Monthly Archives: March 2008

Crawfish, House Hunting, & Baseball

Crawfish, House Hunting, & Baseball

***CORRECTION***  The Astros open TONIGHT (Monday), not Tuesday.  I had my dates mixed up.

Well, another fun filled weekend is officially behind us. Our weekly Friday night breakfast with the gang was awesome…as usual…even though my house still smells like bacon! Saturday we toured some model homes in some new sections of Cinco Ranch in Katy. For the most part, we really liked what we saw. I feel better about buying a brand new house now that I know most of them are finished the way we want them to be…granite countertops, tile & wood flooring, good carpeting, etc… Seeing the models definitely didn’t help us narrow anything down though…unfortunately, it just gave us a few more options. Saturday afternoon we enjoyed some tasty crawfish at Jeff & Alison’s house (my cousins). The food was great and the company was good too. It was really nice to hang out with them and my little boy Benjamin :). Sunday morning we had breakfast with Jeff & Alison, played some Wii bowling and then headed over for lunch with Matt’s mom and some of Kevin’s family. The food was DELICIOUS and we had a great time hanging out with all of them.

Just in case you forgot…baseball opens this week…but more importantly…the Astros open on Tuesday against the Padres. My quality of life just improved exponentially now that baseball is back!

Have a good beginning of your week!

Easter 2008

Easter 2008

WHOA…this is post #3 in ONE DAY!  Don’t get used to it…haha.

After spending only a few short hours in our own house after returning from California, Matt and I repacked our bags and headed to Beaumont to spend Easter with my family.  We arrived Friday afternoon and the weekend of fun began!  My parents arrived just shortly after we did and it was so great to finally see my parents.  We hadn’t seen them since Christmas…waaaaay too long!  Friday night we hung out at Brad & Monica’s house (my aunt & her husband) for dinner and just visiting.  Saturday the guys and girls did their own things.  The guys spent most of the day hanging a ceiling fan and were finally successful…just in time to get a few hours of sunlight for some marsh fishing.  The girls went into Beaumont to spend the day getting pedicures, lunch, and finishing up some Easter and birthday shopping.  Sunday was…of course, NUTS!  Of course we all went to church Sunday morning and then the fun really began!  Everybody (all 35 or 40 of us) gathered at Nana and Papa’s in Winnie for lunch, Easter baskets, egg hunts, and birthday parties.  The kids had great weather for the Easter egg hunt and they had a blast tearing into all of the Easter baskets.

The fun finally came to an end and Matt and I headed back home about 6.  This drive should have taken us about 2 & a half hours…but we didn’t make it home until about 10:00 p.m….NO FUN!  We ended up sitting on I-10 for SEVERAL minutes only to find out the major malfunction was caused by the highway going from 3 lanes to 2…yeah…thats it.

Its been so nice to be back home.  I love traveling, but it makes me realize how much I really love being at home.  We are heading to Houston this weekend for a crawfish boil at my cousins’ house, hopefully some house hunting, and lunch with Matt’s mom.  It should be an ok week, but we are definitely looking forward to the weekend.  Ya’ll have a good week!

Days 5-7 in Cali…

Days 5-7 in Cali…

Our last three days in California weren’t nearly as exciting as the first 4.  The whole reason for our trip was because Matt was chosen to present a paper at a conference for engineers who do water resources and drainage and other stuff I don’t even pretend to understand.  Most of my time was spent hanging out in the hotel room during the day Monday and Tuesday.  I went out to lunch and dinner with Matt and a couple guys from work, but that was the extent of my activities.  Monday night we went back into San Francisco and had dinner with a few engineers from Houston on Pier 39.  Tuesday night we had a conference dinner in a town called Half Moon Bay at the Half Moon Brewery.  The dinner was pretty good and after eating and socializing for a while, we went into the bar with the Houston folks and watched the Rockets suck it up against the Celtics.  Wednesday morning we spent most of our time packing up and getting ready to fly back home.  We ended up sitting in the airport for a few hours, but all in all it was a pretty uneventful travel day.  We got home from the airport about 11:00 p.m. Wednesday night, unpacked in about 5 minutes and went to bed before heading back to work Thursday morning.

