Watermelon Thump, Luling Texas

Today we went to the Watermelon Thump in Luling, Texas. Every year we say, “we should go to the Watermelon Thump next year…” but each year we forget, or we get busy, or for one reason or another we just don’t go. Alex loves watermelon, so we thought this would be a great year to actually drive down and spend the day in Luling. We did. We walked up and down Main Street, strolled past three Farmer’s Markets, found a beautiful shaddy garden in the back of Apple Lumber for a snack and break from the heat, and then we spent a few minutes of our time in Luling at the Watermelon Festival. We didn’t get our slice of watermelon, we didn’t get to see the Watermelon Queen, we didn’t get to buy the Nike T-shirt that said “Just Thump It”…but we did come home with a Black Diamond Watermelon, which Luling is apparently famous for. The festival wasn’t really what we expected, but we had a nice time and we enjoyed being out of the big city for a little while on Sunday afternoon.

Classic Car Show at the Festival

Garden at Apple Lumber

Welcome sign to the garden

There are watermelons everywhere in town!

Watermelon Mural

Alex and I enjoying a few moments of shade (it’s almost nap time!)

Alex and Dustin on Main Street

Thump sign (these are all down Main Street)

Picky Toddler Behavior

Alex has become a picky eater. Not just your average picky eater, but the world’s pickiest eater…okay, probably not, but at times it sure feels like it. I’ve gotten plenty of advice, heard a lot of theories, but it doesn’t matter. In the end, every child is different, and every day is different. I find something he loves and will eat seemingly endless amounts of, so I make a special trip to the grocery store to make sure I’ll have plenty on hand, and suddenly he won’t even look at it, much less eat it. It isn’t texture…it isn’t flavor…it isn’t color or size or food group. He’s just plain particular. I often have to remind myself that this is just a phase, although at least I can call my sister and she will commiserate with me (Alex’s cousin William is a picky eater too!). At least he’s still getting all the nutrition he needs thanks to his vitamin (ShakleeBaby http://naturallyhealthier.myshaklee.com) and every now and then some very crafty cooking (Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld http://deceptivelydelicious.com/site/). Of course continuing to nurse has been one of the best decisions I’ve made and his doctor was very impressed with how well he is growing, so picky eating may be annoying for Mom, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem for Alex! I’m sure when he’s a teenage and will eat anything I put in front of him, I’ll look back and laugh…

Mansfield Dam Park, Lake Travis

Dear Alex,

I know you won’t remember the fun we had today when you get older, so I wanted to write it down so you could read about it someday. We had a perfect Father’s Day with your daddy today. We went out to Lake Travis to the park at Mansfield Dam so you could go in the water for the first time. We tried going in the water with you last weekend when we went to beach, but you didn’t really like it much, so we thought you might like the calmer water in the cove at the lake. Although you didn’t know what to think at first, it didn’t take long before you were content to float along with us and enjoy the cool water on a very hot day! We sat up on the big rocks along the edge of the water and ate some lunch, enjoyed the warm sunshine and listened to the sound of the water all around us. We are usually very busy, so it was nice to enjoy a quiet day, just the three of us. I hope we can do it again soon.

Love Mom

Joseph’s 3rd Birthday and Malaquite Beach

This past week Joseph turned three years old. That was hard enough for me to imagine, but the conversation I had with him on his birthday was enough to make me stop and reflect on what three years has really meant for all of us. When did Joseph stop being a baby and start being a little boy? When did he stop saying just a word or two and start having conversations? Spending time with him this weekend I realized he is growing up, fast. I noticed something else too. While visiting his cousins, Alex almost always gravitated toward Joseph, rather than any of the other children he was around. He watched what Joseph did, and then he tried to do it too. And it made me realize that before much longer, I’ll be wondering where the time with Alex has gone too.
Staying home with Alex hasn’t been easy every day. It hasn’t always turned out how I imagined it would, and it hasn’t always felt the way I expected. But even on the hardest days, it has always been rewarding. No matter how difficult our day may be, he always stops to smile at me, or hug me, or just touch my hand, on his way to explore or learn something new. And like my sister, I understand what it’s like to have a clingy child, (http://standingoverrunningwater.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/clinging%c2%a0children/, but even on the days he cries and clings the most, it’s in my arms that he finds the most comfort, and that makes every moment worth it. These moments won’t last forver, and he’ll move on to other things and find other ways to deal with life, and I’ll be glad for every minute I stopped to share with him while I could.
Anyhow, if you’re interested in seeing Alex in action, and I say this because he really is constantly in motion – just ask our friend Amanda (http://www.whitneyleephotography.com/) , who has done photo shoots with Alex for his milestone pictures – then continue on to the many pictures from his exciting weekend in Corpus for Joseph’s birthday and his first visit to the Gulf of Mexico! But keep in mind, it’s hard to get him to hold still for more than a second or two…
Here’s the birthday boy, Joseph, waiting for all of his guests to arrive at the party

