birthday trip, part 3.

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Eliza and I spent one of the weekends at my sister's, while we were in Texas. Her husband was out of town, so we tag teamed the three girls all weekend. Sammie was a dream, for the most part. I swear, I kept forgetting she was there half the time. She's so quiet! And just such a happy babe. Eliza and Lucy were there usual crazy selves, and they all had such a good time.

One of my favorite nights, we turned out all the lights and had a dance party in the living room with Lucy's flashing Elsa wand to strobe up the dance floor. Eliza wore Lucy's Belle dress-up dress literally all weekend long, usually accompanied with some tiny plastic heels and a pink diamond tiara. The heels were way too big for her, so her long finger toes would curl out over the peep toes and I cracked up every time I saw them.

It was fun to be a parent with my sister. I mean, we've done it before, obviously, but never solo without husbands. Sometimes I get annoyed being the middle sister. But, mostly, it's pretty nice. I mean, it's really great having someone to look up to and learn from. And it's really great thinking that I can possibly do the same. 

We took the girls swimming, spent the evening at the giant H-E-B like it was the best amusement park ever, and Desi and I spent most nights watching ridiculous(ly awesome) shows- like Katy Perry's concert on Netflix. Have you seen it!? There are dancing cats. You will cry.

Desi could not get over Eliza's voice, and so every time she talked we would bust out laughing. I guess I never really realized how high-pitched her voice is! I knew it was bird-like, but I'm just so used to it. She has the cutest, highest voice and every word of her sentences get's progressively higher. And, almost every sentence ends in a "?" even if it's not necessarily a question. It's so cute, and I love it. What's funnier is that Lucy actually has a cute, deeper and sort of gravely voice. "Roxie, Roxie!" So, to hear the two of them talk to each other just makes you laugh. They kept crawling up on the top bunk of Lucy's beds and conspiring.

Oh! And, guess who we got to meet up with? Miss Stacie, former freshman roommate. This girl got me through my first year of college, without a doubt. And, I hadn't seen her in almost three years- not since I was first pregnant with Eliza. Stacie and her family now live in Houston, and she was a superstar friend and drove all the way up to Texas with her two little girls to spend the day with us. I haven't laughed so hard in my whole life. I was like drunk with laughter by the end of the day. Half of the day was spent with all five little girls, all three and under. We played dress up, while Willow ran around the house in an Elsa dress pointing her wand very sternly, "I will freeze your heart!" Later, we drug out the kiddie pool, and watched the girls "wash the car" while Stacie and I sat on lawn chairs and caught up on life. I was sort of digging this suburban lifestyle. And, I was sort of digging hanging out with Stace again.

We spent the afternoon at the Do-seum, which was big, beautiful perfectly clean suburban museum magic. Eliza and Lucy made s stop motion film while rolling around on a green screen, and Willow walked the entire museum with a tote bag full of lobsters from the "Little Town." After, Stacie and I took just our girls out to eat downtown, where they promptly made a ridiculously funny scene and I promptly tipped generously for the craziness. We let the girls pick out pan dulce, and sat outside in El Mercado for two glorious seconds eating our goods. I loved being a mom with this girl. I just love seeing old friends as moms. It's like a whole new, bonus self that you get to learn and love from the already pretty amazing person that you already know.

And there you go. I'm sure I left a lot of goodness out. And, I always seem to kick myself for not taking enough pictures on trips. But, there you go- the great Texas birthday trip of 2015. 
I love my family.

birthday trip, part 2.

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My dad's big 60th birthday has been in the makes for months now. We wanted to do something that would bring everyone together under one roof, which hasn't happened in years. I mean, once you have children who have children, and who all live in three separate states- it's kind of like asking for a miracle. So, we made it happen.

We rented a condo on Padre Island, for a weekend at the coast. It was a cute, little condo with just enough room, close to the beach, with a really awesome pool and an equally awesome kiddie pool. Everything really fell into place. Sam flew in two days earlier, Danielle flew in the night before we left, and somehow we managed to fit everyone in two cars, including three massive carseats. 

Except, let's just pretend like the three hour car ride down with three kids all three and under was perfect, as well. Right? Let's just say we made it without losing our minds completely, and only managed some crayon drawings on the inside of the car door. (yikes!) Also, let's just pretend like Eliza and Lucy were total buds the entire trip. Because, honestly, they were kind of pills. I guess this must be what siblings are like. The girls are only a year apart so they have such a good time together. They laugh and squeal, and say the funniest things, and play the funniest games. But, when they are not being nice they are being so naughty! They would fight and cry and scream, and boy did they hate sharing. It was the first trip where this was an actual thing. It's like, whoa, we have real kids now! But, you gotta love them. And when they hug each other, your heart just wants to melt.

