Tag Archives: Texas

Texas Travels

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My baby girl is back from her Texas adventures,

and she had a wonderful time in the Lonestar State.

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This past winter Grace and her best friend, Olivia, began making plans to take a trip together. Now that they are college students, and gainfully employed, they had the means to make such plans.

They decided to advantage of familial hospitality and crash at the home of Olivia’s Aunt Peggy and Uncle Steven, who graciously invited the girls for a visit.

Living just outside Fort Worth, Texas, made Aunt Peggy and Uncle Steven’s home a perfect home base for day trips around the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Olivia’s aunt and uncle were generous and gracious hosts, spoiling the girls rotten and treating them like adopted daughters during their time in Texas.

Grace and Olivia returned home two weeks ago and we picked them up from the airport. The trip back home was filled with tales of Texas adventures and it was evident it had been a trip for the memory books!

Grace is currently working on one of her awesome travel videos of her Texas travels, but until it is complete and posted I will share some snap shots and snippets from her journal entries of her trip to Texas:

Day 1:

“Eight months of planning has led up to this week. Liv and I have been planning this trip for months and it begins today! We headed to the airport at noon to catch our 2:55 flight. I was a ball of both nerves and excitement; a perfect blend of emotions for travel! We got through security, found our gate, then got something to eat before our flight. Soon it was time to board and off we flew. We were in the air for 2.5 hours. When we arrived in Texas we disembarked and headed towards the luggage area. Suddenly, Liv and I each had an arm around us and Uncle Steve between us.

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We were staying with Liv’s Aunt Peggy and Uncle Steve for the week. We left the airport and headed to their home in Fort Worth where we were welcomed by Aunt Peggy and shown around the house. It was a beautiful house! Our fun day 1 ended with Sno Cones at Uncle Steve’s suggestion. I had Barbie flavored and it was delicious!!”

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Day 2:

“Today was a great day! We woke up, got ready, hopped into Uncle Steve’s truck and I started driving us to Dallas.

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The drive was surprisingly easy and within an hour we were in Dallas, pulling into the JFK 6th Floor museum parking lot. The 6th Floor Museum, housed in the warehouse where the gun was fired, memorializes the life of John F. Kennedy and walks visitors through that fateful day. It was a very interesting museum!

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After the museum we drove over to a cool park that had bronze cattle statues. I loved them! They had so much personality.

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We then decided to start driving to McKinney, Texas, where our friends, the LaFond’s, now live. We were so excited to see Eli after four years apart. At their home we were greeted by different but familiar faces. Eli had changed so much from the 13 year old guy that had been in co-op with us. While there we went window shopping downtown and then had a delicious dinner with the LaFond family. It was so much fun catching up. I am glad we were able to see them again!”

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Day 3:

“Our third day in Texas began with a scary experience on the road but we were soon calmed down and ready to salvage the day with some fun. We spent the day at the Fort Worth Stockyards where we wandered around the many shops until it was time for the cattle drive. It was neat seeing the longhorn steers up close. After the drive we enjoyed the stockyard maze; a cute little maze in the heart of town that was surprisingly tough!

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Dinner was at Joe T. Garcia’s and was incredible! Best Mexican food I have ever had!! The food was amazing but so was the atmosphere. Joe T. Garcia’s had beautiful gardens and fountains. Plus, they had a mariachi band that played for us.

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When we were finished eating聽 it was time to head to Billy Bob’s for some line dancing. We arrived just as they were starting a line-dancing lesson. We slid on our cowboy boots and headed to the dance floor. It was so much fun! We left feeling like the real deal!”

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Day 4:聽

“Today we enjoyed a relaxing morning. Aunt Peggy was home for the day and we decided to go downtown Fort Worth to check out the sights. Aunt Peggy drove us in her convertible. It felt so summery with the top down and our sunglasses on!

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Our first stop was the water gardens. Here we had fun climbing the rocks and messing around within the amazing outdoor water sculptures.

