Friday, December 30, 2011

A short post.
I've sort of abandoned this blog.
Not on purpose of course.
Life just gets in the way.
And that's funny,
because it's life that I like to blog about,
like to record so that I might remember.
All the little things,
and the big things,
that happen so suddenly.
And so I will start small
with grand hopes to go big.
Pictures and words to remember
my life as it was when my children were small.

Several weeks ago, on the coldest day of the year thus far, Sam and I stood out on the freezing tarmac to see this guy.
Do you see who I'm talking about?!  Behind the brown hat in the lower right corner of the picture?
Yes, we stood there for over 20 minutes in the bone-chilling cold, hand-warmers tucked into our gloves and hats pulled down tightly over our ears.
It was all an amazing dream for Sam, our little pilot, the little boy who takes toy airplanes into the bath tub and flies helicopters on our heater vents.   He has never been so still or so quiet as he was when he saw the largest aircraft he has ever seen, land on the tarmac right in front of him.  Sure he has flown on planes, and has seen planes fly over our house, but this thing!?  This beast?  Folks, it is HUGE!  Even I was left speechless!  And then....then...he got to see 5 military helicopters take off into the southern sky.  Talk about a dream!  We were so close our hats were blown off of our heads.  My little pilot, perched on my shoulders, remained quiet...still...awestruck...amazed. 
Oh and of course we got to see that guy.  But three year olds don't really understand who "that guy" is...even if they get a high-five from him.  Good thing we have a picture to show him someday when he does understand.  See?  In the picture below?  In the upper left hand corner, the little grey hood perched on my shoulders?   That's Sam...getting a presidential high-five. 
 It was a great day, cold, but great.  And, as I loaded my sweet red-cheeked baby boy into his car seat he looked at me and said "Mom, dat was cool!  Me wanna fly a big helicopter too someday!" 
Oh baby boy...I don't know if mama's heart can take that....

Sunday, December 18, 2011


I could spend a lot of time playing catch up. But honestly, I don't really remember what happened yesterday. So I'm just gonna start with a story.  And a few pictures.
When my mom comes to visit, she brings a lot of stuff.  Not stuff like luggage and personal belongings, but stuff like clothes for my kids or old place mats I might be able to use or a sequin purse she found when she was cleaning out her closet or a book she thinks I might like.  Just. stuff.  Earl calls it "the crap your mom brings"...
Once, not too long ago, she came and brought two small stuffed cats.  One was pink, the other blue.  When you put their noses close together, through the magic of magnets, they seemed to kiss.  Very fabulous.  Grace quickly claimed them as her own.  I don't blame her. they are.  Darling, huh?
Until Simon (our old border collie dog) chewed the nose off the pink bear.  "Pick your toys up or the dog is gonna chew them up!!!!"  And so the pink bear was discarded and the blue bear was tucked away, all alone, in a toy bin.  Until Sam found him.  "GanTone bring this a-me!!" he exclaimed.  And quickly fell in love with, and named the lone cat.  So began Sam's undying love and devotion for "BoyCat"
Now I've never had a child attatch to an object.  Sure Grace had her chou-chou (our family name for a pacifier) but this "BoyCat" is different.  BoyCat has a personality.  He has likes and dislikes (he does not like green vegetables, but loves anything sweet).  He gets scared (he is especially terrified of alligators in his room after the lights go out).
BoyCat needs a bath at least once a week because he really loves to play outside and he gets quite dirty.  And he always, always, snuggles in bed each night with Sam for a song and a story.  
Have you ever read the story of The Velveteen Rabbit?  The tale of a stuffed rabbit, who after much love and devotion, one day comes to life?  Becomes a real rabbit?  I know it's just a story, but sometimes I look at my blond headed little boy and his stuffed friend, and I wonder...hmmmm...what if?  
And so, it is for this reason when we took our annual family photographs this year, I asked our photographer to capture a few of Sam and his beloved BoyCat.  These are two of my very favorite pictures ever taken.  Oh they just melt my heart. 
You can almost see a twinkle in BoyCat's eye.  He has a very important job to do...watching over this sweet boychild of mine.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Back burner blogging

