For Christmas in 2011, Holly bought me a membership to Ancestry.com I ended up with so much information that it was a bit overwhelming, mind-boggling, and seemingly never-ending (I never quite finished it). But at the very least, I did write a few blogs posts about what I had found. I’m just creating this blog post just to have them all in one spot for future reference.
I had resigned to think I wouldn’t be going to the rodeo at all this year. Nobody wanted to go! And the concerts that I wanted to see were quickly sold out…especially the Zac Brown Band. So, I figured, oh well, there’s next year.
But on Sunday, the final day of the Rodeo, a neighbor posted a message in our neighborhood Facebook page saying, “Too much rodeo for me! I’m kind of burnt out. But I have 2 tickets to today’s show if anyone wants them. No charge. Just come get them.”
Heck, yeah! I totally jumped on that grenade. 5 minutes later I had 2 tickets in my hand for the Rodeo and Concert. I asked…well, no, I TOLD Jose to get ready to go because he was going to the Rodeo. He obliged. 🙂 It was 2:30 and the rodeo started at 3:45. Off we went to get on the Metro (parked downtown near the YMCA) and make our way to NRG Stadium.
Jose had never been to a rodeo before, and never to NRG stadium either. So it was a treat for him. I totally enjoyed it too. The seats were great, too. We were at Level 3 (sort of in the middle, not real high and not real low), and we had a few empty seats around us so we could stretch out. It was a good show and a great day!
Wait. Didn’t we just have a Christmas break? Do we really need another break? A whole week?! I guess so.
It’s that time again to find stuff to do for the kiddos, as well as take the obligatory photos of bluebonnets. This time around, though, some of the relatives from up north decided to make a big trip to Texas and Arizona. My mom also was wanting to come down and visit with Ivy during Spring Break. So the suggestion came up that we all get together, and it just so happened that everyone likes that show “Fixer Upper” on HGTV. So how about we meet up in Waco, Texas!
That’s exactly what we did. It was a long drive for George and Loann (South Dakota), and for my mom and Larry as well (from Arkansas), but a short 2 1/2 hour drive for us from Houston. 🙂 Everyone stayed at the same hotel on the night of the 14th and 15th, and we enjoyed a nice breakfast the next morning compliments of the hotel (Texas shaped waffles!). Then off we went to the Magnolia Market!
Hanging out at the hotel
Long lines to get in
A cool little green house
Just a swingin’
Afterward, George and Loann and Jane went decided to take a Tour Bus of Waco, while Mom, Larry, Ivy and I went to the Dr. Pepper Museum.
Dr Pepper robot
Dr Pepper Museum
Art in the museum
Then later that night we met up at Texas Roadhouse restaurant and just happened to arrive on a night where they had an awesome affordable special – $10 for an 11 ounce ribeye steak and 2 sides. We had lots of food and plenty to take home in a doggy bag! Awesome!!
On the morning of the 16th, we had breakfast together again and then George and Loann headed off on their next big leg of their journey to Arizona. The rest of us returned to Houston. But not before checking out one more site in Waco – the Mammoth National Monument.
I began to feel a bit ill as we were returning to Houston, and by saturday was pretty well sick with a cold. 🙁 Despite that, though, we went to see the new “Beauty and the Beast” movie at Movie Tavern. Mom and I shared a big plate of nachos as we enjoyed the movie. I thought both the nachos and the movie were pretty good!
Finally, on Monday, I shipped mom off to Arkansas and Ivy to school…and then just slumped into a Nyquil coma for the rest of the day. Having a cold sucks. Not a great way to end a nice spring break, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.
Ivy went on her very first camping trip! I told her there were bears and snakes and monsters out there in the woods, but she didn’t seem scared at all. Off she went with her Girl Scout Troop and spent the weekend doing crafts, eating food, and bashing each other in giant hamster-like balls.
Our area Girl Scout Council put on a “Daddy/Daughter Dance” and lots of people showed up! I’d guess about 500 dads and daughters. We ate food and watched a magic show, and then boogied the night away on the dance floor.
The Phaaaaaantom of the Opera is here, standing in liiiiiiine
Gettin’ down on the dance floor.
We are the white people in this line up, in case you couldn’t spot us.
Ivy’s girls scout troop
On Sunday, we made a trek to Jane’s house to install a TV antenna and have some picnic food on the patio. Both missions accomplished! I love Sonoma Chicken Salad sandwiches!
We stopped at the Go-Kart place along the way and went a couple of rounds. Fun!
