Archive for April, 2014

Fifteen years.

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Fifteen years ago this evening, on a wet Thursday, my dear friend, Bill, flew into ATL, met me in the Delta Crown Room, entertained me through most of an endless flight delay, and then whisked me away to the Westin Perimeter Center to enjoy dinner, “Pleasantville,” and what would become the very beginning of our life together.

I could not then imagine our life together and wonderful daughters, but I am immensely grateful for all of it. Happy anniversary, Sweetie!

Hum for the fishies…

Monday, April 28th, 2014

As of April, it’s warm enough to get back in the water, especially the hot tub outside Sarah’s condo. Time to resume teaching girls to swim!

While filling the recycle bin a few days ago, I skimmed a parenting mag that reminded me about humming. As in, humming is a great tactic for a kid to put their face in the water without getting water up their nose.

We practiced humming over dinner, I demonstrated in the bathtub and girls practiced, and then we brought our new skills to the condo pool. To help girls see how it’s supposed to work, I made a short video.

Here’s Mama Bob humming for the fishies:

Get the Flash Player to see this video.

On the upside, girls can now hum and — very gingerly — put their faces under water. We clap and cheer each time they do!

On the other hand, they also expect real fishes. Over the weekend, while we were swimming in Bellaire’s competition lap pool, Sam suddenly went from standing in the gutter to tumbling head-first into the deep end. Bill and I were right there and Bill scooped her up just a few seconds later.

After a very-startled Sam finished coughing and sneezing out water, I asked her what happened. She said that she had been trying to see the fishes — leaned over with her face right over the water — and slipped.

Oops! I guess it’s time to order a set of diving fish from Amazon. And fortunately, Bellaire’s much shallower “family frog” pool will open on May 3rd.

Zoo carousel!

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

One Saturday in mid-March, we ventured over to the rodeo carnival. Bill had to work the Wednesdays that we saw livestock with grandmothers, and this was his chance to experience the show with the girls.

Our mission was to ride a ferris wheel. Two of our story books — Hello, Chicago and M is for Monkey — include ferris wheels, and I had been talking them up. The carnival had THREE ferris wheels, including a “little” one in the “kiddie” area, so we expected it to be easy.

Much to our surprise, the grand wheel required riders to be 52″ (4-1/2′) tall, and the little ferris wheel required riders to be 36″ (3′) tall, even with an adult. In fact, every single ride had a minimum height requirement. With Cate just under 32″ and Sam just over 33″ tall, the only ride we were eligible for this year was the carousel.

So we took our ride card and rode the little carousel… twice. Cate was discomfited by the herky-jerky motion of her first horse, but she selected a sleigh bench for the second trip and enjoyed going “dizzy” (round and round) on it immensely. Sam’s inaugural rounds were on a stationary horse, which she thought was great, and she tackled a horse on the second round.

Sometime before our second ride it started to rain, so we bought some funnel cake and walked back to the rail station to head home.

The following Saturday, when we asked the girls what they’d like to do, they both declared for riding the carousel at the livestock show. At first, we explained that the show was over until next year and we’d have to do something else. But then it dawned on us that there’s a carousel at the Houston Zoo between the giraffe yard and the Children’s Zoo.

Armed with our 2014 membership card, we set out for the zoo. We were delighted to discover that the Wildlife Carousel is absolutely marvelous. New in 2004, it has four rows of animals including a frog, a bear, several lions, tigers, gorillas, a caterpillar sprouting wings, a couple of Rice owls, and even the only known carved wood carousel armadillo.

We’ve been on the zoo carousel at least once every weekend since then. Here’s a video clip of Daddy Bill with two very happy girls: Cate is astride a lion, and Sam’s riding a log with a couple of baby gorillas.

Get the Flash Player to see this video.


Bluebonnets 2014!

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

With the warm burst of spring weather sometime around the last week of March, Texas Bluebonnets made their 2014 debut. On April 5th, we took girls to Memorial Park to wander among the blue blossoms for a while, and then visited the swings and the playground.

Here’s a very short video clip of Cate and Sam in the bluebonnets:

Get the Flash Player to see this video.

And here are my favorite photos from our outing:

This was as close as we got to sitting four of us down for a family photo.



Dad, Cate working the tripod, and Sam with her hands in her pockets

Cate hug!

Sam sprawled among the bluebonnets

Cate swinging “higher, please!” on the big-kid swing

p.s. For some startling perspective on how much Sam and Cate have grown and developed in two years, take a look at our 2012 bluebonnet photos. Wow!