June 2007


It’s truly infatuating to watch tiny babies grow and develop.  While in Wimberley, Elise was barely using her hands at all.  They hung at her side or were in her mouth, but now, in this past week, she’s learned to grab at things.  She grabbed a handful of Joelle’s hair for the first time, she triumphantly taunted daddy one morning by grabbing an animal hanging on her mobile and has mastered hitting all the toys on her bouncer. 

The best moment of late was her experiment with the fishies in her crib.  Once we took the mobile down (unsafe once she can grab it), we put up the fishy toy where you press a button and the fish start swimming.  She’s already figured out that they come on when she hits the button.  Interestingly, she hit it first on accident with her head.  Now, she thinks it only comes on when she hits it with her head.  It’s really funny to see her angle her body rolls into the toy to make her head hit it. 

I’ll never forget the eerie sound of that same toy coming on in the dead of the night when Joelle randomly learned how to turn it on for the first time.  That’s one of the neat things about having second kids, they remind you of all the things your first sweet baby did. 

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This might qualify as “I Don’t Care What You Had For Lunch” material for our blog, but I do want to record our adventures in Wimberley for the girls.  (Maria mentioned this book she read while we were on the trip.  In it, the author discusses good topics for blogs.)  This is what I remember from our trip…  Other participants can add via their own blogs or via comments.

Day One:  Like a herd of turtles, we embarked from Houston at 9:30.  We “caravaned” with Nana; however, there was some caravaning mishap when I was a teenager and both Nana and Poppy steadfastly refuse to truly caravan.  She had a safe 4 mile lead time.  We eventually meet up with Nan in San Marcos where Chris and I always make a point to stop.  Riverside Pub.  Ah, margaritas, burgers and the beautiful San Marcos river.  We love it.  We get to Wimberley and Joelle soon met Austin, the next door neighbor’s grandson.  Ben, Austin’s cousin, Joelle and Austin want to feed the horses, so I crossed the street with them to do that.  They grabbed apples and pears from trees to feed the horses.  (The parents insisted that they are just pears, but the kids looked at the Dugger parents like they’re crazy and I concured that they looked and tasted like apples.)  Nan and Pop left to get Joey and Maria and I went with Joelle, Austin and Ben to the river.  Their dads did go in the river, but I held Austin AND Joelle’s hand to cross the river to our channel to play in.  Chris, Elise, Joelle and I are left to scavenge with grapes and bread that we had to bake because it busted on the way from San Marcos.  (Yes, Nana almost hyperventilated in the HEB in San Marocs – she’s not used to shopping for food for an entire week.  Not to mention, an entire week for so many people!)  Joey, Maria, Pop and Nan feast at the Texas Land and Cattle in Austin.  We allow Jojo to stay up late so that she can give Uncle Joey and Tia Maria a big hug.  She doesn’t stop talking for over an hour. 

Day Two:  Our girls are up at seven, as always.  We had an ok night.  All the nights were pretty good, actually.  Elise had her pack n play in the corner behind the bed.  We pulled the bed out to make a tiny little room for her.  Joelle had the pull out couch and we were in the bed.  Cozy little family.  We later joked that Elise must have wondered about the down grade in living quarters.  “Uh, guys, we used to all have our own rooms.  The river is a bonus, but what’s going on?”  Joey, Maria, Nana and Poppy stayed at the “Six Oaks Guest House.”  aka, the Duggers old weekend house.  The neighbors.  In the morning, Joelle left with Chris to wake up the family.  It was fun to open up the door in the morning to see who would be coming down the road or who was already there waiting.  Everyone came over for biscuits, a Wimberley tradition.  Joelle had her first tube ride from the closest low water bridge.  Joelle tubed with daddy and Austin went with his mom, Tracy.  I had biscuit, the dog, riding with me part of the way.  After tubing, Joelle and Austin swam in one of the water holes.  We had Poppy burgers after Joey and Poppy also had a go at tubing.  Since the water isn’t always as high as it was on our trip (4+ feet), we can’t always tube on the Blanco.  It was a fun treat.  Unfortunately, we had a swarm of flies with the burgers.  We all had a great laugh at my silly bag of water hanging from the ceiling.  (It’s supposed to keep the flies at bay, but they laughed at our attempt to keep them away.)  After that, the food juggling began.  It was very comical trucking food back and forth from the Dugger’s guest house to Nana and Poppy’s “carriage house” where we were staying.

