Saturday, August 6, 2011

Remember the Alamo

Texas history is so much more exciting than Arkansas history. They've got that whole Alamo thing. In preparation for our trip to San Antonio, I wanted to the kids to know a little bit about what we were going to see. Jacob knew a little bit about the Alamo, and all it would take for him to read about it for hours is tell him that we're going there. Samuel, on the other hand, knew nothing about it and needed a bit more prodding to become curious. So, we went to the Fayetteville Public Library and checked out a couple of children's books that told the story of the Alamo. Here's one I brought home specifically for Samuel, knowing that the graphic novel form would intrigue him.

(Sorry the picture is so big - I'm working on our new computer and haven't quite figured out copying and pasting with this giant non-mouse thing on the side of the keyboard.) It's not that Samuel is a struggling reader. Just the opposite. It's just that I have a hard time motivating him to start new books. Nothing is as good as Harry Potter (his opinion!) . . . nothing. So why bother, right? I brought this home and told Samuel he HAD to read it. He did, and he quickly wanted to know more.

So, we watched the John Wayne version of the Alamo (not the most exciting movie . . . I think I fell asleep a couple of times) AND the Disney classic, Davy Crockett King of the Wild Frontier. The boys loved both. And Hannah, well - - she watched and picked up most of the story. I won't go so far as to say she loved it. But, it's really more a story about being macho and less about being a princess, so . . .

By the time we got to the Alamo, the kids knew their stuff. Samuel spent a good deal of time in the museum searching for "Betsy," Crockett's famous rifle. He couldn't find it and went up to the docent and asked where it was. We found out that "Betsy" is owned by someone in Tennessee who hasn't "volunteered" to share it.

Here are some pics of our time at the Alamo:

The boys posing out front. We had just sampled some McDonalds Mango Smoothies, so that's what Samuel has in front of his face.

Hannah has to look inside.

Jacob was the best model for pictures. I know he was hot, but he stayed in a good mood and would stop and smile whenever I asked him.

This live oak tree was just about the prettiest thing in South Texas!

I just love these wooden doors to the chapel portion of the Alamo. This is where the women and children gathered during the fight and where the last of the men died.


When we first started talking about going to Texas for summer vacation (which is unusual in itself because we never go places that are even hotter than it is at home), Schlitterbahn was at the top of my list for places to take the kids. Schlitterbahn is a water park in New Braunfels, a little town about half-way between Austin and San Antonio. It's built into the side of a hill along the Comal River and uses all river water to supply the park. The Comal is spring-fed, so the water is about 60 degrees - - perfect when it's 104 outside. Plus, the word Schlitterbahn is just fun to say!

The kids all swim well, so they're at a great age for a water park. Most of the rides are tube rides with good old-fashioned black inner tube tires! Several of the tube rides last twenty minutes or so from the time you get in at the top, float through all the rapids and then splash into the river at the bottom. It's great fun to gently float along the river, which is shaded almost completely by the giant live oak trees lining both sides, until you reach the getting out point.