Sunday, October 16, 2011

Maybe the best day all year, illustrated

The upside of the downside of last Friday is that I am no longer quite so busy. After billing 220+ hours for the past 3 months, I decided the Lag Liv family needed a vacation. And after reading Becca's blog post, I decided that vacation would be a day spent in Burnet, Texas. I did a little research on Monday, was super excited by Tuesday, and found myself practically giddy as we pulled out of our driveway at 8:45 a.m. Saturday morning for our 90 minute journey. Vacation! Family time! First Saturday in three months JP and I weren't working!! (!!!!!!)

First stop: Longhorn Cavern State Park.

Beautiful and educational.

listening with rapt attention to the tour guide

We embarked on this trip with less than my usual obsessive research, so I didn't fully comprehend that the only way to see the famous cavern was to go on a 90-minute tour. A tour in which you are literally locked in the cavern for the duration of the journey into the deep recesses of an underground wonder. Also, there are tight, low passages, and it's pitch black in front of and behind you. In other words, it's AWESOME.

unauthorized rock climbing

Awesome unless you are 16 months old and you want to GET DOWN and climb the rocks BY YOURSELF. Or if you are that 16 month old's parents and you have to carry your 26 lb. dead weight of a baby through 90 minutes of cavern walking.

Without toys or snacks at our disposal, we spent a lot of time trying to get Claire to look for things that weren't there. Claire, do you see the airplane?! Claire, can you find the kitty?! Claire, do you see the doggie?!

there really was a dog, totally the highlight of the tour for Claire

In truth, she did great and we loved the tour. At 4 Landon was plenty old enough to enjoy it, and Claire put up with our inane requests to find invisible objects with mostly good humor. If you live anywhere near Central Texas, you must go. The history is incredible- that cavern has served as a Comanche council room, a Speakeasy, and a hideout for outlaws, not to mention the physical rock formation and the crystals inside are just amazing. When the tour was over, and my arm truly felt like it was going to fall off (I have no hips, I support the full weight of that toddler on my right arm), we were sprung from the cavern and the kids got to run around on the grounds and inside the old house/museum.

Landon has no idea who we are or why he's in this picture

he remembers

I tried to be Rapunzel in Tangled, but Landon told me my hair was WAY too short

By the time we were done burning off some post-tour energy, it was almost 11 and my lack of breakfast, plus my unusual uptick in a.m. physical activity resulted in a very hungry and very nearly crabby LL. We headed back to Marble Falls, a town we drove through 15 minutes before getting to Burnet, to eat at the Bluebonnet Cafe because I had seen a billboard for it on the way up and my mind fixated on it as though it was our only possible source of food. The billboard told me the cafe had been open continuously since 1929, so I figured it must be good. A line out the door was another good sign, though just to be mean, we had to wait next to a huge display case of their famous pies.

Of course, we had to order a few slices. Landon was pretty excited about the rare post-lunch dessert treat:

After lunch it was on to Sweetberry Farm, conveniently located in Marble Falls along with the pie, to pick out a few pumpkins and do whatever else it is you're supposed to do when you visit this famous farm I've been hearing about for 3 years.

The kids discovered a love for sitting on pumpkins, so they did that for 15 minutes while JP agonized over his pumpkin selection.

We ran into a co-worker of mine and she took a family picture for us-- a picture that prominently features our new family pumpkins:

There was quite a lot to do, but there was also quite a lot of people, and not being a fan of crowds or lines (and with kids who didn't really care about all the activities), we decided to head back to Burnet to visit a state park park I remembered camping at when I was little.

And Inks Lake did not disappoint. It was just as beautiful as I remembered, and thanks to a giant dam, the lake hadn't disappeared with our drought.

The kids waded and JP dove in and swam in his shorts (my packing consisted of two diapers, a travel thing of wipes, a towel, and an empty sippy cup- we were not prepared for swimming, or much of anything else). I took pictures from the shore and basked in memories of a childhood spent camping in lots just like the ones all around us.

It was the most fabulous day. We were gone for 8 hours, spent just under $100, and I couldn't stop smiling the whole way home.


  1. Yay! Looks perfect! And now I want some chocolate pie.

    Committing to a 90 min cave tour with small children is not for the faint of heart! Glad it worked out for both of us (except baby James).

  2. Sounds like a great day. I gasped when I came to the "2 diapers" part, though:how brave you were! If that had been us, with our kids, we would have been practically begging for a catastrophe if we had taunted the diaper gods that way. Good lord, we could have gone through 2 extra diapers on the 90-minute tour (and we never were very good at changing a squirmy kid one of us was trying to hold...) Glad it worked out for you,though. Sounds like an interesting place, and those serendipitous days are just wonderful when everything meshes just right.

  3. Yeah the 2 diapers thing was a complete oversight on our parts. Each of us thought the other had re-filled the backpack. Luckily we only needed the 2!

  4. First, I have to comment on the family pic and the fact that it looks like JP is fondling two big orange tatas! Not sure if it's supposed to be an obvious thing, or if I'm just that dirty minded, but it's totally the first thing I saw and it cracked me up.

    Also, I would love to see you post some pics of you and JP as toddlers/preschoolers. I find it fascinating that Landon and Claire look so much alike, yet I don't think either of them look particularly like either you or JP.

  5. I love your family! And the fact that JP was so intent on picking the perfect pumpkins.

  6. Wendy, that was my first thought when I saw the picture in the view finder of my camera. JP, oddly enough, didn't see it at all.

  7. Oh, and Landon looks EXACTLY like a toddler JP. And according to my family Claire is a baby me. But I'm not sure that works out because they look so much like each other, but grown up JP and I look nothing alike at all.

  8. What a lovely vacation, and you are most definitely a hot mama! Glad you got away from it all for a bit!

  9. Envious of your long legs! I'm 5'2"! ha ha ha. "tatas" comment above had me chuckling! Great pics; thanks for sharing.

  10. Your true and lasting riches and rewards are those precious children and your husband! The time spent with them is worth far more than any kudos an office or career can give you. Pay those student loans off and nestle in with those babies! You are so fortunate to have them!