Sunday, July 29, 2012

Nashville Family

Mason, Dane, and I made a quick weekend stop in Nashville to visit family on our way back from Legoland.  

We stopped by to see Papa Charles and Molly for a moment.  We visited for a little while in the living room, grabbed some lunch at CiCi's pizza, and then said our headed out to see the rest of the family.
We even got to visit with my Granny Opal for a little bit over the weekend.  It was good to see her since I haven't seen her in quite a while.
Then we drove over to Grandma Karon's to spend the afternoon. 
Before too long, Uncle Don and Uncle Tom met us, along with Cousins Haley, Jenney, and little Andy.  Mason couldn't help clowning around some with his uncles.  Dane decided to instigate a tickle-fest wrestling match, which he promptly lost to his uncles. 
After talking through all the goings-ons in the family, we did a quick run-through of downtown Nashville before heading over to Incredible Dave's pizza place.  It's like a cross between Dave & Buster's and Gatii-land.   Definitely a hit with the kids.  I remembered to bring the camera in to get lots of good pictures of the boys with their uncles, cousin, and grandmother. 
Uncle Don and Andy say hi.  Haley lurked in the background, one of the very few pictures where she was unaware that she was being photographed. 
Tom and our niece Jenny
Clowning around while waiting for a table.  Tom said he needed a hug.  Dane was quite tickled by that.
Jenny didn't want to miss out on her hug either.
Another candid shot of Haley with Tom's lady, Nikki.  After this point, if the camera came out, Haley went into duck-and-hide mode.  Nikki also spent some time attempting to hide before we explained that it was inevitable -- we would get pictures one way or the other.  Quite a lovely young lady, though:  working on her doctorate in physical therapy, if I have my notes right.
Mason gives a helping hand to his cousin Andy.
And Dane photobombs as Nikki ducks away -- too slow.
Nikki enjoying her dinner.   
Andy and Uncle Don grin for the cameras.
While waiting for the pizza to arrive, Jenny very bravely decided to try the bungee-jumper.  Whee!  What a rush!  She flew so high, she nearly smacked her head against the roof!  Super-girl!
Even the on-lookers were thrilled by her aerial feats.
We stopped back by Grandma Karon's apartment for a few minutes after leaving Incredible Daves.  As we head home for the night, Haley ducks from the camera one last time.  

The next morning we met my Aunt Annette and Uncle Steve at Shoney's for the Sunday brunch.

Their son, my cousin Daniel, and his wife Karen joined us.  Daniel showed off the newest member of the family.

Dane always seemed to have the giggles.  He must be laughing at all the silly stories that Aunt Annette told him about when I was a boy.  None of them were true, of course, but her stories are great entertainment.  I wouldn't believe a word of them, Dane.  Not a word. 

After breakfast, we stopped by the Parthenon to take a quick look.  It was closed that morning, so we didn't get to enjoy the museum, but it was still fun to run around the outside.

Dane runs along the edge of the Parthenon.  Yes, that's him, that little teeny-tiny blip in blue.

Uh-oh, another attack of the giggles.

That's hard work running up and down those steps.
Daniel's daughter Gracie came along with us from Shoney's to the Parthenon.  I snapped this photo of her on the park grounds next to a very lovely waterway.

While there at the Parthenon park, I did see an interesting yellow mushroom growing among their ornamental plants.  It was sufficiently different that I thought it was worthy of a picture.
More giggles.  Good grief, child.  You are certainly one to enjoy life.
Mason practiced his "Parkour" moves at every turn.  Here he leaps a picnic table with grace and ease.
And here he leaps a park bench.  The bench was unusual in that it had seats that faced both forwards and backwards.  Perhaps to encourage strangers to engage in conversation.  Nonetheless, it was no obstacle to Mason.
Saying goodbye to Grandma Karon.  We had to head back to Texas that afternoon.
We had a very wonderful trip to Nashville to see my family.  We all hope to go back again soon.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Clark's 18th Birthday Dinner