Blogging has taken a back burner in my life.
Itsa shame, really.  I like to write.  As I sit here listening to my family make pancakes in the kitchen (mama doesn't make pancakes...mama drinks coffee while the pancakes are being made), it feels nice to sit and put my thoughts into words.  I should really do this more often...
So very are some things that are sitting on  the FRONT burners of my life.
--Both kids are playing soccer. There is a very LARGE difference between a U8  (Grace) game and a U4 (Sam) game.  Imagine trying to herd drunk cats...this is very similar to watching 8 three and four year olds chase a soccer ball around a field. 
--Both kids are in school.
--We renovated our kitchen.  Pictures to come...maybe.  I'm not making any promises, said the girl who hasn't blogged in 2 months.
--The weather has been gorgeous.  We spend most of our "at home" time outside.  Lots of outside time = very sleepy children.  Love this.
--I made the kids Halloween costumes this year.  Pictures to come...well...maybe...see above statement re. pictures.
--Earl has been traveling. 
Honestly I sit here, I can't think of much more.  I know there's more, perhaps I need another cup of coffee.  Maybe I'm just rusty on this whole blogging business.  How about some pictures...when in doubt, post pictures.
Sam...helping Earl pack. 
 Earl, demoing the kitchen...isn't he darling?! 
And Grace.  Crazy, silly, bouncing Grace.
Alright...there is coffee to be consumed and soccer shin guards to be put on.
I'm out.

Friday, August 26, 2011

An update on Baby Dove

Baby Dove flew the nest yesterday.  She was the first one to attempt flight, and flew straight into my neighbor's garage.  Welcome to the world little birdie.  Stop flying into garages. 
The neighborhood kids were outside running crazy playing tag under the tree where the dove have made their home.  The kids were L.O.U.D.  Loud like only 15 kids can be that have been cooped up in a classroom all day.  And I wonder if Baby Dove didn't just get so fed up with the racket, she decided that flying the nest was her only option.  I was sitting in another driveway and just happened to look over and witness this crazy first flight...I couldn't believe my eyes.  I looked at the other ladies sitting around me...they were all still chatting.  They hadn't seen Baby Dove's perilous first flight, and I honestly think if they had seen it, they wouldn't have done what I did next.  I said "I think that Baby Dove just flew into that garage" and got up...I walked into the garage and began to search for Baby Dove.  A gray bird blends in well with a gray concrete garage floor.  I'm just sayin'.  After a bit of searching, the neighbor came out. Don't worry, I didn't alarm him...we drift in and out of each other's houses all the time.  He was not shocked to see me in his garage.  He was shocked to hear that Baby Dove had chosen his garage as the destination for her first flight.  And as soon as he closed the door, Baby Dove fah-lipped out.  I tried to scoop her up...but she was fast!  And I only ended up "herding" her into the tall Pampas grass outside.  The children swarmed me.  This was great!...exciting!...they were all talking at once "can I touch it?" "what happened?" "Are you gonna keep it?"....  Baby Dove was terrified.  This was the most action she had seen in her short little life.  I was able to scoop her up and attempt to return her to the nest.  But that startled her brother--still safely in the nest--and he flew off.  He flew into a tree.  Like a normal bird.  And Baby Dove, startled by her brother, flew into the street.  Great.  I herded her under a car, told the children to leave her alone, and went back to chatting with the neighbor ladies, who all looked at me like I had 6 heads and  probably a fresh case of lice compliments of Baby Dove, but said nothing.  I'm a stranger in this world.  Weird.  Unusual. Abby-normal. I try to be normal.  I really do.  I only end up seeming more weird.  Ahem...moving on.  After 20 minutes or so I looked up from my attempt at making "normal" conversation, to see the three girls of the neighborhood gang (my girl included), all walking behind Baby Dove, who had found her way back into the middle of the street.  *Sigh*  They all wanted to touch her.  Pick her up.  Put her in a Princess lunchbox.  I suggested we try once more to put her back into the nest.  They agreed that this was a better idea than the lunchbox and lugged over a chair for me to stand on.  And this time, Baby Dove stayed in the nest.  I think she had learned her lesson.
We checked on her on our way to take Grace to school this morning.  She was still there.  I wondered for a minute if something was wrong with her.  If maybe she had been injured in her shenanigans from the day before.  But as I stood looking up at her, my children gathered around me, curious, wondering...she stood up and flew away.  Into a tree.  Praise be to God.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"  Matthew 6:25-27

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

For my momma...

