There have been times when my Dad and I have not seen eye-to-eye about how to handle a sobbing child---I head for time-outs and he pulls out his wallet---but overall I am grateful that he spoils my kids, that's what grandparents are for. While I was growing up I lived across the country from my grandparents but they only lived a few miles from one another so when we would travel to Salt Lake from Washington I was always very excited to see them. Both my dad's and mom's parents were all about spoiling the grandkids. My Grandpa Lee would happily slip us a ten or twenty dollar bill so that we could walk to the nearby McDonalds to get ice cream or Happy Meals. He usually gave us way more money than we would need for our summer treats but we would pocket the rest and use it later at the 7-11 by my Aunt Lizzie's house.
While grandpa was here we had some great adventures. Justin had business in Houston so we all decided to tag along. We didn't see much of Justin but we had fun exploring the city, though we mainly stuck to the hotel pool and the nearby shopping mall. My Dad took a great picture of the kids each on their own pool lounger with their arms folded behind their heads relaxing poolside, but as is the case when other people take the pictures, I have been unable to get that picture off of my Dads flashcard. Unfortunately, the only pictures I took while grandpa was in town were of the car ride to Houston because once we got to the hotel I accidentally left the camera in the car. So, if I ever get the cute pictures off of my Dad's camera I will post those as well but for now it is just a sneak peek into what it's like to travel with the Allen kids.
Ruby is her grandfather's grandaughter...she discovered her LOVE for diet coke
road trip singing
The funniest thing that happened while my Dad was in town---well it's funny now---was that he lost his car keys for several days. He has had really bad luck with Austin rental cars. When he and Josh came into town at Christmas they got a flat tire on their rental on the way to church, then had major issues with the rental car company and his insurance company trying to get the problem fixed. This time the keys were a major mystery because when you live in a house with this many little kids you are forced to look EVERYWHERE not just in logical places. Ruby is no respecter of hiding spots, she does not discriminate. We eventually found the keys in a box to a recently purchased hairdryer that was going to be thrown away. We were just grateful to have found them but for a while I thought we may all have nervous breakdowns over the whole situation. Thankfully the keys were found the afternoon before my Dad was to return to Virginia, we were really sad to see grandpa leave but were glad to know we would see him again soon.
On a completely different subject, there are a lot of fun places to eat in Austin, several in fact that we found right away after our move and have already made family favorites. As anyone who has come to visit us knows we are major fans of Rudy's BBQ, Chuy's (mexican food), and Round Rock Donuts (they are totally worth the 30 minute drive), but there are several other places that we keep meaning to visit but haven't made it to yet. One such place was Phil's Ice House, a burger place we've heard about from nearly everyone because it has great food and fun play equipment for the kids. Well, the day after grandpa left we were running some errands and passed famous Phil's and decided to give it a try. As you can see it was a big hit!!
It was extremely hot outside but that didn't really seem to matter to the kids. Abbie had come in full regalia but did eventually shed the princess dress and was much more comfortable in play clothes. The kids had a great time experimenting with the never-seen-before spinning flower cups (great for helping you lose your lunch immediately after finishing your burger) and spinning swizzel stick. Ruby wanted to spend the entire afternoon with people spinning her around and around that swizzel stick pole, Bracken was willing to do it for quite some time but finally we decided to make her stop because her head and eyes were spinning. A favorite of Abbie's was the "Greetings from Austin Texas" cow sign that the kids could stick their heads through. Phil's is attached to an Amy's ice cream, which is a local chain ice cream place here. The only drawback to this fun place to eat is that it is located right on a busy road, for the most part my kids are not runners and always steer clear of roads but Ruby is quite the explorer these days and it made me nervous to be so close to danger.
Abbie loved this cow thing that she could put her face in, she kept running back over to do it again and again
Bracken was my only child willing to ride the "sock monkey cow" because the plastic was burning hot
Bracken is always willing to help his siblings have a good time, so he was willing to spin Ruby over and over
It was easily way over 100 degrees but Abbie still insisted on wearing her huge costume dress over her clothes...