Through the Looking Glasses (and a mini giveaway)

My jaw may have betrayed my calm, cool exterior when it fell open as I walked up to get Annelise after school today and saw her sporting these doozies.
All she needs is a chain around her neck to hold those glasses, a lavender cardigan with appliqued cats, and sensible shoes. And a cracked vinyl, snap-top handbag filled with crinkled Kleenex, cough drops and Life Savers.

Perhaps we shall call her Vera. Or Bernice?

As we walked toward the car, one of her hands clutching my hand and the homework bag in the other, she announced that she now felt exactly like a first grader.

Alas, she never clarified that statement because she breezed right into a detailed description of what her homework bag contained and how she was so excited to bring it home for the first time and what she was supposed to do and where her teacher bought those sparkly glasses and what she was going to do right when we got home.

In other words a fairly typical day around here.

After reading The Looking Book together she adjusted those sparkly looking glasses and headed out to look for five things (she's supposed to have ten, but plans to do five more tomorrow in order to stretch out the adventure). She soon brought in her items and started writing her list.

The instructions specifically stated she had to spell her words herself and to sound out the words as best she could.

I'm curious to find out if y'all can figure out what she saw through her sparkly looking glasses.

(And I'm giving y'all a freebie since it happened to be in the photo and because I'm just sweet like that.)

Here's the fun part, I'm making this into a mini giveaway.

This is the part when you get really excited and maybe fall out of your Laz-Y-Boy.

Or not.

Just leave a comment with your best guesses of what Annelise saw and I'll draw a random winner Friday night. (Don't worry, you don't need to be correct, the fun is in the guesses).

Hmm? What's that you say?

Oh, yeah, the lucky winner will receive a Starbucks gift card because I am desperate for fall and a pumpkin spice latte.

Let the guessing begin!


Miscellany (Because It's Monday)

But I don't really need a reason for another miscellaneous post do I?

I didn't think so.

This morning I woke up about ten minutes before my alarm was about to go off at 5:20, which you know, is delightful. I proceeded to then lie there in bed having a ridonkulous conversation in my head about getting dressed to go for a looooong overdue run (I'm not fooling anyone, probably more like a walk at this point) and then do one of my weight workout DVDs, take a shower, fix hair, do morning stuff and have myself all together when I take Annelise to school because I was going to my first Moms in Touch prayer time (more on that in a minute).

Since I was still prone on my bed, trying to snooze for five, ten, or thirty more minutes, my little conversation soon changed to whining in my head about being self-conscious about running (or walking) after such a long hiatus and little to no self-control when it comes to sweets for the most recent forever, so I switched gears and told myself I would just do my workout DVD. Later.

Why didn't I just get up? Why didn't I just tell my brain to SHUT UP and stop making excuses? Why didn't I just get over myself and tell my jiggly wiggly parts that they're never going to get better if I don't, you know, do something? (ideally more often than once or twice every other week)

I don't know. I gave in to my laziness and my weak excuses that I'd be too rushed and hot after my run/walk/workout to be ready and not be a showered but still overheated sweaty puddle with make-up sliding down my sweaty face at the prayer group.

(I am setting my alarm, again, to try the whole thing again tomorrow morning--and actually follow through. Blog, make me accountable m'mkay?)

However, I was really excited to go to my first Moms in Touch prayer group meeting thingie.

Even though this picture might not exude excitement, I promise I was.

From what I gather, Moms in Touch is a nationwide organization for moms to meet weekly and pray for their children, their teachers and schools. It's a fairly structured time period (there are even hand-outs) for some scripture reading (along a certain theme, today was God is able) and then prayers of praise, confession (that part was silent), thanksgiving and intercession were then offered in a popcorn style format (which basically means every one takes turns, you just pop your prayer in--if you feel like saying it out loud). I guess I was a little slow to warm up since it was my first time, so I mainly prayed silently, but I was definitely uplifted by being there and sharing in the experience. We won't meet next week due to Labor Day, but I plan to go back the following week.

Now that Annelise is in the second week of first grade, it's time for HOMEWORK. Today she brought home a spelling list and a book to read for at least 10 minutes.
She seemed to like meeting The Littles, but they can't top Ramona. She'll also have a homework bag (??) that comes home tomorrow, we'll have a few days to work on it and then turn it in Friday. Who knew first grade would be so tough?!?! (Kidding.) (I think.)