A nest?...A covey?....I dunno...whatever...a family of dove, has made a nest in the tree across the street.  Our neighbor discovered it and showed my children one unseasonably cool Sunday afternoon while they were playing outside.  My children showed it to me.
Very fantastic.
The nest is only about 8 feet up in the tree and when I stand on a small chair, my face is level with the birds.  There are two babies.  A week ago they fit nicely in their new home, snug under Mama Dove.  Now?  Well now they are spilling out of the nest...
 Geez!  And I have the gall to complain about my house being too cramped!
 The babies are rather darling.  And unlike other baby birds I have had the privilege to meet, rather quiet...I haven't heard a peep out of them! 
My have they grown quickly!  I'm guessing they will attempt their first flight sometime very soon. 
Do you know that dove mate for life?  That they are monogamous?  Well...they are.  And they are quite a team. I've been checking on this nest for almost 2 weeks now and it has never been left unattended.
We had a terribly powerful storms roll through a couple of nights last week. I woke up, WIDE awake...I listened to the thunder roll, heard the wind beat the side of the house, and I began to pray for Mama Dove.  I was so worried that I would find her nest on the ground the next morning, tossed to the ground, the babies spilled out.  So the next morning, before I had my first cup of coffee, I raced outside in my pajamas, stood on the chair and saw--much to my relief--Mama Dove and both of her babies.  Carefully nestled in the branches of a Bradford Pear, safe from the storm.  God is good...even to a family of dove.  
This post is for my momma.  The woman that taught me, and continues to teach me, that we are all connected.  Each and every one of us.  She taught me to marvel at the mystery of nature and taught me to respect the wild things.  xoxo--Kate


Today my daughter started 1st grade.
 How quickly these 6 1/2 years have gone.
 I walked her to the doors of the school and into her classroom.  She told me she didn't need me to walk with her this year.  That she knew the way.  What she doesn't know is that I needed her to walk with me.  One is never prepared for these moments in motherhood.
 She wears a size 2 tennis shoe.  When did her feet get so big?
She rolled her eyes when leaned down to kiss her goodbye.  Where did she learn that?
 She assured me that "yes Mom I can open my fruit cup at lunchtime...all. by. myself."
 She is my challenge.  My exuberant one.  Full of fire and life and passion.
 Earl and I have learned to mostly just watch.  She has so much to teach us.  She makes us laugh and cry and scream and wonder "Are we raising her right?"....Whatever "right" is...
 Today my daughter started 1st grade. 
Simply unbelievable.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Random thoughts from a messy mind

  • I wish my life had a soundtrack. 
  • I saw Bumblebee (the car, not the insect) for sale at a car lot today. Wonder if I could get a car seat in the back?
  • I learned to drive a stick shift when I was 27 years old.  I like driving a stick shift and wish I had learned sooner.
  • Earl and the kids went to the Kansas City Airshow yesterday.  A plane doing a stunt show crashed, killing the pilot.  Wow.  Interesting to watch a 3 and 6 year old process such a tragedy...There have since been numerous reenacted toy airplane crashes on my living room floor.
  • I have stopped eating meat. 
  • I have also stopped drinking Diet Coke.  Shocking, I know. 
  • I have not however stopped my consumption of dairy.  I like cheese.  I really like yogurt.  So sue me.
  • The debate is still out on eating eggs.   
  • Earl took the kids back to the airshow this afternoon.  They seem to be having a grand time.
  • I am home alone.  I had fabulous plans to deep clean the house while the children were away.  Those plans have since been cancelled and operation "Lazy Mom" is in effect.  Cleaning can wait.
  • I just finished reading The Devil in the White City.  It is a "heavy" read, but quite possibly one of the best books I have ever read. 
  • Earl wants to buy me a Kindle.  I'm not exactly sure I would use a Kindle.  Most of my books come from the thrift store or are given to me by my neighbor.  I also enjoy reading in the bathtub.  Can you read a Kindle in the bath?  This is a question I must google.
  • On Wednesday we will have a 1st grader living under our roof.
  • Our children no longer go to the church nursery on Sunday morning.  They each go to their respective classes.  This is mind-boggling to me and something I was not prepared for. 
  • We have a pumpkin patch growing out of the compost pile in our backyard. 
  • I wish I were more organized and less chaotic.  
  • God is busy in my life.  So busy that I feel pulled in 25 different directions...this makes me feel even more chaotic than usual. 
  • My prayer for my life is that God shows me exactly where He wants me to be.  Maybe I'm meant to be chaotic?  I dunno....but I did buy a small planning calender and am trying to get all of my "chaos" down on paper.  Maybe that will help....
  • This post is beginning to seem chaotic.
  • I'm gonna go read a book....

