Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Keep Austin Weird

Day 3
Our morning started out in typical fashion--Texas shaped waffles at the hotel's continental breakfast.
Texans sure do have a lot of pride in their state. But after our amazing time there, I'm beginning to see why.
After breakfast, we headed to Innerspace Caverns, a nearby live cave that was discovered in the 60's when they were drilling for a freeway project. They kept losing drills, so they sent a crew down to investigate and found a beautiful cave.
My pictures really don't begin to do it justice.
Since strollers weren't permitted, I carried Fin in my sling and Holli Jo carried Rhys in her wrap thing.
Thank goodness for Grammy Jo and Bampa, who helped Sareny and Isaac through the slippery parts. And who are we kidding, I think Bampa had to carry Isaac through most of the cave.

We enjoyed a little picnic lunch outside the cave (in some pretty hot and humid weather) and then we headed back to downtown Austin to the Natural History Museum. Sadly, nobody took any pictures there, but it was a pretty cool museum with Dinosaur bones, rocks, bugs, and lots of other cool things. Best of all, it was free!
Later, Holli and John went on a date and we took Rhys back to the hotel with us. We went for a swim in the hotel pool and then somehow managed to get all four kids settled down to sleep. No easy task when you are all in one hotel room. I should also mention, although Finley was in a crib and we made Isaac a bed on the floor, he climbed into my bed every single night and Finley still wakes up several times a night needing me, so it was not uncommon for me and all three kids to be crammed into a double bed. When we got back to Phoenix, my king-sized bed had never looked so good!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Deep in the heart, of Texas

Day two:
We started the day off with a tour at the Austin City Limits studio. It's located in the PBS building, and throughout the years they have had tons of awesome concerts on their show. While I have never actually seen one on TV, I nevertheless purchased a cool Austin City Limits T-shirt.

We had fun singing onstage.

Right after our guide got through explaining their money woes and how tight they are, Sareny broke a piece of stage equipment. I was pretty embarrassed.
After singing our hearts out, we headed to Zilker park for some lunch and swimming.
It was a little slimy, since this was a natural pool type of thing, but we had fun. It wasn't as nasty as this picture makes it look.

It was a huge pool with a diving board and everything.

After swimming for a while, we hurried out to ride the train that circles the park. We had to go out a gate and across a parking lot to purchase the train tickets, and while I was standing in line for our tickets, we suddenly realized that Isaac was not with us. I scanned the crowd and quickly realized he was not close by. Panic.
We split up and searched for him. I was checking the parking lot (still in my swimming suit, mind you) and picturing myself on the evening news in said swimming suit:
"A family vacation has turned tragic for this mother of three..."
I just kept picturing someone grabbing him and driving off with my little boy.
Fortunately, Bampa found him back in the pool area by the tree we had sat under for a while. Thanks goodness a lifeguard had noticed him and kept an eye on him. Apparently he refused to go with the lifeguard. Once again, I was a little sad that Isaac wasn't crying or too upset--a little fear might be a good thing for him!!

We made it back to the trains just in time for the ride, which actually lasts 25 minutes. It was the best park train ride I've ever been on, with some beautiful scenery to enjoy.
After the train we sat and enjoyed some shaved ice. Sareny had grape, I had cherry, and Isaac had Blue Hawaii. I don't know what was in Isaac's, but it was delicious!
Finley was a trooper hanging out in her carseat so much.
We ended the evening with some Greek food back near Holli and John's. Sareny told me she wanted chicken and didn't seem to remember what gyros were, but I knew from past experience that she likes gyros, so I ordered a combo plate for her. She ended up eating the gyros and not the chicken, and told me that next time if she doesn't remember that she likes gyros to order them for her anyway. A little confirmation that moms do know best.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The stars at night are big and bright...

Last week, me, Sareny, Isaac, Finley, Grammy, and Bampa made the 2,000 mile roundtrip drive to Austin, Texas to visit Holli Jo, Johnny, and Rhys who were there for the month of June. The drive stunk, but we had such a great time, it was worth it. Austin is a pretty cool city with lots of things to do.
Day 1
We slept in a little, then went to visit Holli and John in their dorm rooms. It was pretty weird to be back at the dorms, visiting my 30-something sister. :) They are staying at a place called The Castilian, and tons of stores and restraunts were right outside their doorstep, including the University Co-op, which is the campus bookstore.
While John stayed behind to work, the rest of us went to the Austin Children's Museum. This was a super fun place for the kids. My favorite was making shrinky-dink necklaces.
The kids joined a Mariachi band.

Rhys and Finley played around in a campfire.
And they played with some balls.

Sareny sat in the wishing chair and looked up at the stars and made a wish.

Isaac absolutely loved the trains, and once when he disapeared for a moment, we found him back by the trains. He also liked rolling pennies down the funnel.