I don't know if you noticed in the previous photos glimpses of the small doll that is accompanying Annelise almost everywhere she goes (except school, she has to wait in the car). That's Jane, the almost American Girl doll Annelise got last year for her birthday. Scott and I are highly amused to see her, um...renew her interest in Jane as a clever campaign tactic to hopefully get a real deal American Doll this birthday.
Jane even likes Mooyah Burger!

I missed getting a picture of Jane hanging out the window as we drove around our neighborhood this evening looking at the ongoing development (destruction? progress?), but did catch Annelise.

Didn't you know that biting your lip makes your photo come out better?
Do you talk yourself out of things too often? Have you heard of Moms in Touch? Do you like Mooyah Burger? Do you bite your lip when you concentrate? (But hopefully not when you dance.)


Some Things on Sunday

Would you be surprised if I told you I sat here stupefied for a few minutes trying to decide if some things should be one word or two and then I contemplated the use of something's on Sunday, ultimately deciding against it because I'm sure I'll be rattling on about more than just one thing, so something is would not suffice. Nor would it be correct.

It's so hard to be in my head sometimes.

Scott is knee deep in the middle of one out of two fantasy football drafts this afternoon. He's having to do the second draft by proxy (thanks J.) since there was a scheduling overlap. Oh the drama. I don't *get* fantasy football, but then again, I don't *get* real football either, but I do attempt to listen and nod at appropriate intervals.

Instead of working in the craft room this afternoon, which requires serious work just to enter the room safely, I decided to blog. Yes, I have perfected the art of avoidance and procrastination.

Annelise was quite the party girl this weekend since she was invited to two birthday parties. One was for a school friend and was after school Friday from 4-6. We'd never been to an after school party before but the timing worked out well. 20-30 kids ranging in ages from baby to first grade descended upon the birthday boy's house in a progressive storm then proceeded to play and partaay for the next two hours. They mainly played outside on the play set and/or trampoline coming in occasionally for AC breaks and food. It was all low key, the only organized game was a pinata, but it all went smoothly. I almost had a birthday brouhaha change of heart. Almost. The birthday boy cracked me up because every so often he had to escape from the chaos of all of his friends by going off by himself in another room for a few minutes for some Serenity Now time.

There was more fun partying on Saturday when Annelise went to celebrate her friends, R. and J. (they're such sweet twin boys) turning four years old.

Lots of fun was had playing party games (along a Peter Pan/lion theme--the boys have varied tastes) and enjoying yummy cake and ice cream. We had a great time!

Today after church and lunch at Panera (just lunch there, not church) Annelise and I popped into Barnes & Noble, otherwise known as paradise, so I could buy Mockingjay after not so patiently waiting all summer for the final installment in the Hunger Games series. I also gave in to Annelise's current obsession, Ramona Quimby. She trailed behind me with her nose in her new book as I wandered the aisles and I had to snap her picture after we checked out. I did make her put it down as we walked across the parking lot since that could be dangerous.
Last year I read a few chapters of Ramona Quimby, Age 8 out loud to Annelise but she wasn't all that interested. Now, after seeing the movie this summer and listening to a few audio CDs of Ramona, Annelise is all. over. it. She can't get enough and I am beyond thrilled to indulge her in all things Beverly Cleary.

I am not 100% sure she is ready to read them on her own, although she thinks she is, so I think we'll try some shared reading at first. It's kind of a challenge right now to find the right level of chapter books for her, ones that aren't too easy or too hard, and ones that really grab her interest. She's a little like Goldilocks. We shuffle through a mix of beginning reader/chapter books, some Junie B. Jones (I know), Magic Tree House and now Ramona. Sometimes she reads in her head, as she says, or we read together depending what it is, then some books I read aloud to her.

Today, while we were in paradise (B & N), we ran into a mom and her daughter from back in our Mother's Day Out Days when our girls were three. Seriously, time flies. The girls didn't really remember each other but did talk about books for a minute. The other girl likes the rainbow fairy series (I keep hearing about them) and so I told Annelise we could look for them.

No way Jose.

As soon as the girl and her mom left, Annelise told me she wasn't interested in reading about fairies at all and only wanted to find Ramona.

I was not so secretly thrilled.

Fairies schmaries.

