Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Walk in the Woods

What is it about getting out into the woods that makes everything seem .. quieter ... more relaxed ... just plain better?

I don't have the answer, but I'm glad to live the results regardless.

Today we got the opportunity to make the short drive to an area state park. This park has long been one of my favorite places to visit. I spent many a summer day (& night) at this park growing up. Wonder Dad and I often found ourselves here when we were dating (& newly married) as well. This place is permanently counted as one of my "happy places" for certain.

And today we got to share it with Wonder Boy.

He's been here before, but it's been a number of years. I think he was 4 the last time we came. And he wasn't exactly thrilled to be here that day. But none of that mattered today.

Today we hit the trails as a family and all was right with the world.

This is the best time of year for anything "outside." It's not too hot, it's not too cold. That doesn't happen too often in Texas. Most of the year, if you want to enjoy this kind of activity, you have to get up really early to beat the heat. But in early spring like this, the weather is unbeatable! And even though we usually have a full itinerary on the weekends, I think we're going to have to work in a few more outings like this one.

I always enjoy being outside. Especially in a place so pretty. We got to see quite a few sights - we found a Luna Moth that looked like it had been run over by a mountain bike. It was so pretty. It broke our hearts to see it injured like that. But to find a silver lining - she probably would never have let us get so close if she hadn't been hurt. We saw this one old, fallen tree trunk that looked like it had been dipped in Clorox. It resembled a great ivory wand and it took my breath away. We saw (but got no photographic evidence of) a great brown jack rabbit. We pondered whether or not he was related to the Easter Bunny (this IS Easter weekend after all), but Wonder Boy dismissed us for the silly folks that we are as he hopped away from us. The Dogwood trees were in bloom and they left a beautiful carpet of white petals at their base.

But despite all of the eye candy to keep us occupied, it was the time with my guys that truly made the day for me. There is something really special about being in a place where you can run and laugh and tease and chat and not worry about anything other than the events of that one moment. I loved watching Wonder Boy run up and down the trail. I soaked up his lessons in seed dispersal (they've been studying just such things in science class as of late). And I held hands with Wonder Dad and watched our Boy having so much fun with us.


It's been a good day. One I intend to carry with my for quite some time. And I can hardly wait to do it again!

Monday, March 25, 2013

It's a Texas Thing

It's spring in Texas, folks! And while it is a very short season in these parts, we look forward to it with great anticipation.

It's one of the few times of the year when we need neither the air conditioner nor the heater. And while picking a wardrobe for a day that starts out frigid and ends sweaty and sticky isn't the easiest thing in the world, it's more than worth the hassle to be able to open the windows and let the cool breezes freshen up the house.

But perhaps my absolute FAVORITE sign of spring is the sight of the blue bonnets that start popping up along the roadside as soon as the first warm days start to mark the calendar.

I just love blue bonnets. Maybe that goes back to the brain washing that starts in grade school around these parts (it IS the state flower, after all). Or perhaps it's just those regal deep blue hues that draw me in. I honestly don't know and to be frank, I'm kind of ambivalent about my motives on this one. ;+)

Since I such a fan of this roadside wonder, Wonder Boy has had to endure at least a short photo shoot surrounded by blue bonnets each spring for as long as I can remember. It's not his favorite thing to do, but he's a good son and he puts up with it for my sake.

As you can see, it's well worth the effort (imho)! This little patch is actually fairly close to our home so it wasn't hard to make it over there after school one afternoon (there are crowds to fight on the weekends). This year we had a friend with us. She's about to graduate high school and wanted to make sure she had some photos in the blue bonnets to mark her final year before college. Wonder Boy kept her laughing and in turn, didn't protest too loudly when it was his turn in front of my lens.

Color me one proud Texas momma right now.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Piano Man

Not long after his orchestra's Winter Concert, Wonder Boy was fiddling around with an electric keyboard Santa delivered a few Christmases back. He came to me a bit exasperated saying that he thought he could play a little if only he knew which notes were which on the keyboard.

I may not know much about playing the piano, but thankfully I did know the answer to that! I was able to show him how to find center C and he was off and running from that point on (he didn't need me to go any further than that).

He quickly discovered that everything he could play on his viola, he could play on the piano. But that wasn't enough for him.

His little keyboard was one of those "learning" keyboards. It came programmed with a number of songs and the keys would light up to show you which one to press. Wonder Boy jumped in and tried it with a few songs (all the while following along with the printed music that also came with the set up). Then he ditched the lights and just started working things out - mostly by ear as not all of the songs came with printed music.

Not long after the first of the year, Wonder Boy expressed an interest in lessons. It took us a while to find the right teacher with the right opening in her schedule, but eventually we lined all of that up. Wonder Boy has only had 2 lessons so far, but he seems completely in love with it. And just like with his viola, we do not have to pressure him to practice. Daily he works it into his schedule.

Honestly I don't think he sees it as work. It's fun. It's play time.

Our hope through all of this is that his love of music will continue to grow. So far he's right on track with that!

I will admit that I love having so much music in the house. Not a day goes by without a performance of some type. And most days, we get to hear him play on both his viola and his piano. And we couldn't be happier about it!

The following video was taken a few weeks ago, before even his first lesson. I can't wait for a few months to pass so I can post a progress video. I can hear a difference in his play already, after just 2 weeks. I can only imagine how much we'll be able to tell in a few months!

Messing aBout on the Piano