On Clark's actual birthday July 12th, we went out to dinner at Tokyo Steak House in Round Rock. While we waited for a table, he opened gifts from me and Ed.
  He got a light up umbrella,
 a personalized spiral notebook,
 a Star Wars Catina Band T-shirt, along with some LED bike spoke lights and a personalized pen and sticky note set.
 The fun part of going to the Tokyo Steak House is the show!! The chef can make a mean fire on the grill!
 The chef does all kind "tricks" including throwing eggs in the air and catching them without them breaking!
 In this photo, Clark, Jessica and Nanny watch the show.
 Ahh! I heart you out of rice!
 The onion volcano!
 Yummy! Look! Nanny is using chop sticks!
 And so are Clark and I!
 Shrimp!! Yum!
 Let's not forget the birthday song for Clark and another boy at our table!
 He got a strawberry ice cream sundae and a fortune cookie for his special day!
 We all had a fun time and enjoyed great food.
Happy 18th birthday, Clark!!

Mason and Dane at Legoland

Mason, Dane, and I had the opportunity to go to Legoland Florida this week (July 11-13, 2012).  Here they are, waiting for our flight from Austin to Orlando on Wednesday afternoon.  Although you can't tell from their expressions , they were indeed excited about our trip.

This morning we got up and headed to the park.  I love the gate area at Legoland!  So colorful and playful.
Our first objective of the day was to explore the water park.  It's a great place for the little ones.  The water park offers a lazy river, a wave pool, a fantastic splash zone called "Joker's Soaker" (according to Dane), plus two great slides for the older kids.

Here's a view of the Joker's Soaker splash zone.  A maze of netting, tunnels and stairs, the playscape has 7 different water slides of varying length and speed.  A few are perfect for the 3-4 year olds.  A couple of them are excellent for the tentative 6-10 year old who wants to try something new.  And the rest of them will make even a grown-up whoop in delight.  Among the latter, one was 3 stories tall and went super-fast, and one was a completely enclosed slide -- you couldn't see anything in that tube, and every twist was a surprise!  What a great splash zone for the kids.
Every three minutes or so, the Legoland bucket at the top of the slide tips over, and out comes a downpour of water.
Here's Dane braving the brunt of the "Legoland storm."
I found a great spot to catch Dane whiz by on the fastest slide in the Joker's Soaker area.  He was having a blast!
He races out at the end of the slide.
Dane (facing away in the orange swimsuit) launches a sneak water attack on the unsuspecting mom and daughter below.   The zone is full of splash-makers, and the kids had a blast trying to spray passers-by who weren't paying close attention.
Over near the wave pool, Dane and Mason enjoyed playing at a Lego dam-builder station.
You could build a Lego creation, put it on the turntable, and then test how well your creation held together while you spun the turntable faster and faster by shooting water at the paddle-wheels just below the turntable.
Over at the larger water slides, Dane zooms down with a grin on his face.
Here's an interesting series of shots as Mason raced down the largest water slide in the park.    
Sliding that fast, he had to have walked away with a super-wedgie!

Dane waves high from the second-highest water slide tower.  He was ready to raft!
And out he pops at the other end with a big grin.
We spent a little time relaxing in the wave pool.  Very relaxing to let the water wash over you.
After spending the morning in the water park, we decided to head out to the main park to see a couple of shows and ride a few rides.
We LOVE the Legoland Volunteer Fire Department!  Vern, the hero of the show, laughs after he places a helmet on Marco's butt after Marco knocked himself out running into the fire truck!  Ha!  
Chef Basil tests the water hose.  Dane shouldn't have sat in the splash zone!

We laughed and giggled all the way through the show.  Later we did more rides, but I didn't get pictures of those -- because I was riding along with the kids!  We're headed back tomorrow, so perhaps we'll add some more pictures of our adventures!