She also asked me if I could stop calling her sweetie when we were public.

This request did not thrill me.

Neither does venturing upstairs into the mess otherwise known as my craft room, but I suppose I have avoided it long enough. If you don't hear from me again, please send help.

And snacks.


Birthday Brouhaha

Brouhaha might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I like that word and you know I am a fan of alliteration and hyperbole.

It's that time of year again, the time when Annelise's birthday rolls around and Scott and I have the never-ending conversations about having a party with (for?) her church/school friends vs. only having a family celebration.

Yeah, that horse? It's dead. And stinky. There might even be flies.

Last year we did a Star Wars themed party and invited Annelise's friends from church and school. It was crazy. It was fun. I might still be recovering.

This year Scott and I are once again on the party fence. And yes, her actual birthday is one week away. We've talked about having another friend party in our home, possibly with a Scooby Doo themed mystery to solve and we've talked about having her party somewhere like the roller skating rink (but only briefly because it's way too expensive for a large group).

And we can't get fired up about either of those options.

Since she is still so young she doesn't yet have a set, core group of close school friends, she has friends in both first grade classes. Would we invite only her class (12)? Would we invite both classes in order to cover all our bases and not hurt any feelings (24 kids)? Plus her church friends? Where do we draw the line? Is there even a line? Does she have to have a friend party every year? Do some people have buckets of money sitting around in order to throw massive kid parties every year? If we don't have one this year will she be scarred for life? Will we be riddled with guilt?

We don't know.

Aren't we pitiful?


A Clever Title Escapes Me (Yet Does Not Stop Me)

Well, we made it a full four days of school before things came to a crashing halt due to the unwelcome visit of a pesky cold. Annelise usually catches one at the beginning of school, I guess she has to rebuild her immunities to being back in the petri dish otherwise known as school after summer break. I feel kind of like That Mom, the one who sends her kid to school sick, because Tuesday morning she told me her throat was kind of tickly and I told her to drink some water. By the time I picked her up that afternoon she was Miss Coughie McCougherson and I think I got The Look from her teacher.

And not the look that says I'm up for mom of the year either.

But she stayed home from school today just in case.

Sometimes it's hard to know, you know? I mean, fever (and 24 hours after), stomach bug, flu, YES, please keep your child at home, but what about a runny nose? A sneeze? A cough? Every time? I don't know, I certainly don't want to perpetuate the petri dish, but sometimes these parental judgment calls are iffy.

So we had a low key day around the house with Kleenex and anti-bacterial gel never far from our side. Remember how I smugly announced our new no TV on school days policy in yesterday's post? I must admit there were moments today that I regretted muttering those fateful words, but I stayed the course with only one small detour. During lunch she got to watch one recorded DVR show and then we shut it off. Guess what? She relinquished the remote with nary a wail or moan. Who knew that cutting back on TV would be, well, I hesitate to say easy since it's only the second day, but not as terrible as I imagined.

However I did stumble upon this sight this morning as I headed to the kitchen for a much needed coffee refill...
How mini-me can you get?

Seems she was researching the bountiful selections over at American Girl.com since her birthday is right around the corner. Even though she keeps updating us daily on the rapid approach of her special day, it hit me today that next Saturday IS in fact almost here and we have yet to do much about that.

Looks like I'm up for mom of the year again.

She has her hopes set on a Just Like Me American Girl doll that looks, you know, eerily like her. However none of the choices have dark brown bobbed hair so she may have to settle for an Almost But Not Quite Just Like Me version. This morning, while doing her research, she made us a helpful list of clothes for her future ABNQJLM doll:
She went on to explain that her doll would need the bow toe flats for church and funerals and the sneakers for playing outside. I'm not sure if the heart dress is formal or everyday attire, she didn't say. This is probably the third or possibly thirteenth list she has made of accessories (she writes them, forgets about them and then they somehow magically disappear), but since the doll clothes cost almost as much as my clothes, I can't promise ABNQJLM will have an extensive wardrobe.

Later on in the day she busied herself in her room while I did my workout. She could not wait for me to drag my sweaty self upstairs when I finished to show me what she had done.
Her efforts really only required the hasty shoving of baskets of stuffed animals into a closet(and I'm a little scared to open that door), and some artful arranging of blankets and her favorite stuffed friends, yet they resulted in her *new* reading nook. She was so pleased.
And so was I.


