After not even being able to get near the place last week, we decided to give Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World another try.
Sure enough, the crowd was much smaller and we were able to get in and out of the massive tribute to all things outdoor with ease.
We went there because we knew that Devin would love it. It has everything a little boy could wish for: NASCAR, camping, fishing, hiking, boating, hunting and ATVs. There's even archery!
And the place is so much more than retail. There's a huge, two-story waterfall that cascades into a pond stocked with fish and a river that runs throughout the store. There are tons of taxidermied animals (including a lion attacking a zebra...try explaining that to a little boy who idolizes the animal characters of the movie "Madagascar) and even a place to purchase some freshy made fudge.
Chocolate? Who? Me? Well...if you insist.
Animals and wildlife are represented throughout the building and in one of the display cases was the skin of a tiger (I'm not sure if it was real or not -- I'd really rather not know).
Devin happened across this skin and said, "Oh Daddy...how sad! Someone squished a tiger!"
Needless to say, it was a fun time and, thankfully, we got out of there only spending $10 on some over-priced (although very yummy) fudge.
Have a great weekend!
Friday, October 27, 2006
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
This weekend was Todd's 20th (bah ha ha ha ha ha ha!) high school reunion in the booming metropolis of Yoakum, Texas.
We arrived in Y-town around noon on Friday and spent some time with Todd's parents while they cooed over the girls and played with Devin. It was nice to sit and let someone else entertain the shortest Pruetzes.
That night was the Yoakum Bulldogs vs. the Cureo Gobblers (no, I'm not kidding). We took Devin, got settled in our seats and watched kickoff. Yoakum scored a touchdown and extra point almost immediately, but whatever happened after that is a total mystery to us.
You see Devin, my sweet, precious three-year-old, does not have the world's longest attention span. In fact, he is in the running for the world's shortest attention span. And while he loves sports, he'd much rather be playing than watching. What's the fun in watching?
So while we got to watch a little bit of the game, our little Doodle found it to be much more exciting to jump from the steps of the stands down to the walkway below. Over and over and over again. He was fine for awhile, until he started doing it from the fourth and fifth steps. Then he was annoying the fire out of everyone around him, so we took him below the stands to let him run around.
True to form, he picked up a game of football with some kids while Todd caught up with a number of his former classmates. When it was time to try to get back to our seats, though, Devin would hear nothing of it. He kicked and made a fuss, telling us that he wanted to return to Grandma and Grandpa's house.
That's all we needed.
We loaded the boy into the car and drove clear across Yoakum (2.5 minutes, tops) and dropped him off with Todd's folks. Then we hopped back into the mini-van and returned to the game where we were able to watch the bands perform at halftime and spend too much time in line for nachos. We saw a number of Todd's friends, though, and had a good time laughing and having fun, sans children.
Yoakum lost, 33 to 7. Apparently, the touchdown we saw was the only highlight of the game.
We woke up on Saturday morning and Todd and I headed to the High School for a tour, given by the Yoakum High School Principal and Class of '86 graduate. A number of Todd's friends were there and we enjoyed talking with them in the auditorium, one of the only rooms in the school that remains almost exactly as it was when the school was built.
Wooden, folding seats, with initials (some suspiciously looking like T.O.P...) carved deeply into them. A cement floor and a balcony. It was like stepping onto the set of "Grease."
Pricipal Kvinta (that's pronounced "Kwinna" for those of you who do not have Czechoslovakian backgrounds) pointed out the two pencils that Todd had thrown and stuck into the ceiling so many years ago and then took us all throughout the building.
The first stop was the computer sciences room. Interestingly enough, this was the only other room in the school that has not been renovated. Yoakum High School opened for its first year in 1892 (no, you're not reading that wrong), so you can imagine what the architecture was like; hardwood floors, raised "stage" areas for the teachers' desks, and tall windows for cross-ventilation.
It was interesting to see rows and rows of computers sitting in a room that looked straight out of a page of a history book. A juxtoposition of cultures, if you will.