The Super Bowl came to Houston this year…and not only Houston, but our neighborhood! Some of the activities were just a few blocks away in the temporary night-club that was built called “Nomadic”. Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars did shows there, but I didn’t see them come and go. Our neighborhood was sanctioned off as a no-parking zone, so people were parking nearby and strolling through our ‘hood to get to the show (the unhappy face in the image below is our house, the yellow dot is where everyone is going). ESPN also did a glitzy, red-carpet style event one night a few blocks farther up the street. Our neighborhood was ground-zero for the SuperBowl parties and shows. Check out this article from Sports Business Daily about that very scene. Club Nomadic Becomes Epicenter…
Taylor Swift put on an excellent show as well, but it was invite only and $2,000 per person! OMG. No thank you.
There were even some left-wing protesters capitalizing on the crowds and spreading their hate: Donald Trump Sucks!
The week before SuperBowl 51 was full of lots of things to do, especially downtown at Discovery Green Park. Lots of exhibits and food and shows and even a carnival type ride. It was all pretty nifty, I thought. We went twice during the week before the huge crowds would show up on the weekend.
On Saturday, while hanging out at the house, some jets went flying low over the house and scared the #$@# out of us! It startled the dogs, too, and set them to barking. Were we under attack? What the heck was that?? It turned out to be the Thunderbirds doing a practice run for a flyover during the Superbowl. So the next day we were prepared and (tried, at least) to capture the flyover on video. Thunderbirds fly over! NRG stadium is about 7-8 miles away from us, so either there was a slight delay in video broadcast, or the Thunderbirds were flying really fast! From the time of their appearance over the SuperBowl to flying over our house was about 16 seconds.
Here’s a video compilation that someone else made from various cameras:
On Sunday, we bought some meat, invited over Jane and the neighbor kids and we had our own little party. It was nice! Great weather and good food. 🙂
Buying meat at B & W
Kids playing PlayStation
Ladies get crafty
Crafty and cooky
Like lots of people, I got a little bored by the 3rd quarter and figured the Atlanta Falcons had it wrapped up. So I went outside and sat by the fire with Jose. But a little white later I heard my neighbors shouting excitedly. I assumed they were watching the game and something cool happened. Sure enough, a quick check on my phone and I saw the Patriots were making a HUGE comeback. I came back and watched them tie up the game with less than 1:00 minute to play. Then, of course, in OT they score a winning touchdown. What an exciting end to SuperBowl 51!
The Half-time show was perhaps the best half-time show ever! Usually, it is kind of lame in some degree, but not this time. Lady Gaga was patriotic, technically daring (performed with synchronized drones), non-political, jumped from the roof, gave a shout out to Texas and Houston more than once, said ‘hey’ to her mom and dad, and put on a heck of good show. It appeared flawless (no wardrobe malfunctions). So kudos to Lady Gaga! GREAT job!
I was curious about where she stayed while in Houston and how much practice went into that performance.
Here’s some answers…
She stayed here -> Luxury AirBB <- I've driven past there many, many times!
And she practiced at NRG stadium...
December has become a month of lots of work! It is jam-packed with school activities and Christmas travels and vacations and endless messes to clean up, and on and on and on. Honestly, it kind of wears me out sometimes with literally 16 hours of work/fuss/etc for 7 days a week for 2 weeks. Usually the last few days of vacation from school I’m just dead-tired and slogging through the day. That’s pretty much the case right now (school starts tomorrow), so I decided to sit on my butt for awhile and update this blog.
Of course, there’s lots of fun and good stuff in the schedule, and when it is all said and done that’s what you remember. What was the good stuff this month?
Well, first, after 2 long weeks of practice, Ivy hit the stage in her school’s Christmas Program – The Nutcracker. Ivy was an Arabian dancer and is the 4th from left front row.
The following Monday we decided to hit the ice at Discovery Green Park downtown. It was supposed to be half-price night, but after a 30 minute wait to get in we’re told it’s no longer half price! Jerks! Oh, well, we rented our skates and got on the ice anyway. I can still scoot around the ice fairly well; I didn’t fall down at even once. Ivy did fairly well, too, although she fell multiple times. With a bit more practice, I’m pretty sure we could both be pretty good at ice skating.
On Wednesday Dec. 21, we embarked on our ‘Christmas Tour 2016’ with our first stop being Hot Springs, Arkansas. We spent most of our time downtown in the park along Bathhouse Row. I did the 1 1/2 hour spa package at Buckstaff Bath. It’s an interesting experience where you strip down naked and wrap up in a sheet (like a toga), and then an assistant leads you to a stall with a huge lion-footed tub. You climb in, lay back, and let the hot water and whirlpool soak all your cares away. Later, the assistant leads you to other stations such as a ‘sits bath’, a ‘needle shower’, steam sauna (with steam coming from the hot water straight out of the ground), and finally a 20 minute massage. I enjoyed it and felt relaxed and very clean afterward. I really liked the atmosphere of the place, as well, with it’s 1920’s look and feel – lots of tile, old-timey fixtures, exposed lead pipes, and so on. Check out the photos from the Fordcye Bath House Museum next door to get an idea of what it is like inside.
