Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Holiday Ro-oh-oh-oad!

Our memory "book" is a little out of order (I still have pics of Jameson's birthday and the beach trip to post), but I thought it would be easier to blog a bit from the road on this 13-day minivan adventure to the Potomac and back! So...

Day 1: We drove for about 8 hours. Only had to pull over to "run the wiggles out" one time at a rest stop near Texarkana (but we also stopped for lunch and two bathroom breaks). So far, we haven't even pulled the dvd player out! We saw a great semi-truck hauling playground equipment, and I took a picture through my window. Hours later, after driving into Arkansas and into Hot Springs and around and around Hot Springs getting our bearings and finding a hotel, we pulled into the parking lot of the hotel we'd decided upon, and there was the playground truck! A good sign. On Night 1 in Hot Springs, we ate Latin cuisine (et tu, burrito?) at Ronaldo's, checked out the spiral staircase at the Arlington Hotel, went to a city park to dip our fingers into the hot springs, and walked Bathhouse Row at night. The hot springs are NOT lukewarm...they are scalding hot. Who knew?

Day 2: We headed back to Bathhouse Row and got caught in a quick but heavy thunderstorm. While it rained, we toured the National Park Visitor Center at the Fordyce Bathhouse -- it included four stories of exhibits and artifacts from the heyday of the bathing craze. Very interesting! We drove through the park, hiked a trail (Sophie does best if she's the trailblazer), talked to people filling up jugs of water at the springs, filled up our own water bottle, ate at the Brickhouse, drove around looking at fancy schmancy houses, bought Lucas candy at a Mexican grocery store (for margaritas at the river!), then went back to the hotel to rest. For dinner, we headed back downtown to eat at the German Brau Haus -- great brats * and beer! (* and by "brats," I mean sausages. The kids are fine, too.)

Here are some hdr photos that Frank took on Bathhouse Row:

An exterior shot of the Quapaw Bathhouse Dome:

The gym at the Fordyce Bathhouse.

Interior shot of the men's bathing room:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Kickin' Things Off With Kerrville

The Kerrville Folk Festival is sort of the herald of summer. Frank and I have tons of pre-kids memories of staying up all night playing music, sleeping as long as we could inside a tent during a heat wave, eating hot bagels (with friends in the posher camper section!), then escaping to Third Crossing to float in tubes and drink cold beer. (And Frank has pre-Stacy Kerrville memories, too...he's a lifetime ticket holder, you know. I mean, he doesn't have a Kerr-name or go without showering for the full 18 days, but he's close to that level of fanaticism.)

Kerrville with kids is a little different. Don't get me wrong -- it's a totally AWESOME place to take kids. They kind of run around in packs (when they're older elementary age), they gain independence and confidence, they entertain themselves for hours and hours with NO video games or television. It's nice. But changing a diaper in a tent is challenging. And these days we pack more sunscreen and healthy snacks (versus our previous meal plans of Frank "playing for food" with beef jerky as a back up plan).

So here are some highlights from this year's Kerr-perience:
1) I had to text our camping location to Maggie so she could meet up with us the next day. She laughed and laughed because we were camped between the two school buses, near the teepees. It was a great spot, really. No shade left by the time we got there, but we still had a little "real estate" in front of the tent. If you're ever visiting Kerrville, we set up shop near Camp Cuisine and, well, I guess it was Camp RRRrrrr (they dressed like pirates and sang sailor songs all night). Right in front of us was "Camp Crack," a van full of 18 and 19-year-old hippie kids. They were there for the full 18 days of festival -- 'nough said. Frank played some music over at Camp Bayou Love -- best camp name ever. Maggie recommended "Camp Kerr-mudgeon" for us for next year.

2) Jameson's birthday was three days AFTER Kerrville, so we spoiled him a bit and gave him his birthday present early: a blue guitar! He was sooo happy when he opened it, and he's been walking around strumming it and trying to tune it (good boy) ever since.

3) The Stephenses joined us the second day, and Solly brought his guitar, too. Solomon is a guitar prodigy -- no joke. He sat in the big guitar circles and strummed with perfect rhythm. So many people commented on his skills and his passion -- he already has calluses from strumming! Sophie was thrilled to have her Laney-friend join her, and they somehow talked their way into borrowing dress-up clothes from some tiny-waisted (wasted?) hippies.

4) Sophie snoozed through the loud music, the campfire chatter, the "Camp Crackwhores" whooping and hollering on the top of their van while they flashed lasers in the trees. Jameson woke up grumping several times. Frank wandered around and played music. I stayed with the kids and read a trashy vampire novel by flashlight, late into the night. The next day, EVERYONE was exhausted. Except Sophie. She woke up at 7:15 ready to take on the world. The teenagers across from us were still awake, and Sophie wanted to take all her books and Barbies over to them so "Jaffy" and "Clementine" could read to her. I told her to go ahead. Serves 'em right for being so obnoxious at 4 a.m. The Camp Crack Kids LOVED Sophie. They let her decorate their van with chalk. Frank and I were in our tent listening to her chatter away, and Clementine told Sophie, "You are so fucking cute!!" Great. So far, we haven't heard her repeat the word, but it's probably going to slip out on Day 1 of kindergarten: "I f'ing LOVE kindergarten! Pass me the f'ing crayons!"

5) The best thing about Kerrville was watching Sophie lead Laney through the tents and campsites. She really did show amazing independence that weekend. Or maybe the best thing was watching the boys strum their guitars in their matching guitar shirts. Or maybe the best thing was watching our friends, Stuart and Hilary, play on the mainstage. No, definitely the best thing was when Bob Saget (feral kitten, claimed and named by the crack-kids) ran into our tent and landed on the highly allergic Frank. And they all started calling out, "Saget! Saget!" You can't dream that stuff up.

Click on KERRVILLE to see the best parts of our campin' and pickin' weekend!

All Pomp for this Circumstance

Well, we've had a dearth of posts for the past month and a half due to 1) crazy, hectic schedules and 2) a computer virus that makes exporting and uploading pics a real pain in the arse. But I'm determined to post a few momentous occasions before we head off on our mini-van adventure and take hundreds of pics.

BIG THINGS are afoot at the Webster household. First, Sophie graduated from pre-school. Quick story: When I went to register her for kindergarten, she was missing a Hep B booster
shot, so they stamped her file with a big red stamp that said "DELINQUENT." That's the way to start a permanent record, kiddo!

So, this first album shows you some sweet pics from Sophie's graduation from Primavera Montessori School. I cannot say enough schmoopy things about this magical, hippie-dippie (cloth napkins only, tie-dye shirts for graduation) place. It really is a community, and we will miss it next year. But Jameson will be there when he is three! Lookout, Rachel and Marianne, there's another Webster headed your way!

Click on GRADUATION or the picture below to see a few shots from Sophie's last day at Primavera: