Thursday, March 29, 2012

Girls Weekend

Last weekend was the annual family turkey hunt all the way out near Sonora. Katy and I took advantage of the missing men to have a girls weekend with Our Little Princess and Her Highness.

We started out on Friday afternoon with a trip to Jo-Ann Fabric. I've been wanting Katy to help me with some fabric choices and designs for quite a while. She has a designer's eye that I just don't have. I can't wait to get them made and show them to you. We were also working on ideas for Her Highness' first birthday party. Can you believe she'll be a year old on April 11th. The year went by so fast.

As usual, we stayed way too long at the fabric store. This is a long-standing problem for me. When our kids were little, there was a huge fabric store in Corpus Christi called Cloth World. Nick would cry any time he had to go with me to Cloth World. To this day, he considers fabric stores to be a horrible punishment. By the time we left the fabric store, everyone was hungry and the baby was cranky. We decided it was time for dinner.

For quite a while now, Katy has been telling me about a place where the gourmet food trucks all park in the evenings and serve dinner. We decided to give it a try. It's called The Boardwalk on Bulverde and is a really fun place. They have a play area for the kids and a big screen television which was showing a Spurs game on Friday night. Picnic tables are surrounded by about about a dozen food trucks. We ordered two different items and split them so we both got to try a couple of different things. The burger from Toastie Buns was awesome. If you go, it's BYOB. Non-alcoholic beverages are available on site.

While the girls played, we discussed our ideas for what we should do on Saturday. We decided to drive to Austin and do a little antique and junk shopping.

We drove up IH 35 from San Antonio to Austin without too much traffic and chose to start on Congress Avenue in the SoCo shopping district, an area that has several interesting shops. Katy wanted to take me to a store called Uncommon Objects. This store is jam packed with interesting objects and is a junk and antique shoppers dream. It's kind of a nightmare if you are shopping with a one-year-old and a three-year-old. You also have to leave your strollers outside because it's just too tight a fit.

As luck would have it, there is also a gourmet food truck park right across the street. So we took a break for lunch. Katy and I both had six inch subs from The Short Bus. I had "The Bully" which has Genoa salami, pepperoni, capocolla, mozzarella, provolone, lettuce, tomato, pepperoncini, and oil & vinegar. It was awesome. The bread is fresh baked. I ate a little bit of bread and then ate the inside of the sandwich. Delicious! I'm not sure, but I think Katy had "The Teacher's Pet" which has turkey, swiss cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and ranch dressing. She also thought it was good. The Short Bus has a large selection of sandwiches available including quite a few vegan and vegetarian options. Our Little Princess had fried macaroni and cheese which she was not crazy about. I think she's a food purist when it comes to mac and cheese. She only likes it the usual way.

Then we couldn't resist dessert. Actually, Our Little Princess couldn't resist the giant cupcake on top of the Hey Cupcake! trailer. And, since it was right next door, Katy and I decided to try some pie. I don't remember the name of the pie trailer, but oh my goodness, the pie was good GREAT. Instead of slices of pie, you actually get a little pie of your own. I guess they are technically tarts. We had a buttermilk pie and a bumbleberry pie. If you're not southern, you may not be familiar with buttermilk pie. It's a baked custard pie and is almost always my first choice for pie. It's cheap and easy to make and this one did not disappoint. It was almost as good as my mother-in-law's buttermilk pie. This was my first taste of bumbleberry pie which is a mixed berry pie with blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries. It was only a little bit sweet and still had the tartness that berries should have. Both Her Highness and Grams LOVED IT!

There were a couple of downsides to eating at the South Congress Food Trailers. First of all, it was hot and there was not enough shade. We ate in the glaring sun and all of us were a little bit pink by the time we finished.  The second has to do with having the kids along. There is no play area and no seating for kids and it is right on the side of the street. We had to keep a tight hold on both kids, but it was so worth it.

After we did a little more shopping, it was nap time. We buckled both girls in their car seats and headed toward Zilker Park. Since both girls were sleeping long before we got to the park, we didn't stop but instead drove North to Round Rock and Ikea. We both love Ikea and had such a good time there. On the way out, we passed a young man whose wife was calling him to help put furniture on a cart. He looked at us and said "Nine hours!" Katy posted on Facebook "Ikea, where relationships go to die." It was good for a laugh.

We finished they day with dinner at Chuy's in Round Rock and the drive back to San Antonio. We tucked both girls in and went to bed ourselves. We were worn out, in a good way.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Rocking Chairs and Rocking Babies

I've always loved rocking chairs. I loved rocking my own babies and I had a very cool bentwood rocker in their nursery. Now we have Patrick's grandmother's rocking chair. It's just the right size for me and there is nothing better than cuddling up with the grandgirls and rocking them in their great-great grandmother's rocking chair. The rocking chair that Katy has in her nursery belonged to my mother. I love the idea of her rocking her babies in my mother's chair. Mom would have loved that too. I love the sense of continuity that passing down these chairs gives to the family

We had an unplanned visit from Katy and the grandgirls this weekend. It was quite a treat. Her Highness is walking now. To say she's walking is an understatement. At ten months old she's also become quite the little climber. You have to watch her like a hawk or she climbs up on anything and everything.