Our first afternoon there, it rained as hard as ever. We thought we were going to slide right off that bridge coming up over to the island. In a way, it was kind of nice. We just sort of spilled into the condo, spread out, and relaxed all night. Later that night, some of us took the kids out for a swim in the rain until we were all shivering and laughing. The next day we spent all morning at the beach, and all afternoon in the pool. This entire trip made me remember how much I completely hate heat, but also how much I completely miss water activities to cool down! 

That night, Desi and I snuck out and grabbed a cake from Marble Slab, a huge bag of party goods from the dollar store, and a handful of balloons. The girls helped us decorate the condo while my dad was out grabbing pizza, and they screamed when he came home, running around kicking balloons and waving their glow sticks. It was a great night. 

It made me smile to see my dad so happy. He deserves the best. I hope that he can see what great things have come about because of him. He has always been there to give me just the right amount of advice to help me become to person I am today. And he never misses a chance to tell me he loves me and that he is proud of me. Happy 60th, Daddy. I love you.

We had a great weekend. On the way home, we stopped at the Texas State Aquarium, and when we got back to San Antonio we jumped in the neighborhood pool one last time before they closed for the summer.

Eliza loves my dad's backyard. I always wonder what goes through her little mind, like, "Oh look! Grandad has a park in his backyard!" Nobody in Berkeley has a yard, but there are plenty of beautiful parks for us to play in. So, to be able to to step right outside his door and run around in the grass looking for treasures- it must have felt like such a luxury. She also made a cute little "house" in one of the empty closets upstairs, where we played with toys and read books behind the curtained door. On one of the days, my dad watched Eliza solo while I went out with my mom. He and Eliza made homemade biscuits, colored pictures, and watched Sesame Street. She was so happy when I came back. 

On our last night, we all went to Jim's and I ate the most massive pancakes ever. I don't know why, but this trip felt like the closest to "old times" as I have ever felt since I've moved away. It's like a new "old times." One I get to share with my family. And, I'm really loving it.

birthday trip, part 1.

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We recently took a trip to Texas to visit my family. We planned our big trip home this year to conveniently line up with both of my parents' birthdays, especially my dad's big 60th! It was a really nice visit- one of my favorites yet. 

To celebrate my mom's birthday, we packed everyone up and drove out to Canyon Lake. I baked my mom this cake, and Chad made us some delicious food for a picnic. It was randomly very cloudy and the storms were rolling in all around us. Looking back, it might have been a bit unsafe for us to be floating around in the water. But, at the time it was deliciously cool and shady and the water felt so good. The storms waited just long enough for us to play and have fun with the kids, and they were just giddy about it. The water was green and glassy, and if you stood still for a bit these tiny fish would come and nibble on your toes. Sammie floated around in her own little boat, kicking her legs and smiling at Lucy and Eliza while they splashed and squealed. It was really a lovely afternoon, and my mama seemed so happy.

We played in the water until we got too hungry and climbed out to eat, and that's exactly when the rain came down. It was honestly like something out of a movie. It was so windy that the plates and napkins were flying everywhere, flipping food into our laps. We were under a covered area, but it didn't stop us from getting completely soaked as we tried to eat quickly. The cake sat in a puddle of water by the time we got around to singing "Happy Birthday," and I really couldn't help but laugh. Immediately after we finished packing up, it stopped raining. But, even with all the rain, it was such a nice day. 

Eliza had such a good time at my mom's. She is obsessed with all the cats that live in her yard. My mom inherited a little group of cats, that keeps growing as they initiate new members into their cat gang. But, she and Chad are so nice and feed them all anyway. We always laugh because every time we come over there is a new, little guy hanging around in the garden. Eliza would go out every morning and help Grandma fill the cat bowls with food. Then she would run around chasing them, trying to pet them, and once she spent a good fifteen minutes trying to physically coax Tabby into going inside the cat house. Tabby held her ground, despite the tiny hands pulling at her fur. 

My mom and I hit up some beautiful estate sales in San Antonio, and it was fun getting to know new neighborhoods that I had never seen as a kid. I spent almost every night laying on the floor of her sewing room chatting, while she worked on one of her projects. It's exactly how I remember my nights growing up as a child, and it felt good. She is currently running an amazing children's vintage clothing shop, while also working on some beautiful, new little girl's dresses for an upcoming craft fair. She is my inspiration.

Eliza walked around the house all day wrapped up in bits of trim and lace she would find in the sewing room, or wearing some pretty, little dress from the shop- while carrying as many ponies as she could fit in her arms at once. She was in little, girl heaven.

My mom was so nice to drive us to and from Austin, because I found such a good deal flying into the Austin airport. So, on the way back, we stopped to meet up for lunch with my aunt and uncle at Mueller Park. It's a really beautiful park that used to be the old airport. Eliza walked around with a pink umbrella "parasol" to shade her from the sun, refused to eat her lunch, spun herself silly on the playground, and had her first encounter with "ants that bite." Welcome to Texas, girl.