Birthday Cake & City Deer in Alpine, Texas

Title Image: White and pink letters say, "Celebrating in Alpine, Texas. www.marianamcdougall.com." Background photo: girl sitting atop playground structure.

The little kitten is shy at first, but we patiently wait for him to come to us.

 

Pinterest title image. White and Pink font says "Celebrations and playgrounds, Alpine, Texas, www.marianamcdougall.com." Background photo by Mariana Abeid-McDougall. A 4-year-old girl hangs off playground equipment.

When the kitten realizes the children are gentle, he follows them around. But he still bounds off in search of whatever little kittens like to chase (which is just about anything).

 

A 4-year-old girl crouches down to pet a black and white kitten.

 

After a comfortable night at a campground, we head into Alpine, Texas for mass. It’s K-girl’s birthday, and the only thing on the schedule is to go to church. The rest of the day is up to her.

 

A red bench has the words "Keep Alpine Beautiful cut out on the metal. Behind the bench, a church is visible in the distance.

 

After mass, we head to the playground. The children meet new friends, and Dan and I talk to their father. His wife is resting because she has some rare conditions, including mast cell disease, which makes her constantly exhausted.

During my research for an article on Ehler-Danlos Syndrome, I learned that many with EDS also have mast cell disease, so I nod along as he explains some of his wife’s difficulties with the cold weather. I share a little of my own journey with chronic illnesses, and we talk about living in constant pain.

I feel blessed to still be able to do most of the things I want to do, with some adaptations (braces being one of them). I’m thankful that I can still play with my children, though I often need to adapt the way I do. My life is good, despite my difficulties. Not everyone with chronic illness(es) is as fortunate.

 

A mother and a 4-year-old daughter smile at the camera.

 

The children play for hours on this playground, and we have a lot of fun. Later, we head to a small grocery store to get a cake and some treats for K-girl’s birthday. Dan has worn the WordPress shirt that my brother gave him a while ago. As we exit the store, a guy looks at Dan and says, “what do you do for WordPress?” We explain that my brother and cousin are Happiness Engineers. The guy introduces himself as the COO of Pressable, a subsidiary of Automattic (the company behind WordPress). We’re in a bit of a hurry as the kids are threatening to run into the parking lot, so we don’t have a lot of time to chat. But we do have time to ponder about how small this world really is.

After a full day of lots of laughter and playtime, we take K-girl out for dinner at McDonald’s, as she had requested. The place is busy, but we manage to get our order fairly quickly. After dinner, we head back into the RV to sing “happy birthday” and “feliz aniversário” to K-girl. She can hardly contain squeals as we bring her the cake with 9 candles.

 

A 6-year-old boy, a 9-year-old girl, and a 4-year-old girl sit around a birthday cake with 9 candles on it. The mother is to the left, clapping her hands. the birthday girl, in the middle, has her hands under her chin.

 

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 9 years since my cute, chubby baby made me a Mama. She’s growing up to be a wonderful girl, a fast and voracious reader, and a very creative person. I’m thankful for having this whole year to spend so much quality time with her, and to show her so many beautiful places around Canada and the US.

 

A baby wearing a hat that says Vancouver 2010 on it.
K-girl st 2 months old

 

After a lovely day in Alpine, we make our way back to the campground. 

 

An iron sculpture depicts three mariachi wearing sombreros and playing guitars in Alpine, Texas.

 

But the treats aren’t over for today. Our day ends with seeing several deer in the middle of town.

 

Several deer grazing on the grass in the city. Mountains can be seen in the background.

Have you ever been to Texas? What’s your favourite thing in the state?

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