I went to a neighborhood association meeting tonight. Well, not just any neighborhood association, my neighborhood association meeting. Because I am an adult, with a neighborhood, and I go to its meetings, along with 30 other senior citizens and 1 other 30-something mom, to learn about things like the horrors of egret nesting, whether or not the local hardware store is violating a fire ordinance in the placement of its propane tanks, and the next bond initiative/redistricting/something involving voting that is coming soon but seriously the meeting as running on 2 hours at that point and I was having a hard time staying focused. There were a lot of people knitting. It was actually a pretty good time, though would have been made better with a glass of wine, and I'm glad I went. Now that I'm a public servant and spend my evenings watching all the television I've been missing for the last 8 years, I'm determined to get more involved in my neighborhood and the kids' school. Meeting everyone in the elementary auditorium was step 1. Step 2 will likely involve the PTA. Watch out Fort Worth, I'm a grown up with free weekend and evening time.
Speaking of our neighborhood, we spent a chilly Sunday acting like tourists and exploring all of our favorite (free!) haunts.
The Fort Worth zoo, voted somewhere sometime as a Top 5 zoo in the country, really is fabulous. We joined back in April, figuring the cost was covered in two family visits, and since it's only a few miles from our house, surely we'll go at least that many times. Ten months in and I think the kids have been 50 times or so. I've only gone on 8 trips, but JP now takes the kids almost every day after school. The zoo is usually empty then and they get to run around before coming home exhausted and ready to docilely play with legos and babies. They've also gotten to know many of the trainers at their favorite exhibits and even Claire can now direct you to any animal you want to see. Afternoons spent with their dad, and their part-time school schedule that now ends at 2:30, are a few upsides to our current underemployed situation. I haven't been with them in months and it was so fun to run around with them as tour guides.
First up, Claire's favorite exhibit- the monkeys!
Then, the white tiger! Right in front of us!
That Claire conversed with, yelling out, "Otay, I see you later!" as we walked away.
We saw Bears! with the Bear!
We climbed fences to look over boulders at whatever animal was beyond that nice, natural, Claire-sized boundary that I can't remember.
JP and Landon attempted to pet a frisky Ibex until I saw what was happening put an end to it, noting that I refused to be that family in the local news story that goes viral on the internet because a member tried to pet an animal at the zoo only to lose a hand or digit. JP noted that I seemed less concerned about either of them losing the digit than I was about being famous for something so stupid.
We moved on to a safer activity, petting snakes in the MOLA.
Claire called her Gigi while listening to snake sounds. When I told her it was time to move on, she said, "Just a minute please mama, I'm talkin to somebody right now." She is beyond her years (and she did say please).
After stopping at home for lunch and a nap, we headed back out to the downtown water gardens. We love the water gardens. A big, free, surprising city block in the middle of a brown downtown full of pools and sprays and ledges to climb. It was a chilly day, as evidenced by Claire's beloved coat, and we had pretty much the whole gardens to ourselves.
And waited for mommy when she realized we were getting too far apart.
We hopped stone steps to climb down into the active pool. We love the active pool, while also finding it a little scary.
And then we sat by the spray pool and contemplated life.
Before finding a corner full of ledges and circles to play house. The circles were bathtubs, the ledges were bunk beds. I sat on the side playing hearts on the phone, smiling and laughing under my breath as I listened to the Landon-led imaginative play. I say this just about every day, but man do I love having two kids. There is very little as awesome as listening to them play together. We stayed in that corner for nearly 45 minutes until Mommy got bored with her hearts game and decided it was time to move on to the next stop.
On our last round, we picked daddy up from the house (he'd been sleeping when we left and I felt generous enough to leave him to it) and went to our favorite park. The kids ran more and laughed more and climbed more, this time on dinosaurs.
We went home and enjoyed a dinner of fancy lemony braised chicken and a dessert of two more episodes of Downton Abbey season 2. It was a really lovely day (in a really lovely town!).