30 June 2012

Beach Balls

28 June 2012

Go 'Stros

On our last full day in Texas, we played on the beach by day and in the afternoon, we headed to the big city of Houston.  Houston really is big.  I was surprised at the size of the buildings and the amount of traffic.  Of course, it was late Friday afternoon and the Houstonites were all on the move.  In the downtown area, there were shadows, but no trees.  The buildings were all so tall they made canyons for the streets.  I wouldn't want to live in a big city, but, it was fun to visit.
Once we found our parking space, we made out way into Minute Maid Park.  The ballpark is pretty new, and I was impressed with how airy and spacious it was.  We found our seats, got some ballpark food for supper and we settled in to watch the game.  The Astros played the Cincinnati Reds.  I think I actually sat and watched about three at-bats.  Most of the game I spent walking around with Charlotte and Josephine.  Rachel and Samantha weren't interested in the game at all, so after they ate, they walked around and checked out all the decks.  They actually sat and watched about half of the game, asking questions and getting into the music and filler stuff that live baseball games use to keep everyone entertained between batters.  The "Kiss Cam" showed a guy asking a girl to marry him and she said yes.  Rachel and Samantha decided that's cool if you're a baseball fan, but, it's not how they imagine being proposed to!  Jay Michael was entranced by live baseball and was great company for James, who really wanted to see the game itself.  While I was exploring with Charlotte and Josephine, we found the play area - amazing.  It was a huge indoor playground with a baseball theme, of course.  It was about four stories high, full of slides and bridges.  It closed during the seven-inning stretch, so we headed back to watch the last play of the game.  Reds over Astros - 4-0.  Oh well. 

This is our view from behind the right-field pitcher's warm up area.

The whole ballpark is air conditioned, but, the roof is retractable.  At the end of the game, the next show began - fireworks!  In this picture it's hard to tell, but, those lights are on the top layer of the stadium seating and the roof rolled along the very top until it disappeared into itself like a collapsed telescope.  I went up to the higest level to take this picture and it doesn't do it justice.  This place is huge!

24 June 2012

Around town

One day - just one day - while we were in Galveston, it rained.  We made it to this museum, Bishop's Palace, before the rain began.  This is one of the oldest houses in Galveston, and it survived the 1900 storm with no major damage.  The woodwork in the house is amazing and the history of it was fascinating.  It was a great glimpse in time.  The kids did not find it so interesting, and the only saving grace was the fact that the orignal family, the builders of the house, had a mom and a daughter named Josephine.

After the rain passed, we explored the town a little.  We found Ball High School, but, school was letting out and the pictures are full of high school kids.  We also found Ball Avenue, and got a picture of the Ball Team on Ball Avenue.

This first picture is a cruise ship - immense!  I've never been this close to a cruise ship, and I was shocked at how big they are!  Galveston, apparently, is a cruise hub and a few lines had their ships at the dock or anchored just off shore waiting for the next cruise.  This picture is Samantha and her crab legs.  Charlotte and Samantha are the seafood lovers on the BallTeam, along with James and I, too.  The others are land-lubbers, but Samantha ordered crab legs and had to play with her food!  After an amazing lunch - our best and fanciest meal of the trip, the rain was gone, the skies were blue and we did what we enjoyed most - we headed to the beach to play in the surf and relax.

22 June 2012

Home Again

While in Texas, we went to visit James' high school stomping grounds - Sweeny. Home of the Bulldogs. We took a few shots of the little town, which was much the same as it was when he graduated a few years ago. (ahem, twenty-five years ago) We met up with his friend, Tim, and his family.

This is the new high school marquis - fancy.  And the house where James' family lived almost thirty years ago. 
This is James' friend from high school, Tim Moss.  We had the pleasure of hanging out with him and with his family for two of the days we were in town.  This next picture is greater metropolitian downtown Sweeny, TX.  James says not much has changed in thirty years!

20 June 2012

Beach Bum Horse Rides

While we were in Galveston we tried to let each person in the family choose an activity for everyone to do. Samantha's choice was to ride horses on the beach. I found this family and we had a great morning. I think the pictures say it all!

James tried to sit in that chair to fly his kite - but the brreze was perfect and he was flipping his kite all over the place.  This is great, 'cause the kids were off riding for about two hours!  Aren't the clouds in all these shots beautiful!  Love the beach; love it!