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From there we went to see three art museums located in downtown Fort Worth. My favorite was the Museum of Modern Art. Outside the museum was a sculpture that echoed when you stood inside. We had fun messing around in there…singing, dancing, clapping, etc.

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Next we drove over to a cool shop that Liv discovered online. It was called Pop n’ Cream and it was AMAZING! They had candy, ice cream and popcorn…lots of popcorn! Over 80 flavors of popcorn and we sampled a huge share of them. We all ended up buying a few bags. I bought coconut popcorn for myself and cheesy caramel to take home for the family.

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That night we went out to dinner with Aunt Peggy and Uncle Steve to a restaurant called “Babe’s.” There I enjoyed an amazing meal in a charming environment with awesome people. I had the chicken-fried steak with mashed potatoes and it was delicious!”

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Day 5:

“On day 5 we had Aunt Peggy and Aubrey with us for the day and it was so much fun. We headed to the river to go paddle boarding. Liv and I had never paddle-boarded before so we were both super excited. We arrived, put on our life vests, got a short lesson and then headed out onto the river. Paddle boarding was far easier than I expected and while Liv and I paddle boarded, Aunt Peggy and Aubrey shared a kayak.

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The river ran in front of the city so we were able to enjoy a beautiful city scape in the background while we paddle boarded.

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The entire days was laid back an relaxed as we enjoyed local parks and scenery.

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That night we had a delicious steak dinner back at the house. The evening was spent hanging out at the house, enjoying the player piano and playing board games.”

Day 6:

“On Sunday Liv and I woke up a bit mopey, knowing it was the last day of vacation, but when Uncle Steven started acting goofy he drove our blues away. The morning began with church with Aunt Peggy and Uncle Steven. When we returned home we were just laying around and relaxing when we came up with the idea of having a girls’ afternoon and treating Peggy to a pedicure. The three of us enjoyed an afternoon of pampering as our feet were beautified.

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The evening (and our awesome vacation) concluded with a family dinner at Peggy and Steven’s daughters’ home, a gorgeous nighttime drive through Fort Worth in Aunt Peggy’s convertible, and an attempt at armadillo “hunting” with headlamps at midnight (none were found.)聽 馃檪 “

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Gracie’s Texas trip was the last big event of a jam-packed summer. School began for Grace the following evening and the rest of the kids will start back to school in the next week. Summer is coming to a close but as I reflect on the last 12 weeks it feels more like 12 months have passed. We have done a lot of living this summer and it has been a season of learning, dreaming, planning, and growth, both individually for each of my kids, but also for the family as a whole.

It was a great summer…

Now bring on the blessings of fall!

Easter Love from Texas

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A few days prior to Easter we received a package in the mail from my brother and sister-in-love from Texas. A peek inside the package clued me into the fact that it was a box of Easter surprises for the family and I tucked it away until Easter morning. After our morning activities we pulled it out and within the box was a bounty of love from down south including Molly’s birthday gift from Uncle Travis and Aunt Krista:

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Plastic eggs decorated with our names, bearing treats of chocolates and fluffy peep versions of each of us:

And a dozen cascar贸nes:

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Cascar贸nes are a Texas tradition we were introduced to with the addition of a Texan to our family. For those that are unfamiliar here is a little background on this tradition, compliments of Wikipedia:

“A cascar贸n is a hollowed-out chicken egg filled with confetti or small toys. Cascar贸nes are common throughout Mexico and are similar to the Easter eggs popular in many other countries. They are mostly used in Mexico during Carnival, but in US and Mexico border towns the cultures combined to make them a popular Easter tradition.

Decorated, confetti-filled cascar贸nes may be thrown or crushed over the recipient’s head to shower them with confetti.聽Like many popular traditions in Mexico, cascar贸nes are increasingly popular in the southwestern United States For example, they are especially prominent during the two-week, citywide festival of Fiesta in San Antonio, Texas. Cascar贸nes are usually made during Easter time.

Having a cascar贸n broken over one’s head is said to bring good luck.”

And who couldn’t use a little luck?!