The rest of the school looked a lot like my alma mater of Kingwood, Texas. Typical classrooms with rows of desks, dry-erase boards and inspirational posters on the walls. Some of the rooms had old desks from the 1950s, though, which were also interesting.
The tour of the main building ended in the Principal's office, where Chris Kvinta took out the paddle from their high school days. Back in those days, anyone who got paddled got to sign their names to the piece of wood. Todd won with the most signatures: TEN.
We saw the rest of the school, with some new outter buildings and updates. It was a lot of fun and it wasn't hard for me to picture Todd running through the halls.
We returned to Todd's parents house and got ready to go to the reunion party that night. We arrived around 4:00 with all three kids in tow (including Devin who had been up until 11:00 the night before and who had not had a nap that day). Everyone gathered around the twins and marveled at how much Devin looks like Todd. We enjoyed showing them off and stayed until about 6:00, when Devin's steam wore out.
Again, we did the drop at Grandma and Grandpa's house and returned to the party. On the way, we picked up a bottle of wine and, for Todd's posterity's sake, a bottle of MD 20/20. You'll be happy to know that we did not even open the stuff.
We had a great time, laughing and recalling goofy Todd stories. I finally had a number of faces to put with names and was able to catch up with some people we hadn't seen in a long time. It was really fun.
If you haven't gathered by now, Todd was Yoakum High Class of '86's class clown. And being married to the class clown brings a lot of pressure. Everyone is wanting to see just who would marry such a character and what is that person like? I had to make sure I was at my goofiest, so not to let anyone down.
The goofiness included taking a decades-old Air Force photo of one of Todd's friends and taping it to the mirror in the women's bathroom with a note that read, "For a good time, call 1-800-AF-STUDS." His wife found it almost immediately and brought it out, laughing. So, I wrote another one and sent Todd into the men's room with it. This one read, "Trumpet Lessons. 1-800-AF-STUDS." It stayed up for hours, until Jimmy saw it and nearly peed his pants. My work was done.
And that was the long and short of the reunion. A hysterically fun time in Yoakum, Texas.
More Exciting Stuff
Last Thursday, we decided we would take a trip out to the new Bass Pro Shops here in San Antonio. I've been to the one in Dallas (Grapevine, actually), but Todd had never seen one and I knew Devin would love the fish and all of the animals and outdoorsy stuff.
So we loaded up the family truckster and headed out I-10. We were excited to get to do this on a Thursday because, really, how many people would be there during the work week?
We couldn't get near the place. They tried to get us to park across the freeway at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and take a shuttle to the shop.
Um...no thanks. It's just not that important.
So we took a drive up I-10 and decided that Devin needed to see Natural Bridge Caverns. We were headed the absolute wrong direction to get there, but we took a detour and got to our destination in about 55 minutes (had we left from our home, it would have taken 20).
Once we got there, we made the executive decision to not actually tour the caves. With a stroller full of babies and a nearly 90-minute tour, we both agreed that it may not be a good time to go spelunking.
But there are plenty of other things to do, including mining for gemstones, which Devin did like a pro. He loved it.
After awhile, we went next door to the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. This is one of these places where you stay in your car and drive through different zones, filled with animals from all over the world.
In our ride, we met up with some very fiesty ostriches (who pecked at my window for food and stuck their heads in Todd's window, looking for a bite to eat -- luckily he was holding the bag of feed) and some hungry zebras (Devin is a fan of the movie, "Madagascar," so he was thrilled to see so many Martys in one place).
We also encountered a number of different types of antelope and even some bison. There were deer and giraffe and dozens of other animals. Devin was in awe.
After our drive, we stopped at the petting zoo. It was going to be impossible to get the girls' stroller in and out of there, so I sat in the car while Devin and Todd explored. About 20 minutes later, they returned, with Devin covered in dirt from head to toe on his left side. Apparently, a goat was interested in his shirt and knocked him down. I'm proud to say he laughed at the whole situation!
