Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sunshyne At The Firestation

Every kid knows the anxious excitement of watching the big red fire engine race by with sirens blaring. The sound of the truck's intense horns and bells command that small children pop up from there car seats, tossing there little heads from side to side to locate the majestic vehicles. Why is there such intrique for youngsters when it comes to rescue vehicles, particularly the fire engines? The fire engine stands apart from all other rescue vehicles in a way that makes me wonder why? Perhaps it is it's striking color of red, or maybe the ladders that adorn it like a king's crown. I truly don't know, but my little Sunshyne LOVED her experience at the firestation! She smiled and posed with firemen, she dressed up in an official fireman hat and jacket, she even sprayed water from the fire truck hose! How exciting it was to tour the firestation and experience first hand all of the things about the fire trucks that one wonders about when watching them zoom by to help other's in need. I can truly say that it was an experience that I will never forget, and I hope that my Sunshyne won't either.

Great Idea for the kids! For more great ideas for your preschooler check out

Friday, October 06, 2006

Check Me Out!!

As you've probably read in my bio, I've been trying to do a little freelance writing since becoming a stay-at-home-mom. Well it's official! I actually have some REAL published work on the internet. I know, I couldn't believe either! I guess there's hope for me after all. My first online article is featuring those wonderful Heritage Makers products that I love so much. There's also a little Sunshyne in the article to help brighten things up . The article is published on the Alpha Mom website. Alpha Mom is a innovative 24/7 cable television network with Comcast Cable. The network is all about us "mom folk" which can really make a mommy feel proud. All day and night broadcasting dedicated to being a mom! Where can I get that? Unfortunately it's not on Time Warner Cable yet, but not to worry, it's coming! Alpha Mom features advice on everything from healthy cooking and eating habits for you and your child, to the best mommy & baby classes. One of the features that I like best is that you get tips and advice from both experts and real moms. The network launched in May 2005 and was founded by Isabel Kallman and Vicky Germaise. They have been featured in many media venues including the New York Post, the Chicago Tribune, and Woman's Day magazine (my personal favorite).

People out there with Comcast, don't wait around ya gotta check out Alpha Mom! For us Time Warner subscriber's get a taste of the hottest programming for moms at

In addition to my first online article with Alpha Mom, I have contributed articles to a few newsletters, and small publications. I've now decided to focus on the online content for now though, (my main profession is still Diva Momma). I'm working on doing some book reviews for and my latest project with will be ready for launch in early November. I'm the new writer for the preschool games section. This writing thing might just work itself out!

Oh yeah, Don't forget to check out my Article! (click on the link!!!!)

Friday, September 29, 2006

Trip To The Dentist!

Normally, I wouldn't write about such mundane events such as going to the dentist's office. However, this was a unique experience as it involved a new dentist for my daughter here in San Antonio.

Sunshyne must have been a little nervous before we went inside, asking if she would get a sucker when she was done. "Who asks for a sucker after visiting the dentist?" Of course this was my own quiet ponder, my verbal response was "No sweetie, the dentist doesn' t believe in giving little girls cavity provoking, sugar based treats" well... maybe it was a bit more like "No, the dentist gives out stickers and really cool toothbrushes!" At any rate she quickly got over the "be good and you'll get a treat" bribery tactics, when she noticed all of the kids over-running the place. This was her type of party! She quickly joined in and staked her claim as child master conversationalist. While she made the rounds interviewing other children about there personal backgrounds, I filled out the paperwork and kept my ears open for any inappropriate lines of questioning from her. Listening to her direct approach for questioning and smooth, calculated subjects changes would make Oprah proud. Watch out Oprah, Sunshyne is on her way! I love it when she has her hand on her hip, her head is slightly tilted to the side, and she has this very serious facial expression. I know that she is sincerely
contemplating your responses and she's always prepared with the follow-up question. Okay, I'll get over the proud mom thing and get back to the story.

Finally, it's Sunshyne's turn to go into the back area for an x-ray, the nurse was so nice that I wanted to make her a thank you card right then and there. Of course, I'm not anal retentive enough to carry around thank you cards everywhere I go, but the thought crossed my mind. After getting her x-rays it was time to meet the dentist. He had this big ole crocodile (or alligator, I never can tell), with huge teeth that she was able to brush. She's great brushing something else's teeth, not so thorough with her own though. She hopped into the chair as only a pro would do, and prepared for me to take pictures for her "before" shot. No... I'm not going to completely embarrass her by posting a "before" shot!