So before heading to Aunt Beth’s house for Easter dinner we headed outside to partake in this Texas tradition, compliments of Aunt Krista and Uncle Travis:

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Feliz Pascua de nosotros a usted!

“To the Bat Cave!”

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A year ago we had the opportunity to experience a once in a lifetime thrill when we attended the evening bat show at Carlsbad Caverns. I struggle to even describe the thrill it was to sit quietly in that stone amphitheater and watch as millions of bats exited the caverns over our heads. It was awe-inspiring.

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When we arrived in Fredericksburg, Texas we were told by the locals that before we left we needed to take the kids out to Old Tunnel State Park to see the nightly emergence of the bat colony that makes its home in the abandoned railroad tunnel located in the park.

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After our experience at Carlsbad Caverns there was no way we were going to miss the opportunity to witness this awesome show by Mother Nature a second time and we made plans to drive out to Old Tunnel State Park on Saturday night after the wedding.

Knowing that the bats typically emerge to feed just before sundown,聽 we made plans to arrive at the park by 8:00pm.

It was a beautiful drive through Texas hill country to get to the state park that was located 20 minutes away from downtown.

When we arrived the first clue that we had miscalculated the time was the wave of visitors leaving the park. It is never a good sign when you find yourself swimming upstream! It wasn’t until we made it over to the viewing pavilion and spoke with the park rangers, that our fears were confirmed.

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They explained that although the bats usually emerge closer to 9:00 pm, lately they have been exiting earlier and earlier. They explained that the drought in the area makes hunting for insects more challenging for the Mexican free-tail bats, which means they have been emerging earlier than usual to get in their food quota each night.

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We were disappointed to have missed the bats but stayed to enjoy the park with plans to return the following evening to catch the show.

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While there we enjoyed checking out the cacti:

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Catching up with family:

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And enjoying a spectacular Texas sunset.

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The next day we returned. We wanted to make sure we didn’t miss the bat show two days in a row so we arrived by 6:30 pm. And it is good that we did! Rather than the 7:25 emergence that occurred the night before, on Sunday they began making an appearance by 7:00 pm.

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Here is a little information about this special show, as taken from the state park’s website:

Watching a colony of Mexican free-tailed bats emerge is truly a special experience! During emergence, the bats spiral upwards in a counter-clockwise direction in order to gain altitude. Aerial predators, such as red-tailed hawks, are sometimes seen catching bats as they emerge, and terrestrial predators, such as raccoons, feed on fallen bats. The large, serpentine column of bats can travel as high as 10,000 feet and聽60 miles, one-way,聽each night to feed on agricultural pests such as the corn earworm (a.k.a. cotton bollworm), cutworm, and webworm moths. Each bat can eat its weight in insects nightly, and the Old Tunnel colony may devour over 25 tons of moths per night!

There聽are two viewing options for the bat show:

Lower Viewing Area Tour

A close-up view of the emergence is one of the most unique experiences in nature. The flapping of millions of tiny wings is usually audible and often creates a light wind that can be felt by visitors in the lower viewing area. Lower viewing area tours are conducted Thursday through Sunday, May through October. An educational program is given about bats, with an emphasis on the fascinating life history of the Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis mexicana).

Seats are filled on a first-come, first-served basis with a maximum seating capacity of 70 visitors. Reservations are not accepted. The activity tour fee for the lower viewing area is $5 per person ages 4 and up. Due to the bat鈥檚 sensitivity to noise disturbance, children age 3 and under are not allowed at the lower viewing area.

Upper Viewing Area

The upper viewing area, located adjacent to the parking area, is open nightly for use by the general public. The scenic view from the upper viewing area allows visitors to experience the rugged beauty of the Texas Hill Country. Many bicyclists, motorcyclists, and car clubs stop at Old Tunnel to enjoy this view. Bats are best viewed from this area during August and September, when bat emergence times are earlier and more light is present. Fantastic views of red-tailed hawks feeding on emerging bats can also be seen from this area. No fees are charged.

