Monday, March 12, 2007
On Friday we left for Bastrop State Park. Earlier in the week, I was able to book the last remaining cabin there for Friday night and Saturday night (Spring break just started so most places are full).
We left Friday afternoon and managed to get there before the sun went down. Thanks to my handy dandy Texas State Parks Pass that my brother got me for Christmas (great gift bub), we didn't have to pay to get in (which probably saved us close to $70 bucks for 3 days at 2 state parks). After checking in, we got to our cabin and unloaded. The cabin was very cool: it was one of the older cabins that was built in the park in the 1930's. It is a stone and log cabin made entirely of native woods. Right outside the cabin is a picnic area and fire ring which was nice. Reading some of the brochures, it looks like building the first 5 cabins like this proved to be way too time intensive and expensive than was planned, so the remaining cabins were wood framed.
Neo and I took off into the woods with his metal detector and searched around for about 45 minutes. At first we were only able to find pennies (we found 4), but then we found a ring (Christian said it was marked as 14K) and a musket ball/bullet. Not bad for 45 minutes. Neo was very excited. I was too... it's like treasure hunting :)
We built a fire and roasted some hot dogs for supper. Afterwards, we all fell asleep at different times... it was obvious we were all very tired.
The next morning, after some breakfast, Neo and I kicked the soccer ball for a bit, and then we walked around in the woods for a while. After we got back to the cabin, we loaded up the truck and took the scenic drive over to Buesher State Park. It is a beautiful drive down some very hilly and winding roads. Beautiful as it was, it was making Christian car sick, so we didn't do that again. At Buescher, we played at one of the playgrounds and had lunch. On the way back, we picked up some bait for fishing in the afternoon.
We went to the cabin and rested before heading back to Buescher to go fishing. Even though there is a nice lake right outside our cabin, we couldn't fish in the lake at Bastrop because it was closed to protect the breeding of the Houston toad.
Fishing at Buescher was great. As usual, Neo caught more fish than I did.
Then we went and ate at a little country restaurant called Maxine's. The food was pretty good, including some really good crawfish soup. It was made even better by the live blues music.
Our last day in Bastrop was the best one. After we checked out of our cabin, we got ready for a hike on one of the great trails. Right before we got on the trail, a gentleman hiking with his family (a large family) asked if he was going in the right direction to get back to the front gate. Now I knew that he was roughly at the midpoint of the circle, and he had a long, long way to walk back to the front gate. Not to mention, I had just drove it in the truck, and there were some really steep hills in there. I grabbed the map and showed him, and it looked like his heart fell into his shoes. I could see his wife and the rest of the kids approaching in the background, and I could tell that he REALLY didn't want to deliver this information. So I said, "can we give you guys a" and before I could say "ride", one of his daughters yelled "Yes!!". They all hopped in the back of the truck and we helped them get back to their camper.
After that, we went on our hike. The hike was really nice and a good workout. After we got back to the truck, we headed back to Buescher for some last minute fishing. This was awesome. We whipped out the coleman stove and Christian cooked some incredible hamburgers and bacon, and we had the best bacon cheeseburgers under an oak tree. Fishing with Neo was great. This time, he was casting and catching fish without any assistance at all. And of course, he caught more fish than me.
After that, we headed back to Houston. We had an almost perfect drive until we got to our exit in Houston. Right there, we sat in near standstill traffic for about 2 hours before finally continuing home.
It was a truly great and relaxing trip. It was so good, that I hardly remember that I was sick the entire time. That's how good it was.
The part I think I will remember most was while Neo and I were quietly fishing for the second time.
"Neo, you have to tell me how you catch those fish so good."
"Well, dad, you have to be patient." (I had been telling him this over and over when he would get bored or distracted.) "... you have to be patient, and watch your cork. And then... sometimes... sometimes you gotta kinda look at that cork... and you look at it... and you have to get mad at it a little bit."
"I need to get mad at it?"
"Yeah... you gotta get mad at it a little bit."
You can see the pictures here and you can see Neo's pictures in his March folder.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
It's been a long time since the last post, and I wish I could say it was because not much has been going on, but tons of things have been going on. Every time I sit down and decide to update the website, I get focused on something else. I guess, with another one on the way, I should start getting used to this. My buddy said, "Dude, a husband and wife with one child is a well-oiled machines. A husband and wife with two kids ...".
Looking at the last post date, Jan 28th... wow. A lot a has happened since then. I'm trying to remember where we were over a month ago.
First up, room reorganization is in full swing. We decided to change the dining room into the office. That prompted a quick remodel with new paint, crown moulding, base moulding, and window blinds. Here is a link to before pictures and after pictures.
Next up was the kitchen pantry. Mrs. Pam and Mr. Troy were in town a few weekends ago and Mr. Troy and I got in that excuse for a pantry and made a REAL pantry out of it. We were able to extend the pantry under the stairs for some added space and put in plenty of shelves. We dressed it up with moulding and new tile flooring. I think it came out really well, although the funky stud arrangement caused us to go through a few redesigns. You can see before pictures and after pictures. Thank you so much Mr. Troy (and Mrs. Pam, she helped out with painting a ton!). Christian, Neo, and I all are really enjoying the new pantry.
But Mrs. Pam did way more than paint. Her and Christian went on a spring cleaning rampage, which I couldn't have been more happy with. Mrs. Pam and Christian went through her entire closet and threw out tons of things that Christian no longer wears. They also went through some boxes of clothes for both Christian and I, and some saved clothes in the hall closet and got rid of a bunch more. Yay!
And to top it all off, the girls spruced up the living room with some new curtains and Mr. Troy and I installed some new blinds. Boy does the living room look a lot better. I don't have any pictures of it, but it really does change the room. Thanks guys... thanks a million.
The next room to remodel will be the master bedroom, but we will need to get the foundation repaired before we do too much on that one. Ouch.
And that's just stuff about the house. What else is going on?
Christian is getting over the morning sickness period. She still contends with sporadic blood-sugar levels, but overall she is doing better. Neo is still very anxious and curious about what life will be like with the new baby. He and I both.
Neo is doing great. He has been doing very well at school lately. Christian and I cross our fingers to see how long this run of good behavior will last. He is a great kid.
On Mondays, Christian has school so I pick Neo up from school. Since we are on our own for food, we have turned this into a "dinner" night for us. The rules are that we go out to try out new types of food and cannot eat at the same place twice. Also, we can't do fast food, unless it is a local mom-and-pop type place. So far, we haven't tried too much, but last week we tried Italian. I told him he could get anything except spaghetti. He had a chicken dish that he seemed to like. Next week we are going to try Indian food.
Also, in my last post, I told you guys I would be posting some lists. One would be the list of things we are giving away so that you guys could take your pic. I don't have that list ready yet.
The other list is the "lookout" list of things we need. Here is the first cut of the list. If you know the whereabouts of any of these items, please email me and let me know.
Please keep an eye out for any of those things. In a couple of months we will take stock of what we have and what we are missing.
Oh, and mom got her a new laptop. Not only that, but she set it up by herself, reconfigured her home network router and DSL modem, set up a home network, enabled wireless, and connected to her wireless with her new laptop. All by herself. Good job mom. I'm proud of you. Don't be afraid to hit buttons and try things.
And lastly, we just signed up Neo for his first season of soccer at the YMCA. He really wanted to try it out. I have no idea what to tell him. I don't know the first thing about soccer. Perhaps that is best. I just tell him to kick it hard.