To sum it up, her teeth turned out white and sparkly. I was happy, and she was happily plastered with stickers. As an additional bonus she racked up on some costume jewelry, a super cool, hot pink toothbrush, and a crocodile toothbrush cover. This was a great dentist adventure!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Urgent Trip to Michigan

This past week has been an emotional rollercoaster in which I'm currently still riding. My mother went into the hospital last week, the day before she was scheduled to come to San Antonio to visit me. She was so ill that she asked that I bring Areya-Sunshyne to Flint instead. I began to worry about the severity of her situation and decided to rent a car the very next day and drive from San Antonio, TX to Flint, Michigan. The Photo that I have included was taken somewhere in Arkansas. It rained so hard that I couldn't see the road right in front of me. When it stopped raining there was a beautiful rainbow peeking out beneath the cloudy sky. I failed to capture it's full glory but I was driving while trying to capture this shot for my daughter's enjoyment.

It was a glorious yet long and draining road trip. I'd decided to go from Texas through Arkansas from there Missouri then I would hit Illinois then drive a bit through Indiana to Michigan. It was a drive that took me roughly twenty-two hours. I know what you're thinking "I'm reading the writings of a crazy woman!" In my defense, this is my mother we are talking about here. Anything for mom, right?

It was great to see many of my family members that I haven't seen in over a years time. In particularly my sister whom moved from Michigan to Huntsville, Alabama well before my move to San Antonio. I was also able to see my aunt Gloria whom I'd hadn't seen since I was a child, my aunt Gwen and my dad Claude are also included in the list of long lost loved ones that I'd gotten to visit.

Most importantly, I visited my mom in the hospital and she did not look well. Her skin looked dark and her eyes seemed to have difficulty focusing on face. I hugged and kissed her but that affectionate reunion was short lived. Areya jumped up and down yelling "Nana, Nana!" and my mother quickly turned her attention to the human jumping bean. My mom smiled when she saw her and her face lit up. Areya is her little buddy and has been every since she came into this world. They have some sort of bond that I can't really explain. I think that my mother sees much of herself in Areya. Whatever it is, it's weird!

A few days later on one of our visits to the hospital, Areya discovered that Nana's foot was bleeding and swollen. Areya asked my mom "what's wrong with your foot?'' I thought it ironic that no one had noticed my mother's foot swollen, deeply bruised, and bleeding (especially nursing staff). I took a closer look at it and noticed that there was much more going on with it than just bruising and bleeding. I immediately called a nurse in to have a look and perhaps gain some professional insight. The nurse told us that her foot looked as if it were infected and that she would clean it and wrap it once we'd left. My brother, sister-in-law and I began to worry and told my mother that we were going to leave so that the nurse could care for her. The next day we found out that one of her toes was dead and infecting others, they were going to have to amputate at least three of her toes! We were all completed shocked and upset when we heard the news. Mom was scared! There's an indescribable feeling of helplessness that accompanies a traumatic event involving your mother or your child. I've felt that twice in my life and would be very grateful to never have to feel it again.

The week began to come to a close and I needed to get back to turn in the rental car that I'd been sporting during the trip. The amputation hadn't been scheduled before I left. I dreaded the long drive back home and decided to take a different route back home, hoping it would yield me less driving time.

I was so glad to be home! Two days after my homecoming I received a call from my sister telling me that my mom had the surgery. I was relieved to hear that she was in the recovery room. However, the next day while in dialysis the hospital staff administered a pain relieving drug to her that she was allergic to and she stopped breathing. Although she was revived from this horrific experience, I continue to worry about her because she is still in the hospital and I am still 1500 miles away.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Clay Casa

Just look at the intent focus and attention to detail in that face!

I'd decided to check out Clay Casa's paint your own pottery studio with Areya. I thought it would be a good creative outlet for her since we've started this new homeschooling thing. I'll be the first to admit that I haven't got the best plans for her arts and crafts segment. I'd decided to check out their website first and while I was there found some great printable coupons. It sounded simple enough, so I printed off the coupons and we were on our way. The Mocha Moms group that I've been tagging along with were going as one of their outings. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to check it out. If I didn't like it, at least I'd have some adults to talk too!