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Most of the time I blog about the crazy things my kids say and do.  I joke that I drink tubs of coffee just to stay awake.  And I ask you to pray for me....because frankly, mothering is not a job for the faint of heart and I try not too take myself to seriously.  But truthfully...I struggle.  Every-single-stinkin' day.  I struggle with the decision Earl and I made over 6 years ago.  The decision for one parent to stay home.  It's a non-stop job.  It's intense and often confusing.  I spend my days doing the laundry, making meals, cleaning up after meals, refereeing, translating 3-year-old speak, and playing "Chutes and Ladders" (possibly the worst game ever...just when you think you've gotten to the end, *shwoop* you land on the big chute and slide all the way down to the beginning.  Who thinks of this stuff anyway?!)  The rewards are not those offered by mainstream society. No promotion here.  No raise.  No paid time off.  No evaluation.  No lunch break or even a bathroom break really.  I'm raising America's future and yet society doesn't see my job as worthy enough to earn Social Security.  If I were to define my life right now, I would use one word--sticky.  And so occasionally I get myself into a self-induced funk when I think on these aspects of my "job"...I throw a pity party and drink lots of coffee.
It was on such a day that I decided to take my little "clients" to the library for the "Summer Carnival"!  After the carnival, as we sat on the sidewalk to eat our popsicles, and I overheard a woman say to the little girl standing beside her "What's that honey?  Oh...well of course we can call your mom and tell her how much fun you had!"  And that's when I was hit over the head with a proverbial 2X4.  No one has to call me.  I don't have to hear about my children's lives from someone elses point of view.  I'm there.  Right there.  Smack dab in the middle of this crazy, sticky mess that is my children's life.  And honestly, even on the bad days, there is no where else I'd rather be....
Grace, my dramatic firstborn, drove this point home later that day when we went to the pool.  I got to be there...smack dab in the middle of it...when she jumped off the diving board for the very first time
Very cool.

And then we headed home...for nap time, for quiet time, for folding laundry time (I do laundry all. the. time.)  More of the mundane.  But no, God is funny that way.  Just when you think you've got it all figured out...WHAMMO....God shows up.
Wanna see what He did? 
He did this...
He took an ugly green caterpillar we found eating the dill in our garden and turned it into an amazing butterfly. Upon our arrival home from the pool, we found her flapping her new wings in the glass jar she had attatched her chrysalis to only 11 days before.
I came home from my "lesson" at the library...from watching my girl take her first leap off the diving the newness of a most fantastic creature.
It left me speechless.
And utterly humbled.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come! The old has gone, the new is here!"  2 Corinthians 5:17  This verse certainly illustrates the transformation of a caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly, but it also speaks of us...All of us...when we let Jesus into our lives.
This morning--at the library--I was disgruntled.  I was tired.  I was burdened with the humanness of my life.  I saw the sticky fingers on my children instead of sweet smiles on their faces.  I was an ugly. green. caterpillar.  But slowly, throughout the course of the day, God wrapped Himself around my life.  He showed me how beautiful my life really was...and my attitude emerged, much like the butterfly, new and fresh.
What a gift I was given! 
Thank you God for my children.  Thank you for the opportunity to walk through life with them.  Thank you for libraries and diving boards and butterflies.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Things I learned while canning spaghetti no particular order.