15 June 2012

More Galveston

Another day on vacation, we decided to ride go-karts.  We had drive about twenty minutes off of Galveston Island to find a track, but, the drive was worth it.  First, it got us out and exploring - always an adventure.  Second, we had the place to ourselves most of the time we were there!  The lady at the counter gave us a deal, adding rides with game tokens and throwing in two extra rides for everyone, just 'cause she thought we were nice.  It was great.  The track was twisty and we cooled off with games in side.
This picture is the jackpot-winning Samantha, modeling the latest in hot pink tickets.  She hit this game at the jackpot and won over 250 tickets.  Luckily, they had one of those ticket-eating counter machines.  In the end, winning is fun, but the total of everyone's tickets amounted to a pack of Skittles for each of the kids and a pack of m&m's for James and me to split.

Joey is still too short to ride alone.  From the looks of this chart, it may just be years before she can solo.  She is rooting for a growth spurt, but, I think she is a perfectly beautiful petite little lady.  (Who, by the by, packs quite a punch, so don't let her little frame fool ya - she's scrappy thing when she wants to be!)

We tried to do as much water fun as possible.  I love this shot of Joey and Charlie jumping the "waves".  The fantastic benefit of staying at the beach for a week is being able to spend any time of day on the sand.  I especially love the later evening, after the heat of the day, and when the beaches are deserted.

09 June 2012

Galveston, Day One

On our first full day of vacation, we played at Schlitterbahn.  That's all.  Seriously.  The ladies and James did the waterslides.  Lots and lots of waterslides.  Jay Michael and I did nothing but the Lazy River.  It was fatastic.  I spent four hours on a raft with a happy and involved little passenger, lazily drifting along at times, and racing through rapids and wave machines at times. 

Waterslides are a pleasure for which poor James paid a dear price.  Everyday on vacation, we had great stuff planned and James vowed he would hang back and take it easy.  His back and legs will not let him participate like he used to.  His pain meds keep him constantly moderately sedated.  But, true to the hands on Dad he is every day, he was right there with the kids, and every evening, he was laid out and hurting.  He was smiling, but, he was hurting.

I added this picture of the locker key.  We couldn't get the key to work.  We ALL tried it.  Then it dawned on me.  Is this the key to locker 696?  Or, is it the key to 969?  We all had a good laugh out of that one - our brains were on vacation just like we were!  (In our defense, I can only come up with three numbers between one and 999 that can read upside down and backwards - 666, 999, 969 and 696.  So, the odds were decently against us getting the key that would scramble my vacationing brain.  Oh well!)

After we solved our locker puzzle, I sprayed everyone with sunscreen the way a good Momma does.  Although Joey offered to spray me, I never was sprayed down.  Those four hours fried at least four layers of my skin and I was so very very sunburned.  Huge understatement.  Well worth it.  James and I both paid a price for an amazingly fun day.  And Rita's.  We went to Rita's three times in this week.  And loved it EVERY time.  Ahhh, Rita's! Great stuff.

Attitude Adjustment

Don't you love a house on stilts?  I DO.  I love the outdoor shower, the decks with an ever-present on-shore breeze and the view of the nearby water.  Who needs TV?  I remember as a child my mom made custom draperies and some of her clientele had amazing beachfront condos.  Why, in the name of all that is precious, would anyone hang drapes over a window that showcased the ocean?  I didn't understand that then, and now, as an adult, I LOVED that this little beach house in Galveston, TX, had open views on the waterfront windows.  We stayed all week in this house.  Jay Michael called it our water house.  I called it relaxing.  The 'name' of the house at the rental company was Attitude Adjustment.  It has three bedrooms and two bathrooms and a large enough washer and dryer set that I could easily keep up.  Those decks drew us outside and we sat and talked and laughed until we fell asleep.  (I even slept out on the deck one night...)  By the way, if any of our landlocked friends and family ever spend a week at the beach - a house is THE way to go.  Privacy, full kitchen, laundry, and that home-away-from-home feeling.  It was truly a vacation.  More posts with more pictures to follow.

07 June 2012

Lynyrd Skynyrd

I remember when I was ten.  I had an amazing present that year.  Dad took me to see Beatlemania.  I was immediatley hooked.  I loved the crowd; I loved the volume level; I loved the unity created by the music.  Since that pivotal moment in my life, I have been to more shows than I can remember.  Lucky for me, James loves a good rock show, too.

This pictue is a little blurry - sorry.  That's too bad, too, because I want Rachel and Samantha to remember this one - their first rock show - Lynyrd Skynyrd.  They played all the classiscs - Freebird, Simple Man, Sweet Home Alabama, Gimme Three Steps - and I'm proud to say Rachel and Samantha knew the songs and sang along.  Rachel wasn't too happy at first (she's not fond of crowds), but, she was up and dancing soon enough.  James and I love rock shows.  It's our big indulgence.  I hope this is just the first of many shows for the big ladies, too.