It was just my luck that we arrived late and the other moms and their daughters were finishing up their projects. Areya found the piece of pottery that she wanted to paint right away, a mug with a kitten on it. I thought we should look around to see if there was something that I wouldn't mind displaying in my house. That didn't happen as Areya feels that (almost) being five years old entitles her to the right to make huge decisions, such as choosing her own greenware. Well, needless to say she got the mug with the kitten's head on one side and butt on the other. To promote the "big girl" syndrome even further with my daughter, the gentleman working in the shop escorted Areya over to a large display of colored tiles hanging on a nearby wall. "What colors would you like to paint your mug?" he asks her. I was completely booted out of any decision making on this project with that clever move. I immediately knew that my daughter had found the long awaited moment of creative independence that she'd longed for over the years. "Purple" she replied, "I want to paint my cat purple!" I couldn't resist one last attempt at trying to convince her to paint something that I could proudly display. A purple cat just wasn't in the cards for me. "Purple?" I said in an unsure tone. Hoping that she would pick up on my cue of blatant desperation. "Purple!" she confidently replied, and that was the end of that.

She took a seat and began painting away. I talked with the other moms for awhile until they left. Afterwards, I presented the gentleman that was working there with the coupon that I had. He informed me that I would have to paint a mug as well, as a condition of the coupon...COOL! I grabbed my mug and choose my own colors and went to work painting my master piece. Areya and I sat and talked about what we were going to use our mugs for, and how proud daddy was going to be of us, and had a great time. After we finished painting we turned them in to the gentleman so that they could be glazed and fired. We will be picking them up tomorrow and can't wait to see our finished work!

Clay Casa 502 Embassy Oaks Suite 107, San Antonio TX 78216


Friday, August 25, 2006

What's Happening?

I have taken quite a bit of time off from writing this blog. During that time I have been actively participating in a few mommy groups in San Antonio. I've also started a new business that I love. I've enrolled Areya in cheerleading classes and Eric went back home to Michigan for a few weeks to visit relatives. Yeap, I lead a busy and productive life now. I can't wait to tell you all about it! The most recent and exciting thing happening is that I've decided to homeschool Areya. We started this past week, and I can't begin to tell you how wonderful it has been. It's a lot to talk about so I guess I'll break down all of the events and spread them out over the next few posts. This entry will focus on one of the mommy groups that I joined and one of the adventures that we shared.

Mocha Moms is group focused on the choice by African-American mothers to stay home and raise their children. I attended the first meeting at the President of the San Antonio chapters' home. It was wonderful! All of the children sitting at an oversized dinette table covered with craft paper, coloring their little hearts out. The moms were gathered in the spacious and beautifully furnished living area, talking in small scattered groups. The group was diverse and that works rather well. The meeting was called to order and everyone went around in a circle and introduced themselves. There were quite a few newbies to the group, which made me feel even more comfortable. We discussed meet-ups, education, pediatricians, best hair salons and other mommy related topics.
I actually felt like I'd found home.

One of the best places that we went to as a group was located in New Braunsfels, the McKenna Children's Museum. This place was beautiful! Upon entering the outer doors, you're delighted by the array of wonderfully stocked, bright colored educational toys and paraphenalia in the gift shop. In the gift shop is also where you purchase your tickets (clever marketing), and then Exploring begins! The artifacts and exhibits are vividly painted and the facility seems to be well keeped up. There are colorful oversized pictures that please the eye. The entire museum has a very modern and clean look. The best part about it is there's something there for all ages to enjoy. Some of the exhibits include the general store where children can grab a shopping cart and load up on the large assortment of staples, produce and other groceries needed to create our future shoppers. They're all plastic, but it all looks so real! Areya enjoyed ringing up all the tiny customer's orders and gladly taking the money that the children picked up at the local bank. The bank, which is right next door to the general store, comes complete with an ATM machine for children on the run! Other attractions are an old school house, bat cave, outdoor water/sand area, space exploration and more. There's tons of stuff to do, moms get to pretend and have fun alongside their children. To top it all off, I was with a great group of women that enjoyed playing with their children as much as I did with mine. It really doesn't get any better than that!

