Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy (Good) Friday!

I LOVE Easter. It is, hands down, my absolute favorite holiday. As such, we've been livin' it up, hoppin' from one Easter egg hunt to another, with our final slated for Sunday after church. Here are some cute shots from the three we've been to so far:

This first one was at Springwoods Park - one of our favorite Austin area parks - with our meetup group.  Mommy forgot her Easter basket - oops! Thankfully, the plastic bag ban came in handy that day :)
Love these ladies and kiddos!

And then the Pemberton Heights Egg Hunt this morning:

She had the best strategy - she went the opposite direction of everyone else and made out like a bandit!

And, straight from there, off to our other meetup group's Easter party and egg hunt:

Hoppy Easter! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What We Stand For.

On this historic day, one with the potential to literally change the world, I had a chat with my daughter about equality, marriage, and, ultimately, love. If you know me in real life, you'll know my SUV is equipped with the Equal Rights sticker. In fact, you don't have to know me in real life to know what I stand for. I am an advocate for equal rights in all forms, and a tried and true friend to the gays. Just ask Oil Cans and Rain, circa 2006 ;) 

Yesterday, a mere 24 hours prior to the Supreme Court convening to decide on the constitutionality of California's heinous Prop 8, we were putting groceries into the back of my car when Ava found herself face to face with our bumper sticker. 

"Mommy, what's that mean?" her curious mind wanted to know.

Now there are times when I am in a hurry. When I'm rushing to get from one place to the next to the next all before school pick-up and it's all I can do to focus on the task at hand. This, though, was not the time to be succinct. Sensing genuine interest from my child, and knowing her love for her many gay uncles, I stopped what I was doing, and explained to her what we stand for at our house, and what I hope she grows to stand for also.

"Well, honey, that's an equal sign. In this case, we have it on our car so that people around us know that we believe that everyone should have equal rights."

Genius child that she is, she followed up with, "What rights mean?"

I had to pause at that question. I clearly understand what rights are, but isn't that what this entire discussion is really all about? Rights, constitutionally, belong to everyone. Rights are unable to be taken away by a change in the law. Rights designate that you have an irrevocable ability to seek certain opportunities. Seeing as how I'm not sufficiently putting the importance of this concept into words, let me borrow a definition from Wikipedia:

"Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory.[1] Rights are of essential importance in such disciplines as law and ethics, especially theories of justice and deontology."

Explaining that to a three-year-old isn't the easiest of jobs, so I tried to simplify it by example as much as possible.

"Rights mean that everyone, no matter their age, or the color of their skin, or who they love, is allowed to do the same thing. Right now, we're trying to show people that we think that it is ok for two people, no matter if they are both boys, or both girls, to get married. Do you think Uncle B should be able to get married?"

A most enthusiastic yes.

"Do you care if Uncle B marries a boy or a girl?"

Again, an enthusiastic no.

Well, I rest my case.

I know that the arguments are obviously more complex than all of that, but really, doesn't it boil down to love? Why do YOU care who someone else loves? How does the introduction of same-sex marriage affect you? It doesn't threaten my marriage. It doesn't weaken our vows. If anything, it adds merit to them and places us all on equal ground, creating a community that celebrates love and marriage in any form. 

No matter what side of the fence you stand on biblically, if you set your religious beliefs aside, per the separation of church and state, what honest reason can you give for the prohibition of same-sex marriage?

Friday, March 22, 2013

NASA Space Day at the Capitol!

We recently had the opportunity to spend a beautiful summer spring morning at our lovely Capitol, enjoying exploring NASA's space program and some of our local engineering and aeronautical organizations. The event was meant for school-aged children as a field trip, but was open to the public and seemed like a great way to spend a day! Ava may not be school-aged, but she was shockingly interested and involved in the hands-on activities, and that's something I certainly want to encourage!

 One of my personal favorite things was the chance to take a picture behind one of their spacesuits - so cool! Even mama got in on the action:


After that, we came across a NASA trailer with an actual moon rock we could touch, as well as some of their gear and freeze-dried food. The nice ladies working the booth were also handing out kids' activity books, which were a huge hit!

Our local children's museum also had a booth where you could use wooden planks, as well as paper cups and ping pong balls, to make asteroid launchers and launch them at "planets". Ava was super into it. Maybe a future engineer in our household?

Next up, we explored a textile bucket using rubber gloves to simulate how difficult it is for them in their spacesuits to manipulate objects. Shockingly, she was great at that also! 

We also made Asteroid Landers with GirlStart:

Since we were there anyhow, we decided to go in and take a look around, and were treated to a bunch of choral singers in the rotunda:

Happy Space Day, everyone!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Phone Dump Friday.

I've been an absentee blogger lately, mainly due to work and personal scheduling chaos, but I've still been snapping away on a regular basis, trying to document A's childhood for both of our sakes. Here's some of my recent favorites:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Things to Do in Austin: Elizabeth Milburn Park.

We recently went to a birthday party up at Elizabeth Milburn Park, located in farrrrrr Northwest Austin (really, Cedar Park, if we're being honest here...), and I was shocked by how amazing the playscape was! There was the most magnificent spiderweb-type rope that the kids could climb up through, and it occupied them nonstop. Throw in some unique spinning fixtures on the playground and varied-aged playscapes with multiple climbing apparatuses, and you've got the makings of a good time for everyone!

If you're not in an area convenient to Cedar Park, you can find a similarly awesome rope structure at the Lost Creek Playground near Westlake.

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