Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A very Fiesta Weekend Indeed!

Though we have lived here for six years, it really feels like we are just diving in. I suppose the first two years we were childless and so we spent all of our time traveling. The next three years we had tiny babies and spent all of our time managing them. And now, in year six, we are out and about, existing as San Antonians. I actually can't believe that my kids are real San Antonians even though neither of us are. They are somehow authentic, I suppose, whereas we will always be transplants. In fact, maybe there is a word for San Antonians besides the one I am using and I don't even know it!

This month has been filled with Fiesta events but we missed much of the kickoff with trips to Houston and Austin to watch Uncle Jon in his annual basketball tournament. This week, Sam and I were both committed to Fiesta-ing.

First, we tried to find something on Thursday after Sam got out of work. I have been trying to have an easier work schedule and that includes not heading in once I have met my hours. Glorious. We had Thursday to ourselves for the first time in forever. We ended up at a Culture Fest and Rib Cookoff at St Philips College. St Philips is apparently the only college to be federally designated as both a historically black college and a Hispanic-serving institution - that's pretty cool. Why not give it a whirl, we figured. Honestly, I think a majority percentage of San Antonio's African American population was at this particular event and that made it feel like home! (My home, Houston.) Also, the music was fantastic!

Zayd showed us what a brave boy he was by scaling an inflatable rock climbing wall. I had insisted he was too small (certainly that harness doesn't go that small) but I was wrong. Boy, did he let me know it!

Then I let them pick a dessert and they opted for Gulab Jaman - see feels more like home everyday! The Gulab Jaman were billed as Indian Donuts which I think is hysterical but Zayd loved them Rose Syrup and all.

The next day Mommy braved the Battle of the Flowers parade with a dozen awesome neighbors and 350,000 of our closest fellow San Antonians. :)  Zahra LOVED the music. LOVED it. Every night we talk about what our favorite thing we did that day is and hers that Friday was clapping with the parade music. :D She really could have cared less whether I had joined her at the parade or not as long as there was a marching band on the street in front of her.
Even Zayd had a great time after adjusting to how many people there were and making the nearly mile long trek to our fancy bleacher seats. (Thanks Dows for hooking us transplants up!)

Zayd's favorite thing from this Friday was a special float with hot air balloons that actually floated up and down! Check it out!

Just before leaving we had cotton candy and my was it delicious.

The next morning (Saturday) an even BIGGER group of neighbors headed to the King William Fair for a low key parade and family fun! As we were making our way tardily through the crowd to meet up with the Mahncke Parkers Zahra said, "I am so mad at you!" What?! Why!?! "I want to stop and hear the music!"

Here we got our first Fiesta medal!

This was hands down my favorite float and Zayd said it was his too. (That's my boy!)

There were cascarones!

And then each kid got to pick one activity in the kids area before we melted from the heat and melted down due to a fast-approaching naptime. Zahra chose a free arts and crafts station where you could make a fiesta crown.

Zayd opted for a $7 bungee jump. 

After the King William Fair we went to the airport to pick up Rachel! Yay! But, that meant we were going to need to embark on our fourth and final consecutive day of Fiesta on Sunday to make sure that Rachel got a true San Antonio experience. We opted for the Mission San Jose Fest and I can't really recommend it. In some sort of strange racket carnival game Zayd managed to pop a balloon with a dart and was awarded not one of the many huge stuffed animals on display but rather an inflatable machine gun. I would have argued for the stuffed animal but it is much easier to pop an inflatable machine gun than discard of a two foot tall stuffed panda so I let it slide. Plus Zayd wanted that gun sooooo bad. Thus, we have our first official toy gun, I would say. He wants to bring it to show and tell. Absolutely not.

Though the fiesta event itself was a wash, there were turkey legs and Las Nieves so I can't really complain. Best of all, we got to take an educational trek through Mission San Jose and the kids loved it (all three of em!).

"Look it's Africa!" Then I explained, no kids that Antarctica, you know that! BUT, there was a rhino drawn right on the land mass. So, OK. Honest mistake. My kids apparently could have been 16th century map makers with the skills they have already acquired. The map was extremely interesting.