Of course, since this whole thing was spur-of-the-moment, we did not have the camera. The digital camera we have is a professional-quality one that is too big to keep in my purse, so we have to remember to get it and all of its accoutrements every time we go on an outing. I'm hoping for a small, point-n-shoot for Christmas so that I can keep it with me at all times.
We have, however, gotten a few good photos of the kiddos lately. Enjoy!
An Update on Video Egg
I've been hoping to post video to this blog for awhile, now, but apparently, Video Egg is not compatible with Macs. Either that, or our DVD Cam is not compatible. Todd tried explaining it to me, but my eyes glazed over. So, until we can figure out how to make it work, we'll have to stick with stills.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Today, Todd, Devin, Faith, Grace and I all went for a walk at the new park near our home. It's called Stone Oak Park, named after the master-planned community in which we live.
To be realistic, it's not as much of a park as is a nature area. No playground or sandbox (so far...I think there are plans for them, though), but rather gravel trails with benches along the way. The trails circumvent a cave system that will be open to the public some day in the future.
The park is very pretty and, although it is only partially finished, the trails are beautiful and rustic. They are pretty easy, although Level 2 and Level 3 trails are part of the newest expansion, set to open at the end of this year.
So we had a great time just meandering along the trails, enjoying the beautiful weather and God's glory around us. Since we were there during the heat of the day, we didn't see a whole lot of animals, but we were able to point out different animal tracks, trees and cactuses to Devin. It's hysterical to hear him say, "Prickley Pear."
At one point, though, we heard something scurry into some of the brush (remember, this is San Antonio, so it's more like short trees and scrubby brush than the pine-straw blanketed piney woods of Houston where I grew up) and Todd investigated. It was a squirrel and he pointed it out to Devin. This was the first time Devin realized that there may be animals along the way and he became very interested.
A short way past the squirrel-sighting, Devin shushed Todd and me and told us to stop. He said he'd heard an animal in the distance. Todd and I exchanged amused glances and followed our son to the edge of the trail.
There he stood, crouched down, quietly peering into the bushes. Todd whispered, "What do you see, Devin?"
Devin's response, "An itty, bitty hippopatamus."
Well who-the-heck knew? Apparently, San Antonio is home to exotic, wild animals. I didn't see the hippo, nor did Todd, but Devin swore it was there. And who are we to doubt him?
Monday, October 16, 2006
It occured to me earlier today that I have made a number of statements and prayer requests, but have never followed up on the news to go along with them. So...here you go.
We had our check-up on Friday to make sure the girls were healing well after their bout with strep. Sure enough, their oxygen levels were perfect and the wheezing had stopped. We got instructions to continue with their Amoxicillan (since it seems they are not allergic to Penicillan-based drugs like their mommy is) and continue life as usual.
We did talk, though, about Faith's failure to gain weight. Right now, there is a larger discrepancy in the sizes of the two girls than there ever has been in the past: a full pound! Fully clothed, Faith weighed only 10 lbs, 7 oz.
Babies at this age should gain six to eight ounces per week and Faith has only gained seven ounces in three weeks.
Dr. Trexler didn't seem too concerned, but wanted me to start forifying Faith's breastmilk again in an effort to up her calorie count. Breastmilk is 20 calories per ounce and with fortifying, it becomes 22 calories per ounce. Two calories don't seem like much, but when you really don't do a whole lot more than just lie around all day, it makes a huge difference.
So we're back to buying Enfacare and putting measured amounts of it in Faith's breastmilk. Hopefully, this will do the trick and she will get chunky like her sister.
And in other news...
So many of you all have inquired about how my niece, Presley, is doing. The great news is she's doing fine. After an initial diagnosis of tubular sclerosis, ZZ took her to see many, many doctors to see how far the disease had reached in her body. An appointment with her neuorologist, though, brought an interesting turn of events -- it may not be TS after all.
It seemed that many of Presley's symptoms were more indicative of epilepsy than of TS. There's no denying that TS symptoms are present, but epilepsy seemed to be the prevailing concern.