Day Three:  After biscuits, Chris, Joelle and I suited up to ride down the Blanco again.  This time, Joelle got to ride in her own tube because I found a small tube in Blanco.  Joelle was introduced to the concept of “finders keepers…” She later went down again with Poppy and Joey, but, “Uncle Joey did it all wrong.  He had me facing the sun and he went down all the wrong chutes.”  Nana and I took Joelle into town for a little shopping.  She fell in love with the Blue Bacon toy shop.  (www.bluebacontoys.com).  She would have stayed in there all day, but luckily we also found a pile of rocks for her to dig through in the Old Mill store in Wimberley square.  Joelle enjoys random treasures.  She lugged around those rocks that Nana bought her for the remainder of the trip.  We went home so that Nana and I could get dinner started.  Nana was over at the carriage house cooking something while I tried to get the pork roast cooked at the Duggers.  Wow, that oven looks much older than 1982.  Joey, Chris and I were baffled by how to get it started.  Luckily, CHRIS (yes, this is key) figured it out and dinner was fine.  When my mom tried to cook her cobbler later, Chris was out chasing his daughter in the jeep with Austin.  She was out on her first date.  He came and picked her up, took her out for a spin, it was the real deal!  Anyway, Nana couldn’t figure out the oven either and Joey and I were sent to turn it on (mistake!)  One of us turned it to broiler and we soon had burnt cobbler.  Somehow, the cobbler was saved with careful carving of the burnt top.  I’m reminded of a Dugger plaque that was often quoted on the trip:  “Those who stuffeth will puffeth.”  Why waste good cobbler?  Of course, Blue Bell was served on top.  (Blue Bell was a must every night and most afternoons – there is no Blue Bell in Salt Lake!  Ok, not an excuse for Chris and I…)

Day Four:  I actually do consider myself to be fairly careful in the sun, especially with the girls, but as Maria put it, “this was my crazy decision day.”  I didn’t apply sunscreen on my legs.  Ouch.  Ok, in fairness to me – I have NEVER burned on my legs.  It was Chris who had the bright pink legs after rafting in Costa Rica, not me!  Elise had her second baptism in the Blanco river.  She adored sitting in the river with me.  She gazed at the sparkling water in amazement.  I gave her back to Chris and Joelle, Poppy and I had great fun playing in our favorite river channel.   Joelle played beauty salon and also river dance school.  I swear if she had another week in Wimberley, she might actually go under water.  Especially if she saw Austin do it enough.  Nana, Joey, Maria and Elise napped on the shore.  Chris relaxed and took pictures.  Since the Salt Lick was on tap for dinner, we all had to retreat from the river.  Our camp fell asleep with Joelle watching a dvd (one of her few rest times).  We all woke up to Joelle crying when the dvd ran out of juice.  The Salt Lick was delicious.  Only Joey protested against the award winning bbq.  Poppy accused him of liking the McRib better for the remainder of the trip.  After dinner, more hammock and ice cream at the carriage house. 

Day Five:  I can’t say it enough –  the river was gorgeous.  It was absolutely perfect.  Since I was burned from the previous day, Chris took Joelle in the river where they visited different “shops” (channels in the rock).  Elise and I stayed on shore with her Tia and Nana.  Later, Austin and Joelle painted rocks with Daddy.  It was like many of our other days and everyone had fallen into a nice routine.  In the afternoon, Joey, Joelle, Nana, Maria and I went to the new Wimberley Glassworks gallery.  We were entertained by the glass blowing demonstration and Joey and Maria fell in love with a chandelier.  After declaring that I didn’t have anywhere to hang their lighting fixtures, I’ve come home to find a spot and also yearn to have a piece in my house.  Maybe one day…  They have beautiful pieces.  (www.wgw.com )  Joelle proudly introduced Maria and Joey to the Blue Bacon Toy Store in town.  Of course, we stopped in the square for ice cream and the Paris Hilton story on CNN made quite an impact with Joelle.  She asked me about it again on the way home today.

