Monday, July 20, 2009

Where We Live Part I - The Woodlands

We live in between two areas: Spring and The Woodlands. Literally, you come out of our neighborhood and turn right for Spring and left for The Woodlands. Spring is more rural and I'll post about that later on. For now, here's The Woodlands.

The Woodlands is a planned community with tons of green spaces, smartly designed residential, business, and shopping areas, and tons of, well, woodlands. Every intersection looks the same; you have no recognizable landmarks other than trees. All the businesses, like gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores, are tucked away from the road. There are signs near the road very similar to the Chick-Fil-A sign (see below). That's all you'll see from the road. Pretty, but also difficult to navigate when you have just moved here! You have no idea what might be in a shopping center unless you pull into it or the Garmin accurately delivers you there (rarely!) In the spring, the medians will be filled with wildflowers, including blue bonnets. There are several man-made lakes and lots of parks that I hope we can take advantage of when it's not 100+ degrees!

This weekend we took the grandparents to The Waterway. It's not quite as developed as San Antonio's Riverwalk but it's getting there with more shops, restaurants, and offices to come. There a really nice Mariott right there on the water. We like The Goose's Acre, a "bistro and Irish pub" with outdoor seating on the water. They have good pizza, go figure. We walked up and down the Waterway, feeding ducks and fish as we went, as far as The Pavilion, where the Houston Symphony plays during the summer as well as other musical acts--NKOTB (we just missed them!) and Rod Stewart in a few weeks. I hope we can take R to see Swan Lake in October when the Houston Ballet comes too. There is lots of public art throughout The Woodlands too. The obelisk and the deer by The Woodlands sign (the only deer we've seen so far) pictured here are just a few.

There are more shopping areas I haven't photographed like Market Street which has some upscale shops and nice restaurants, sidewalks to walk, a splash pad and green common space as well as a movie theatre. Maybe next weekend....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Family Resemblance

Some pictures of the other two at around 1 month for comparison.

Here's the girl at just over one month. Oh, the hair!

Big Fella--totally different face--always Mr. Serious, too.

And the Bean, mostly like his sister but a bit of brother too, I think. And usually asleep.

One Month

Man, time really does fly, especially with the third. And it could also be all the other factors we've had going on as well.

William looks good in his orange and blue excavator/Go Gator outfit, size 6 months. When I weighed him last week, he was just over 12 lbs. Yikes! I hope we're not in for another chubby baby, a la Big Ben. He looks so much like Rebekah though, especially with the spikey hair.

We're off to swim with friends this morning and hopefully have scones and coffee with a fellow new mom during nap time tomorrow. Then Grandparents Part Deux arrive on Thursday. I think we can make it!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What she's writing

This is the results of R's "rest time" yesterday:

"by rebekah fleming too mommy fleming and dad and ben and willyum

one morning rebekah fleming got up and said i want too wear my leeatart her mom said that outfit is too dressy why not blue dress no her dad dressy why don't you no so she put on her leeatart the end"

I was crackin' up and impressed. Then she informed me that she used Ella Sarah Gets Dressed to write it. The story is about a little girl who wants to wear a particular mismatched outfit and everyone else in her family suggests something else. Stubbornly, she puts on what she wants to wear and, at the end her friends, also crazily dressed, come over for a tea party.

Maybe today during rest time she should copy the definition of plagiarize.

(I do think "willyum" is hilarious!)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

What We're Reading

I had to finally admit I just don't have the brain cells right now for Updike and Chesterton. They remain on the bookshelf, staring at me and making me feel slightly guilty. Them and the pound cake.

So, instead, I've read some easier and enjoyable reads, starting with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I saw the book ages ago when it first came out and wasn't quite sure it would be worth reading until I saw LuAnne Schendel's review on GoodReads. Mom picked up the book to read and then mailed it to me in my Mother's Day package. (Our lending library is going to get more expensive now that I've moved.) A quick read, predictable but satisfying, and persuasive. Mom and I are determined to visit Guernsey some day. I had never known the story of the German occupation of the Channel islands, the closest the Germans got to invading England. I also enjoyed the novel's epistle structure. Letters reveal a character in personal, intimate ways and I appreciated this change in narration. Side note: I knew a woman in our church growing up who lived in post-WW2 Yugoslavia under Tito as a child. Because her family was German, they were sent to an internment camp as retaliation. After escaping, their life was difficult. Ever resourceful, her mother made a type of cake from potato peels and I always remembered that, wondering if I would be able to one, eat something like that and, two, be that determined and plucky. Her mother also used a giant pumpkin shell to bathe the children in so they wouldn't get lice while in the camp. Mom just read The Zookeeper's Wife, set in German-occupied Poland, and we've both wondered if we would have survived that type of life.

I also just finished Olive Kitteridge, a novel told in short stories. The author says she chose that type of structure since she figured the reader would need a break from the hard-to-live-with Olive, who permeates every story and every life in the tiny Maine town of Crosby. Though almost every tale involved infidelity or contemplations of suicide--a bit depressing!--they are well written, complex, and engaging. I love the short story genre and every chapter left me thinking about what would happen next. Strout's stories perfectly follow those New Critic values of irony, ambiguity, and tension. I love stories like that! It would be a good teaching text, though I would pick and choose which stories I taught.

Finally, the ducklings are discovering the Frances stories. I was reminded about this series through a radio segment on NPR about a couple who try to make reading to their kids more enjoyable for the parents by creating voices for the characters and making reading a competition between Mom and Dad (listen to/read "Bedtime Story Showdown" here). I love these stories. They are a perfect challenge for Rebekah who reads them to Ben. In fact, I've employed her reading services a lot lately while I've been otherwise occupied. They take a stack of books into Ben's room, lay down on their tummies, and read and read. She has pretty good voices too.