Have I Told You Lately...

* That semi-coastal Texas in late August is a steam bath. And not in the cleansing, invigorating way either, it's in the oppressively hot, demoralizing, sweaty way. Complaining about it solves nothing yet makes me feel marginally better.

* We are settling nicely back into the groove of school (Annelise is on her fourth day). We have been on time or early each morning (this, my friends, is big); she loves her teacher, her classmates and the whole first grade routine; and we're having earlier dinners (home cooked! by me!) and bedtimes.

* Thanks to Roald Dahl and the vehemence with which he extolled the evilness of television at the end of Charlie in the Chocolate Factory (really throughout the book, but more so after Mike Teevee's unfortunate incident), and the need of parents to, ahem, just say no, we are keeping the TV off during the school week and more limited on the weekends (for her, us, not so much). There, I said it. Now to see if we stick with it.

* Yesterday after school we did some shared reading (she reads a page, I read a page) of a Magic Tree House book, then I read aloud from By The Shores of Silver Lake (in the high hopes we'll actually finish it, we got off track over the summer--hello, TV), we baked cookies, ate supper, she played outside and then it was time bath and bed. She asked once if she could watch a show and I said no and that was that, no moaning or groaning, so maybe, just maybe, this will work.

*I don't always to do so well once I broadcast my intentions and then watch with my head hung in shame as the wheels gradually fall off my no TV/be more organized/eat better/exercise/do crafty things wagon and then hardly ever mention it again on my blog (speaking of which, hiya running, how ya doin'?).

* You could say I've reached an all time blogging low when I post pictures of Annelise blow drying her hair, and you'd probably be right, but she was soooooooo excited to do it herself and I got the biggest kick (and giggles) watching her. So there you go. * You could also say I need to clean off the windowsill of all (or most) of that stuff, and again, you would be right.

* We still can not decide how (if?) to celebrate Annelise's birthday with her school friends. This topic is really deserving of its own post, so I'll just leave you with that tantalizing tidbit for now.

* I have successfully shared my Wicked obsession with Annelise, thank you very much. She can now sing almost word for word What is This Feeling and Popular and parts of several other songs. She makes almost daily requests to listen to the soundtrack and I am of course happy to indulge her.
* This Wicked obsession has naturally diverged into a Kristin Chenowith obsession. Kristin is of course the epitome of cuteness and talent, on a stick. I stumbled onto this song and video a few weeks ago and it quickly became a favorite of mine and by default, Annelise. We listen to it all. the. time. and sing along (pardon us Kristin) in full-on opera, silly, campy, jazz hand style.
I thought I'd leave you today by sharing the video in the hopes you might just join Annelise and I in our obsession. However, consider yourself warned, it's addictive (like wake up at 4:30 in the morning and can't go back to sleep because The Girl in 14G is playing on repeat in your brain addictive).

You are ever so welcome.


My First Day of First Grade

The night before first grade my dad read me a book called, "The Night Before First Grade". What a coincidence, right?
Before you knew it the sun was up, the birds were chirping, and I was still snoozing.
Yaaawn! I'm up, I'm up. Really. I am.
Since I helped Mama set my clothes out the night before, I got dressed in a jiffy. I've been dying to wear my new shoes!!After eating breakfast...
it was time to grab my lunch and hit the road.
Just a few more steps and I'll be in first grade!I was so happy to see one of my best buddies along the way. We're in the same class again this year (cue high pitched squeals of glee).
I said good morning to my new teacher Mrs. B. Doesn't she look so nice? I can't wait to get to know her.
I quickly found my desk and got settled in. I can't wait to start using my brand new supplies! (I'm almost 7, I can't wait to do a lot of things.)
I was ready to read some books at my new desk so I told Mama good bye and gave her a hug, but I have a sneaky suspicion she hung around outside the door for a little while taking more pictures.
(Annelise knows me so well.)


Summer Bible Reading Club {2010}

"If you read your bible and pray everyday, you'll grow, grow, grow..." That's part of a song our kids at church sing sometimes in their bible classes. Maybe they like it because at the beginning of the song they get down on the floor (fun!) and grow up like a tree as they sing and then shrink ("if you don't read you bible and pray everyday, you'll shrink, shrink, shrink...") and then there's the grand finale of growing up again as the song ends, or maybe they like the simple, pure message of the words, either way, it's a song that's requested often.