Sareny practiced her homemaking skills and made some "tamales."

From there it was off to dinner at Freebird, which is similar to Chipotle but, as John put it, "cooler." We walked a block to the bridge to watch the nightly bat pilgrimage.
Waiting for the show to start.

Hundreds of thousands of bats live under this bridge right in the middle of the city. Crowds gather every night to watch them come out in swarms.
We went on a Thursday night, and there was live music and people sporting "Bat Jam" shirts. There was such a fun, festival feel to the event. And then the bats came.
They kept streaming out from under the bridge for well over a half hour. There were so many, and my pictures just didn't do them justice. Sareny took this one, which is pretty good.

She also took this one of Isaac and Bampa taking in the bats.
The look on Finney's face says it all. She just wanted me, and I made Grammy hold her so I could get some pictures.

Isaac kept screaming when the bats came out, but it wasn't a scared scream, more just he was having fun.

The whole group of us.

After the amazing show, we walked under the bridge along the river for a while. Under the bridge smelled strongly of bat guano, but the rest of the walk was quite enjoyable.

Bampa, Grammy Jo, and the grandkids.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hillari Homemaker

I've been busy lately...just in time for summer, I finished my ragquilt.

I started this back in September, but had to abandon it in my frantic Raggedy Ann and Andy sewing frenzy, and finally pulled it back out. I actually made this quilt for myself! During the winter, our house is on the cool side and we like to snuggle under blankets in the evening watching movies. Keith and Sareny both have rag quilts I made for them and I was left out in the cold, so to speak. It felt a little weird spending so much time making something that was for myself, but I'm sure it will get lots of use in a few months.
I have also made a few matching skirts for Sareny and Finley. These skirts were for a friend and I thought they turned out pretty cute.

I stayed up late one night and made some red pepper jelly after everyone else was sleeping. Our favorite ways to eat this is either on wheat thins with cream cheese, or use it as a sauce on stir-fried chicken, onions, red peppers, garlic and mushrooms. Then we serve it over rice. Thanks to my wonderful mother in law for both recipes, and the ideas for the skirts!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Eight Things

I was tagged, so here goes.

8 Favorite TV shows
Biggest Loser
King of the Hill
I don't really watch anything else, unless you count kid's shows on PBS, like...
Sid the Science Kid
Super Why
BG (this is actually on Qubo)

8 things I did yesterday
Slept in
Got new tires on my van
Picked out some cute fabric to make my friend a sling
Ate Chipotle
Saw the new Star Trek movie
Felt embarrassed that my children were so terrible at the babysitters
Cut out some pajama pants for Isaac
Played walkie talkie's with the kids

8 favorite restraunts
Crazy Jim's
Phoenicia Cafe
Texas Roadhouse

8 things I am looking forward to
Getting the ruffler sewing machine attachment in the mail from my mother-in-law
Visiting my sis in Austin
Sareny and Isaac spening a couple of days at Grammy Jo and Bampa's
My family reunion in Kanab
Spending Christmas in Spokane
Fall weather in AZ
Meeting my new nephews (four I still need to meet--two that haven't been born yet.)

8 things on my wish list
New dining room table
Bigger bedrooms
Living closer to family
Maid service
Yard service
Baby Grand piano
an awesome sewing machine
The "Love Toilet" http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/video/clips/the-love-toilet/1056587/ This would be awesome in my master bath.
This makes me sound pretty selfish, but I'm actually pretty happy with my life as is

8 people I tag
Debra G
John Ron
Green Girl

Friday, June 12, 2009


Seriously, I have never seen a little girl smile so much. She smiles and giggles all day long. When she is occasionally not happy, there is usually a good reason. (She has just been closelined by Isaac, Sareny is hugging her tightly and not letting her move, you get the picture.)

I had a really difficult time narrowing down the pictures from our little photoshoot to include in this post, there were just so many cute ones.

She made this face when the phone rang.
I seriously think she loves posing for the camera! I'm kind of wondering if she has a modeling career in her future.

I love my little sweetie.

She loves giving those precious open-mouth baby kisses. Today, when I said "Kisses," she said, "sisses" back to me several times.

I just can't imagine life without my little Finney Lynney.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fun at a splash park

One day last week after swimming lessons, Alayna and I loaded the kids up and headed over to Tempe Town Lakes splash park. It was extremely crowded, but still a lot of fun.
This park has a couple of little waterfalls and slides.
Sareny and Isaac had fun playing with Zander and Ady.
Finley enjoyed playing around in the water too.

Every time I see this picture, I can't help thinking of the words, "And I do my little turn on the catwalk, yeah on the catwalk."

Seriously, doesn't it just look like she's strutting her stuff?

After a couple of hours, Isaac was done and a little cold, so we headed home. My van had the outside temperature at only 113 degrees, so it's understandable that he felt a little chilly.