So a 24-hour EEG was done on Presley to determine what kind of activities were going on in that noggin of hers. She was hooked up to a machine with a zillion little wires attached to her head. She had to sit in bed for 24 fulls hours, getting up only to go to the bathroom (for which she still had to be attached to the machine, meaning ZZ had to carry all of the wires for her!). She was also videotaped for the entire 24 hours, to monitor any physical correlations with any seizures that were recorded.
Can you appreciate what it must have been like to have a four-year-old stuck in bed for 24 hours? It wasn't pretty...
A few days later, though, Z and Presley saw their neurologist and he confirmed it: While it may be TS, it's more likely epilepsy. They just can't ignore the epileptic-type sympoms she has.
They will continue to test and monitor for TS, which could rear its ugly head at any time. But epilepsy, especially juvenile epilepsy, is much preferred over TS. Praise God!
You can keep up with Presley on her CaringBridge Web Site.
Thank you to all of you who have prayed for Presley and inquired about her health. Once again, God has shown His mercy.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Today's post is brought to you by a Type-A personality with too much time on her hands.
I actually figured this whole thing out in the days after the twins were born, but I'm just now writing it down. I am sure it's a stretch, but I really don't believe in coincidences and I think God may have had a hand in my kids' times of birth, if for nothing more than to amuse someone who spends way too much time just "thinking."
Let's start with the time of day each of my kids were born.
Devin: 1:01 pm
Faith: 2:11 pm
Grace: 2:12 pm
Here is the pattern I noticed -- When you add up the hours and minutes of their respective births (separately), you get their birth order:
Devin: 1st pregnancy, 1st child
Hour: 1+0=1 (1st pregnancy)
Minutes: 0+1=1 (1st child)
Faith: 2nd pregnancy, 2nd child
Hour: 2+0=2 (2nd pregnancy)
Minutes: 1+1=2 (2nd child)
Grace: 2nd pregnancy, 3rd child
Hour: 2+0=2 (2nd pregnancy)
Minutes: 1+2=3 (3rd child)
I'm sure a lot of people are out there saying, "Okay Erin...this time you've really lost it," but I think this is pretty cool! Of course, if we were using military time, this would never work, but since we're on a 12-hour clock...
So ponder that! Have a great weekend!
PS - Todd is in the nursery dressing the girls. They are both just giggling up a storm. They've given us a few chuckles here and there, but this is the first time they've both consistently laughed. It's like music to my ears!
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
After nearly a year of defiantly titling each of my entries with the date of my entry (even though Blogger.com dates every entry automatically), I have finally decided to give it up and give them cute names. All of my friends' blogs have cute names for their entries, so why shouldn't I do the same? I've been doing it for consistency's sake and I've decided to let go of my OCD tendencies and throw caution to the wind!
Today brought lots and lots of fun to the Pruetz house.
Todd has been feeling sick for a couple of days. Head and chest congestion, sore throat, achiness...the works. I knew it was only a matter of time before everyone else started to feel the wrath of this mysterious malady.
Sure enough, Devin crawled into bed with me this morning (can't-get-a-good-night's-sleep-Todd was in the guest room) and immediately started hacking. I could hear the congestion rattling around in his throat and chest and he complained all morning about his nose being stuffy.
Around 7:45, both girls woke up and sure enough, they were stuffy and congested too.
At the stroke of 8:00, I called our Doctor's office and made an appointment for 9:00 for all three kids.
An hour later, we were sitting in the office of Stone Oak Pediatrics and were seen fairly quickly.
Luckily, our pediatrician, Cheryl, is a personal friend of mine and she always takes extra time with our kids.
First she examined Devin. Then Faith. Then Grace. Then pulse-ox meters for both girls. Then tempanograms for all three. Next were rapid strep tests for the brood and finally Xopenex nebulizer treatments for the babies.