The simple words of a children's song can be so powerful can't they? (Throw in hand motions and you've got yourself a HIT!) When the other fluff and chaff is stripped away basic Godly truths become very clear: reading your bible = growth.

Why do I forget that sometimes? (Stomps foot and bangs head against wall.)

For the last few years Annelise has eagerly anticipated the beginning of the Summer Bible Reading Club that our church organizes for kids of all ages and their families where we read certain chapters of the bible between June and August. The kids keep track of their reading progress and get to choose small prizes as they complete each level. This year we read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) and Acts together as a family. The reading plan usually called for two chapters a day to be read in order to finish by the end of summer. We started out on track, then got behind, then got back on schedule, then got waaay behind and had to play serious catch-up as it got down to the wire, but we finished.

We had a back to school potluck lunch after church yesterday and the kids that participated in SBRC got their certificates and medals. WooHoo!! Followed by ice cream. WooHoo!! It's been so wonderful to see Annelise's growth each summer that we've participated in SBRC. In the past Scott and I have taken turns reading out loud and she would follow along (well, maybe that's a stretch, she'd lie in interesting positions on the couch and listen). This year was monumental (at least to me) because she read out loud with us. (!!!) It was so heartwarming to hear her sweet little voice reading God's word (my proud mama's heart burst into a million sparkly pieces each time it was her turn).

Last night after evening services the SBRC kidlets had a little cupcake party to celebrate their accomplishment. They got to frost and decorate their cupcake(s) with various forms of sugar. This was, of course, a HIT.I don't know which was more fun, the decorating or the eating.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say...both!



Big sunglasses with just a touch of bling.

Am I mysterious?

Huge dangly earrings to add a splash of hip.

Am I cool?

A carefully angled profile shot to imply creativity and depth.

Am I deep?

Hipstamatic camera app and Camera Bag effects to give a retro feel and wash out imperfections.

Am I real?

I am.



Five for Friday {The Back to School Edition}

1. The countdown has begun and by this time next week Annelise will officially be in first grade. Gulp. We've busied ourselves this week with the trying on and purchasing of new sneakers (Academy in mid-afternoon is quite interesting), new chapel shoes (did you hear that it's BOGO time again at Payless?!?!) and new school uniform pieces. My sincere apologies to the Jehovah's Witnesses who stopped by this morning as we were preparing to leave but I was determined to be at Parker Uniforms as soon as they opened. Last year we made the novice mistake of going in the mid-afternoon the week before school started and I feared I would never recover from that experience. Today we were in and out within 15 minutes. It was, in a word, delightful.

2. Conveniently located next door to the uniform store is a hair salon (well, I may be stretching the term salon to its upper limits) and our resident little person has been desperately pleading for weeks (especially after we saw Ramona & Beezus) to get her hairs cut. I caved.
I think her hairs came out pretty stinkin' cute, don't you?
3. Earlier this week we discovered this addition to our car's front bumper. Since neither Scott nor I have the vaguest recollection of hitting anything (I think we'd remember, at least I hope we would) we can only assume that someone sideswiped us in a parking lot or something, taking with them several layers of our white paint and leaving us with this:
I know the damage is not that bad but it bothers me to think that someone did that and just drove away. Where has our sense of personal responsibility gone, people??? It makes me feel a teensie-tiny bit better to tell myself that maybe, just maybe, they didn't realize what they had done.
4. Our DVR broke earlier this week. I know. Let's all take a moment and let that sad news work its way through our systems. We quickly realized how spoiled we've been being able to pause, rewind live TV and easily record shows from set timers. Plus, all of our stored shows/movies were lost. I know. That hurt. We even had to go old school and record the SYTYCD finale (part 1) on our dinosaur VCR and marveled at how annoying fast-forwarding through commercials actually was. Okay, okay, I know that something like a DVR is NOT that important, but I won't lie and say we weren't pleased as punch to see UPS deliver our new one yesterday evening.
5. Sadly (or happily, depending on how you look at it), I can't come up with a fifth thing for this Friday. So I'll just leave you with another picture of Annelise bursting with happiness over her new haircut.You're welcome.

Have a terrifical (as Ramona Quimby herself would say) weekend my friends!