On we went to Harrison, Arkansas to stay at my Mom’s new house. Nice! Very spacious. The yard is huge! After unpacking and getting a night’s sleep, off we went to Branson for some food and fun. Ivy and I went to Silver Dollar City even though it was cold and rainy. My neice Tiffany gave us some free tickets, so we couldn’t pass up that opportunity. Ivy walked through her first cave – Marvel Cave. She wasn’t freaked out at all be 500 feet below ground. By the time we exited the cave, the rain had stopped and all the rides began to open. She rode 2 small coasters and enjoyed it (Fire in the Hole, and Thunderation). I got to ride the big coasters as well. The park had added two coasters since last time I was there – Powder Keg and Outlaw Run. We ended up staying until closing time at 10 p.m. Great time! I totally enjoyed it. Ivy did too. We were both wore out when the day was over. 🙂
Christmas eve we had some downtown, so we trekked to Branson again to watch “Star Wars: Rogue One” on the big Imax screen. Then later in the evening it was family get-together time, only this time I met several new people from mom’s husband’s side of the family. We had lots (lots and lots) of food and opened presents and so forth. It was all a good time. No fights. Only one spilled plate of food.
The Christmas Tour continued as we made our way to Fayetteville and stayed with Jenn & Wes, and then went to candlelight service on Christmas morning at Christian Life Cathedral. We had lunch at iHop (which was super-packed and busy, surprisingly), and then went with my sister/brother-in-law and Jim Gooing to see the movie “Sing”. Good flick! It’s clean, charming, and funny.
The Christmas Tour continued as we made our way to Dallas, Texas! After a good night’s sleep at a Holiday Inn Express, Holly made a 2 hour round-trip to somewhere in Texas to pick up a dog she bought. Yes, she bought a dog. Now we have 3 dogs. It’s a min-pin (just like Fifi, our previous dog who died last summer). It’s a puppy, and acts very much like a puppy – hyper, whiny, playful, and poops and pees everywhere. Oh joy.
We continue on to Dallas and stop in at Aly Murad’s (Holly’s cousin) new house and visited with Aunt Toni and Uncle Nabil, Melanie (Aly’s wife), Jamal (Aly’s brother), and Aly’s 4 kids. Really nice people! Very inviting, warm and welcoming, and fun to talk to! 🙂
I ducked out for a little while and met up with my friends Charles and Tina Deitrick for lunch at El Fenix.
Chuck & Tina Deitrick
Aunt Toni Uncle Nabil & Cousins
Playing with 2 cousins
The new dog
Then we made the final 4 hour drive back to Houston. 6 days of non-stop go go go. Everyone was exhausted. Well, every ADULT was exhausted. Ivy was fine and ready to open more presents when we got home.
Ivy got a Clue for Christmas. She won the game on the first try. And keeps on winning. Maybe we have a detective on our hands.
Ivy and I had an odd moment at Kentucky Fried Taco Bell. While we were in the restaurant and I was eating some chicken and she was eating a taco, a really big creature walked in the door. He was dressed in sweat pants and a hoodie, was very tall and bulky, and strutted in like he was somebody special and was carrying a HUGE belt. It had WW on the belt and he was clearly flashing it around. He even propped the belt up on his table so it was visible to any passerby. I didn’t know who he was. Had to look it up. He’s Booker T, a professional wrestler from the 90’s and 2000’s! I should’ve got a selfie with him. But he was kind of freaking me out.
This was the belt he was carrying
Turns out he is kind of a big deal.
On December 21st, 2016, Booker T announced he plans to run for mayor of Houston (2020).
Up next was a 10 year anniversary on December 30th. We celebrated with a $111.00 dinner at a well-known restaurant in Houston called “Taste of Texas“. GREAT food! Lots of it, too.
M E A T
Another cool bonus was winning a couple of tickets to a concert! I signed up on Facebook to win some tickets to a show at House of Blues in downtown Houston on New Year’s Eve,…. and won! I took Jose and we saw Josh Abbott Band. Good show and very lively crowd!
I was impressed with the opening act, too. I had never heard of them, but they put on a good show and got everyone dancing. Here’s one of their videos:
We heard there was a display of tiny trains at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, so we went to check it out. We took some time to check out the new Animal Art gallery, as well as the “Cabinet of Curiosities” section too.