiting for the movers to show up to help unload. They scoffed at how the truck was loaded, and asked who the heck did it like that.
  • My mom showing up with Carolyn, Beth, and Worth, not to mention a boat load of drinks and snacks, to help unpack. Beth tripped on the stairs to the lower level, and messed up her ankle pretty good.
  • Finally passably moved in that night, me and my parents went out to eat at Taco Cabana… a real Taco Cabana, not that fake one back in Atlanta.
  • My mom working her magic on the Claire Club in the cave-like recessed area in the living room. It was beautifully done.
  • Waiting impatiently for the ladies to arrive!
  • Claire and Kit looking around the new place and saying, “Ooohh! Ahhh!” Calire even said, “It’s my Christmas day!”
  • Claire hopelessly tangling the pom-poms hanging outside the Claire Club. My mom spending an hour or two untangling them. Claire hopelessly tangling them again in minutes.

Varied Musical Tastes

In the continuing theme of moving to Texas, I have put together a “Texas Tour” playlist on my iPod, completely made of songs about Texas places. Kit originally had the basic idea to do a Texas mix, but it turned into a fun little project for me. Most of the songs are pretty mellow, and we listen to it sometimes during bath time. The playlist features things like Patsy Cline singing “San Antonio Rose” and Arlo Guthrie singing “Streets of Laredo”. Claire does not react much to those particular songs, but she seems to enjoy “Galveston”, of which we have on old Gordon Calcotte country/surf version and a nice newer alt rock version by some band called Sparklehorse. Claire will sometimes say, “Let’s sing about Galveston!” She also seems to enjoy the Lightnin’ Hopkins blues song, “Goin’ to Dallas”, of which she will sometimes say, “That was a good one” when it is finished. Then again, these are two of my favorites, so maybe she is just tuning into that.

But Claire’s real favorite music is The Countdown Kids and their renditions of toddler classics like “Old McDonald Had a Farm”, “The Wheels on the Bus”, and “Frere Jaques”. She tries to sing along and occasionally clap. The Countdown Kids helped make the six-hour car trip back from Florida back to Atlanta in December more bearable by just keeping Claire occupied for a couple of hours. She also seems to like The Wiggles, who sometimes accidentally appears on our TV after Calliou or Curious George, but Kit and I try to avoid them just because they are kind of creepy and annoying.

Claire can even sing a couple of songs somewhat successfully all by herself, such as “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. It’s just so sweet to see her sing; she concentrates real hard to remember the words, and she gets a big smile on her face when she finishes the song.