The Museum has an yearly membership option, which is very reasonable. Although I did not purchase the membership that day, I will definitely be buying it soon. The general admission is $5.50 Labor Day to Memorial Day and $7.50 Memorial Day to Labor Day, members and infants 0-12 months are Free! Hours of play are 10:00am to 5:00pm Monday-Saturday and Noon to 5:00pm on Sundays (Memorial Day thru Labor Day). Tuesday through Saturday 10:00am to 5:00pm (Labor Day thru Memorial) and same time on Sundays.

I hope you decide to check it out and leave some comments on your experience!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Gone Too Long!

I took a break from blogging, and I have to say that I've missed it terribly! I've been doing so many exciting things and finding wonderful places for dining and adventure. I'm bursting with excitement to share them but I must settle down, get my thoughts together, and then come back to write them. I just needed to write something right this instant to fill this void.

I will not only be writing about some of the exciting places that I've been, but also some of the interesting groups that I've joined. I've made plenty of new friends and life here in San Antonio is GREAT!

I've also purchased a new digital camera, so perhaps I will figure out how to post some pictures to liven things up around here a bit. We'll just have lots of fun!


Monday, July 17, 2006

Six Flags Fiesta Texas!

My four year old daughter and I had the day to ourselves this past Saturday. Planning what to do was a no-brainer. We had serious fun our minds and we knew just how to get it. Six Flags Fiesta Texas was on the agenda (cancel all other appointments!). We decided to go a little later in the day so that we wouldn't be tackling the early morning traffic in the gates. We have season passes and believe me it's the way to go when you live in a city that has a theme park (in our case, several theme parks).

The park is riddle with culture, color and texture fills your senses. There is a beautiful water fountain in the corridor of the entrance to the park. It stands about seven feet high spouting sparkling, cool water. It's a great spot for a family photo. There are gorgeous stone walls with wrought iron embellishments guarding the entrances to the park. While your standing in line taking in the sheer beauty of the scenery, there's Hispanic inspired music playing in the background. That's what I love about theme parks, It's an experience!

Areya and I bypassed the first ticket booth, which is a wonderful perk of having the season passes. We headed to the entry gate and presented our passes and that's it, we were in. No long lines to stand in, no screaming excited children to contend with in the hot summer heat, just immediate access to FUN! Once we were in the park and bypassed some of the gift shops, we could hear some wonderful live music playing in the distance. We decided to find out what was going on. On the outdoor stage was a live band playing some invigorating Hispanic music and dancers full dressed in colorful traditional garb. It was awesome! After catching that show, we decided to go on a train ride (Areya LOVES trains). The train takes you on a little tour of the park. When we arrived at the next station we got off and headed over the the Looney Tunes themed children's park. There are sixteen different rides for the kids to enjoy. I enjoyed the fact that there were a lot of rides that we could ride together. I enjoy watching my daughter ride but hey, I like to ride too! We had a BLAST deciding which rides we would go on next and finding our way around using the map provided to you at the parking gate. Our favorite ride was the Scooby Doo indoor coaster ride, which is a slow speed coaster that sort of takes you through a haunted house type of thing. The haunted house is all lit up in neon paint that glows in the dark. It's really cool because you get to shoot at the ghost and Areya loved that.

Some other helpful information for visiting the park:

1. If your taking the smaller children, make sure that you bring a stroller or a wagon, it's a lot of walking for little legs.
2. The water park at Fiesta Texas is FREE, unlike many other theme parks, so be sure to wear the swimsuits.
3. You can not bring any food into the park, but if you purchase season passes you will receive a coupon book for many of the food vendors. Also, you can purchase a locker at the front by the entrance of the park.
4. Bring plenty of sunscreen, cause your gonna need it!
5. Make sure you stay to check out the laser light and fireworks show. It starts at nine o'clock and is the most spectacular show that I have seen (and I've seen lots). It's an awesome tribute to the state of Texas and to San'll just have to see it.
6. Lastly, please be a courteous driver when entering and exiting the park, remember that there are children watching and learning from you so be on your best behavior!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

"Pray for me!"