(To protect and conserve the resources and for the safety of our visitors,聽they only allow 250 people at the upper viewing area. If聽they reach that limit聽they close off the parking lot next to the upper viewing area and will admit more visitors to the upper viewing area as people leave.聽)

 

We felt the upper viewing area was a better fit for our crew so we got settled and waited for the show to begin.

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Wow, what an experience! It was unreal watching those millions of bats flying out of the tunnel in a funnel of activity, soaring out of the trees into the skies above. Once again I found the experience affecting. There is something so humbling about watching the God’s greatness聽highlighted through nature’s displays of beauty.

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And it was so special sharing the experience with my family.

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What a聽awesome way to end our special weekend with聽the ones we love,聽in Fredericksburg, Texas!

Munch Food Park

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The wedding was PERFECT!

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(More on that in a future聽post)

The little boys all held up beautifully, but by the time we gathered to send off the newlyweds they were ready to shed their button down shirts and head back聽to the hotel.

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Grace, Molly and Lydia stayed to help the parents of the bride and groom pack up all the decorations from the reception and load up the wedding gifts, while we took the little boys back to the motel.

After some quiet time in our hotel rooms, we let the boys put on swim suits and burn off the energy that they worked so hard to contain during the ceremony.

Mimi and Pop Pop then took the granddaughters聽out for a date聽when they were done cleaning up after the wedding. They went out to dinner together and went shopping in downtown Fredericksburg. The girls each had spending money from Mimi and Pop Pop to spend at Dooley’s 5 &10, a charming old fashioned variety store that has been part of downtown Fredericksburg forever. Krista shared that when she was young her grandmother would also give her spending money for Dooley’s as a treat.

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Downtown Fredericksburg is charming. Lined with a variety of stores, everything from apparel to toys, from聽d茅cor to cowboy gear, the girls had a ball shopping without brothers to slow them down.

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While shopping, they ran into Aunt Kathryn and Uncle Richard and enjoyed walking around with them, peeking into all the cute shops. Kathryn and Richard even surprised Grace by purchasing for her a homemade wind chime she fell in love with, for a graduation gift. What a special gift and precious souvenir of her time in Texas.

While the girls were enjoying a special dinner in downtown with Mimi and Pop Pop, Kelly and I were looking for a dinner option for our boys. While looking online I stumbled across an unusual dinner option.

The name of the establishment was “Munch Food Park” and it was comprised of a variety of food trucks.

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The website boasted of shaded outdoor seating, live music, restrooms, a playground for the kids and a variety of food trucks for all tastes.

It sounded perfect…good food AND an experience. My favorite type of dining.

We arrived and found the place fairly empty. With a central bar located in the middle of the food trucks and beautiful outdoor lighting, I聽would guess that 聽this place really comes to life later in the evening. When we arrived there were just a few small families.

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It was charming. Such a fun set up!

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When we arrived only three of the food trucks were open, but it worked out perfectly for our needs. The little boys all got hot dogs while Rusty and the adults enjoyed some delicious BBQ.

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Rusty and Kelly ordered the pulled pork sandwich. Tom, Toby and I each ordered the ribs with a side of baked potato salad.

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It was so yummy. I have fallen in love with Texas BBQ.

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While we ate there was live music to enjoy.

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And when the kids were done eating there was a play area for them to enjoy while the adults sat and visited uninterrupted.

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If we聽were Fredericksburg residents聽I think we would frequent Munch Food Park quite often.

It聽had such a fun, summertime atmosphere…

and AWESOME food!

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Friedhelms Bavarian Restaurant

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Friday night was the rehearsal dinner, hosted by my parents.

Those who had a direct role in the wedding ceremony gathered at the church at 5:00 pm for a “dry run” before the big day, while the rest of us stayed back at the hotel to get ready for dinner.

It was decided that the kids would聽hang out聽at聽the hotel while the adults went out for dinner. My big kids kindly volunteered to babysit Tyler and Kelly and Tom’s little ones so that聽my sister and her husband could enjoy a nice date out without little people…a rare treat for them.

