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Spring Break!!

March 12, 2014

IMG_1958It’s spring break in the ATX and I’m remembering again why I love this city of mine (this city, where the people who live here are constantly talking about how great it is.  I’m one of those people).

This year, we stayed put for spring break.  We had grand dreams a year ago–a trip up to the Piney Woods area of the state complete with some camping and lots of exploring.  However, we never pulled things together and planned different family adventure for later in March, so we postponed it a year or two.  Last year, the kids and I drove to Albuquerque and while I felt the same pull again, briefly, this year, I decided this year, I didn’t need 24 hours in a car with my three children and several books on CD from the library.

Instead, we are taking in a few of the sights of Austin this week.  It’s been marvelous so far.  We’ve had one low key, stay at home day in which I tackled a long-overdue cleaning project—the oft ignored laundry room.  We did manage to get breakfast treats from the newish Whole Foods close to our house–sitting on the top floor with a birds eye view of the grocery store.  It was pretty cool, I must say.

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We’ve “traveled” these past two days.  One day we visited Mueller–ate lunch and played at the beautiful Lake Park.  At the appointed hour, we entered  the also new-ish Children’s Museum (The Thinkery).  I love this age and stage my children are in.  I didn’t really lose anyone, which is quite an accomplishment, based on my middlest’s (and youngest’s, too) track record.  I loved watching my kids play.  They shrieked with joy at the elaborate water table.  They had a wonderful time in the “store”–all fruits and vegetables, more of a farmer’s market.  Madeleine tried to make a boat that could float, the two bigs made secret codes.   Outside, they squealed in the giant play structure and Madeleine worked with another girl to build a dam in the water feature outside.  Because I wasn’t on Facebook at all, I could watch my children play.  There is nothing like watching a child absorbed in what she is doing.  I know the children’s museum wants the parents to interact with their children, but it was also good for all of us to let the children explore on their own instead of having an adult guide them.  We ended the day with milkshakes from a local burger chain (such good, good milkshakes….).

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Isaac plays the wooden guitar at the Thinkery.

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Water/Splash Table fun!

Today we headed to my favorite museum in the city–The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum.  For years, since Madeleine was born really, I’ve been waiting to visit the TX State History museum.  When I taught in schools, my fourth grade class would visit this museum at least once a year.  One year I worked on a curriculum unit for the museum and my class was able to visit three times in one school year.  I know the museum like the back of my hand and it’s one of my favorite places.

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John decided his choice job would be quicksilver miner. Hmm…don’t think that would be my first choice. I’d go for Cowboy.

I decided this year, the kids were finally old enough to try it out.  Beautiful success!!!  Isaac had school today (Glory be!), so the bigs and I headed over to the museum after someone’s seven year well child check.  There was an extreme mammal exhibit that is ending it’s time at the museum and I wanted Madeleine to get to see that.  I think she could spent twice as long in there, reading all the signs and watching all the videos.  The main exhibits at the museum is what enthralled John.  He watched almost every single video showing and loved the stories of the Texas Revolution.  I already can’t wait to take them again (and this time show them the movie that shows in the Texas Spirit Theatre).

Since it was a morning downtown, we headed to Clarksville for lunch.  We ate in an interestingly designed Mexican taqueria/cafe.  It was a warm place–large windows letting in the midday sun on a cold (Relative for us, friends.  Cold today was 50-something degrees) day.  As we were leaving, we noticed a group of bicycles (not ridden by cyclists, but by tourists) turning the corner of the neighborhood street.

At that moment, I was aware once again why I love this fine city of mine.  Because of things like SXSW (South by Southwest), our fine city shuts down. It’s is inundated by tourists–I am sure it’s not just my imagination that the amount of planes flying overhead into the airport has increased since a week ago.  Everything seems to slow a down a bit for spring break–the universities are also on spring break in addition to all the surrounding school districts.  For one week, we get a Sabbath rest (however, whether or not it’s an actual rest is very debatable and maybe a bit of a stretch.  But, I am reading a book).  For one week, we get to be tourists in our own city or do a deep cleaning of our laundry room.  We get to read a lot of books from the public library, eat earlier dinners, and spend time between supper and bed playing games.  All sports practices and games are canceled (with the exception of Isaac’s swim lesson).  Madeleine’s been given a respite from her piano lessons as well.

All is well in the ATX.  While I may be missing Facebook a bit, I am enjoying all the extra time and attention that being off Facebook has given me.  We’ll see what the rest of the week holds for us!

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