I had the opportunity to meet up with some of the bloggers from Houston and Austin who are headed to Blogher in NYC in a couple of weeks. Not all of them are going, but it was a nice opportunity to network, and for the people who are going to the conference to get to know some familiar faces before they travel to the event.
Our meet-up was held at Morton's downtown, and organized by Mr. Lady I've been reading her blog for a couple of years, and have been communicating with her for a few months, since she moved to Houston. She was just as funny in person as she is in her writing, and I hope that I have the opportunity to hang out with her again. I also met some other cool bloggers who live here. I didn't realize that everyone would have some nice calling cards to share all of their information with each other, so I had to make do with paper torn off a notepad that I keep in my purse. I am definitely investing in some cards for next time! If you get a chance, go and check out:
I've been making beaded pacifier holders for a couple of years now, and everyone always comments on how cute they are. Since I have tons of supplies stockpiled, and crafting makes me happy, I thought I would start an Etsy page to see if there is any interested in them. You can find me here. Please go and check it out! Feel free to leave me a comment with suggestions on what you would like to see. In the meantime, I'll be making pacifier clips...
We had a busy Independence Day weekend. For the first time in the ten years since we moved here, I attended the parade that is held in The Woodlands. As The Woodlands has grown, it has evolved from kids riding their bikes with streamers on the handles to consisting more of organized groups.
We participated in the Cub Scout group for the parade. This year is BSA's 100th birthday in the United States, and the parade's Grand Marshal was supposed to be someone with Boy Scouts. Our district within Sam Houston Area Council had two floats, which were decorated trailers pulled by pick-up trucks. I think we probably had over 100 Scouts who participated this year. Zoe and I were able to ride in one of the trucks, Zach rode on a float with some of his friends, and Darren walked beside the float.
After the parade, which was a lot of fun and very well-attended (BSA won an award for the largest group, BTW), I had to rush home and shower to prepare for my friend's husband's funeral. She is in nursing school with me, and her husband died very suddenly of a heart attack on the Monday before July 4th.
That evening, we attended the free patriotic concert that the Houston Symphony puts on every year at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. It's fun, because you can bring a picnic dinner (fried chicken, of course!), and sit on a blanket and listen to the music. The evening is capped off with a performance of the 1812 Overture, accompanied by cannons. We've been a few times to the concert, but not for several years. It wasn't very crowded this year, and we met some friends there. The only downfall was that it had rained all week prior to the concert, and the grass was very muddy. We spent a lot of time watching kids running down the hill, and ending up sliding on their butts in the mud. Zoe had a great time running around and visiting other groups nearby during the concert, and was not scared of the cannons.
On Sunday, we lazed around for most of the day, until I went to the grocery store and bought ingredients for a cookout. Darren requested apple pie, so I made that from scratch, along with macaroni and cheese, and he grilled bratwurst in beer. Yum!
Around 8:00, we hopped on our bikes and rode to Town Center to view the fireworks. There was a festival down there as well, with a band and refreshments, but we skipped all of that. We left our bikes at the library, and walked down to the Waterway. We ended up on top of a hill across the waterway from the Pavilion, and had a great spot to watch the fireworks. Zoe spent our time there drinking all of the water out of my Camelbak. She thought it was the coolest thing!
After the fireworks, it took us an hour to get home on our bikes, but I think that was faster than it took most people who drove their cars. We had to dodge pedestrians on the pathway in Town Center, then when we got back to Woodlands Parkway, the lights were set to allow traffic to flow from Town Center, so it took a long time to get a walk signal. We arrived home, sweaty and tired, around 11:00. We all had popsicles to cool off, and the kids didn't go to bed until midnight. There weren't nearly as many people shooting fireworks this year as in the past, so we were all able to sleep that night.
It was a really fun holiday weekend, but it would have been nice to have had a party or have been invited to one. We really miss getting together with friends, but in recent years, it has seemed that unless we do the inviting and host the party, we don't go anywhere. I'm glad I like to stay home so much...
This year, I went to Cub Scout camp as a session leader instead of a den walker. That way, I would only see each boy for 45 minutes, instead of having to walk around with the same group of boys all week. I was lucky to have a session in the shade under a pavilion, and I taught Readyman to the Webelos I boys (Zach's age, going into fourth grade) for the first four days of camp. Readyman is pretty much advanced First Aid, and the boys seemed to enjoy it. On the last day of camp, I taught duct tape wallet-making to the Webelos II boys; the oldest group in Cub Scouts, going into fifth grade. That was a lot of fun, and I was so glad that I had practiced making wallets the night before.
Of course, it was hot, as south Texas is during the summer, but it was a lot of fun. Ice pops are a valuable commodity out at Camp Strake, and the boys kept Mrs. Mary in the canteen busy all week, purchasing them. Zach earned a bunch of requirements toward his Webelos badge, and it got us out of the house for a week. I tend to not leave the comfort of my house during the summer unless I have to, and this was something good for Zach and I to get to do together. Things have been so crazy for us the past two years with me being in school, and it was nice to have the free time to devote totally to him. We had four other boys from Zach's den who participated with him, and the parents took turns walking around with the boys all week. The one thing that I noticed was that compared to three years ago when we first went to camp, there were less boys there, and also less ceremony put into it. That's a shame, and I think will lead to attendance dwindling each year.
This year's theme was "Ride into the Future: 100 Years of Scouting". Our camp had a Star Wars theme, and each den was some geographical point with "Jedi" as the last name. Zach's den was the "Sahara Desert Jedi", and they did a nice job decorating their campsite in that theme.
The boys attended four sessions each day Monday-Thursday, and Friday was a day of organized fun. My favorite part is when the fire truck shows up right before lunch, and showers everyone at camp with their water. The boys love it, and there were a few adults standing where they could get drenched, too. Of course, I was right in the middle of it.
Below is a slideshow of our pictures from camp. You may have to go to Flickr to view the captions. Enjoy!