I have been trying to deal with the heat in San Antonio, with my only recourse being to stay in the house most of the day with the a/c set on "Antartica". However, my strategy was foiled when my husband's first semi-pro football game was held over this past weekend. Since this was his first game of the season, I definitely wanted to be there to watch him play and support his efforts. The big problem was that he needed to be at the field at 4:00pm. That's right in the middle of the day when the sun is beaming and you can actually see mirages in the distance. I could not believe it when he told me what time he had to be there. I thought that the games might be held once the sun goes down in cities that have triple digit temperatures. Don't the coaches realize that the players and the fans could melt out there in heat like that? All I could do was pop-up the umbrella and try to move around a bit, in order to prevent myself from sticking to the bench. Furthermore, this is still July and my husband will be playing at least every other weekend until September. All I can say is "pray for me!" cause I'm going to need it.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Rainy Days

It's been raining here in San Antonio for the past week off and on. That's great, considering the fact that the weather has been in the mid 90's and sometimes reaches the 100's since I arrived here in February of 2006. When it rains, it rains warm water, which is pretty funny. The kids and I were heading to the book store when it started raining yesterday. My daughter started splashing water all over my son and I, we were all wet but warm. I couldn't help but to laugh about the water being warm, I guess I was tickled because it was my first "warm water rain experience". The other funny thing about the rainy days here is the fact that it only rains for really short periods of time. In Michigan when it rains, IT RAINS! Here it generally rains for about 10 to 15 minutes then it stops. Sometimes it will rain again later in the day for the same length of time. I like to watch it rain in San Antonio, it makes you want to grab a cool drink, get cozy on a window seat, and enjoy the show!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Fabulous Food Find

So... I finally made some friends here , it only took me three long months. I was beginning to wonder if my charming personality decided to stay in Michigan. Anyway, we went out to dinner for a "girl's night out" sort of thing. It was great to be able to ditch my husband for awhile and let loose with the girls. Isn't it funny that a girls idea of "letting loose" is going out to eat some sinful meal, loaded with calories, that will take hours in the gym to get rid of.

My friend suggested that we check out this place called Salito's Mexican Cuisine. I was all for it even though I haven't really found the type of Mexican cuisine that I'd been use to eating in Michigan, here in San Antonio. "Hold on"...I have got to tell you about this restaurant my husband and I went to the first month that we were here, this won't take but a second. First of all, in Detroit when you go to a Mexican restaurant and ask for tacos, your plate is graced with beautiful golden brown shelled tacos filled with meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. My husband looooooves... tacos! When we go out and order tacos we order for a family of 15. He'll usually say something like "can I have thirty-five tacos to go please"? I'm thinking who's going to eat all of those tacos, my four year old might eat two, I can eat four max, and my son eats about four. Anyway, we go to this Mexican restaurant here in San Antonio and my husband orders twenty-four tacos to go. My hunger meter is on starve, and I can't wait to get home to eat. We finally arrive at the house and I head straight for the kitchen to make our plates. Open up the tacos and they are full of mashed up beans, lettuce, and tomatoes????? What is up with that? I could not believe it! I was hunger but not hungry enough to eat a taco with no meat in it. As you can probably tell, I was in complete and utter shock. I think I may still be suffering from the sheer trauma of it all...that explains why I'm writing about that incident versus writing about what I'm suppose to be telling you about, the fabulous food find.

Okay, I will try to stay focused this time. Where was I...Oh yea, me and two of my new friends go to Salito's for a girls night out. The place is absolutely beautiful inside and out. It has an upscale, casual, southwestern feel to it. They're playing a little Latin music in the background, while you look over the extensive menu. Everything on the menu is affordable and is plated up beautifully upon presentation. We're all sitting there looking at other people's dishes as they were coming out, while anxiously awaiting our own. The waiter promptly brought out chips and salsa for us to enjoy. We had a wonderful conversation while sipping on our beverages and popping tortilla chips. The food came out and I was awe struck, It looked absolutely scrumptious! I was pleasantly surprised by this place. The service, food, and atmosphere was surreal! How often do you find a place like that, at a casual dining restaurant?
So I want to recommend Salito's on the corner of Bandera Rd. and Loop 1604 for a great dining out option. Check it out!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

July calendar of Events

There's fun stuff happening in this city all year long. For an adventurous spirit, such as myself, it's awesome to be able to experience events for twelve
consecutive months. The month of July has three special features to highlight on our calendar of events:

July is Contemporary Art Month
This festival features more than 400 exhibitions and involves more than 50 venues. This is the only month-long festival of its kind in the entire nation. The events are held in galleries, museums, local neighborhoods, and studios. There is an admission charge for some of the events so please contact the Office of Cultural Affairs at 210-533-5762 or for more information.