We got the kids all settled in Kelly’s hotel room with take-out pizza and board games聽before 聽we left for the restaurant where we were meeting the wedding party.

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The restaurant that my parents chose was Friedhelms Bavarian Restaurant, one of many German restaurants in this historically German town in east Texas.

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The d茅cor was charming and classically German.

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We were seated in a semi private room where my parents had聽made reservations for our party of 30. Since we were the first to arrive we had our choice of seats and chose to sit with Kelly and Tom and enjoy a “double date.”

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Soon the wedding party and immediate family arrived, joining the other family members who had arrived in town for the wedding, including my grandma, my聽father’s聽two sister’s and younger brother and their spouses, as well as my mom’s brother and his wife. Krista’s family was also well represented and it was fun to see the two families mingling and getting acquainted.

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The dinner began with some lovely words for the couple聽by the bride’s mother.

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Then our four course dinner began.

Dinner was delicious. We were all served vegetable soup, pumpernickel bread and butter, salad topped with red cabbage, and jaeger schnitzel with fried potatoes.

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It was a fun evening…

a perfect聽start to the upcoming festivities.

(I will blog about Travis and Krista’s special day in a few weeks once I have edited and sent the photos from the wedding to the bride and groom. In the meantime I will continue to share about our special time in Fredericksburg, Texas.)

Admiral Nimitz Historic Site

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While the girls were off helping the bride prepare for her big day, the boys took the groom out for a guys’ day. It wasn’t a traditional bachelor’s party, given the age range of the聽fellows ranged from 3 years old to 62 years old, but they had fun, nonetheless. 馃檪

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My Dad took Travis, Toby, Tom and all 6 boys out for the day. They headed into downtown Fredericksburg to the Admiral Nimitz Museum.

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The dads weren’t sure how the younger boys would do at a war museum but all enjoyed it immensely and came back full of new knowledge that they were eager to share. Toby and Tom both said it was an incredible museum.聽Toby remarked that he found it to be聽a “Smithsonian level” museum, and all commented that it was one of the best museums they had ever visited. It makes me wish we had an extra day in Fredericksburg so the girls could tour it too.

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The museum聽is huge and as a result a visitor’s admission ticket allows聽them to return the next day to continue exploring free of charge. Our boys’ didn’t take advantage of that privilege, however, because of the simple fact we had a more pressing engagement…Travis’s wedding!

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聽But my men all gave this museum two thumbs way up.

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Here is a little information about the museum as taken from their website:

The National Museum of the Pacific War is located in Fredericksburg, Texas聽the boyhood home of Fleet Admiral Chester William Nimitz. Fleet Admiral Nimitz served as CinCPAC, Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet during World War II.

鈥淯ncommon valor was a common virtue.鈥

Fleet Admiral Nimitz鈥檚 words in 1945 ring true today as we tell the sweeping story of World War II in the Pacific. This is the story 鈥 the history 鈥 we are dedicated to honoring, teaching and preserving at The National Museum of the Pacific. Visit us to experience this extraordinary chapter of our nation鈥檚 history.

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Explore the 6-acre Museum Complex and immerse yourself in Pacific War history, American and Japanese culture of the time, and heartfelt tributes to the heroes of the Pacific Theater.

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ADMIRAL NIMITZ MUSEUM

This is the flagship of the Museum Complex, where the original Pacific War Museum was located before our facilities expanded to include three museums on a 6-acre campus.聽 A landmark in Fredericksburg since the late 1800’s, the building was the old Nimitz Steamboat Hotel, owned and operated by Admiral Nimitz’s grandfather Charles Henry Nimitz Sr. and is where Chester W. Nimitz spent his early childhood.

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The Gallery exhibitions vividly convey the shock and destruction of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941鈥 鈥渁 date which will live in infamy.鈥 The displays provide what we call high impact experiences, and central to the experience is a spectacular artifact 鈥 the HA-19, one of five Japanese two-man subs that took part in the attack.