It was most definitely a wonderful trip and it really did feel like a 2nd Honeymoon for us.  Easter report coming up next!

Day #4 in Cali…

Day #4 in Cali…


Sorry for the delay in posting…we left Friday afternoon to go to Beaumont for Easter weekend. It was a great weekend of family and fun, but we are literally EXHAUSTED. We feel like we need a vacation to recover from our vacation! Alrighty…back to our adventures in California…

Sunday was our 4th day in San Francisco and this time we left the noisy, busy city and drove up to the Muir Woods. This is a national forest of redwood trees. They aren’t as big as the redwoods in Redwood National Park in northern California, but they were still HUGE and absolutely amazing. We walked along the trails just taking in the serenity of nature and enjoying all of the sights and sounds nature holds. We (by we, I really mean Matt…)got lots of great pictures of the trees and of course of us with the trees.

After a few hours in the Muir Woods we drove to the dead middle of San Francisco to a place called Twin Peaks. These two hills are the tallest points in the city and offer some AMAZING panoramic views of the city of San Francisco. Matt got a really awesome panorama of the city.

This was a pretty relaxing day and a great way to end the vacation portion of our trip to California.

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a wildfire damaged redwood tree

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us in front of a redwood…not the greatest picture, but you never know what you’re going to get when you hand your camera over to a complete stranger.

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in a hollowed out redwood

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Matt in the hollowed out redwood tree

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the entrance to the woods

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at Twin Peaks with the city of San Francisco behind us

Day #3 in Cali…

Day #3 in Cali…

Yes, we are home…our plane left San Francisco about 2:30 yesterday afternoon and we landed in Houston about 7:45. It was a pretty good flight, but we had the worst seats on the whole dang plane. We were on the VERY last row of the plane…yep, thats right…back there by the bathrooms. Its really great to be home, but its been a very long first day back. We both went back to work today, but luckily tomorrow is a holiday so we get another break. Okay, okay…back to California…

Our third day in California took us out across the Bay Bridge into Oakland and then northward to Napa Valley. This was definitely one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The vineyards literally line the little 2-lane highway as you make your way through the quaint little towns into the Valley. The vineyard of our choice and our destination on this particular day was Beringer Vineyards, the longest continually operating vineyard in Napa. It was founded by a German man named Jacob Beringer who borrowed money from his brother, a New York millionaire to purchase the land. Jacob Beringer and his brother were able to buy 215 acres for $14,500! He quickly began working to make some changes to the land which included building tunnels dug directly into the hills to be used for storing the barrels of wine, keeping them at a constant, cool temperature in the upper 50’s. Even during Prohibition when all of the other vineyards were forced to shut down, Beringer was able to remain open and in operation by receiving special permission from the Federal government and the Catholic church to produce sacramental wines for religious purposes.
The tour we took was a very small tour that led us through the property, even into the vineyards! We got to get up close and personal with the grapevines and got to see how each of the different vines grows. At the beginning of the tour we actually learned how to taste wine, which is a multi-step process and really does make a difference in how the wine tastes. The grapes had just barely started budding, so the vines were still bare, but it was gorgeous nonetheless. As we moved through the property we got to taste different wines and by the time it was all said and done, we had tasted 5 different kinds. One was a Chardonnay, 3 red wines (one was actually out of the barrel, not yet ready for bottling…it had a very intense flavor), and then finally a dessert wine…the last was definitely my favorite. Its called Beringer Nightingale and if you’re looking for a dessert wine, we highly recommend it. At Beringer they also grow other types of fruit including oranges and pears which they use in some of their wines as well.

This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to California. I would love to go back when the grapes have actually started growing to see the vines and how different they look. We finished our day in Napa with lunch in the city of St. Helena (where Beringer vineyard is) and then walked around Main street window shopping. Now…for the pictures.

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This is one of my favorite pictures because you can really see the great scenery. This particular vineyard was used for Cabernet grapes.

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Us in the vineyard

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Up close of the vines…if you look very closely you can see some small buds on the branches

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Matt in front of the fountain

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Me in front of the orange trees

After leaving Napa Valley, we decided to go out to a place called Battery Spencer which is close to a region called the Marin Headlands. Before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge to go back to San Francisco you exit off to the right and go up into the hills for one of the most spectacular views of the bridge and the city anywhere. It was truly a breathtaking experience. Pictures don’t do this bridge justice…it is truly a beautiful piece of construction.