A Fly on Our Wall

If you had been a fly on our wall this morning (lucky you) you would have overheard a conversation that went something like this:

Me: Run upstairs and brush your teeth and make your bed while I get your breakfast ready.

Her: Sure Mom.

I then almost over exerted myself preparing her breakfast, what with the opening of two different cereal boxes (we like to do mixes, you know, keep things fresh and exciting), pouring, dabbling on of blueberries, etc. After waiting for what seemed like forever and a week to hear the sound of her making her way downstairs either walking or sliding, you, as a fly, would have heard this (in a slightly louder shriek voice):

Me: Annelise? WHAT in the world are you doing up there? I've been waiting to pour your milk forever.

Her: (Embarrassed silence)

Me: C'mon NOW or your cereal will be soggy.

Her: Oh, it's okay Mom, go ahead and pour it, I don't care if it's soggy. I'm busy getting Luke and Cocoa Bear ready for their wedding.

Well. Allrightythen.

A short while later you, the fly, could have offered congratulations to the happy couple, greeted their guests (only the heart bear and rabbit, it was a small, intimate affair) and...
enjoyed a light reception brunch of Kix & Cheerios with blueberries and blackberries.
It's what all the cool weddings are serving this summer.


Are You There Blog? It's Me Holly

Go ahead and raise your hand if you know which late 70s pre-teen must read to which my title refers.

Then do at least 25 repetitions of "We Must...We Musts..." because we all know how effective swinging your arms back and forth can be. Except now we might not want or need those exercises to work, not that they ever really did, but don't tell me you never ever tried. And then burst into a fit of embarrassed giggles.

Was that book always checked of your elementary school library to when you were in sixth grade too? Yeah.


I feel like I have neglected my blog these last several days and am forcing myself to post at least something to help me get over this self-imposed bloggy slump.

Aren't you glad you popped by for a visit?

Part of me didn't want to post anything because a.) nothing was really happening and 2.) a new post would knock the memories of our little central Texas vacay further down on The Blog therefore pouring salt into my wound and forcing me to admit that yes, it's actually over and I can't go back anytime soon.

I seem to be in denial that this is the last full week of summer (really, me in denial, are you surprised?) and next week we Meet the Teacher and Annelise starts first grade next Thursday.

Do y'all ever find yourself stuck in silly conversations with someone about the use of this and next to describe upcoming events because they don't understand what you mean? Some people have apparently loose (misguided?) interpretations of what this and next mean and would say since Thursday has not yet happened one should say next Thursday to signal the verynextone and say the following Thursday or Thursday week for you know, the next one.

A person's head could explode.

Anyway, no matter how you slice it summer IS speeding toward a crashing halt and that means new school shoe shopping, uniform updating (which requires a trip to the uniform store which just might be one of those fiery circles way down south), backpack negotiating (she wants a new one, I'm feeling stubborn), a haircut and all the other necessary back-to-school rituals.

All of which makes me sad and ever so slightly glad at the same time.

Did you read Judy Blume books (age appropriate of course)?
Did my ramble about this and next make any sense?
Are you bemoaning or cheering the end of summer?
Have you started your back-to-school chores?


