Monday, June 23, 2008

The Birds

We took the girls and my mom to the Little Rock Zoo the other day. It's a much smaller zoo than the Houston Zoo, which we used to frequent, but that's one thing we like about the zoo here -- you're not completely wiped out after going there.

The zoo has a nice lorikeet exhibit right now. This one landed on my shoulder, which was cool -- for about a second. Then it started chewing on my necklace and I could feel its tiny, sharp claws through my dress. A little too close to nature for me.

We're having the parade of the grandmothers right now. My mom leaves today and Chad's mom gets here tomorrow. She'll stay with us until we take Julia to ACU Leadership Camp in July.

We're also doing swim team this summer. Julia is swimming for the Bryant Barracudas, which means 8 a.m. practices almost every day and crack-of-dawn swim meets every Saturday. But she's having fun, and I have yet to hear the "B" word. ("B-O-R-E-D.")

Sunday, June 15, 2008

To Texas and Back

We're back from the first of our two Texas trips of the summer. On June 5, we headed to my parents' house near Houston before going on to Baytown the next day. When we visit Baytown, there are two things I can't wait to do:

1) See Lois, my best Baytown girlfriend,
2) and eat some decent Tex-Mex, which we have yet to find in the otherwise lovely state of Arkansas.

So we usually manage to combine the Lois/Mexican food thing into one glorious outing. There are three El Toro locations in Baytown, and this is the one on Garth Road. It's the one where Jennifer Garner lunched with family when she was in town for the funeral of her grandmother, a long-time Baytown resident, several months ago. So if Baytown has a celebrity hotspot, I guess this El Toro would be it.

Later we met up with Lois and her dashing husband Bill at the Baytown Target. (Lois is one of my sisters in Targethood.) We also ran into Jason, one of our former youth groupers, with his mom Karen and niece Aurora. (Aurora's mom Michelle is also one of our former youth groupers. Possibly the coolest youth group member we've ever had.)

Jenna and Aurora were instant best friends and ran off to shop the One Spot.

The next day was the wedding of Amber and Brant at our old church. It was great seeing former youth group members get married, and we also got to see so many people who were so special to us during the six years we were there. (Some trivia about Brant: he and some accomplices, including Aurora's mom Michelle, once wrapped our house with 96 rolls of toilet paper. It took me ten minutes just to unwrap our mailbox.)

On Monday, we got to spend some time with Chad's dad, who lives with his wife about an hour from my parents' house. Here are the girls very much enjoying having a grandpa with his own pool.

Julia had spent the night with Meagan, her Baytown BFF, and left her DS case at Meagan's house. So what better excuse did we need to meet Meagan and her mom Toni (they visited us in Arkansas over Christmas break) at the Houston Children's Museum? Here are Julia and Meagan battling with fake bread sticks from the museum's pretend grocery store.

Living in a land-locked state, we naturally had to get our beach fix.

My cute parents. That day was their 45th anniversary!

The girls in the shark cage at Moody Gardens. I actually had some peace there for a second!

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Sliding sisters

This, my friends, is known as "summer."

(Photo courtesy of Michelle Cook!)

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

My Summer Not-Reading List

On Sunday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette printed a list of the books NOT to read this summer. So I thought I would come up with a list of some of the books I have hated over the years.

I haven't necessarily hated all of them. Some of them were just annoying, while others induced a full-blown case of what I like to call "Page Rage." Some of them may be books you happen to love. Oh, well.

1) Pat Nixon: The Untold Story by Julie Nixon Eisenhower. I attempted to read this while I was on a First-Lady kick several years ago. I had just read Rosalyn Carter's auto-bio, as well as Barbara Bush's. Both were very interesting and Bush's especially was quite entertaining. I hadn't realized how funny she is. So I plunged into Pat Nixon's biography--written by her daughter--and truthfully could not get past the second chapter. I don't know if Julie is a boring writer or if her mother was just a boring person. So I skipped it and read Hillary Clinton's auto-bio instead, which I enjoyed. (Clinton's book, incidentally, make the Democrat-Gazette's bad-book list this past Sunday.)

2) The Liveliest Art by Arthur Knight. This was the textbook for a film history class I took in college. You would think a book chronicling the history of the film industry would be fascinating. Not this one. While plodding through this book for the class, I began to understand the phrase "bored to tears."

3) Preparing for Adolescence by James Dobson. At one time, this was required reading for all 12-year-olds living in Christian households. I found it more traumatizing than anything. For one thing, Dobson's awkward, mechanical description of sex makes me wonder if the man has ever had sex at all. And learning about my changing body from a middle-aged man was just plain creepy. I found Judy Blume's "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret" much more helpful.

4) Now I Can Fly! by Jane McWhorter. Self-help books are annoying. Christian self-help books are worse. And Church of Christ Christian self-help books are downright scary. This was written by a preacher's wife from Abilene, TX, and was geared toward women struggling with their self-esteem. I guess. I've never read it. My grandmother gave it to me after her church had studied it in Ladies Class. I took it home, put it on the shelf and didn't touch it for almost eight years. Can you blame me? It has a chapter titled "I'm in Love with Me," for heaven's sake. Then one day, after my grandmother died, I decided to thumb through it out of curiosity. Tucked between the pages were four five-dollar bills. The lesson I learned is this: If someone gives you a book you think is crap, at least turn it upside-down and shake it in case there's money inside. Then you can thank the person for the money before they die.

I'm sure I've hated more books than these. I'll post them after doing some memory-repression therapy.