Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Adventures :: Pickin' and a Swimmin'

We have 11 weeks this summer for fun & games & adventures.  11 weeks from the time of Jake's graduation from Infinite Bounds to the day he walks through the doors of Anderson Elementary.  11 weeks until he's officially a Big Boy.  We're trying our best to make the most out of these 11 weeks.  One of the things we're doing is going on an "adventure" every week.  This week's adventure:  berry picking!

We got up and out of the house early to beat the heat.  My goal was to leave by 7:00, but hey, it's summer vacation. We were on the road before 7:30 and I was fine with that.  It just isn't worth rushing the kids.  Nothing good ever comes of it.  The kids were happy eating their breakfast in the car, and even happier when we finally got to Bailey's Berry Patch.  Of course, a warm welcome from a country dog pretty much guaranteed it was going to be a great day.

We picked blueberries & blackberries for a while.  But it didn't take long for the heat to get the best of us.

We didn't come close to filling our buckets - which was a good thing. Really, what would I do with 2 gallons of berries? Especially when you consider that I don't even eat the things!

The car got pretty dusty while we were picking and we were running on empty anyway, so we took a quick trip through the drive through carwash. It was fun and scary and not very effective at getting the car clean.  But who cares!  It only cost $1 with a fill up.

With a full tank and a kinda clean car, we headed north to cool off in Lake Texoma.  Eisenhower State Park has a nice little beach and hot & cold showers, so that's where we set our sites.  Too bad I absent-mindedly took the wrong exit. But not to worry, we found this Lil Ol Road, and wouldn't ya know!  It took us right where we wanted to go!  Seriously, ya gotta just love Texas for this kind of stuff.  "Lil Ol Road" - how funny is that?!

On our hike down to the beach, we passed Jake's favorite rock.  He calls it the Texas rock.  Can you figure out why?  Of course, the red circle and arrow are my work, but that little Texas-shaped white patch...that's actually part of the rock.  Even the rocks here have to show their Texas pride!

When we got to the lake I was amazed!  When we were camping here on Memorial Day weekend, the lake was covered with little clumps of green slime.  It was really pretty disgusting.  But on this day, it was crystal clear and warm.  We swam all the way out to the buoys and back...a couple of times.  We stopped at every little "island" on the way (huge rocks that jut out of the water just outside the frame of this picture), where we could get a fisherman's-eye view of some enormous fish.  I'll admit I wasn't too excited about getting back into the water after we spotted those fellahs.  One was close to 2' long!

We had a very sandy picnic on the beach, built some sand castles and then headed up to the showers.  The kids weren't ready to leave - what a surprise - but it was time to go.  We'd been out in the sun for about 7 hours and I was pretty sure that no amount of sun block was going to do any good at this point.

We had a couple of stops to make before we could head home.  1st, we had to pop into the Rangers' Station at the park.  The kids were begging for a couple new "friends" (stuffed animals).  The Rangers' Station has some really cute ones, and all the proceeds go directly to the park.  Meet Soshee Lolo the Fawn & Water the Duck - the latest additions to the menagerie.

Our last stop was Braum's, because no adventure is complete without a little...

ice cream!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Night Swimming

I remember summer nights when I was a kid with an 8:00 bedtime.  They sucked!  Going to bed when the sun's still up was just no fun.  And here in Texas the days are even longer than my growing-up days in Maryland.  During the peak of summer, you can still see the sun's glow on the horizon at 10:00 PM.  It's tough to be a little kid under these summer conditions. 

Well, last Friday night we made an exception to the bedtime rule.  We didn't have any early soccer or baseball games, and Uncle Tom was in town - sounds like an exceptional Friday evening if there ever was one.  So we took full advantage and did a little night swimming.  And while these photos aren't going to win any prizes, I love them and think they sum up the evening quite nicely.

A night time battle ensued.

Duke was prepared to shield himself from the onslaut.

But with Tom on Jake's side, he was outnumbered...

...and outwitted.  Oh no!  A sneak attack!

Late night summer fun.  We went to bed tired and slept like babies...until Tom had to leave at 6:30 AM the next morning.  Hey, there are plenty of days to catch up on our sleep, right?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Perfectly Perfect Father's Day

It's Father's Day, and you know what that means...FOOTBALL!!  Huh?  Yep, the Bond family love affair with football continues - spearheaded by Jake, of course.  (Honestly, I don't know how crazy it's gonna get around here once Jake actually starts to play football which will probably be this fall - so hold on to your hats folks.  Or should I say hold on to your helmets?)

I like letting the kids pick out the gifts they want to give their Dad.  While the gifts may not be exactly what a Dad always dreamed of getting, at least they're authentic and from the heart.  As usual, Jake knew the "perfectly perfect" gift for Duke.  He swore me to secrecy and I dutifully swore I wouldn't say a word to ruin the surprise.

Delila also knew exactly what her Daddy would like for Father's Day.  She also swore me to secrecy.  And while I'm committed to letting the kiddos pick out their own gifts, well...
...I really felt our little Ladybug could use a little coaching this time around.  I wasn't convinced that Star Song from the My Little Pony gang was really the perfectly perfect gift she was thinking it'd be.

