Christmas Vacation

We have survived our crazy and fast road trip to San Antonio for Christmas!  We left work early on December 21 to try to get some daylight driving in.  That did not happen, we didn’t get on the road till 4:30 and then we were stuck in St. Louis rush hour traffic for 40 minutes.  But once we got past St . Louis we had a lot of open road, stopping in Rolla and Joplin for food and gas.  We made great time getting into Oklahoma City around 11:30. 

After a restless night’s sleep, we met up with Kelly at her hotel in OKC.  We went to the only Starbucks in Oklahoma City, in Bricktown.  It was a short but fun visit.  We dropped Kelly off at work, aka the tallest building in OKC. 

At Kelly's work

We then stopped at the Oklahome City bombing memorial. 

OKC Memorial EntranceInside OKC MemorialA chair for each victim

Even at 8:30 in the morning, it was beautiful to see and chilling to walk around and see the pictures of the victims still up, 14 years later.  We then went to the Oklahoma State Capital building.  We walked around the inside, which was fairly new and took our capital pictures with Reily. 

 

Outside OK Capital

And then we were on the road to San Antonio.  We arrived Thursday evening around 6.  On Friday, Scott and I decided to take a little drive around the Hill Country.  We started in Johnson City, TX and saw Lynden Johnson’s boyhood home and visitor center.  We then drove 15 miles to the Texas White House and took a tour of the LBJ Ranch and House. Cows on LBJ Ranch 

We left Johnson City and headed towards Luckenbach, Texas.  This was the coolest, smallest town I’ve ever been to.  The population is 3.  It has 3 buildings, a hat store, outside diner, and the Post Office/bar.  We got some hot chocolate and then wandered through the Post Office and listened to some live music.  There were about 4 guys with guitars and a woman singing.  It was the best stop of the day. 

Everybody's Somebody

We started heading back to San Antonio with a quick drive through of Fredericksburg, Texas.  The town was pretty busy with shoppers in and out of all the little antique stores on Main Street.  I really want to go back there when we have more time to check things out.  After Fredricksburg, TX we went back to San Antonio for dinner at Alamo Cafe.

Saturday we woke up to rain.  We still were determined to go to the outlet mall.  I know, it was a crazy idea to go up there on the day before Christmas but we lucked out.  There was hardly anyone there because of the rain.  We managed to get a few good deals while we were up there.  We had lunch with the Holtzinger girls at Rudy’s.  The BBQ and visit was a great way to spend the afternoon.  I can’t believe how big the girls are getting.

Christmas day was still chilly, for San Antonio.  We opened presents and left to get our movie tickets.  Scott and I drove around a little bit to show off some of San Antonio and places I have lived while down there.  We ate our dinner/lunch and then left to go see Mission Impossible.  The movie was decent, a lot of action.

The day after Christmas we were on the road very early to beat the other drivers.  We made it through Austin by 8:30 and through the state of Texas by 12.  In the middle of Oklahoma we saw a man riding a horse down the sidewalk.  We couldn’t believe what we saw.  We hit more rain East of Springfield, MO and then

Reily’s Birthday

Sunday, February 27, was Reily’s 8th birthday.  I can’t believe she is 8 years old.  Where does the time go?  Reily probably didn’t have the best birthday weekend, she did have to go to the vet and get some blood drawn and a shot; however, she did get some new treats out of it.  Plus plenty of snuggle time on Sunday while I watched a movie and we watched the hockey game later that night.  What more could a pup ask for?

Here are some pictures too look back at Reily over the years:

Happy Birthday Reily!

San Antonio & New Years

I spent 6 days in San Antonio, way more than my 4 day rule.  And it was a lot down there, but I was able to catch up with  a couple friends who I haven’t seen in a very long time.  I was able to see my friend Niki’s little boy Gavin during lunch at Alamo Cafe.  He is adorable and was so good while we were at lunch.  He even posed for pictures with me.

And then we had fun pinching each other’s cheeks.

Scott made it into town on Thursday and we did some serious outlet mall shopping.  It’s always nice to be able to get up there and find some great deals…we actually drove up there twice!  We had dinner at El Jarro with my brother and learned all about his job and Lubbock.  And I finally got to see his new car, it’s pretty nice!  After dinner, Scott and I headed downtown to check out the Christmas lights around the Riverwalk.  That is the one thing San Antonio does well at Christmas.  Those lights are amazing to see.

Us on the Riverwalk with the Lights

We stopped in at Durty Nellie’s to listen to the piano player for a while.  The crowd was a little older and it wasn’t my favorite piano player, however it was still fun to watch people look like idiots and sing along.  On our way back to the car we did stop by the Alamo.  They still had the Christmas lights up and a huge tree.  It’s a different view of the Alamo when you see it at night.

