Visit to Concordia University

Today Alex went to visit Grandpa Belcher at Concordia University.  He hasn’t been since he was about six months old, so as far as he was concerned, it was totally new territory.  Which meant exploring the trees, and leaves, and grass, and rocks and other things.  And mostly it meant running – everywhere!  He had lots of fun exploring, he met a few new people (although he is still incredibly shy so he wouldn’t say hello – but he would sign and say grandpa over and over again), and he even got to play with grandpa’s computer – something he never gets to do at home!

I think I can…I think I can…

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Are we there yet?!? (he walked back up this hill all by himself!)

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After all the running and playing and exploring you would think he’d be worn out, right?  Nope.  All it bought me was 20 minutes of peaceful silence on the way home!  He’s awake and ready to go again.

A Break for Daddy

Before this past weekend arrived, Alex and I told Dustin he had to set aside a couple of hours on Sunday to take a break from work. Yes, he still had to work through the weekend. Yes, he was still putting in lots of extra hours. But he had to take a little time off because Alex and I had found the one place in Texas that would feel the most like Washington, and we wanted to take him there on Sunday so he could get a break from work and have some fun with Alex.

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There was blood running down his leg, but we didn’t get a picture until after the initial clean up. He scrapes his knees all the time, but for some reason, this one made him cry every time he looked at it (for two days)!

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Alex had a lot of fun playing with his daddy for a few hours on Sunday afternoon. And I think Dustin enjoyed the little bit of time off – he got to see a LOT of pine trees and forest. And he did say it was a lot like Washington – as long as you are in the A/C and can pretend it is about 40 degrees cooler than it is here in Texas right now!

Coffee and the Texas Capitol

Dustin has had a long week.  A really long week.  So Alex and I decided to visit him at work this morning so we could walk over to Starbucks with him to get coffee.  You know – the really good kind, with lots of whipped cream, and sugar, and special syrup…the works!  500 calories in a cup.  Or as I often refer to the Peppermint Mocha I am speaking of, Christmas in a Cup – all year long!  But I am birdwalking…so let me get back on topic.  As we were getting ready to head out the door, I thought it might be fun to walk over to the Capitol grounds after our coffee stop so that Alex could run around and have some fun.  G-R-E-A-T idea!  And while we were there, we even stopped by the Visitor’s Center to visit our friends Mary and Gus and to walk through the exhibits.  Alex even took a moment to share a few of his new signs that he has learned with Mary and Gus.

Alex and Mr. Squirrel, having a conversation (which lasted literally about ten minutes – hilarious!)

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Alex signing “tree” (and then he had to touch nearly every tree in sight – hello Mr. Monk!)

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I’ll only post one tree-touching photo (but there are many more!)

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  Alex standing inside the old General Land Office file vault

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Alex watching a video on the building of the Texas Capitol

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No comment because I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know who these men are (who has time to read the signs when you’re with a toddler?!?)

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Alex on the front porch of a very cute house “front”

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Alex running up and down the stonewall walkway of one of the exhibits

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This used to be one of my favorite benches to sit and read on when I worked at the Visitor’s Center 

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Okay, okay.  Maybe just two tree-touching photos…

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Alex stopped several times to visit this statue

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And he even stopped long enough to have his picture taken with me (though not entirely willingly)

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And finally, here he is signing “water” after he tried to climb into the fountain a few times!

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We had a blast, and he came home tired, although even now I can hear him in his room, tired and ready for a nap, but as usual, fighting sleep for all he’s worth!  Thank goodness sleep wins out – most of the time!

Perspective

Sometimes I feel a little like an unfocused photograph…I know there’s a big picture there, but I just can’t make out what it is. I’ve lost perspective. It happens. In fact, one of the most challenging, and yet curiously enlightening, aspects of motherhood is the gently yet constantly changing perspective that comes with the shift from self-centeredness to other-centeredness. Once we willingly give ourselves over to the task of raising another person, our view of the world changes. And continues to change with the gradual flow of time. The big picture is still there – it’s always there. But the focus and direction change as we adapt to what’s present at that moment. And at times, we need to take a step back to regain our perspective.

I’ve been reading Ann Voskamp’s blog for a long time, and there are days she has written something I need to hear before the thought has even been born in my own mind. Alex and I have had a couple of hard days, and I’ve been longing for a chance to catch my breath, just for a moment, so I could once again keep going on something more than empty. So yesterday, as I found myself losing perspective, I made my way to Ann’s blog and as I read, I felt her words speaking gently to me, like a good friend holding my hand and guiding me. She said that sometimes we need to find a backroad in order to find the rhythm of ourselves (http://www.aholyexperience.com/2010/07/some-days-you-just-have-to-find.html). Alex and I had already been planning a day with nature, but with this thought quietly in the back of my mind, we took a different perspective with us.

We stepped out of our everyday life and took a backroad …and found the peace and stillness that opens up and whispers all the things you’ve been searching for and desperately trying to find, but couldn’t because the rest of life keeps getting in the way. Alex did what boys do best – he opened himself up to something new and explored a world that gets bigger for him every day. Me, I did what I often don’t do well at all – I opened myself up and listened. Truly listened to what’s in my heart, and I found it again – my perspective. Right where I left it.

Austin Nature and Science Center


On Sunday afternoon we talked Dustin into taking a few hours off of work to go with us to the Austin Nature and Science Center. Boys and science and nature. They just seem to go together. Alex was excited to get out of the house, and I was thrilled to have something besides housework to think about for a few hours. Who knows what Dustin was thinking, but if I remember correctly it had something to do with “beating his head against the wall” and “turning in circles” over this project he is working on. So I’m guessing he was happy about the prospect of no database problems where we were going. We got started late, but we had just enough time for Alex to play, run, and learn some new things. A successful adventure and here are the pictures to prove it.

It’s a great place to visit, and it’s free, so the price is always right. Alex is hoping to take his cousins next time they come to visit!

Fourth of July

This was Alex’s second fourth of July, but the first one he actually saw fireworks. And hated it. Hmmm….maybe not “hated”, but if clinging to daddy and facing the opposite direction the whole time is any indication, I don’t think he liked them much. Maybe next year.

He did have a great time playing at grandma and grandpa’s house and at dinner he ate corn on the cob for the first time. And loved it. Just take a look…

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Here are a couple more pictures from Fourth of July:

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And finally, here was the dessert I made:

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