Annual San Antonio Conjunto Shootout
I guess the best way for me to explain this is to say that this is a competitive event. It's a three day event that pairs up conjunto groups to battle it out in friendly, non-combative, competition. There will be plenty of entertainment, food, and art to enjoy. Check it out at the Market Place Square, admission is free! For more info contact the City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation @ 210-207-8600.

Fourth of July Celebrations
Lastly, but certainly not least is the Fourth of July Celebrations! There will be festivals, concerts, and fireworks all across the city. Contact 800-447-3372 for exact locations.

July stands for Independence!

July is here! I assume that this is the most exciting summer month for kids of all ages. When I was a kid, July meant fireworks, and lots of them. Despite my fourth grade teacher's good intentions to get me to understand the history behind the holiday. I continued to think that the fourth of July was all about fireworks. But that's all behind me now, since I've been living in San Antonio my goal is to learn as much about the city as I can. That includes the history. Read on to see what I've learned... Mrs. Lumpkin would be proud!

San Antonio has it's own story to tell about the independence of the state of Texas. The story takes place in the year 1836 at a site known as the Alamo. When I was young my mom would make me watch old movies with her,( She liked those black and white movies, and westerns, even though the trend was sitcoms in the 80's) and I remember one about the Alamo. I think it's pretty cool to be living here knowing it has a famous place in history. Anyway, 1836 was the final year of the Texas Revolution. The Mexican army was planning to infiltrate the Alamo they had a huge army in comparison to the group of Texans that decided to stand their ground at the Alamo. There were about 189 Texans fighting an Mexican army of about 1,800 soldiers. David Crockett was among them (I recall that name from my elementary history books!). Anywhoo...The jest of it is this, The Texans fought the Mexican army for 13 days continuously losing men. A small troop of volunteers from Gonzales joined the Alamo defenses. The Texans were able to fight off the Mexican army for a few days, but were unable to hold off the attacks. The Texans were losing men and their defenses were weakening, this forced them to retreat to the Long Barracks (currently a reconstructed museum) where the fight came to a bloody and deadly end for the Texans. A woman named Susanna Dickinson witnessed the battle, she was able to report the efforts of the brave defenders to an army general named Sam Houston. The story of the fight and the life sacrifices made by those men reached throughout Texas. "Remember the Alamo!" became the rallying cry. This prompted the Revolution battles that ultimately won the Independence of Texas.

This is a very moving story, and allows for reflection on the great sac

Friday, June 30, 2006


My 4 year old daughter makes the best train sound effects that I ever heard. Then she cracks-up laughing with this intoxicating laugh, that seems to be contagious and gets everyone else laughing. I like to laugh, so I thought why not take the kids out for a train ride at San Antonio's Brackenridge Park. The train ride features a tour of the park via the miniature railway, that goes for about two and a half miles. The trains are replicas of the 1863 Central Pacific Huntington Steam Locomotive, and are really cool.

I decided to grab the sunscreen and some snacks and head out for Brackenridge park early, just in case I got lost on the winding expressways. I mapquested the location and we were off. The park is located north of downtown San Antonio and adjacent to the zoo. We had a little trouble trying to find parking for the train ride in oppose to the zoo, so we parked in the zoo's parking lot. The zoo parking is free so if you decide to check it out, its probably best that you park in the zoo's parking lot.

Finding the ticket booth for the train was hit and miss, there's a lot happening on that street, thus it is difficult to distinguish what is where. There is a cafe right off of the zoo's parking lot, and the ticket booth for the train is towards the back of the cafe. Trust me when I say trying to locate signs to guide you toward the train's ticket booth are easy to miss. The kids and I walked around for at least 5 minutes trying to locate it, and believe me 5 minutes in San Antonio's heat can seem like forever.

