Gabby Goes Camping

Last weekend, while B had her ladies over the house, Gabby and I decided to go camping. Initially, the plan included Jesse & Zach, Arthur & Martin, and Louis & Lukey. At first there were eight.


For various and unforeseen circumstances those plans disintegrated. The Boyz and the boys couldn't make it. And then there were two.

The weekend began with an evening at Aunt Sally and Uncle Shaun's house. While tooling around Friday night, The three of us hatched a revised plan that included two additional campers...Aunt Sally and Uncle Shaun. Yippee. And then there were four.

We set out Saturday morning for Mansfield Dam, a Travis county park. The park worked out great. Aside from the camp ground, there was a well maintained potty, a playground, a swimming cove/beach, lots of trails, boats and jet skis to watch, a big ol' dam to discuss, and lots of bugs to learn about. And learn we did.

Upon arrival we went to work setting up camp. Gabby learned how to unroll a tent, and build tent poles. We then scoped out proper positioning for the tent spikes and went about the proper steps.

Somewhere in all this, I found a large caterpillar. Being and good Dad, I presented it to our fair Gabby. It was quite impressed with the young lady, so it quickly crawled towards her. The feelings were not mutual. Gabby got a bit anxious and defended herself with a furious leg and later stated, "I smooshed it." Uncle Shaun cleaned it up, and Aunt Sally explained that is was "all done." First lesson learned.

We then embarked on a stroll to acquaint ourselves with our surroundings. Gabby donned her new backback, and we headed for the playground. Along the way there was much fun involving the chasing of our shadows. Gabby's a riot.

The playground was clean and well designed. As could be expected, G dismissed the "toddler playground" and spend all her time on the 5-12 playground. A blast was had.

After a little snack, retrieved from her trusty backpack, we found a nice shady spot under a tree on the paved path. Gabby opened her new tub o' chalk and learned the art of multiplication when she dumped the 20 pieces of chalk on the ground and made 40 pieces instantly. Lesson learned.

There was a nice little girl that came to the playground with her family. She was about 4-5. Gabby offerred her a piece of chalk, but the girl was speechless. Gabby returned to us and declared, "That girl needs words." Lesson learned.

We next headed for the shore. Lots of boats, jet skis and people swimming. So fun. Gabby was a little confused by the "sleeping boy," or as you might call him, the "sunbathing man."

Lunch was turkey sandwiches, peppers, and quakes. Gabby gained first hand experience in stating, "Shoo fly." Lesson learned.

Naptime followed, but no nap was had. I think it was too hot in the tent. Taking a suggestion from Uncle Shaun, we loaded everyone into the car, and drove for a bit. G and Sally were down instantly. Lesson learned.

We stopped by Rudy's after the nap, and had some Blue Bell ice cream. So good. Gabby really enjoyed her wooden spoon.

We quickly changed into our bathing suits and headed for the shore. We swam and played. And splashed. Lesson learned.

On the walk back to camp, Gabby learned about spider webs, and how they catch insects.

For dinner, we roasted hot dogs on the fire, cooked baked beans and corn on the campstove, and had some chips. Gabby even had a toasted Marshmallow for a special special treat.

Sleeping didn't go well, either. Eventually we went to sleep together. Gabby hogged the pillow and alocated me a small stuffed babydoll. Lesson learned.

In the morning, she forgot we were both in the tent, so started calling me from the window.

We had eggs - they were really good eggs - and apples and bananas for breakfast.we packed our gear and headed out.

All in all, it was a great adventure. Here are more pictures!


Friends Girls' Weekend

This past weekend, Ellie and I hosted "The Friends Group," which includes eight fabulous women that I met here in Austin while Joe was in grad school. We're now spread around the country a bit, but we get together a few times a year with as many of the eight of us as can make it, and sometimes the youngest babies as well. This trip included all eight women and the three youngest munchkins. For a great synopsis of the history of the "Friends Group," as well as more pictures from the weekend, please check out Kristen's blog post.

Here are the babies:

Ellie (2.5 months), Ella (6.5 months), and Patrick (2.5 months)
(Ellie is one day older than Patrick)!

And here's all of us:
Tammy, Shannon w/Ella, Basia w/Ellie, Laura, Erin w/Patrick, Emily, Jennifer, Kristen

Ellie was a champ this weekend. She enjoyed being held by anyone who was interested, had a great lunch with us at Chuy's, and slept pretty well both nights, despite the stuffy nose that's been plaguing her for almost 2 weeks now! (It seems that the worst is finally past, and hopefully we'll be booger-free very soon)!

Because we were going to have quite a full house, Gabby and Daddy went elsewhere for the weekend. I'll let Joe post the details of Gabby's weekend adventures, since I wasn't there to witness it, but from what I hear, she had a blast!