Oh what do you do in the summer time?


Ah, summer time. Being the woman I am, I of course began summer with a carefully laid out "schedule" that the girls would follow each week. Color coded and tidy with plenty of time for me to get all my work done. That lasted about a half an hour into the first Monday. Then I whittled it down to a simple list of things the girls had to do each day before they bombarded me with requests for TV and video games. That one's not too popular 'round these parts either and there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth. I have been spoiled this past school year with both my girls in school and I'm just not used to having people talking to me, needing me all day long. I don't get to yoga quite as often either and I feel the stress building. I can tell my lists are about to be shredded and reformed into a single mantra of "breathe". Which as I read over this little rant and how rigid I'm sounding, that's probably a good thing.

How do you say old friend without using the word old?


My beautiful and oh so dear friend Kari came to visit us this week with her oldest son and new beautiful babe. It's fun to have house guests because it gives us an opportunity to do all the sight seeing and touristy stuff that reminds me why Austin is such a great place. Never enough time to do it all. There is such an awful lot I love about this town, it's great to enjoy my city with fresh eyes.

Kari and I have been friends since middle school and of course we only look better now. It's amazing to find someone who knew me back then and has put up with me long enough to still be friends.

Middle school
High SchoolCollege

We visited Mount Bonnel, the Blanton Museum of Art, lunch at Mighty Cone and of course a stop at Hey Cupcake, the super fun shops on South Congress, girls night at one of my regular book clubs, breakfast at Maria's Taco Express, good times at Zilker Park, a trip to the Mecca of Whole Foods, fun at our swimming pool with friends, movies on the couch, good times at a ward primary party, sprinklers in the front yard, super great food at the Salt Lick and Austin Scoops, more girly fun at Charming Charlies, and a super lovely walk around Town Lake! A lot of fun packed into a few short days. More pics in my June gallery here.

So happy to see you Kari dear and sad to see you go too!

A Sense of Place


Looking back at my pictures, I seem to have been much more focused on pictures of people instead of place. And that's good because those are the pictures that will melt my heart years from now. But it's important to remember the beautiful geography of a place too. That's why we chose the location, right?

San Francisco

Big Basin Redwoods

Santa Cruz and the Beaches

Summer Vacation 2010

Ah Vacation!

We had eight days of fun and absolutely wonderful weather. It was a fantastic trip overall and a great way to start the summer. We stayed two nights at a hotel near Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco and then camped five nights in Big Basin State Park in their tent cabins.

Our first stop was the Japanese Gardens and other snippets of Golden Gate Park. Did you know that it can be simultaneously sunny and not broiling hot? Novel.

Our hotel was right near Fisherman's Wharf so we walked around and ate fantastic sea food. Sylvie's one and only objective was to spend the souvenir money we had given her. And Dave thought window shopping with me was bad!

We found a little breakfast spot across from our hotel and experienced the world's best waffle. That's what it said on the menu and it was the absolute truth. Fueled up and ready to go, we went to one of my absolute favorite childhood memories, the Exploratorium. It was just as awesome as I remembered.

Back for lunch at Ghiradelli Square and a little water front action for my girls. They weren't really dressed for full body immersion, but that didn't stop it from happening.

We went back to shower the girls and then went to Pier 39 on the wharf for window shopping and sea lion watching. And then after that we took a ride through the city on a cable car and back again on the trolley. Public transportation is a novelty to my suburban girls. Tessa was mad that we couldn't hang off the edges like she saw people doing, but it was fun none the less.

Saturday morning we spent in China Town. The girls loved shopping and of course the food was wonderful.

In the afternoon we headed out of town and took the windy road to Big Basin to check into our camp site. Beautiful! I had talked up the redwoods so much to the girls there was a moment that I was worried they wouldn't be impressed when they saw the real thing. But our camp site was absolutely beautiful. Kids and camping is just so much fun. No need to tell them what to do or where to go. Thirty seconds after we got there they were exploring the trees and collecting sticks and rocks. It was great to watch them play.

Nothing! We sat around, watched the girls play, went on a hike or two, ate camp food. It was great.

We went to Santa Cruz on Monday to spend the day with my brother. It was great to see his beautiful campus and charming city - and of course him!

We hung out at the beach for a good chunk of the day and walked around the boardwalk. We had intended on riding a roller coaster or two, but arrived at the ticket booth about 10 minutes after they closed. Still a great day.

Tuesday was another day in the woods. We took some short hikes and generally sat around. Heaven.

We headed back towards Santa Cruz to see some tide pool beaches. It was a lot colder so we were glad we had done our real swimming on Monday. The tide pools were great fun to explore.

We had a little lunch north of Santa Cruz in a random small town and then ventured out to see another beach where we were told there were elephant seals molting. The hike to get there was spectacular. I had forgotten how beautiful the country along Highway 1 is. It would have been a perfect day if not for the dozens and dozens of ticks we discovered all over us when we were done. Shudder.

We finished off the day visiting Mystery Spot. I don't think I could describe it - it is a mystery. I think this was a highlight for Tessa.