I stumbled upon what I thought to be the perfectly perfect little something for Duke when we were in Galveston. 
So, just what were these perfectly perfect gifts?
To Daddy:  Love, Jake
A Washington Redskins Football Helmet

To Daddy: Love, Delila
A Dallas Cowboys Football Helmet

To a sometimes crabby Duke:  Love, an almost always crabby Denise
A crabby business card holder

As for celebrating the day:  we all slept in a little, had cold cereal for breakfast (per Dad's request), we went to see Marmaduke at the movies (a little scary for Lila), had grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch (even though it's 97 degrees outside), and then took naps.  The day's not over, but I'm pretty sure the rest of it will be low key and relaxed.  In other words, a perfectly perfect day.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Our German Invasion

As I've said before, the month of May flew by - primarily because our good friends, The Sporers, were visiting from Germany. June is more than half gone and I'm still playing catch up. It's hard to believe it'll be three weeks this Sunday since they returned to Germany. We had so much fun while they were here, and we miss them so much now that they're gone.

As you'll remember from this post, we spent our first full week together at the beach in Galveston. After that, our friends took off for the bluer waters of the Caribbean. But once they returned, it was like they'd never moved away. We spent our days playing and laughing and snacking. Yep...that just about sums it up: play, laugh, eat.
We played in fountains...

...and then enjoyed some snacks.

We played in the pool...

...and enjoyed some snacks.

We did a little swinging...

...and then we did some snacking.

Now don't go thinking Lila was the only one doing the snacking.

We went back to our favorite campsite at Lake Texoma. (Jake & Lukas were pretty adamant that we go to the exact same site.)

We played in sand and caught tiny fish in water bottles.

We swam in the lake (which was almost as warm as bath water.)

And of course we ate more snacks.

We cleaned up the mess.

We even played guitar.

Then, they loaded everything up...

...hugged us goodbye, and left.

And now the only thing left to do is get used to being on our own again.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The First Cut is the Deepest

A momentous day in the Bond household!

Lila's been bugging me for a while now to cut her hair.  She seems to be under the impression that if she cuts it, it will be short and straight and brown...just like her friend Audrey's.  Last month I took her to my hairdresser, Michael -- so he could do the dirty work of explaining it to her.  He looked deep into her brown eyes and explained, "Sweetie, I will never cut your hair.  NEVER!"  So, I was left with the task of explaining to her that she will never, not EVER be able to wear a Bob.  That her hair will always be curly, and cutting it will only make it curlier.  That some day, she will realize that her hair is actually a lethal weapon, and that it will get her darn near anything she wants - providing she learns how to use it, of course.  Which she will, of course.  Which, actually, she has already learned to a certain extent.

But then it happened.  Last Monday to be exact.  The tangle that couldn't be combed out.  The snarl that had to be cut out.  It was an unfortunate one - relatively high on the head, in the front, near her face.  *snip-snip*  A rogue ringlet.  A lock that will no longer reach into a pony tail.  *Sigh*

Poor Lila.  She's so strong-willed.  So full of fight.  Really.  She'll fight you just for the sport of it.  But the one thing she lets me do is comb her hair -- even though it's horribly painful and it takes forever.  She puts up with it, bless her little Texan heart.  But with those fabulous locks reaching nearly to her fanny, the time had come.  So...

...out came the scissors.

I cringed as I made the first cut.  (Really...I felt a little sick at the sound of those first snips.)

And then, there they were...the locks I couldn't put back on.  The point of no return.  My intention was to take off about an inch or so -- you know, just to clean it up a bit.  In the end, about 4" came off!

Poor little Ladybug.  After all was said and done, she wasn't quite sure.

But I think it will be a much more managable and attractive length for her.

After a while, she seemed convinced that things were going to be OK.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

First Graduation Day

Well, the month of May really got away from me.  It was a busy month filled with exciting events - not the least of which was Jake's graduation from Infinite Bounds.  It's official, he's no longer a preschooler...and I've got the pictures to prove it!

Jake & his buddies, Finn & Brody, enjoyed hamming it up in their caps.

Commencement was held at Legacy Church in Plano, and it was quite a production - complete with singing & a bit of dancing.  OK, so there wasn't really any dancing, but there was plenty of wiggling around.  Jake sang the most enthusiastically...or maybe he just sang the loudest.

Every kiddo got an opportunity to grab the mic & tell the audience what he/she plans to do when they grow up.  Big surprise...Jake's going to be a professional football player.

We took on a special graduation project in the days leading up to the grand event.  I'd heard through the grapevine that Jake's teacher, Ms. Josie could use a little extra cash.  She's a single mom and makes next to nothing work at Infinite Bounds.  So, I sent an email out to all the parents asking if we could put a monitary gift together in lieu of individual teacher gifts.  I thought it would be fun to change the contributions into $1 bills and then have the kids assemble the dollars into a money chain. 

The response was amazing to say the least. Without having to send out a single follow up email, or beg for contributions in any way, we managed to pull together $600...which made for an incredibly long money chain. I didn't get the exact length, but it was well over 60 feet long!  Had I known everyone was going to be so generous, I would have used $10s.  As you can see...the present was a big hit - with Ms. Josie & the kiddos.   Ms. Josie's son, 'Mr. Brett' volunteered to disassemble the chain...for a 10% fee.

After the gift was presented, there was only one more bit of ceremony to be performed.  As everyone knows, no graduation ceremony is complete without a cap toss, so outside we went.  The kids had so much fun with it, we had to do it a few times.  Fortunately, no eyes were poked out by the corners on their pointy hats.

We rounded out the evening in style with some al fresco dining at our new favorite burger joint - The Village Burger.  We totally disregarded the disgusted scowls of the other outdoor diners.  If they weren't able to appreciate the pure joy & revelry of such a momentous occasion, well, then they could just leave...which they did.  And we didn't care, because only get one First Graduation.