Day Six:  I made it back in the water with Joey and Joelle because my burn had subsided a bit.  Joey and Maria took a walk every morning and I think this was one of two mornings I jogged with Chris.  I had told Chris that that was all I wanted for our anniversary:  a chance to go on a jog with him.  I got to do this twice on the trip.  In the afternoon, we trucked up to a Olive grove where they make the only fresh olive oil in Texas.  It was really quite nice.  They had a small tasting room and the owner took us to see a bit of the orchard.  Who knew that olive trees grow 4,000 years!  I signed Joelle and I up to pick olives during harvesting time in September.  We’ll see how far Joelle gets…  Nana is going to start drinking olive oil every day, we’ll see how far she gets with that…  (www.bvranch.com) We met up with Chris, Elise and Poppy for dinner at Marcos in town. 

Day Seven:  Going home.   We all had to pack and get the cars loaded up, but we managed to take one last walk with Biscuit in tow and had a little time down by the river.  Joelle said good-bye to Austin and they made plans to see each other again.  She has a few momentos to remember him.  We stopped at the River Pub on the way home and said good-bye to Tia Maria and Uncle Joey.  Sniff.  Elise had finally warmed up to that “Joey cat.”  (We think she was just slightly confused the whole trip about where she was and she had lots of teething issues – we haven’t officially called her first tooth, but it’ll be soon.)

Thank you, Nana and Poppy, for an awesome vacation.  Joelle was already clamoring to take a longer vacation next time.  Also, I asked her what her favorite part was and she said, “getting to see Uncle Joey and TIA Maria.”  (She tried to negotiate dropping the “Tia” during the trip, but I’m happy to say that she is still saying “Tia” – thanks for being sweet and telling Joelle she could drop the “tia”, Maria.) 

Over at a playdate last week, all the little girls stripped down to their bare bums to play in the sprinkler.  Everyone, except Joelle.  I knew as soon as the suggestion was made to play in the sprinker without suits that little Joelle would not be happy with this outcome because she really doesn’t care to be naked.  However, I wasn’t sure if she would fall prey to peer pressure and go along with the flow or not. 

I’m proud to say that even though she was unhappy to be the only one not playing in the sprinkler, she didn’t go along with the flow.  Thankfully, Alice offered her a suit so she could play along.  As soon as Erin’s suits were brought out, Miss Erin also put one on.  I think Joelle was really pleased that Erin followed her lead.  It just goes to show that you can’t always believe teachers and their analysis of your child because I was told on Joelle’s progress report that she was a follower.  It’s not that I necessarily care, I just know that is not my baby.  She rarely goes with the flow and I’m proud that she doesn’t.  I hope it stays that way! 

Knowing how finicky Joelle ended up, I think I’ll keep a more detailed, running log of Elise’s food likes and dislikes.  Yes, babies actually do seem to care which sloshy solids are pushed into their little mouths.

Likes:  squash, carrots, peach, rice cereal

Dislikes:  green beans, peas, bananas (very unhappy with that in her mouth), pears

Ok:  sweet potatoes

We’ll see if she ends up just liking the carbs, too…

Elise started flipping last week.  We thought that she was a belly sleeper who had finally learned to get in the position that she wanted.  However, it appears that she likes to sleep on her side and just couldn’t control her tiny little body’s momentum.  Once she started over, it went over all the way. 

She’s controlling the momentum this week and almost always immediately rolls to her side when you put her in bed.  Her tiny legs make a 90 degree angle with her torso.  She also miraculously turns in a circle in her crib.  She’ll end up 360 degrees from where you originally put her.  Now if she could learn to sleep a little better at night….