Thursday was driving and airplanes. Not a favorite for puking Sylvie I'm sure, but not a bad travel day overall. It was such a great week we were all sad to leave. But the trip was just long enough that we were glad to see our home and doggies.

You can see ALL the pictures on SmugMug here. Way too many pictures but I decided that it was against the spirit of vacation to stress too much over pruning them.

A Passage to India

A Passage to India A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was such a great book. Wonderful setting, great characters, interesting plot, and some really good ideas to chew on. I'm sure this is one that could use multiple reads to really pull out all the gems. Even though the book is a portrait of a certain time, the issues of how we treat each other are still completely fresh.

View all my reviews >>

Tunes for Traveling vol. 11


We took a fabulous vacation to San Francisco and the Redwoods of Big Basin and I am completely daunted by the prospect of culling through the humdreds upon hundreds of photos we took. Primary diversion tactic number one to keep the girls happy while hiking was to give them a camera so there is even more junk than usual to sort through. So as a lovely little placeholder I'll give you my iPod list for our week long trip to California.

It really was a great trip with perfect weather and happy travelers on all sides. It was nice to unplugged for more than a few days with very little as far as agendas are concerned. We got to see my brother too and that was absolutely great. We haven't had a bona fide family vacation in more years than I can remember so it was much needed and much enjoyed.

On my trusty Silverado:
  • Adele
  • Aimee Mann
  • Beck
  • Belle & Sebastian
  • Ben Harper
  • Bjork
  • Bon Iver
  • The Bottle Rockets
  • Broken Bells
  • Broken Social Scene
  • Deer Tick
  • Jakob Dylan
  • The Jayhawks
  • Kathleen Edwards
  • Los Lobos
  • Macy Gray
  • The National
  • The New Pornographers
  • Pearl Jam
  • Phoenix
  • Rachael Yamagata
  • Radiohead
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Ryan Adams
  • The Shins
  • Slaid Cleaves
  • Spoon
  • Sufjan Stevens
  • U2

People of the Book


People of the Book People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I really liked the device this book used - following a famous book back in time and telling the stories of those who encountered it. The intricately laced stories were fascinating even if a little far fetched. The present day story that tied them all together I found a little less enthralling. The main character wasn't empathetic for me and some pieces of the story weren't resolved to my satisfaction. But still a really interesting and enjoyable book.

View all my reviews >>

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest


The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millenium, #3) The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I hate to give anything away if you're a fan of the trilogy, but this one is satisfying to say the least. Not quite as on the edge of your seat as the second, but it felt good going down for sure. I don't usually read thrillers or crime novels but I have loved this trilogy. It's such a shame there won't be more due to the author's untimely death.

View all my reviews >>

End of School


Some recent happenings for my girlies. I don't love the end of school, just too much chaos and the only result seems to be sugar crazed girls that are hopped up on excitement and grumpy from a lack of routine. But of course there are a hundred good memories to be made in all that end of year stuff that I seem to be so grumpy about.

Tessa did tongue twisters in her 3rd grade talent show. Their routine was actually very well rehearsed and pretty funny.

Tessa's first piano recital. I have video too but I'm guessing she'd not be too keen on my posting it and let's face it, your imagination can take you there if you try. She did great and it was really fun to watch her perform.

Sylvie's kindergarten "graduation". What a great year it's been for her. She's become a big girl and really come out of her shell in class. It's amazing to watch her become more of herself.

Summer, here we come!


I was so incredibly blogged out that I left the Sunday pictures on my camera and forgot all about it. Better late than never!

And just to set the record straight, that Saturday was far from typical for me. I was exhausted!

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9.00 am ish

Sunday is my day to sleep in. Dave goes out to run which means I get to sprawl out across the whole bed. You wouldn't think I'd ever feel crowded in a king size bed but I love to sleep diagonally across it. This morning I found Sylvie as my bed mate when I woke up and it was fun to watch her sleep. Sundays are thankfully still full of "ish"es on all the time commitments save actually arriving at church. Saturdays used to be lazy days for me but somewhere along the way I grew up and they got busy. I am occasionally bitter about this but thankfully I still have Sundays as a nice slow paced day where there's nothing much to worry about. We have 2:00 church this year and before trying it I wasn't looking forward to it at all. But I must say it has rather grown on me.

So I finally got up and the first words out of Sylvie's mouth were "smoothie!" so I made her and I smoothies then went to blog. Man, did I take a lot of pictures this weekend. So we all just muddled around the house on our own. Sylvie played, the girls each messed around on the computer, Dave took each girl out for a ride around the block on their bike, and somewhere in there I took a shower.

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12.00 pm

A little lunch as we start to get ready for church. One picture as Tessa is struggling with the kiwi and one picture right after she's shot a spoonful across the table.

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1.15 pm

Playing games right before church.

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1.30 pm

I had a meeting before church so I headed over early. I love working in the primary.

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6.00 pm

The oft recurring snack from primary teachers seems to be a taking the place of an appetizer tonight.

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6.30 pm

Making banana muffins after dinner with los girlies

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7.00 pm

The girls messing around and being silly just like every other Sunday evening. This is when I promptly slipped back into Sunday bliss and completely forgot about my camera. Which was very, very nice.