In front of the Alamo

Kelly made it to San Antonio on Friday.  After a quick trip to the outlet mall Scott and I picker her up at the airport and it was off to Alamo Cafe for lunch.  I love Alamo Cafe!  Then it was back to my parents house to get ready for spedini dinner that my dad was making for our New Years Eve dinner.  The meal was excellent!

New Years Eve was spent at Cowboys Dancehall.  We got there early enough to watch them set up for the PBR (Professional Bull Riding) event that was happening before the main concert.  We even sat next to some Fins who informed us that there were cowboys in Finland and that the people there were not as nice as the people in Texas.  They were fun to watch during the bull riding.

Bull Rider's Introduction

The bull riding event was pretty exciting to watch.  They made the ring smaller than it normally is so they could fit more people in to watch.  Also, there were two groups of riders that went at different times during the night.  The first group fared much better, seeing that only 1 or 2 were able to stay on for 8 seconds in the second group.  Either way, it was a new event for New Years Eve.

Once the bull riding was over we headed to the main stage where Jack Ingram was to preform.  I had never seen him before but knew a few of his songs.  He is a pretty good entertainer.

Jack Ingram

Our official New Years Eve pictures with party gifts:

New Years cowboy hats

Kelly and me

I finally started dress shopping on Saturday.  Kelly, my mom and I went to our first dress shop to check out styles, fits, color and prices.  I found about 5 that I liked but was not in the mood to try anything on.  I was pretty much overwhelmed as soon as I walked into the store and was asked questions.  However, I’m really happy we went and I did find a few that I really would like to try on, on the next visit.

Later that afternoon, Scott was still helping my dad with computer issues and then they were driving out to Rudy’s to get some rub and sauce.  Kelly and I went out to visit with the Hotlzinger’s.  The girls are getting so big now, Allie is 5 and Katie will be 7 in a couple weeks!  It was fun to catch up with them and see all the new toys they’ve just got from Christmas and Birthday.

After leaving we picked up Scott and went out to La Cantera to walk around and view the new addition to the mall and we then stopped at Kona Grill for some sushi.  Later we met up with my friends Jon and Aarti for quick drinks at Lion & the Rose.  It was a very long day and a very long trip to San Antonio.

Lone Star State

Scott and I took our first vacation together to visit my family and friends in San Antonio.  We had 3 full days to spend there and we were busy.  On Friday we took a day trip to Austin and explored downtown for the afternoon.  We had lunch at Moonshine Bar & Grill and it was wonderful.  Afterwards we cruised 6th Street and viewed the much quieter bar scene on our way to tour the Capital Building.  The Capital Building was very interesting, viewing the art work, the Senate room and the offices.  It was worth the stop.   Even if we couldn’t couldn’t go into the reception room.  

We did stop across the street from University of Texas and walked along and saw a small street fair with jewelry.  We stopped at a local coffee shop to relax and people watch.  We drove back to San Antonio to meet up with my parents for dinner.  After dinner Scott helped my dad fixed his “computer problems” and we relaxed a bit before heading out to meet Jason, Kendra and Jon at the Flying Saucer.  I’m extremely happy that Scott was able to finally meet Jon & Jason since they have been a big part of my San Antonio life and even more happy to know that Kendra approved!

On Saturday, Scott and I went hiking in Eisenhower park.  It was fun showing Scott Reily and I’s hiking route and the faint sound of gun fire from Camp Bullis in the background.  We cleaned up and headed down to the South East side of San Antonio for lunch at Big Lou’s.  This was Scott’s only requested stop while in San Antonio.  We had seen this place on Man vs. Food and their famous 42″ pizza, so we had to try it.  Since my dad had been there a few times for lunch at work he drove us down there.  It was a good 30 minute drive to the pizza place from my parents house into to a iffy neighborhood.  While waiting, and it was a long wait, we met Big Lou and he talked to us about how he uses the best ingredients to make is pizzas and that they are expanding soon.  Big Lou was right, the pizza was amazing!  And completely worth the wait.

After lunch we we and walked around downtown San Antonio and enjoyed being tourist for the afternoon.  It was a great afternoon.

Scott & I at the Alamo

Me & Scott on the Riverwalk

After our tourist afternoon we tried to head back to my parents house but on our way back to the highway we were stuck behind the Immigration Reform parade.  The parade lasted about 10 minutes and it was the most unorganized parade I’ve ever watched.   We made it out to Niki & Chris’s baby shower.  I was happy for Scott to meet more friends, April and Niki & Chris.  I finally met Josh, April’s boyfriend.  All in all it was a fun event.  I had an even bigger surprise that afternoon and found out that Cody was in town.  After a quick Rudy’s run, Scott and I headed over to Oak Hills Tavern…the old Frostie hang out for a few drinks and laughs.