The Shaws Go to Schlitterbahn

Earlier this week we loaded up the car and took a mini road trip a few hours west to New Braunfels for a couple of days of ultimate water park fun at Schlitterbahn. As you can see someone was a little excited.
After checking into our hotel that evening we made a beeline down the highway to check out a Tex-Mex restaurant (really, are you surprised?) because 1.) it's always time for Tex-Mex and b.) they are building a Chuy's near us and we just couldn't wait to get a sneaky-peaky.
It did not disappoint. (How could something called Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom enchiladas, extra thin chips with chunky salsa and spicy queso ever disappoint?)
After fortifying ourselves with not so healthy but oh so yummy breakfasts at IHOP the next morning we made our way into Schlitterbahn (central Texas has a heavy German influence just in case you were thinking that's a completely made up word, it means slippery road).
Now I'll just go ahead and get this party-pooper statement out of the way and admit that I have never been a fan of water parks. I know, I know, throw your tomatoes at me, but when faced with the prospect of gazillions of scantily and sometimes questionably clothed people of all shapes and sizes, looooong lines and small children in soggy swim diapers I have always said nay, nay, no way.
But then I thought of how much fun Annelise would have and I caved. Aren't you proud of me?
Schlitterbahn is a little bit like Disneyworld in that if you are a first timer (like us) you will spend (i.e. waste) a fair amount time just figuring out where things are and how to get to certain rides/attractions. There's also something of a protocol within Schliterbahn which involves scoping out a picnic table or group of lounge chairs and dumping all of your paraphernalia (bags, clothes, shoes, coolers, snacks, etc.) there to set up camp. Once claimed that spot is now yours, even if left unattended, it's your home base to return to after venturing out for hours. If you were a dog you'd just pee on it, but leaving tote bags and towels is much more pleasant.
The odd (and actually wonderful thing) is that no one messes with your stuff, it's like there is a Water Park Code of Honor or something and everyone trusts one another which is strangely beautiful and refreshing. The first day we rented a locker for our wallets and phones but the second day we threw caution to wind and left them in my tote bag. Gasp! (Now watch there be a wave of tote bag burglaries...I hope not!)
The first day we wandered around for a while trying to find an unclaimed spot and also familiarize ourselves with everything, I was starting to feel overwhelmed and snippy (really, are you surprised?) when we heard someone call out "Scotty Shaw!!" and lo and behold it was one of Scott's friends from waaay back (they grew up together and worked together at NASA/JSC--he was even a groomsmen in our wedding--but we haven't seen him in years). It turns out he and his family go to Schlitterbahn every year and happened to be there the two days we were, talk about small world! He and his wife let us put our stuff at their "camp" and also showed us around and gave us insider tips, like the best order of some of the rides and least crowded hours of the day, etc. We REALLY appreciated their help! (Shame on me for not taking their picture!!)
We spent the first day at the original Schlitterbahn which ended up being our favorite because it's the largest and has the most variety of tube rides, slides and pools.
I can't say I'm a fan of water shoes, but in a place like Schlitterbahn they are a must, lots of people went the barefoot route which makes me cringe, but to each his own.
I learned that I am an inner tube ride kind of girl and not a bare water slide girl (although I think I secretly already knew this). I love floating, spinning, riding through rapids, sliding down slides in my tube, I don't like totally in your face (and other parts) water slide rides. We did all the tube rides as a family and Scott and Annelise (remember, she's an adrenaline junkie) did the water slides, so it all worked out.
Part of the second day we spent at Surfenburg (a separate park, but still part of the family). It was really family friendly with large water play areas and lagoons that Annelise LOVED.
In fact it was quite difficult to get her to leave this area.
We also enjoyed the lazy river (floating in tubes, again, oh I am a fan) and some lounge time too.
We never even made it to the third water park (Blastenhof) which is a teensie bit sad, but since we kept hearing how BAD the lines were for the water slides (and they didn't have many tube rides) we were okay with missing out on it for this trip.
We finished up the second day back at the original Schlitterbahn and rode our favorite tube rides one last time. We were pleasantly surprised when one of the rides seemed longer than it had the first day and we eventually found ourselves floating in the Comal river (the day before sections had been closed because they didn't have enough lifeguards).
I eventually made some sort of peace with all the various body parts on display, even my own, and tried not to let anything bother me. Sometimes it was humorous, sometimes cringe inducing, but overall nothing too retina damaging (although I think I've seen enough bums and boobsicles to last me a good while).
By the end of the day mountains much like this one could be seen in nooks and crannies throughout the park. Don't they look sort of sad and lonely?
We shut the park down both days (it closes at 8:00) and then made our soggy way to supper. After existing on Goldfish, Cheese-Its, Trail Mix and Dippin'Dots for most of the day we were ready for real food. We drove down the road to this quaint little town...
to eat here:
We broke one of our vacation rules by eating at the same place twice but we loved the casual outdoor atmosphere lost in the trees along the river we ended up eating supper there both nights.
We even ate the same meal (thick burgers slathered in spicy queso with a side of crunchy onion rings) because they were oh.so.very.tasty.
Once our tummies were full (and then some) we retreated to our hotel to clean up and sleep the sleep of the truly exhausted.
Since we had such a great time on our mini-vacay and I seem to have overcome my water park phobia...
I predict many more of these in our future.

What's your stance on water parks? Are you a fan of inner tube rides or water slides? Don't you think Schlitterbahn is just fun to say?
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