Samantha and I went down to Austin for a few days to visit my brother Luke and his girlfriend Holly. We went last year when Palmer was a small baby and I can say that this year was much easier than last year's trip where the little dude woke on the hour each night.
On the road (complete with the ER visit battle scar):
Our days were very relaxed and mostly centered around when and where to work out, what and where to eat, and an afternoon siesta, aka Palmer's (and my!) nap.
Samantha and Holly were so sweet to take Palmer to Zilker Park one afternoon while I squeezed in a work out with Luke. Palmer had so much fun with his ladies.
We met my wonderful cousin Kalee and her son at the infamous Gristmill in Gruene. A trip to the Hill Country is never complete without a visit to the Gristmill. And the outdoor lawn is the perfect space for little boys to run around.
Kalee's son Carter loves Luke. I laughed at all the questions he asked Luke, but the trickiest one was when Carter wanted to know if Luke was wearing underwear. You see, Luke came straight from the pool and was still wearing a bathing suit... Luke kept avoiding the question and Carter kept repeating the question. Ha!
Luke and Holly also introduced us to an Austin treasure, the Barton Creek Greenbelt. After a little hike with a toddler on our backs, we arrived to a wonderful swimming hole.
Palmer loved the running water from the creek.
A big thanks to Luke and Holly for hosting us for the weekend! We had so much fun visiting you!
Here in Texas, we are used to some crazy weather, but little prepared many of my neighbors for last week's storm.
Palmer and I were driving home from playgroup when out of nowhere golf and baseball-sized chunks of ice starting falling from the ground. With the covered spots on the road quickly taken, I jumped the curb at a nearby elementary school and settled under a tree for some shelter.
The large hail dropped for well over 30 minutes. And I stayed under that tree until things died down.
Meanwhile, Rick was feeling under the weather and worked from home that day. I had him on the phone when the hail began and he quickly told me about our home windows breaking right and left.
When the hail stopped, we quickly realized that mother nature had won this battle. Rick's car was completely totaled, my car was kept to $5000 in damage (thanks to the safety of that dear tree), and our house needs a new roof, new exterior paint, new deck pergola, repairs to the deck and fence, and 6 new windows.
The storm wreaked terrible havoc on the trees. This is our deck, completely covered by limbs and leaves:
It seems my neighborhood was one of the hardest hit in the area. Every home in the vicinity is getting a new roof and most neighbors have at least one car that is a complete loss.
And make sure to check out my national news appearance. You would think that a TV producer like myself would be more eloquent with her words. Nope, people. I KNOW what gets you on TV. You gotta describe what the storm sounds like. Enjoy. Hail Storm on World News Tonight
We are very grateful to come out of this unharmed, especially after we saw the damage done to Rick's car. Thank goodness for that tree that sheltered Palmer and me.
Growing up, I always read about characters in books that went "berry picking". Until recently, I didn't realize this was something that you could actually do in Texas.
Ham's Orchard is known for their peaches and more importantly, their peach ice cream.
The little market store is adorable with all of the canned summer goodness.
But, back behind the store is the "Berry Patch" where you can pick your very own blackberries.
Unfortunately, we chose the end of a holiday weekend to take a stab at blackberry picking. By that point, all of the black berries were off the vine and only the red ones were left (which I learned do not turn black if picked early).
Still, we had fun wandering around the vines and enjoying the nice summer afternoon.
And Palmer enjoyed our whopping collection of 12 blackberries for an afternoon snack.
WHAT'S FOR DESSERT?
My love language is highly caloric treats. (So, if I make you a salad, be worried about our friendship...) Father's Day and my sister's birthday are a two-for this year, so I busted out all the stops. I made Samantha a very very bad for you dessert and I am making Rick a breakfast he is sure to love in the morning.
PRETZEL-PEANUT-BUTTER-BROWNIES: First you take pretzels and crush them into a buttery pretzel crust. Then, you top that crust with peanut butter cookie dough. Then, you top that dough with Reese's peanut butter cups. Go ahead and throw on some brownie batter while you are at it. Tada! Samantha's Birthday Dessert
CINNAMON BISCUITS: Rick loves cinnamon rolls, so I am planning on putting this together for his big Father's Day breakfast. By the way, I already opened the cinnamon chips and whew are they good! I might need to keep a special stash of those on hand, just in case. Gooey Cinnamon Biscuits
Update: OMG. Make these now. This might be one of the best things that has hit my breakfast stomach.
I want to say I'm surprised, but I'm not. Palmer is way too active for me to be shocked when I found out Palmer needed to go to the ER because he fell and sliced his head at school.
Palmer falls a lot, so I've been anticipating many trips to the ER. I'm sure this is just the first of many visits.
I actually had accidentally left my phone at home, so the school reached Rick first. By the time Rick got in touch with me, Palmer was already checked into the hospital.
Palmer was such a trooper. When I finally arrived, he had already made friends with the other patients in the waiting room. Once we settled into the treatment room, Palmer loved exploring all of the interesting things.
And when curiosity lost its lure, goldfish and mommy's camera came to the rescue.
Because the wound wasn't too deep and Palmer is so young, the doctors decided to glue the gash together instead of stitches. Glueing the wound wasn't too traumatic and other than Palmer's pretty cool trophy wound, you would hardly know he had such an eventful day.
If I were to describe an idyllic Americana Memorial Day weekend, it would probably look very similar to our 2012 ringing in of summer. We hit the pool, the golf course, the lake and went berry picking. We ate burgers, BBQ, cobbler, peach ice cream and corn on the cob.
Cue America The Beautiful here.
Our club pool opened on Saturday and we were ready to put that month of swimming lessons to the real test. I was happy to see Palmer have a sense of fear of the water- not in a bad way, but in a safe way. In the kiddie pool, he was sure to hold onto the side of the pool or my hand as he walked around.
Then, we headed out to the lake with Rick's family.
Rick got some crazy idea to buy a golf cart for the lakehouse. I have no idea why we need this, but Palmer had a blast riding around with anyone who would drive him. Once during the weekend, I couldn't find Palmer and sure enough, he had climbed into the golf cart and was patiently waiting for someone to drive him.
Palmer couldn't get enough of GG's spaghetti. I made sure he sat on the back porch for this endeavor. Can you tell why?
Wait, who is that?
"Ahh, that's MY DADDY riding by on the jet ski!"
"Look how excited I get when he drives by..."
Elle and Palmer had some bonding time in the kiddie pool the bath we gave them after their messy spaghetti dinner. Yes, we will be sure to show these at all of their momentous occasions in the years ranging from 2027 to 2041.
What a wonderful weekend and a great kickoff to summer. Here's to hoping that the summer of 2012 won't be as hot as the summer of 2011.