  • I have amazing neighbors with amazing tomato plants.  Seriously, every year they have a phenomenal crop of tomatoes.  Even when everyone else's tomato plants wither in the heat and die, my neighbors plants double their production. 
  • Tomatoes are very messy.
  • My kitchen looked like a tomato exploded.  Cabinets, counter tops, the sink, the window.  Everything was covered in tomato juice, tomato seeds, tomato pulp, tomato skin.  It was shocking.
  • 6 year olds like to "help" in the kitchen.  But really, it is best to wade through the mess alone.  6 year olds create even more mess and ask a LOT of questions.  "Well...we're doing this because it's fun.  YES!  I know we can just go to the store and buy some spaghetti sauce."
  • Skinning a tomato feels a bit like what I imagine skinning an animal must feel like.  I sorta felt like I was killing them.  I apologized, out loud, several times to several tomatoes.
  • Lucia Micarelli is quite possibly a musical genius.  Google her. 
  • Life seems fairly simply when you're up to your elbows in tomatoes.
  • I'm not Italian but I wish I were.  I also wish I had either made the spaghetti sauce after 5pm or on the weekend...I found myself craving a very large glass of red wine. 
  • I like food.  I like to cook it.  I like the smell and the taste and the texture.  I like that, when I cook, I think of nothing else except the task very near at hand.  In the entire 2+ hours that it took me to process and can the sauce, I never once thought about the balance of my checking account.
  • Lots and lots of tomatoes (read: about 20 pounds)=only 6 jars of spaghetti sauce.
  • Dogs won't eat the basil leaves that fall on the floor. 
  • If you squeeze a tomato, juice will squirt out and at times, reach an alarming distance.  I'm talking not just inches but feet, people. I think I have tomato juice on my ceiling...
  • If you ever start to believe that you are not wonderfully and fearfully made, dissect a tomato.  Tomatoes are fascinating!  I'm thinking if God put that much work into a vegetable, err fruit...whatever...then He certainly cares for and loves me more than I can ever imagine.
  • Fresh picked tomatoes taste like a firework in your mouth. There is simply nothing else like it.  They taste of fresh air and sunshine.  They taste like the heat of a summer day and newly cut grass.  More proof that God loves me and wants me to be happy.  Money won't make you happy...but a fresh tomato?  Now that just might do it... 
  • When you boil jar lids and then reach into the water with your little magnetic lid grabber...wear a hot pad glove thingy.  Boiling water is hot.  And metal lids are even hotter...more hot?...whatever...
  • I now have the up most respect for "Ma" from the Little House on the Prairie.  And I have a new appreciation for store bought canned spaghetti sauce.
  • My sauce tastes pretty good...I think. 
  • I will enjoy opening up a jar of sauce this winter...When the snow covers the ground and I'm so cold my teeth are cold.
  • I thanked the tomatoes.
  • My kitchen has never been cleaner.  It took almost as long to clean up as it did to make the sauce.
  • All this spaghetti sauce talk is making me want a big plate of spaghetti and a glass of wine.  It also makes me want to live in Italy.
I really have no nice and neat way to wrap this up.  So this is it.  Things I learned while canning spaghetti sauce. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Please pray

I am a blog stalker.  There.  I admit it. 
And I have a few blogs that I follow faithfully.  Blogs of people that I have never met, and probably never will.  It's a glorious thing...this technology that links us in ways that, 10 years ago, we only dreamed about.
And now I am going to make you a blog stalker.  That's right...I'm asking for prayers for a family I have never met. 
I am asking for prayers for Courtney and her sweet son Tripp.
Tripp has a rare skin disease called "EB" (short for epidermolysis bullosa) can read all about exactly what it is on her blog:
Please go visit her about Tripp...and pray.  Pray for comfort, for peace...pray. 
And remember that we are all connected...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Grace got her ears pierced this past May.  I don't know if I mentioned this on here yet or not.  She did not cry.  Not one little tear.  She didn't even grimace.  I was absolutely shocked.  I figured my little diva would fall into a pile of tears and sobbing on the floor after the incident.  But nope, she smiled proudly, looked at her daddy, and said "What do you think?!"  
Well...Paw-paw got wind of the newly pierced ears and asked if he could buy her some diamond earrings.  (Side note:  Do you know that Earl is very good at choosing jewelry for me?  Well he is...apparently it is something he learned from his father.  So men...teach your sons well!  Their future wives will thank you someday.)  I told Paw-paw diamond earrings would be fine with me on one condition.  They must have screw-on-backs. 
So Paw-paw bought diamond earrings with screw-on-backs.  They are bigger than my diamond earrings...and I am 32 years old.  Isn't there some sort of law out there that says a 6 year old should not have bigger diamond earrings than her mother?
Grace was over-the-top excited about her new bling.  I really didn't expect such a reaction...but I suppose every female human has some sort of "diamond instinct" built into their DNA.  Grace knew exactly what these little sparkly rocks were.  To say she was thrilled is a large understatement.
 My little diva...rocking it out with diamond  There's not a baby book out there that warns ya of this stuff.
Oh and it's summer break ya know?  Well....while baby brother takes a nap every afternoon, Grace and I watch an episode of "Toddlers and Tiaras" on Netflix.  Grace says she really really wants to be in a pageant....oh. my.  Pray for me.  And pray for the man she marries...that he is very patient and likes to shop for jewelry.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Vacation 2011