Scott & I at Oak Hills

On Sunday we visited with Kelly, Ken, Katie and Allie.  The girls just keep getting bigger and they are so much fun.  After hanging out with the girls we went down to Alamo Cafe for a quick lunch.  We then drove up to Gruene, Texas to check out the town.

Me & Scott in Gruene, Texas

We did the old time pictures and then went down to Gruene Hall, the oldest Dance Hall in Texas.  Gruene was the perfect day, we saw Robyn Ludwick and Guy Forsythe there.   We then came back home and had my dad’s birthday/mother’s day dinner with my parents and then spent a relaxing night at my parents house.

It was a great trip down to San Antonio and Scott survived my parents, even though he thought my dad was going to kill him.  😉

The Stout’s

niki's weddingI made another trip back to San Antonio, this time for Niki and Chris’ wedding.  I had 4 days to relax at my parent’s house.  I arrived in SA and went to Korean BBQ with my dad and brother, my mom showed up later and full.  The food was great…I need to find a place in St. Louis that has good Korean BBQ, although I’m sure it won’t be hard to find.  After lunch I finally got to meet Andrew’s new puppy, Miss Winnie Cooper Manzotti.  She’s a pretty cute pup with a licking problem.  My mom and I did a little shopping and I was able to come to the conclusion that I’m too busy in St. Louis to go shopping compared to when I lived in San Antonio.  This is a good thing!

Friday night I met up with Jason and Kendra, the next couple to be getting married.  We met at the Lion and the Rose and enjoyed a few beers and the best grilled cheese sandwich ever!  I’m hoping they are able to make it up to St. Louis once the craziness of the wedding is over.

Saturday my mom and I met Kelly, Katie and Allie for lunch and the Tamale Factory, I don’t think that is the real name of the place, but it was good.  I was able to catch up with the girls and play on the swingsets that are set up all around the restaurant.  After a couple hours of playing we decided it was time for a nap and time to start getting ready for the wedding.  I met up with April and we headed to Randolph Air Force Base for Niki & Chris’ wedding.  I had been to the Officier’s Club before but never upstairs and was impressed with how nice everything was.  I’m so happy for Niki and Chris!

On Sunday we decided to celebrate my dad’s birthday and mother’s day early with brunch at the Westin La Canterra.  We thought the food and view would be better but what do you expect it’s San Antonio and it’s not a world class city like they’d like to believe they are…god I’m happy I moved out of there…That afternoon I went to Comfort, Texas with my mom to an antique show and didn’t see anything too unusual minus an older lady who had to be taken away by ambulance due to heat exhaustion.  That night Andrew, Jon and Aarty went to see State of Play, awesome movie.  Then drinks at Oasis and I finally went to Coco Beach…I will not go there again.

On Monday I didn’t do much of anything except hang out at the house and relax.  It’s nice when you don’t really have to do anything but lay around sometimes.  I caught a late afternoon flight out and waited for Ben & Ellen to pick me up so we could celebrate Catherine’s 7th birthday with some chinese food when I picked up Reily.  All in all it was a good trip and just enough time in San Antonio.

Aggie Wedding Time

As much fun as it is to read about a weekend events I feel obligated to write about my friend’s wedding.  It was the first wedding in was in since I was the flower girl in my aunt’s wedding in the early 80s.  But I am happy to say that I survived my first wedding that I was in the bridal party.  My friend, Samantha, finally married Jerry after almost 11, yes, 11 years of dating. 

Friday I arrived in Houston around 11 and was taken to Sam’s house where we ate lunch and killed some time before we could check in to the hotel.  By the time we got to the hotel it was hurry, hurry, hurry mood.  And off to the rehersal dinner.  The rehersal was crazy.  The wedding coordinator could not coordinate.  No one in the bridal party knew what they were supposed to do during the wedding.  But that’s ok, we we hurried out so the local high school could have a sports banquet. 

Off to dinner where I was sat in the back at the “kids” table.  Not really kids but our maturity level was about 15 years old.  Needless to say it was a fun dinner.  After dinner and toasts we went to Sam’s parents house.  My parents had hung out in Houston during the day and met up with us at there.  I spent a while catching up with my parents.  It had only been three weeks since I last saw them. 

The day of the wedding consisted of hair appointments and lounging around the hotel.  We managed to get all of our pictures done well ahead of time but of course the ceremony was delayed about 5 minutes, guests took a while to get their seats.

I have never felt so gross while being so dressed up in my life.  The wedding was on a stage and the whole bridal party stood under very hot stage lights.  Thankfully it was only 20 minutes for standing up there.  After the ceremony it was time for some food and dancing…I even busted out the running man with Samantha.

Samantha and I dancing

Samantha and I dancing

After everyone was gone we headed over to Molly’s, a dive bar in Kingwood, TX.  I was exhausted from the craziness of the day and only lasted until 1:30.  Kelly and I made it back to the hotel.

Kelly & I

Kelly & I