Alex and Dustin, waiting for the party to begin

People starting to arrive

He’s not really tired, he’s just conserving energy for later

Just taking a break for a minute in the shade

Alex yelling at his daddy

Alex’s cousin, William

He paused, long enough for one picture

Since he’s a little short to reach the pinata, he got daddy’s help

Not sure if he likes swinging or not…

…decided maybe it’s not so bad

he hates hats – but for some reason he didn’t mind this one

it’s a look that’s hard to explain, but one he gives a lot

it was almost impossible to keep him in the shade, but here he is taking a break

the slide turned out to be a big hit

so he convinced us both to take a turn
again, and again

he wouldn’t get on it, he just kept patting it

One of Joseph’s new gifts was a kitchen. Alex might need one next.

Here’s Alex helping Joseph organize the pantry items
At the end of a fun, but long day, with no naps in sight, we opted for a walk through the mall. The guys are lost in conversation and oblivious to everything around them, so thankfully the kids were strapped in to their strollers and happy!

So while we were in Corpus we spent a few hours at Malaquite Beach on Sunday morning. This was Alex’s first trip to the Gulf Coast of Texas. Not sure he’s really ready for the waves yet, but he was a good sport and gave it a try.

Alex and Joseph having fun
Whatever is in that bucket must be pretty exciting because they spent a lot of time digging in it

William wore himself out on the way to the beach and took a quick nap before getting started

Green, green grass!

I finally have pictures of Alex’s favorite place in the whole world to play – his backyard! And I’ll admit it – at the time I didn’t think it would be, but it was worth the wait. The few bare spots that are left are already filling in and we don’t have huge rivers and lakes running through the backyard anymore. I’m not going to say no one tracks mud in the house now, because boys and dogs can always find a patch of dirt to play in, but the kitchen stays a lot cleaner than it used to!
Plum Tree
Granny Smith Apple Tree

Magnolia Tree

Orange Tree

The New Backyard

Alex loves to play in the sandbox, the garden, the dirt, and of course the water every time we have the hose out to water the trees. He usually comes in dirty, sandy, and tired but very, very happy! And he’s usually dragging two very tired dogs with him, but Hanna isn’t allowed to play outside right now, much to her dismay, so Indy really gets his workout when he plays with Alex.

Alex and Dustin playing soccer

Alex kicking the soccer ball


I love the moments of uncertainty in motherhood because I believe they are the moments where I grow most. In stopping to ask if what I am doing is right, it gives me the chance to evaluate what I would be doing wrong. And almost invariably, I find it isn’t that I am doing something wrong, but there are so many ways to do it right.
Okay, to be honest, there are times I wish I had an instruction manual with a step by step guide for handling no-nap days, or short cuts for getting a toddler to eat what you want him to eat when you fix it, or (from the horror stories I have been hearing lately) a guaranteed method to potty train your child in a hurry. But it turns out that the moments I worry about most – the ones I’m uncertain of – are the ones that really don’t end up being anything at all. Somehow, being a mother means you just know what to do, and when you don’t, you just figure it out. And if you can’t, there is always someone else who has been there before you, and has already figured out many of the right ways to do it. Just ask.

The Rest of May

It’s been a busy month for us, but here are a few highlights from the rest of May:

Dustin, Alex and I took Phebe, Hanna and Indy to McKinney Falls State Park one afternoon for a stroll…in 95 degree heat! We had fun, but I think Dustin’s final comment was, “let’s go without the dogs next time!”

Mom and I took Alex to the Story of Texas History Museum here in Austin one afternoon (thankfully it’s air conditioned!). We had a lot of fun and learned a bit about Texas history.

Playing outside is one of Alex’s favorite things to do.

For Memorial Day we celebrated at Mom and Dad’s with a big cookout – bbq ribs, homemade baked beans, dill potato salad, corn on the cob, and a red jello salad. Of course we had watermelon and fresh blueberry pie for dessert! Summer has definitely made it to Central Texas so we brought Alex’s pool mat with us so he could cool down in the afternoon heat. It took a little coaxing, but once he got wet he had a lot of fun!
He’s thinking about it…

He finally decided he’d give it a try…

Turns out it’s pretty fun!

All the fun was finally enough to wear him out…but not for long.

Alex has finally started pulling books out of his bin and bringing them over to us to read to him. He especially loves his Bible Stories Touch and Feel book.

A picture I thought worth sharing – he finally fell asleep during dinner!