If you've ever driven on a highway in Texas in March you know that every spring God paints our vast expanse with a fleeting yet spectacular display of His majesty.
Wildflowers are His glorious gift to us Texans.
It's kind of like His apology for what he's about to do to us in August. :-)
And any mother fortunate enough to have children and a camera simultaneously in the car is powerless to resist the wildflower lure.
FOOD is a big part of traveling for our family. We love to find new and fun places to eat, but sometimes an old favorite speaks loud and clear too. Saltgrass is one of our frequent haunts, and the Saltgrass on the Kemah boardwalk was the prettiest one we had ever seen. It sits right on the bay and is entirely glass on one side, so you can lounge by the windows while dining and watch the stunning sailboats and yachts come in off the water at sunset.
With a side of sweet potato.
AND they had a Baylor bear in their entryway, just to welcome Jackie and I.
I hesitate to officially call this the "beach", because if you are not from Texas and you are reading here, you may not fully appreciate the unique experience that visiting the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Island can bring. The water is brown and murky, not like the crystal blue waves of the coasts. However, for those of us land locked in big cities it qualifies, and it is an extraordinary treat.
It was the Little One's first time to see a shore, feel waves, play in sand, and taste salt water!
She was an immediate fan.
She took to the water without a hint of trepidation, and was positively skipping everywhere she went as her little body gave over to pure euphoria. I think she shows potential as a beach bum.
The boys took like fish to the water. We expected it to be too cold to swim, but stopped at Target along the way to pick up bathing suits and a football "just in case". I'm so glad we did. They spent the entire day in the water, getting tossed by the waves and crisped by the sun!
It hit me as I sat on the sand and watched my
little boys young men that they are growing....grown?....changing so incredibly fast. Those realizations tend to sneak up on a Mama when she least expects them. They gave every ounce of their energy, like a gift, to that shore.
The beach was pure instinct to this one. $2 worth of sand toys from Target bought a precious day of priceless memories for both of us.
Aunt Jackie and my nature loving Max took a loooooong walk down the beach to collect treasures. I love that boy, and my dear friend who has invested the very best of herself in the lives of my children, earning a rightful spot of honor in our family.
No matter where life takes Max, he is searching for what the earth wants to show him and teach him. He has an insatiable curiosity for how things grow and live. He'll touch anything (squirm!) in the name of exploration. His inquisitive nature can't (won't!!) ever be hurried. I think of the times he's been rushed or fussed at for stopping to look at something at such a seemingly inopportune time, and regret comes knocking.
Max knows how to seize a moment, even if it means pausing a rote schedule or a dull routine. That boy still has a lot to teach me about how to live my life better.
And more fragrantly. You should have seen the horrified look on Jackie's face when I announced there was NO WAY these (strongly smelling) things were making it back in the van with us. She is sometimes quicker to catch on to boyhood than I am. ;-)
I, on the other hand, thought it was more than enough that we were hauling home the four and a half quarts of gritty sand caked to everything we owned. My sunburned self didn't have enough humor for the sand AND the soft shelled crabs. Ha!
And that meant "Larry" was fortunate enough to continue his happy little life at the beach rather than being lugged to the suburbs in a styrofoam take-out container and forced to carry out his days within the confines of a fishbowl, which was, by the way, the popular vote for Larry's future.
I took up Larry's cause and fought valiantly for him. Because I love nature.
And because I wasn't signing up for the job of fishbowl maintenance. :-)
My favorite thing about the outdoors is how it always coaxes the very best of sibling friendship from my kiddos. It doesn't matter if we are on a mountain or on a beach or on a nature trail, they just love being outside together.
And I am a fan of the critters we find there too.
As we were leaving the beach I learned that there is a car ferry off the island. I had never been on a car ferry before, so I begged. And pleaded. And won.
Okay, the wait was..........a little long. Long for the hungry, gritty, sunburned people in the backseat (and perhaps the drivers seat) who may not have shared my romantic notions about car ferries. But Jackie and I stood firm in our resolution that this was going to be a GREAT idea.
And it actually paid off. We got to watch dolphins come and play in the wake of the boat!!!!!!
I'm including this photo as an ode to family humor.
(My photography goal for this trip was to get "just one pelican". I thought they were rare and novel birds. Who knew there are approximately seven thousand of them everywhere you look when the shrimp boats are out??)
So, that's it! Our trip south. And now my three half-weeks of spring break are memories in the rear view mirror of life. Good times. Good friends. Good food.
Good family fun.