This leads me to another rocking chair. This rocking chair is one of a pair that has been in our family since my sister Jan and I were around 4 and 6 years old. That's more than 50 years. They are child-sized platform rockers. I've never seen any others like them. They used to have arms, but my dad removed the arms because we kept pulling them loose as we grew up. We used these chairs for watching television well into our teens. They are very solidly built and have been reupholstered several times, most recently by my sister "Aunt B." One of them is at my house now and the other is at Katy's. Both of the girls enjoy them and they're very close to the floor so falling is not an issue. They also don't tip over easily except when you stand up in them and lean back. As you can see, we keep them very close to a wall so they won't tip backwards.

As you can see, Her Highness, was very pleased with herself for climbing up and sitting like a big girl. By the way, she also climbed up and stood up in the big rocking chair, but I ran and grabbed her instead of grabbing my camera. Probably the best choice, but I wish I had that photo.

One of my all-time favorite songs is "Rockin' Years" by Dolly Parton and Ricky Van Shelton. (If you're not familiar with it click on the link and give it a listen on YouTube.) The chorus lyrics are:

Rockin' chairs, rockin' babies, rock-a-bye, rock of ages
Side by side we'll be together always
And if you'll hold me tight when you love me
That's all I'll ask of you
And I'll stand by you thru our rockin' years.
I'm enjoying Spring Break this week and finally feeling better. I've been sleeping late and taking naps. Hurray for feeling better! Hopefully, my allergy medicines will continue to work, because the oak trees are blooming and everything in sight is covered with oak pollen.

Today, I cut out nine dresses in sizes 2T-4T which will be for sale in my Etsy shop within the next few days. Tomorrow, I'm having coffee with my friend Susan who is visiting from Waco. I can't wait to see her. It's been a good week.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Why I've Been Neglecting My Blog

Neglect is defined as "failure to care for properly." That's how I feel about blogging lately, like I've been neglectful. I try very hard to blog at least twice a week. My preferred schedule is Monday and Thursday. But this winter has been tough.

I've been working more than usual. I shoot for working three days a week. As a substitute teacher, I can almost always get work on Mondays and Fridays. Then all I need is to pick up one other day and I've got my three days. Lately I've been working four or five days a week. It seems everyone has been sick this winter. Sadly, that includes me. I have had a cold or respiratory infection at least five times since October. I've been to the doctor three times and had four rounds of antibiotics, three steroid shots, and two packs of methylprednisone.

I thought I was over the last cold and went to work last Monday. By the time I got off at three o'clock, I felt horrible. All I wanted was to lay down. I came home and went straight to bed. I told Grandad that I was not cooking dinner. On Tuesday morning I still felt awful so I called the doctor's office. They agreed to work me in so I went and waited. It only took about 90 minutes. She gave me a shot and antibiotics again. I stayed home in bed Tuesday and Wednesday and felt a lot better. I worked Thursday and Friday and still felt good all weekend. We ran errands and cleaned our bedroom thoroughly. We even scrubbed down the walls to get rid of all the dust.

I have had problems with seasonal allergies for my entire adult life. Every Spring I have trouble with congestion caused by all the dust and pollen. I take Zirtec and Astelin every day all year long just to be able to breathe and keep my ears from stopping up. Honestly, I don't do a lot outside because it's just too hard to deal with the runny nose, scratchy throat, and stopped up ears.

That being said, Monday was a gorgeous day in South Texas. I thought it would be a perfect day for starting my Spring herb garden. I spent the afternoon planting rosemary, sweet basil, mint, tomatoes, bell peppers, and dill. I also re-potted a few of my succulents. As I worked, I noticed that the wind was picking up. By the time I was finished, it was very windy.

Just look at these gorgeous fabrics!
Yesterday, Grandad and I had early morning appointments with a new dentist. We took separate cars because the office is across town and we were headed different directions after that. I met some girlfriends for lunch then went to the fabric store to stock up on Spring fabrics for my Etsy shop. Next week is spring break and I'm planning to sew. I was in and out of the car several times and it kept getting windier and windier.

When I drove into our neighborhood, I thought there was a fire nearby. There seemed to be smoke hanging in the air. But when I got out of the car I realized that it was dust blowing from the farmland around our neighborhood. Our street dead ends into a field where they grow cotton, grain or corn ... depending on the year. The end of the street looked like a wall of white dust. The winds were gusting to more than 50 miles per hour. I had to go out in the yard and set flower pots upright and prop them against each other for support. I knew that the wind and dust would not be good for my allergies, so I did it as quickly as possible and came inside.

When I got inside I made sure all the windows were closed. The wind was so strong that dust was blowing down the chimney, I closed the flue and stayed inside the rest of the day and evening.

In spite of my best attempts, I woke at 6 a.m. with a throbbing head, itchy eyes, and a scratchy throat. Again today it's super windy and dust is blowing like smoke. I have now resorted to turning on the air conditioner. It's not really warm enough to need air conditioning, but it seems to filter the air inside the house and makes it easier to breathe. 

So there it is, the story of why I've been neglecting my blog. On the bright side, my Etsy shop has been keeping me quite busy. I love sewing and creating beautiful but comfortable and practical dresses for little girls. I'm now doing special orders, so if you would like me to create something for you, send me a note.