Sunday, July 17, 2016

Family Reunion

Though we were only "in-laws", we were happy to be invited to join in on some of the fun of Kelsey's family reunion (her mother's side of the family). We drove down to the Texas State University's Campground, near Wimberley, TX, yesterday. We got there around 2:15 in the afternoon and stayed until 8:30 p.m.

It's a beautiful part of Texas, known as The Hill Country, and the campground facilities are perfect for a large group like this. One of Kelsey's cousins, John, and his wife are the caretakers. The family had use of the bunkhouse, which had a kitchen, a large room for relaxing, talking and eating, and bunks and bathrooms for the entire family.

The Blanco River flows through the campground, and it was a huge hit with everyone, but especially the kids, who spent a good part of each of their days in the water.

This hole in the river is known as The Bath Tub, and it was a favorite spot for cooling off for Clara and Robert

Swim clothes drying on the fence

There was lots of food - snacks sitting around all day and lots to choose from at dinner time: grilled hot dogs, burgers, frito pie, and grilled vegetables. 

Do you see how close Clara is to my height?!

We thought we'd be heading home right after dinner, since it was a good two-hour drive, but when we learned that Robert was going to get his turn at the climbing wall and the zip line that evening, we had to stay to see that.

Before the zip line, though, we gathered the kids together for several sets of pictures. Here are a few of them from my camera. There were half-a-dozen cameras clicking away, so there are probably some better ones.

All of the cousins from this generation

They only sat still for the first picture because of the promise of a "silly picture" afterward
These are Kelsey's folks, Bev and Doug, and their eight grandchildren
And these are us with the two (very special) grands that we share with Bev and Doug

Clara and Robert

This is Clara and her Oregon cousin, Lilly. They are close to the same age and get along splendidly.
With the picture-taking out of the way, the kids were anxious to get to the zip line. Most of them had gotten a turn the evening before, but some - including Robert - had missed out when it got too dark to do it safely. John (Kelsey's caretaker cousin) and his wife are trained in the ropes course, and were running the show. Since we needed to get on the road, John agreed to let Robert be first this time around.

He had no hesitation, and tackled the challenge like a trooper!

Helmet on
Harnessed up

And away he goes!

Double-checking the harness

Waiting for the signal

And he's off!
A thumbs-up signal after his turn. He loved it, and came off of it saying, "That was FUN!"
Staying to see Robert meet his challenge was the high point of the day, and Dan and I both agreed that we wouldn't have missed it for the world, even though it made it 10:30 before we got home.

Family reunions like this are not something I grew up with, since my family was small and spread out from north to south. I'm so happy that Clara and Robert will grow up with tons of shared memories of summer reunions together with all their cousins.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Dan's Birthday

Dan's birthday was Friday. I didn't want to let it go by without any fanfare, since it was the last-of-a-decade for him. (I'll let you guess which decade.)

I decided to whisk him away to Huntsville, TX, where our dear friend, Wynn, now lives. We haven't gone to visit her since she and Al left Temple. Al passed away suddenly soon after that move. I tried to make our destination a surprise, but reserving the hotel room turned into a bit of a mess. Our on-line profile had to be updated with new credit card information, and I didn't know the password. Before it was all accomplished, Dan ended up seeing where we were going. Oh well . . .

We drove over on Thursday and spent the evening with Wynn. She lives on the 18th hole in a beautiful community that actually has three golf courses, two swimming pools, tennis courts, walking paths, and more. Drivers have to go slowly because there are so many deer. I lost count of how many we saw coming and going from her house.

When we arrived we were greeted outside by Wynn, and inside by the wonderful aroma of a pork roast. She had prepared a special birthday dinner and birthday cake for Dan. And he REALLY appreciated it!


We stayed at Wynn's and visited until fairly late, and then went to our nearby hotel to get a good night's sleep. 

Huntsville is the home of Huntsville State Prison, and one of their tourist sites is the Texas Prison Museum. On Friday morning the three of us went there. Dan and I had been there once before, back when Chris and Kelsey lived in Huntsville, but it had been a long time, so we enjoyed it once again.

Some handcrafts made by the inmates. The sailing vessel was beautiful, and the jewelry box was made from match sticks!

"We're sorry. Please let us go free!"

We ate both lunch and dinner in downtown Huntsville restaurants, and then went back to Wynn's house, where Dan spent some time trying to help her resolve some computer problems she's been having. We had more birthday cake, talked non-stop until 11 p.m., then said our goodbyes. Dan and I stayed another night in the hotel, then got up this morning (Saturday) and decided to drive over to the Sam Houston monument, that stands alongside of I-45. We've seen it many times , driving past, but had never pulled into the nearby parking area and gone to see him up-close. It's hard to show, in a photo, how tall he really is. But trust me, he's known, locally, as "Big Sam" for a good reason!