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Within the Gallery we tell the story of the Pacific War through media-rich presentations, meaningful testimonials and historically significant artifacts. We make it clear that the Pacific Theater was not a sideshow to the war in Europe, but a conflict that affected the course of world history. Go island to island with the brave marines and Army as they fight their way to ensure America’s freedom. Sail with the U.S Navy Pacific Fleet as they battle for the seas of the pacific.

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The Pacific Combat Zone is a re-creation of a Pacific island battlefield, and includes a Quonset hut hospital, a PT boat and base, Japanese tank, palm trees, and machine gun placements.

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鈥淭hey fought together as brothers in arms; they died together and now they sleep side by side. To them we have a solemn obligation 鈥 the obligation to insure that their sacrifice will help make this a better and safer world in which to live.”
鈥 Chester W. Nimitz, Fleet Admiral, USN 1885-1966

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We have a special place where we honor the individuals, ships and units who fought in the Pacific Theater 鈥 our Memorial Courtyard. The 19th Century limestone walls that surround this solemn garden now bear plaques that recognize heroic contributions to the war effort in the Pacific. The Veterans鈥 Walk of Honor winds through the Courtyard, paved by bricks inscribed with additional tributes.

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The guys ended their “Boys’ Day Out” with lunch out and a trip to Dooley’s 5 & 10 store on Main street聽to spend the $5.00 bill Mimi and Pop Pop gave each grandchild to spend. It was a fun way for the guys to spend the day with Travis聽on his final day of bachelorhood.

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24 hours and counting…

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We woke up on Friday morning buzzing with excitement.

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It was 24 hours and counting until Travis’s wedding, an event we have been eagerly anticipating for what feels like forever. We couldn’t wait! What a lovely blessing it is to feel nothing but pure, joyful anticipation about the addition of a new sister. I fell in love with Krista the first time I met her, when she flew out to join us on Ozzie’s adoption day, and it was my prayer ever since that Trav would nab her and make it official. I am so thrilled for them both.

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But before the big event there was some work to be done. The wedding was being held at a beautiful country church in the heart of Texas hill country. It was a church that was near and dear to Krista’s family, as it was the same church her parents were married in 33 years ago.

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The reception was to be held聽in the cultural hall behind the church. There was work that needed to be done to transform it into the artistic vision Krista imagined and my mom, my sister, the girls, and I were invited to come help decorate. We were thrilled to be included!

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We arrived and Krista took us on a tour of the church. It was so perfect.

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We then were introduced to Krista’s family; her mom, sister, aunt and cousin. And at once we could see why Krista is such a lovely soul.

 

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Cute sisters!

 

Her family was delightful and the melding of our two聽families was seamless. Within an hour it felt as though we had always been connected. What a beautiful blessing that is for the bride and groom.

 

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The mothers of the bride and groom.

 

Krista is wonderfully artistic and had a charming vision for her reception area.

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She had collected mementos from her home that had sentimental value and were reflective of her style and gave us the fun assignment of creating charming, mismatched vignettes for the centerpieces.

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We were each allowed to decorate one of the dining tables in our own unique style.

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I thought it was incredibly generous and gracious of her to allow everyone the opportunity to decorate a table, even the three girls.

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It was so reflective of her thoughtful nature.

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We all had so much fun decorating and then checking out each other’s creative interpretations of the task we were given.

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Mom, Vicky (Krista’s mom) and Molly also worked on arranging bouquets of flowers for the tables.

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The entire decorative scheme was so charming with聽the hankies, beeswax candles, dried lavender, art books,聽and mismatched 聽antiques. I LOVED it!

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The finished look! (Taken the next day)

 

When we were done decorating, Krista’s aunt and聽 cousin brought in lunch so we could have a family luncheon to celebrate Krista’s big day more intimately as new family.

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It was delightful…a fun lead-in to a special day.

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24 hours and counting!!

Fort Worth Stockyards

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Fort Worth, Texas is known as the City of Cowboys. One of the most popular things for families to do is聽spend a day at the Fort Worth Stockyards.聽With its brick lined streets, historic buildings, a weekly rodeo and twice daily cattle drive, this is the place where tourists come to experience the American West.