So, that's it folks. To round out our San Antonio adventure we actually got Las Nieves after naptime on Sunday AGAIN. (At Fiesta there were only shaved ice options.) We tried a wide range of things: Strawberries and Cream (amazing), Watermelon Fruit Cup with Lime (great) and chamoy (not great), milkshakes (delish), and Sam ordered whatever "that guy is having" which turned out to be a chamoy raspa called a chango. Don't ever ever order it. Ever. Unless you just want to taste what might possibly be the worst sweet treat in the world. It was hysterically disgusting. We laughed a lot.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Our First Shoebox Fiesta Floats

We were  up and at 'em early this morning because Mama had a long list of to dos. First up, make the Zs' first Shoebox Fiesta Floats for their school parade on Wednesday. We talked about it a lot over the week and I only had one rule: let's try and pick something you both want to do, i.e. the same theme float. It isn't that I don't want them to have their individuality, but Zahra ALWAYS just wants to do whatever Zayd is doing (once they are doing it) and I didn't want to do a bunch of setup only to have them both fighting over who got to glue Zayd's favorite Rescuebot to their shoebox. A couple of days ago we realized that we had two stuffed animals so maybe that would be a good way to go! Zayd dreamt up giving him a drumset and I said we could put him onstage like Mr. Dan that time we went to hear his band. Sold! There is very little Zayd has enjoyed more in his entire life than hearing Mr. Dan's band. (You should consider that name, Mr. Dan. It's catchy.)

We let the Z's paint their boxes however they wanted. (Mama even bought two new pairs of shoes yesterday just so they'd have "fresh" boxes.)

We added a Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem band poster to the stage background. Then, we painted toilet paper rolls. We got out Zayd's drumset t-shirt and looked closely at the drums. Zayd noticed that we needed high hats and four stripes on the barrel of the drum. We decided to make the high hats out of foil and straws and Zayd striped up his painted drums.

We ended at this, for Zayd.

And this for Zahra.

By nighttime, I had convinced her to return to her creation and help me assemble it properly. She insisted no high hats. OK, fine. (The high hats are balanced on the drum tops.)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Zayd Spelled His First Word

...and it was glorious.

While strolling through the grocery store last week, I remarked, "Wait! We forgot Daddy's lunch salad!" And Zayd asked, "How do you spell salad?"

Hmmm. We have been talking a bit about spelling but hadn't spelled any real words yet. I know they play I Spy all through lunch in Ms. Elaine's montessori class, so he has some concept of phonetics ("I spy something that starts with the letter 'S'"), so why not try.

I encouraged him to try it out. He got S and A right away. I was pretty freakin amazed. That is when I decided to pull out the video camera and catch my boy spelling his first word. And, remember, his first word was SALAD. :)

(It might look like I am coaching him here through S and A, but I promise you it was all him. I did have to give him the second A to keep him interested, though.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Great Weekend without Much to Do

While last weekend was awesome with our Girl Time and Zayd's special trip to Pittsburgh. But, I am pretty sure that this weekend was even better. We have been going 100 miles an hour for months (since Christmas maybe??) and it was so nice to do nearly nothing.

But, not totally nothing. Zayd and Zahra gave themselves makeovers.

On a lazy morning Zahra and I gathered around while Zayd read to us.


We rode to an amazing brunch and learned that Zahra is double jointed in her hips (in addition to her shoulders).

And Sam and I got to sneak away for an awesome night with Mahncke Park friends at Barron's Ball 2015.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Girl's Weekend Easter Morning

Here is Zahra discovering her first Easter Basket. I don't think the last two years she has really known what was happening like this special morning.

After getting all dressed up, Zahra and I headed to Uncle Jon's house. She had a special morning planned with her only Uncle and I had a special morning brunch planned with my only Juju. It was perfect. :)

Girl's Weekend Day 2

On Day 2 of Girl's Weekend we had so much fun that mommy forgot to blog! First, we met up with Nini Crystal for brunch (our third awesome meal in 24 hours) and Zahra ate her weight in scrambled eggs. Or eggies. 

Then, we tried to go to an Easter Egg hunt that turned out to have happened the weekend before. (Whoops!) Not to worry, mommy improvised and we had our first Easter Egg hunt right in Nani and Nana's front yard.

Here is a video of our little hunt. I will warn you that we had the Pandora Easter Station going on my phone and I didn't realize how LOUD it was going to be! (Sorry!)

We had an afternoon at Eldridge Park watching the ducks.

And we ended our day back in the village, shopping and eating, and hanging out with Nini Juju. So many Ninis, so little time.