Actually, he's 67 feet tall, and stands on a 10 foot high pedestal putting the top of his head 77 feet in the air. He's visible from 6.5 miles away, from the south. Sam Houston (1793-1863) was, indeed, a BIG man in Texas history, winning the battle of San Jacinto, against Santa Anna, and going on to become President of the Republic of Texas, Governor of the State of Texas, and a U.S. Senator.

From the back

Dan's birthday is past now, and I'm happy to report that he says it was one of his best birthdays. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

It's a Wrap

All good things come to an end - even a special week with a grandson. We really did enjoy Robert's visit, and when he told me, on the last day, "I want to stay here," I figured that was his way of saying that he'd had a good time, too.

On Saturday Chris, Kelsey and Clara arrived. Robert was happy to see his family. Chris came prepared to tow a trailer home, since we were passing on some furniture that we no longer needed. Kelsey, on the other hand, came in their other vehicle, ready to take Clara and Robert to Pecos to visit their other grandparents. It was Father's Day weekend, so Robert gave Chris the present he made a few days ago. 

Chris headed home, towing the trailer, on Sunday afternoon, but Kelsey and the kids spent one more night with us before they hit the road. When we heard the tinkly "Turkey in the Straw" music coming down the street from the ice cream truck, the kids went crazy. Grandpa happily opened his wallet and treated the kids to their favorites. It was a perfect evening. The temperature was beginning to moderate, so Kelsey, Dan and I sat out on the back patio, visiting, while the kids ate their frozen treats and played. 

The next morning, after breakfast, Kelsey, Clara and Robert got their things packed up in the car and said their good-byes. About an hour later I went to do some laundry and found a dryer full of Robert's clothes! Poor Robert was going to have slim pickin's when it came to clothes in Pecos! I dashed off to the Post Office as soon as I could and priority mailed them to his Pecos Grandma. Here's hoping that he has them by now!

And once again, it is very quiet at our house.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Wednesday and Thursday

We continue to keep busy around here! I don't know if Robert is getting tired, but I know that both Grandma and Grandpa are sleeping VERY soundly when night comes.

Yesterday we went to see the Angry Birds movie. It was not nearly as irritating as I thought it might be. The story was pretty cute, and they did NOT play that Angry Birds music continuously, as I feared they might.  (I was not happy, however, with the language used by the Mime bird.)

Some of the other things that have kept us busy were . . . 

Building with Legos . . .

Ring toss . . .

And, today, Robert went with me to my art class. Our instructor, Barbara (pictured below), sat beside him, and they worked on a project together. He responded enthusiastically  to her loving attention. After they finished their project, he pulled out his paints and made me a sunset picture.

This evening we went to the neighborhood park to play with some water rockets. Both Dan and I remember playing with these as kids, and we remember them going w-a-a-a-a-y up in the air. But these were just duds :-(  We couldn't get ANY height out of them at all. We thought maybe a little time on the playground equipment would make up for the disappointing rocket launches, but we cut that short, too, when Robert reported that the slides were covered in bird poop. You win some; you lose some. Chalk this one up as a loss.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Robert has been so anxious for today to arrive. He's been sharpening his picture-taking skills ever since he got here, in anticipation of the photo-scavenger-hunt we had planned for this morning. Three youngsters from church - Jolie, Jayme and Jase - met us at the mall. We divided into two teams. My friend, Janet, who is also Grandma to those three "J"s, chaperoned the girls' team; and I went with the two boys. I had prepared a two-sided list of things for them to find and photograph.

The girls found and photographed every single one of the items, and the boys found all except the "kids' book" (there wasn't a book store in the mall). They all had a barrel of fun. Jase and Robert hit it off so well, and worked together perfectly as a team. We ended our time together with a trip to McDonald's for lunch.

Jolie, Jayme, Jase and Robert, at the end of the scavenger hunt
This afternoon was pretty busy, as well. Robert and I completed a craft (pictures to be shown AFTER Father's Day). After dinner Robert took Dan and me on (and BEAT us) in another game of UNO. 

We ended the day watching a Netflix movie before Robert's bedtime. There's quite a lengthy story, of which I will spare you, about the frustrations we've been through getting our brand new TV, but it was finally in place, hooked up, and operational TODAY! Since Robert is here, we chose Charlotte's Web for our inaugural feature showing.

P.S. In case you are wondering, Robert finally got to eat his donut today!