Wow...are you ready for this?  Seriously.  I just uploaded over 40 pictures to go with this one blog entry.  That's kinda ridiculous.  But whatever...go git a cuppa coffee.  Yer gonna need it.
Oh and by the's 4pm on a Tuesday.  We're still in our pajama's and watching Toddler's and Tiaras.  No...I am not joking.  This is all true.  I couldn't not make this stuff up if I wanted to...(P.S. Now it's Thursday...I'm reading thru the post to make sure it makes sense before I post's's almost 11am...and we're still in our p.j's.  I'm starting to see a trend here)
Vacation 2011.
This was our very first official "get-in-an-airplane-and-fly-somewhere" vacation.  We went to San Antonio, TX.  It's hot there.  I'm not gonna lie. But Shamu lives there...and when Shamu splashes gallons water on you, you're not so hot anymore.  Locals will tell you that it's a "dry" heat.  Whatever that is....I say 104 degrees feels like 104 degrees whatever way you cut it.  I told the locals I wasn't complaining...we had snow up to our mailbox this past winter.  Bring on the heat! I can take it!
So the first day, Friday, we went to Sea World. Grace was super excited, as only Grace can be.  She could hardly contain herself.  She was oozing excitement.
 We rushed to the front gates, eager to spend the day with Shamu and her (his?) friends.
(There's a little part in there about me losing my cell phone and thinking it fell out of my pocket.  But it was all okay. Turns out in my excitement I left it on top of the car...all 104 degree heat.  It still works by the way.  Now that's a quality product people.)
 Our first order of business was to let the boys (the big boys...Earl and his brother) ride the Steel Eel.  Then Earl made me ride it.  Then we got a beer.  At 10am in the morning.  The vendor laughed and called us "weekend warriors"...I told him we were on vacation and had just survived almost certain death on a terrifying roller coaster.  I deserved that beer.
Then we cooled off in the penguin house.  Curious little creatures, penguins.  God must have had a fine time dreaming them up.  I have no pictures of the flightless birds, only a picture of my little baby boy bird watching them.
 Then we went to see the Shamu show.  And what a show it was!  Very impressive!  We even got to see the newest baby whale born in the park only months before.  I cried when I saw the baby swimming alongside his momma...such a precious creation.
 Baby cousin Austin fell asleep right in the middle of eating his goldfish crackers.  Poor guy.  I can't blame was a long day!  But boy did we have fun!  And we didn't even see all of the time, we'll go back a second day.
 On Saturday, we went north to the Natural Bridge Caverns.  The girls spent time waiting for Paw-paw by jumping from rock to rock.
 Baby brother tried to imitate them, but got a little he chose to squat and watch instead.
 A few "cousin" shots while we waited.
 And a picture of me and Earl.  On a very large orange dinosaur.  I'm not exactly sure what the dinosaur has to do with the caverns...but it made for a good photo op.
 There was even a baby dinosaur.  I told the girls to make a crazy face.  This is what I got.
Then it was on to take our walking tour of the Natural Bridge Caverns.  Here's why it is called "Natural Bridge Caverns".....
See the rock bridge created when part of the caves collapsed hundreds of years ago?  No...we didn't get to walk across it.  That's was kinda scary and narrow.  I was totally okay with admiring it from afar.
And don't you love this sign posted at the entrance to the cave?   Isn't it so true?  And not just about spelunking...about life in general. 
Entering the caves.  Grace really doesn't know what she's in for, this is her first cave tour...but she's all in and she's excited!
See??...absolute excitement about the unknown. Look up excitement in the will see this:
A 3 generation picture.  I sure do love all these boys.
Grace and Taylor at the very first part of the caves.  We were instructed not to touch ANYTHING...and I don't know about you, but when I heard this, all I wanted to do was touch EVERYTHING!!  It was tough, I'm not gonna lie...the cave walls and formations were so pretty and foreign and I wanted to touch them!!!
But...don't worry, turns out I'm not the only person that yearns to touch the rocks that grow like amazing stone flowers.  There was ONE rock that was the designated "touching rock"...both girls were quick to reach out and touch was I...
and guess what, it felt just like a rock.  Go figure.
These pictures just do not do this place justice.  We descended 180 feet down into the cave.  And there we encountered room after room of rock columns, stalactites, stalagmites, and many other kinds of rock formations.  Formed over hundreds and hundreds of years.  It takes each column 100 years to grow one cubic inch.  I think the tallest column was 32 feet high.  For reals...that is crazy.   