The tickets for the train ride are $2.75 for adults and $2.25 for children over 2 years of age and under 2 are free. This is a great bargain for an "on a budget" adventure. After we paid for our tickets we went outside to watch for the approaching train. All of the kids waiting with their parents began to scream with joy when they saw the little blue train getting closer to the station. They began to wave at the passengers and gravitated towards the entrance gate all at once. It's amazing watching little kids trample each other in excitement, they never seem to cry and whine even though their toes are being stepped on. Anyway, the train conductor punched our tickets, we boarded the train and I received my parental reward of hearing my daughter imitate the sounds of the steam engine trains.

The train takes you around the park as the conductor gives you a bit of history about Brackenridge and other attractions in the surrounding area. Be prepared to see some of the park's animal life wandering the trees and ground coverings. The train goes over a little bridge straddling the San Antonio river which is really exciting for the little ones. In the river you can see little lilly pads and maybe a frog or two, I saw a fish instead. The train makes a couple of stops along the way so that passengers can get off and visit some of the other attractions. Those attractions include the Witte Museum and a Japanese Tea Garden. If a passenger does decide to visit the other attractions, they can reboard the train using there punched ticket, anytime during operating hours.

The train ride lasted for about 20 minutes and it was a lot of fun for me and the kids. Brackenridge park has many other attractions such as a children's park and golf course. This is an awesome mini getaway for budget friendly fun.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

So How's The Weather

Every time I speak to family and friends from Michigan, they ask about the weather here in San Antonio. I always reply, "Hot as HELL" in a very serious and exhausted voice. Every one in Michigan knows that it is an unnatural phenomenon to endure temperatures above 85 degrees. Yet here I am melting in triple digit heat.

My solution to surviving the crazy heat of San Antonio is simple, I take heed to the old cliche "while in Rome do as the Romans do". So here's Claudea's guide to surviving the heat.

Survival Tip #1:

I noticed the moment that I arrived in San Antonio that all of the people here have very dark tinted windows. I was surprised to see this because in Michigan it is illegal to have tint, whereas you can not see into the car on all surrounding windows. However, I quickly learned that this is a survival technique that is definitely necessary. Not to mention it looks cool if your going for that Mafia gangsta look.

Survival Tip #2:

When I was a young girl I use to watch old movies with my mother, such as "Gone With The Wind" and think something like "ooh look at those pretty umbrella's that the girls are holding...where can I get one". Little did I know that this was a survival technique cleverly disguised as the modern day fashion. Well I have one word for you... PARASOL! What? You don't have one of those fancy 19th century parasols? Well, don't worry cause the regular old average joe umbrella will work. One word of advice...Grab a big one!

Survival Tip #3:

Don't you just love it when your skin has that smooth, baby's bottom feel to it. The kind of feel that makes you just want to rub on your own self. Well, Maybe not on yourself. San Antonians seem to have some of the smoothest skin I have ever seen. I've been wondering where I could get some of that smooth skin for myself. Then it came to me as I was turning in to a crispy chip frying under the sun. "I Need Some Sunscreen!" an epiphany had taken me in its arms and said to me "child this is why the San Antonio people have not burned into ashes" They must slather the stuff on by the bottle to maintain the beautiful, smooth glow that they all seem to have. So now I'm buying it by the crate.

Survival Tip #4

Can you say "AQUA" that's right folks, water is your best friend in this kind of heat. Drink it, splash it, submerge yourself in it, what ever it takes but as sure as you need air to breathe you're going to need a close relationship with water.

I have managed to stay alive in this heat by observing and using common sense. If you decide to check out San Antonio, Don't bother to ask "how's the weather?" cause it's "Hot as HELL", just do as the San Antonians do!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Family Trip

It is scary trying to drive around a new city with your children depending on you for lunch and you have no idea if you will be able to find a familiar stop before they pass out. However, I have decided to take on this challenge twice per week in order to find new and exciting places to explore. Summer time fun has beckoned me and I'm going to heed the call. So the other day I got smart and packed some emergency lunches for my two kids and headed off on the 30 minute journey towards downtown.

The expressways here in San Antonio reminds me of a high impact rollercoaster, curving around in loops and coming to unexpected slows after speeds of 65 miles per hour. A person can easily be distracted when soaring high into the sky on the bridges of the expressway when the skyline of the city is visible. This is apparent by the huge mass of car paint scraped across the bridges' safety barriers.