She was right -- all three had strep. She gave Devin a prescription for a decongestant and all three got Amoxicillan to clear up the infection.
Three short hours later, we were home.
Four o'clock was Todd's turn to see our doctor. Sure enough, he returned 90 minutes later with a Z-Pack in hand, to clear up his strep throat (the first time he's ever had strep!) and sinus infection.
Luckily, I have escaped all of this. Until this evening.
First the cough. Then the tickle in the throat. Now the inability to stay awake, even while typin...zzz...zzz...zzz...
So, the whole family is on antibiotics and I'm waiting for morning to arrive when I call my doctor and say, "Look -- my husband and three kids all have strep. I think it's safe to say this is what I've gotten," and hope that he just calls a prescription in for me.
So, if you plan to stop by our home any time in the next two days, here's a word to the wise: DON'T. Save yourself. You won't regret it.
PS - On a lighter note, here are the kids' stats:
Devin: 35 lbs
Faith: 10 lbs, 7 oz
Grace: 11 lbs, 7 oz
We're a little worried about Faith's somewhat stunted growth, so we'll go in on Friday to revisit this whole strep thing and talk about why she's not gaining weight as quickly as she should. Here we go again...
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Yesterday, as the girls were lying on the floor of their room (with Todd and me, of course), they came to an awesome discovery: one another!
We give the girls "floor time" a few times a day, letting them roll around and stretch out. They aren't quite to the point of reaching for toys yet, but they do enjoy watching the ceiling fan (we call them ceiling angels) and having the freedom to move around.
Well, yesterday afternoon, they were next to one another on the floor, as is the usual custom. At one point, Grace turned her head and saw Faith. Now this has happened a zillion times and it's been no big deal. But this time, it was like a lightbulb popped up over Grace's head and she said to herself, "Hey look - that's another person over there!"
So she reached out for Faith and Faith responded to Grace's touch with her own turn of the head and proverbial lightbulb.
You think that's cute? Wait 'till you hear about what happened next!
Everyone says twins have their own language. My sister, ZZ's twins had their own for a long time. They were just mumbo-jumbo to the untrained ear, but to Kaelin and Brendan, they made total sense to one another. They asked questions, answered back and collaborated on many "projects."
Naturally, I've wondered when it will start for my twins.
Apparently, yesterday was the day!
As the girls were discovering one another by patting the other's arms and shoulders, they were also discovering that they could communicate with sounds.
It started with Faith (she's our talker, while Grace is our mover) who made a sort of trill sound with her lips. Grace follwed with an, "Ah-gee," and it went on from there. They both still do their little "Hi!" and are making lots of other noises, too.
This whole communication went on for nearly an hour. They were so content to just sit there and "talk" with one another. I started to get the video camera, but then thought twice about it, as I was afraid if I moved around a lot, I'd distract them and this important moment of bonding would be lost. I'll catch it next time.
I'm still trying to figure out our video camera (Todd is the techincal guru around here -- I just know how to take video) and get stuff uploaded to VideoEgg.com. Once I do, though, you'll have video to go along with Pruetz family stories!
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
I'm just so proud of this, I had to write it down.
As many of you all know, Todd was a stand-up comedian in college and that makes him much funnier and wittier than I. Rarely do I get to a joke before he does. Until today.
Todd was reading a CNN.com article about Teleporting Atoms when he said, "How do you tag an atom? Do you color it blue? Do you put your name on it?"
My response: "Hi. My name is Adam."
He was furious that I got to it first. He threw himself on the bed and swore this was like that Friends episode where Chandler had his third nipple removed. Chandler later missed a very obvious joke about Rachael's high school reputation and swore that he had lost his witty power when his superflous nipple was removed.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
It's a typical morning in the Pruetz house. Devin is searching for some long-lost toy and doing his version of "The Running Man" for Todd. The girls are still sleeping and I'm banging away at the computer. What fun!
