Friday, July 31, 2009


We are fortunate to live near a big city like Houston, where there is tons to do. But, when you have lived here your whole life, you forget some of the fun attractions our city provides. I think sometimes "stay-cations" are even more fun than going out of town for vacations!

Earlier this month, Brian's brother, Jay, and his wife, Robin, and their four kids, ages 7, 6, 2, and 1 all came to visit from Washington State. They stayed at Brian's parents house for the week, along with Brian's grandmother, Carson's cousin, Jakob, and for a couple of nights, Carson. They had a full house!

Gerald and Kollette made tons of arrangements ahead of time, so our week was scheduled with tons of fun activities! We came back in town from California on Saturday, which was the same day Jay and his family got in town from Washington. On Sunday we spent the day at Gerald & Kollette's house grilling yummy fajitas, sliding down the huge water slide they rented, swimming in the pool, and hanging out visiting. Brian's aunt, uncle, and cousins also spent the day there, so we got to catch up with them and play dominoes as well. I was too busy playing to take many pictures, so here's the 2 I got:


Monday, Brian and I had errands we had to run, so we weren't able to go, but the rest of the gang went to Space Center Houston.
On Tuesday, we all packed up and drove to Schlitterbahn in Galveston. This was our first time to go, and I had heard mixed reviews, but I thought it was awesome. There was plenty of things for the little ones to do, as well as the older kids and adults. The kids area was covered, so it wasn't nearly as hot, and we didn't have to worry as much about sunburns. The other added bonus was that you can bring in coolers, so you don't have to spend a bunch of money on food and drinks. (Although we did splurge on the huge Icees with their 20 fun flavors!) Kollette was super wonderful and packed us all lunches:

This handsome devil is Jay's oldest, Brandon

Carson would only slide down backwards, so the only way I could get a picture was to stand at the top of the slide

My little cutie-booty

The only way to get him to smile in a picture is to tell him "you better not smile"-works EVERY time

My favorite picture of the day: PaPa and all his grandsons

This one was a close second; the babies were so worn out!

We got Dairy Queen when we got home!

The next day, Robin, Kollette, and I had a girls afternoon at the Galleria and dining at the Cheesecake Factory, while the boys watched the kiddos. We were planning to go to the circus that night, but they were sold out, so we improvised and spent the evening riding rides in Kemah. The kids had a great time, and were ready for bed by the time we were done.
Peyton, Robin, and Carson on the ferris wheel

On Thursday we invited everyone to our house for bbq & "margaritas." After we were done with lunch, we went to the splash park, and then onto the circus!
Big kids table

Sweet baby girl

Carson playing


The circus was awesome! I have never been before, so I thought it was pretty amazing. Carson was captivated too!

Enjoying their $12 cotton candy!

...although it did come with a really cute top hat!

He loved it

The older cousins

Carson & his great-grandma
Friday, Jay, Robin, and the older kids went to Moody Gardens, while the rest of us stayed home to recuperate...we were worn out! :) On Saturday they headed back to Washington.
We had such a blast having them in town and getting to meet a couple of new family members! Gerald and Kollette did a FABULOUS job keeping everyone entertained for the week and for opening their house to such a large crowd!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Week in Cali

I know I am a few weeks behind on my blogs, so my goal this week is to catch up on all the fun stuff we have done this summer. Starting with...CALIFORNIA!!

One of the many benefits of being a teacher is that I have the summer off and get to spend it with Carson (and Brian when he is off). We were lucky to spend a week with my Aunt Claudia, Uncle Dennis, and Cousin Kyle in California. Carson & I headed out there on Saturday, and Brian flew out mid-week to meet us. I was a little nervous to fly with our 3 year old on a four hour flight without someone throwing us off the plane for him talking loudly or kicking seats, but we decided to bring his car seat and a bag of toys, books, and videos on the flight with us and that did the trick! He was an angel there and back!

Here he is ready to "blast off!" (his words)

And looking at the clouds out of the window:
We were greeted with fabulous weather once we were off of the plane and enjoyed the 70 degree temperatures the whole time we were there. Houston had been in the 100's the week before we had left, so Carson was excited to spend time outside.
Our first day there Claudia took us to the farm where she volunteers. We got a fabulous tour and got to visit the animals on the farm and check out the really neat garden. The weather and scenery were also gorgeous!

