I’ve worked with Liza, the sweet owner of Toybrary Austin, for a few years now and we have become close friends. She is incredibly generous and kind. Liza was so supportive in my attempts to put together a silent auction for Joel’s fundraiser and was an integral part of collecting donations from her network. Besides thanking her for her sincere kindness, I couldn’t wait to take Joel to her store to play once he arrived. So, when he and I found ourselves with no plans for the morning, we made the trek to her store in north Austin.
Toybrary is a lending library – you can take out toys and return them much like books at a library- but it also provides indoor and outdoor play areas, a boutique toy store, provides all sorts of children’s enrichment classes and programs, offers family-friendly events, AND has a connecting play-based preschool. Oh, you can make your own coffee while you there. It’s the real deal. (toybraryaustin.com or Facebook.com/toybraryaustin) <– I guess that could be considered a sales pitch but really, I love the concept, the facility and the owner!
Joel immediately got intimidate but the amount of toys everywhere. It took him about 10 minutes to warm up to the idea that he could do anything he pleased. I’m sure the concept of free play is foreign to him and gobs of toys just laying around is not something he is used to. He started by plucking a few notes on a play piano which quickly turned into building train tracks and trying an indoor stride bike which turned into grabbing my hand and dragging me outside to push tractors and walk balance beams outside. The kid was in his own little heaven. After a while, Joel found this clunky pair of red/yellow binoculars. They are an older toy but a classic concept. When you look in the viewfinder, you can either see a magnified image of what’s in front of you (binoculars, duh) or you can set it to see nature pictures that change as you click the button. Ya’ll, i’m not joking when I say he hasn’t set them down yet and it’s been at least 24 hours. Liza let us check them out and Joel continues to be amazed at the photos inside no matter how many times he has seen them. He yells the mandarin word for what he may be seeing inside (bird, deer, owl, rainbow, etc) and holds them up to any willing- or not so willing- participant to look through.
I wanted to blog about our Toybrary outing to first of all thank Liza for her support in our journey but to also let you know that you will most likely be seeing these obnoxious binoculars in photos from here on out. And now you know why. You’re welcome.
2001 Justin Lane
Austin, TX 78757 USA