Todd and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary this weekend by retreating to Fredericksburg for some wine tasting and R&R. It was so good to have some time with Todd and reconnect without someone screaming, whining or spitting up. Dad and Jean, being the wonderful people that they are, stayed with the kids while we were away. We couldn't be more thankful for their generosity.
We left Friday afternoon around 3:15 and made it to Fredericksburg around 4:45. We checked into our Bed and Breakfast, the Schandua Suite. We stayed here four years ago for our first anniversary and were so impressed with it, that we returned again!
It's not your typical B-n-B. It's not some old, victorian house with bedrooms upstairs and a common area downstairs. Instead, it's a single, two-room suite that is completey separate (although in the same building) from the owner's home. It has an enormous bedroom with the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in. In the bedroom is also a couch, a TV and a table and chairs. Attached to the bedroom is a double-sink bath, a separate water closet and a big walk-in closet. All of the ceilings are like 15 feet, so you can imagine how big the place feels.
Off of the bedroom is the library. It has a couch and chairs, a desk and a TV, along with a 25-foot wall filled completely with books. Behind the living room area is a small table and chairs and a complete, pullman kitchen.
The owners, Jon and Sharla, keep the kitchen stocked with all sorts of goodies. Milk, OJ, veggie juice, Cokes, cereal, fresh fruit, coffee and fresh, German pasteries from the bakery downstairs. YUM!
The best part about this place is the location, though. Like most quaint little town, Fredericksburg has a Main Street on which there are cute shops, fun eateries and entertainment as far as the eye can see. This little town's Main Street is about five blocks long and our suite sat right in the middle of the action. It's perfect!
So we checked in on Friday evening and enjoyed the appetizers that are a part of your arrival package. Then we headed out for some good German food and beer. We found The Auslander Restaurant enjoyed some good fried mushrooms and excellent German potato skins!
Then we headed down the street to the Fredericksburg Brewery where we had a beer and just relaxed.
It was back to the suite for one of the best nights sleep we've had in a long time.
The next morning, we woke up and enjoyed having a leisurely morning with nothing to do. We eventually headed out to walk Main Street and shop for goodies. We found a beautiful iron piece for the wall above our bed and a few other knick-knacks here and there.
Then...it was time. Wine tasting. This is what the trip was all about.
Before we left San Antonio, we found a map of the Texas Wine Trail and scoped out the wineries that we wanted to visit. Becker, for sure, as we visited them four years ago and buy their wine very often.
So we started there, tasting a number of their reds and a couple of their whites. We bought a glass of their ... something or another. I can't remember. But we enjoyed it a lot, sitting on their patio and making friends with some folks who walked up with their Yellow Labs. So much fun!
We headed down the road to a newer winery called Torre di Pietra. We did more tasting there, supplied by our now-good-friend George and purchased a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. Again, we sat out on their patio and enjoyed the live swing band.
By now, we are feeling no pain.
Our last winery would be Grape Creek Vineyards. I won't even go there. We were less than impressed. 'Nuff said.
On our way back into town, we passed some little place called, "Chip, Putt and Taste." Could it be? Golf and wine? We had to find out.
Turns out, that's exactly what it was. A little place, decorated with photographs of famous golfers like Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods, with a chipping green and putting green out back. On the menu were wines from all over the region and even some sparkling wines. We tasted a Syrah, a Zinfandel and a Merlot and purchased a glass of peach champagne. So yummy!
By this time, we needed to dry out a little, so we headed back to the suite for a snack and a nap. That night, we had dinner at the Rathskeller Restaurant where we just split an appetizer and a dessert. They had a great, live guitarist who played many of our favorite tunes, from James Taylor to the Beatles.
We were exhausted, so we retired early and, again, enjoyed a full-night's rest with no interruption.
Sunday brought the reality of having to return home and after a quick walk down Main Street, we returned to San Antonio. I was ready, though. I really missed my kids!
Naturally, we forgot the camera, so you'll have to just picture all of this in your mind. But if you're ever in Fredericksburg, please stay at the Schandua Suite and tell Jon and Sharla that we say hello...