Oh...did I mention that Earl carried the baby the entire way?  Yeh, he did.  Sam was scared.  I'm not sure how far he carried him...but I do know it was over a time frame of about an hour.  And Sam weighs 35 pounds.  That's quite a load to carry!  And the floor was damp and slippery...and Earl had on flip-flops.   Good times...good times. 
The picture below is of the biggest room in the cave system called "The Hall of Giants" 
Fascinating.  Mind-blowing. Makes a girl feel very small in a very big world.
And here Grace is showing you a cave formation called "Fairy Castles"...she was seriously looking for a fairy after she saw this. 
See...Earl carried the baby through the entire cave.  He hung on like a baby monkey.
The whole group--well, except for me, but we've already talked about how momma is never in the picture.  Always behind the camera. *sigh*
But wait!  Earl remembered!  A picture of me standing in front of a ginormous rock column!  Oh Joy!
And me again...carrying Sam.  Imagine that...someone carrying the 35lb 3 year old with perfectly healthy and capable legs.  He might be a little bit spoiled...I couldn't say for sure.
And another picture of me with Taylor and a very pouty Grace...
And then we emerged blinking into the light...very thirsty and in Grace's case, cranky.  Sam, who had been terrified of the entire cave experience, began to weep and wail as we exited the cave.  He began to cry that he wanted to "go back into cave"...that he indeed was not scared.  Maybe he felt like he had something to prove...I dunno...but I thought it was funny.  So I took a picture.
After a hot day at the caves, we headed back to hotel to grab some lunch and regroup.  Then we walked over to the Alamo for a quick history lesson before dinner.
I've been to the Alamo several times in the past, but it always fascinates me.  To be right on top of such history...I just can't wrap my mind around it.
Sam liked the fountains best.  Or maybe he liked the money he got from Paw-paw to throw into the fountains.  All I know is he's smiling and no one is having to carry him...the day was looking up.
Earl really liked this diorama (is that what it's called?--whatever, it's a little model of what the Alamo and the area around the Alamo looked like back in the day) and he wanted to show the kids.  I thought it was a sweet Daddy/Son I snapped a picture.  Then I got yelled at by the Alamo staff for taking pictures inside the bad, folks, my bad.  Putting the camera away...
Another sweet Daddy/Son moment...outside...where a girl doesn't get yelled at for taking pictures.  I sure do love these boys.
It was hot (but a "dry heat"...) so after the Alamo we headed to get some dinner on the Riverwalk.  The wait was insane.  We parked the kids at a table near the bar (not actually in the bar...what kind of parents do you think we are?!)...And got them some ice-cold lemonade...mommy got a margarita...daddy got a beer.  Then the wait didn't seem so bad and the air conditioning felt oh-so-good!
The next day was Sunday.  We headed north to Gruene, TX (pronounced "Green") and went to eat at the Gristmill.  Earl had eaten there on a trip to TX a little over a year ago and I had heard about it from the Food Network.  The food is said to be ah-ma-zing.  While we waited for our table the kids sat with Paw-paw in the shade.   
What a crew!  Oh, and Grace is wearing sunglasses because she got sunscreen in her eyes and went into total meltdown mode.  Sunglasses seemed to help both with the sunscreened eyes and the meltdown. 
After we got seated at our table....Sam had a meltdown.  Sheesh!  Good thing I only have two children!  The meltdowns seemed contagious.  So I gave him my camera.  That seemed to do the trick.  The following pictures were taken by Sam. 
A pretty good pic of Paw-paw!
And the next two pictures are of me, taken by Sam...doing what I do best....
Eating....(the onion rings were phenomenal by the way)
and talking with my hands....
Eating at the Gristmill was a great finale to our vacation.  It was by far the best hamburger I have ever eaten.  And the onion rings?  Well...I ate them all and I did not share.
And now we come to the very last photo...
Sam's stroller parked in the motorcycle parking.  'Cause he's cool like that.
Kay...that probably the longest post I've ever written.  It took me 3 days to write.  If you've made it this far...Congratulations and thanks.  We really did have a fantastic time in San Antonio.  It's such a pretty city with lots of fun stuff to do.  But most of all, we enjoyed simply being together.  I have a pretty nice little family...if I do say so myself :)