I decided to take the children downtown for a stroll through the Riverwalk, this is apparently San Antonio's signature attraction. I've waited four months to gather the courage to drive downtown for this exciting moment. Trying to find parking downtown is crazy. We went on Tuesday at about 11:00 am and trying to find a parking space was still a chore. However, it is well worth this small headache to just be in the hypnotic atmosphere of the downtown area. There are trolley's that adorn the streets, horse drawn carriages, and even a floater cruiser. I won't speak much on these attractions today because I haven't had the pleasure of actually experiencing them, but I will say that they bring a certain beauty to the downtown area that is simply classic.

After the children and I finally found a place to park we began our short walk through the streets of downtown. The city was bustling with activity, there were a group of ladies in colorful square dancing dresses (my apologies for not knowing the formal name for them, but I'm a city girl), families out enjoying lunch on a terrace or sitting outside of cafe's, people arriving at hotels, visiting the many shops and boutiques, and just enjoying the view. The children spotted the Children's Museum and wanted to check it out, so I obliged.

When you walk into the museum the first thing that you see is a red antique looking trolley, and there are children jumping all over it. You can also see what looks like a giant tree house filled with wonderful secret caverns to entice children to want find out what is inside. My four year old daughter couldn't wait to get pass the entry gate to get started playing. At first I felt bad for my son because he is fourteen and I didn't think that he would be happy about having to hang around and watch my daughter having fun while he wasn't. But after we got in past the giant tree house (which is designated for toddlers), there were lots of interesting things for both of us to enjoy. As a matter of fact, I think that my son had a better time than my daughter did. The museum has everything you can concieve a child would want to use there imagination to do. From computers to an archeological dig to being a chef. I enjoyed watching my children pretend to harvest food from a garden and then cook it up for me. My little girl came over to take my order while my son played chef and cooked it up for me. When he was done cooking he brought it over to me and said "BAM!" as though he was Emeril from the Food Network (if anyone is familiar with that). Anyway, as a mom I enjoy little stuff like that. I couldn't believe that I found all of this family fun for just $6.95 per person. I finally looked at the clock, because my stomach was telling me it was time to eat, and noticed that we had been there for hours. So I gathered up my clan and we said so long to the San Antonio Children's Museum (located at 305 E. Houston St. 210-212-4453).

That trip was such a success that I can't wait to get started planning our next adventure. I'm can't wait until I learn enough about this blogging thing to be able to add web links. I welcome tips and suggestions.

Friday, June 23, 2006

New Adventure

Shoveling never ending inches of snow and trying to tread sheets of crystal like ice in my little SUV became intolerable this past winter. Finally, I found the courage to consider the thought of moving from my home state of Michigan. I called a conference with my husband, and told him that it is time to look for sunnier pastures to call home. One week later I found myself making 30 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to send my husband on his way to beautiful San Antonio Texas to scout around.

I have lived in Michigan all of my life. I've always had a desire to leave and find somewhere exciting to live and make my mark in the world. However, I found myself at age 33 still living in Michigan and becoming somewhat attached to the idea of never leaving. I began to become complacent living in the confines of the little world that I had created for myself. I thought that I could continue to work as a social worker and find a nice community in the suburbs of Detroit to purchase a home. Like most people, I decided to make the best of what I had going on for myself. But fate had a different plan laid out for me. In Feburary of this year my husband was laid off from his job where he'd been employed for over 10 years. One week later the mental health program that I was working for decided to make some cut backs and I was one of them. My husband and I had to make some decisions and fast. We talked about how we always wanted to move to a warmer state where snow is just something they see on tv. We wanted to move to a place where we could build a new life for our two children (ages 4 and 14), and most importantly where we could find viable and permanent employment.
We came up with three options: Arizona, Texas, or Tennesee. We researched all three states weighing the pros and cons of what we could based on the amount of information that we could gather in just a weeks time and decided on San Antonio Texas.

We have been here now for about 4 months and it has definitely been an adventure From the long 2 day drive to reach SA from Detroit, to the scorching heat that seems to never end. The one thing that I have found out since I've been here is that San Antonio is full of culture and life, there is plenty of excitement and attractions to keep a person busy for years. There's plenty of picturesque views and festive entertainment to enjoy for a very long time.