Claudia & Carson

Petting the goat

Looking for eggs (the hen wasn't too happy about this)

Getting "kisses" from the pigs

Boy, were they stinky!

Carson loved the little fort built out of vines

A bathtub full of beets

They also had a tunnel created by vines

Later that day we walked to the park and let Carson play. Notice the sweatshirt he is wearing (in July!).

Carson spent every afternoon "fishing" in the heated pool and hot tub, and practicing his swimming and floating skills.

The night we went to pick Brian up from the airport, we went to eat dinner in San Jose. Afterwards, we sampled some tangy yogurt from Pinkberry (made famous by Perez Hilton).

Claudia got tickets for us to go to a San Francisco Giants game. Brian, Carson, and I rode the train to San Francisco and Carson got to see his first baseball game! As you can see their field is beautiful! It backs up to the San Francisco Bay so the view, as well as the breeze was fabulous.

Crazy boys boxing

Outside the field

After the game, we went walking around San Francisco. Carson was wore out, and is getting too big to carry any distance, so we decided to invest in a stroller. As you can see, Carson approved:

The next day, Claudia entertained Carson AND handed over the keys to her hard-top convertible so Brian and I could spend the afternoon in San Francisco at Pier 39 & Fisherman's Wharf. We enjoyed lunch at Bubba Gump Seafood Restaurant and spent the afternoon looking at all the neat shops and sightseeing.


There were so many neat street performers, but creepy skeleton was our favorite

Brian getting his fortune from Zoltar (like on the movie Big)

Our last day, we walked to town to the art and wine festival. My camera was dead by this point, so I didn't get any pictures, but it they had tons of vendors with beautiful artworks, yummy food, and a huge kids section where Carson spent a lot of time riding rides and burning off some energy before our plane ride home.
We had such a great time in California! A special thanks to Aunt Claudia for inviting us and keeping us entertained. Carson misses you, and has asked when he can go back and see you again! We have also spent many hours of our life watching the "toilet movie" Flushed Away...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer Concert

A few years ago Kid Rock played at the Super Bowl in Houston. My friend, Bowers, ended up meeting their emcee, Freddie, who had recently replaced Uncle Kracker, at a bar while they were in town. They exchanged phone numbers and whenever he was in town with Kid Rock, he would call and get her free tickets & backstage passes. Being the good friend that she is, she invited me along each time they came. Eventually, she moved to Chicago, then on to Kansas City, leaving me here in Houston! Freddie now calls me when he comes into Houston for free tickets, although he typically doesn't give much notice, they are always great seats and I get to bring a couple of friends along.

Recently, when I was in Dallas for a conference, he text me to let me know they would be in Houston. I couldn't make it down due to the conference, but as luck would have it, they were in Dallas the following night! Unfortunately, I don't know anyone who lives in Dallas, but Lori, a teacher who was at the conference with me agreed to go:

The seats were about 12 rows back, so we could see the concert perfectly. Because we were so close to the front, we had a parade of people trying to sneak up to get better seats giving the poor security guard a hard time when he turned them around sending them back to their own seats. They drunk concert-goers would try so hard to talk him into letting them pass, women by flirting, men by trying to fight. I was almost as entertained by these people as I was by the concert.
After about 30 minutes of watching this, I HAD to say something to the poor guy. When he walked past, I leaned over and told him that he deserved a raise for having to deal with all these crazy, drunk people. He laughed, and said that Kid Rock concerts kinda bring out the trash, that most concerts weren't nearly this bad.
We went back to watching the concert. Here is a view from our seats:

About 5 minutes later, the security guard walked over and asked us if we would like better seats! He moved us to the THIRD ROW!! Here I am with the nice guy:

And a view from our new seats:
A little bit of kindness goes a long ways!
After the concert was over, we got to go backstage and hang out with the band. I was disappointed that Lori didn't get to meet Kid Rock, b/c he went back to his bus after the concert was over, but the rest of the band was so entertaining, we had a great time.