And this is where we spent the day on Wednesday.

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When we asked for suggestions of something fun to do with the kids in the Dallas, Texas area a friend suggested the Fort Worth Stockyards. I looked into it and knew at once that it was a must-see stop on our Texas journey.

The girls were excited to have an excuse to pull their cowboy hats out again.

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We arrived and easily found parking near the end of Exchange Ave. Tyler loved the parking payment system at the Stockyards that involved pushing your folded dollar bills in the slot that corresponded to your parking spot. I’ve never seen a system quite like it.

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Our first stop was the Visitor’s Center where a helpful young lady gave us the low down on the Fort Worth Stockyards. She explained the cattle drive, including what time to line up along the road and the best spots to stand to best see the longhorn cattle (and view them from the shade. A key tip in the 100 degree heat!). She also went over the various activities available and her recommendations for the best BBQ joint in town. All were helpful tips that helped structure our day and determine what we ended up seeing and doing.

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We found the Visitor’s Center to be a worthwhile stop before beginning our day at the Stockyards.

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It聽 had the added appeal of giant misting fans out front…another huge perk in the 100+ degree heat.

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Our first stop was the Cattle Pen Maze. It too was recommended by my friend. The cost was $6.00/ child but ended up being one of the highlights of our day at the Stockyards. The kids each received a ticket that was marked with their starting time. They then had to race the clock, seeking out the four hidden stations to punch their card, before finding their way out of the maze.

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It proved to be far more challenging than they thought it would be.

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There was a covered observation deck that extended above the maze, allowing us to look down at our kids聽and watch聽them scramble through the blind twists and turns of the maze.

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Rusty was the first one to find the four punch stations and get out of the maze. He did it in 10 minutes.

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Grace was next with a time of 13 minutes.

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Molly came in third with a final time of 16 minutes,

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And Tyler brought up the rear with a time of 20 minutes. I will say, though, that Tyler lost time because of his kind heart and willingness to backtrack and help a lost mother find her way through the maze.

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Then we walked over to the petting zoo. At $2.00/person this was a fun and affordable experience for all of us animal lovers. Once again, for the second day in a row, Molly got her goat fix and loved it.

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Tyler also LOVED feeding the goats and sheep.

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Rusty made a special friend while we were there.

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We all enjoyed this nice little petting zoo.

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Then it was time to get in position for the cattle drive.

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“The Old West comes to life before your eyes during the Fort Worth Herd鈥檚 twice-daily cattle drive. Genuine Texas cowhands drive a herd of Texas longhorns down Exchange Avenue in the Stockyards national Historic District聽every day at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Every detail of the cattle drive鈥攆rom the saddles and chaps to the boots and hats 鈥 is authentic and historically true.”

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It was聽incredible to see these iconic Texan Longhorn cattle up close as they walked down the main聽street of town.

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What a thrill!

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It was the highlight of the day for me!

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After the cattle drive we had fun exploring the stockyards and seeing the pens where the Longhorns are held,

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And catching a glimpse of the cowboys at work.

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We also stopped in Billy Bob’s- The World’s Largest Honky Tonk.

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This 6000 person capacity nightclub is open during the day for families who want to grab a bite to eat or buy a Fort Worth souvenir. It was fun to check out the bull riding ring and the huge nightclub that becomes a line dancing haven when the sun goes down.

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I best this place gets crazy at night!

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We didn’t eat at Billy Bob’s, but walked over to Risky’s Bar-B-Q instead, as suggested by our new friend at the Visitor’s Center.

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Toby, Rusty and I followed the recommendation of the waiter and ordered the specialty: Beef Bar-B-Q ribs. The girls ordered the brisket sandwiches.

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The ribs were incredible, made all the tastier by their awesome sauce.

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We ended our day at the Stockyards with a little shopping at Stockyards Station,

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and some horseback riding…

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Hang on kiddos! Those are some wild stallions!

Next stop: San Antonio, Texas