Monday, October 03, 2005

What I did this weekend


My mom took my family to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo just south of Austin this weekend. I came home hot and exhausted and totally pleased. I'll be marking this on my calendar and going again next year.

What is the Texas Parks & Wildlife Expo? It's an outdoor experience where visitors fish, shoot, kayak, rock climb, mountain bike, see and touch wildlife, learn about recreation in the Great Outdoors and see and buy the latest in outdoor gear and services. Most importantly, visitors can learn how they can help to conserve this precious resource. And it’s free!

We did a ton of the activities that are listed here. All my kids, the 9 yr old, the 7 year old, and even the 5 year old got to try archery and fly fishing. I was extremely pleased at how well my 5 year old did on all the activities. The girl's a natural outdoorsman! We didn't go shooting because they can do that at home with their dad.

I promise to add pictures this evening when I get home. I'm just blogging in between classes right now.

My day started off quite well. This was one of the rare occasions that I got up early on a Saturday morning to make it to an event. We were all ready at 7:45 except for getting the girls' hair brushed. Somehow, that took until 8:45 or later. I have no idea what we did in between that hour. Since we were supposed to leave by 8:30, I can only say that this is payback for even trying to get up early on a Saturday.

We thought we were finally ready and a pair of shoes was obtained for Whitney. She's left all her shoes at friend's houses (3 pairs at least) and has been wearing her brother's old church schools to school for the past week. It's annoying how cute they look on her. We all piled into the car. I sat down in the car and...


Dang it, something had bit me right on the back of my leg when I sat down. I jumped up out of the car in extreme pain and ran for the house. My safety-wise husband had already locked all three locks and I had to wait an eternity for him to come and unlock it all.

The next lesson I learned is that I need to re-organize my medicine cabinets so my husband can find stuff. But eventually pain relief came. So what bit me? I didn't have to wait long to find out. While looking through my pants, my husband suddenly started yelling extremely loudly! The freaking big Red Wasp was still hanging onto my pants for dear life. Next came the complicated affair of trying to get my pants off without letting them brush against my legs or let the wasp go free again.

Hubby took pity on my pants he says and let the wasp go free. I really wanted to wear those pants and squashed bug guts would have been quite the impediment to my desire. The irony of the whole mess is that at 9am on Saturday morning I was exactly where I should have been in the first place: snuggled in my blanket in bed.

Nevertheless, adventure called and we packed up and headed for the Old Spanish Trail down to Bastrop and then a quick hop over to the south of Austin. I estimate the children asked, "Are we there yet?" only about 15 times. This gives an average of one nagging wine every 6 minutes.

We took my mom's little car because it gets 30mpg. That's great gas mileage on her 200,000+ little Nissan. She has a bumper sticker on her car that states, "Don't let the car fool you. My real treasure is in heaven." Oh yeah, oh yeah. Every mile of those 200,000 shows now! So when the guy rear-ended us while waiting in line for parking at the expo, Mom took it in stride. But what she said about the idiot while inside our car was completely different what she said to his face. :) Years of customer service can make you smile through anything.

The expo was everything my Mom had hyped it to be. There were so many activities to choose from that we could barely decide. It was hard to let the kids wait in line to do the same activity three times in a row. As a parent we sometimes want to drag them along and "expose" them to everything. But it was great to them fall in love with these activities so fast. Archery was by far their favorite and we only got them away by bribing distracting them with snow cones. I enjoyed being able to use the compound bow.

Sorry to bother everybody with these wonderful pictures of my kids. However, my Grandma and Grandpa read my blog so they get to need to see them. And that super happy man is NOT Whitney's dad. That's the joy in the instructor's face as my 5 year old hit the target on only her 6th arrow. It didn't have enough power to stick but dang it, that girl's got it! The other's did impressively well too. :)

A couple of exhibits, about 10 of them, were cancelled due to Hurricane Rita.

This picture is the small "Texas Zoo" exhibit for the kids. Please notice that their zoo is made mainly of dead animals- not live ones!

I wonder how it is that the Port-o-Pot people manage to put their boxes in the full direct sun at every event. I wish I had taken a picture of them because these were first port-o-pots with American Flags on them!

Lastly, I want to mention the Birds of Prey show done by the Last Chance Forever conservation group. Their show leader could have easily passed for Buffalo Bill Cody if he had been wearing a leather jacket with fringe. He was a master falconer and let the birds fly around and dart after food. They landed right next to us! He decorated a remote control car to look like a rabbit to show us how the birds hunt and attack their prey. But he stressed that they hunted for food- not for fun- and this was not murder. To show us, he tossed a piece of food next to the "dead rabbit" and then the bird would choose the easy to get food over it's prized rabbit. The food, not the hunt, was the goal of the bird.

From most animal lover groups, you expect a heartfelt plea to stop polluting and let the animals return. This man was a master though and easily balanced the need for humanity to live with the need of the birds to live in our environment. Ignorant people shooting the birds, not hunters, is what causes most of the deaths and expensive rehabilitation that his group provides for the birds. "Don't blame this on hunters," he exclaimed as he showed us the beautiful bald eagle. The huge bird was missing half of its right wing and would never fly again.

Well, I'll be sure to go again next year, and next year... I conclude that this was worthy of getting up on Saturday morning.

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