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Us in front of the Golden Gate Bridge at Battery Spencer…that is San Francisco on the other side of the bridge

And finally…last but not least…images of us on real San Francisco cable cars…we are the real San Francisco Treat!

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And that folks is the end of Day #3 in California.  We ended our very busy day with some room service dinner in the hotel.  Day #4 to come soon…stay tuned!  Happy Easter!

Day #2 in Cali…

Day #2 in Cali…

So our first full day in California was definitely one of our favorites. We started the day off with an authentic California breakfast at…Denny’s…haha. I can say it was the nicest Denny’s either of us has ever eaten at. After breakfast downtown at Denny’s we went down the street to take in the 4 story Bloomingdale’s. It was definitely one of the coolest (and most expensive) department stores I’ve ever been in. After walking through Bloomingdale’s we walked a few blocks (& by that I mean like a mile) to Chinatown. This was one of the neatest things we’ve experienced. The culture shift was incredible. All of the signs were written in Chinese and a few were written in both Chinese and English. The smells were very…interesting. We literally had to hold our breath walking past a few of the stores because it was such an awful smell. Alot of the architecture was really interesting and looked authentic. I know Matt got a few really neat pictures while we were down there. After walking around Chinatown we left to get some lunch. We wanted to eat Chinese, but the menus at all of the restaurants in Chinatown were in Chinese…there is no way we could have ordered anything. After we got back to downtown we ate lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe and walked around a few more of the shops at Fisherman’s Wharf. That afternoon and evening was definitely one of the best parts of the whole trip. We took an evening cruise out to Alcatraz and got to tour the prison and most of the island. When we arrived on the island we were all given a headset to listen to the audio tour. The tour was done by former inmates and correctional officers and it was probably the best tour either of us has ever been on. Matt got some really great pictures from inside the prison. I expected the tour of the prison to be creepy and uncomfortable, but it wasn’t at all…it was great. After the cruise we got some dinner on the pier at a place called Fog Harbor and then finally called it a day. We were tired and had walked quite a few miles that day, so we got the car and headed back to the hotel. What to look forward to in the next post…NAPA VALLEY!!!!

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me in front of Bloomingdale’s!

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street lamp/sign in Chinatown

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us in front of the gate to Chinatown

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gate to Chinatown

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us on the pier with Alcatraz in the background

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Alcatraz Island from the cruise

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prison cell at Alcatraz

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the view of the city from Alcatraz

Day #1 in Cali…

Day #1 in Cali…

Matt and I have been in California since Thursday and we have had so much fun. We are calling this little vacation “Honeymoon #2” and its been great! We have promised each other we will take a little honeymoon trip every year around our anniversary. We flew into San Francisco Thursday afternoon and after checking into our hotel we navigated our way downtown to check out a few of the sites before eating our first seafood dinner in California. Our hotel is pretty darn fancy, too! We are staying at the Marriott in San Mateo which is just a few minutes from San Francisco. We have a huge room with 5 enormous windows and a MASSIVE bathroom…I’m loving it! After checking in, we drove through some of the neighborhoods in San Francisco and discovered a place called Alamo Square…if you remember watching Full House when you were little its the cute little row of houses on the intro to the show. Afterwards, we wandered around on Pier 39 and then ate dinner at a place called The Crab House and it was delicious! The weather the first few days was pretty stinkin’ cold and so dang windy. Its that damp cold that we have on the gulf coast and then Abilene like winds coming off the bay and the Pacific and its dang cold! Okay, okay…now for the pictures!

Sea Lions at Pier 39

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Full House houses in Alamo Square

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Yes…we are still alive!

Yes…we are still alive!

This will be short, but just in case you are wondering…yes, we are still alive.  We seem to have been extremely busy in the last couple of weeks.  We are just 3 short days away from SPRING BREAK!  We are both thrilled!  This is one thing that I absolutely love about being a teacher…I still all the great holidays!  I am going to Beaumont this weekend to hang out with the family a little bit and hang out with Cortney.  I am so excited…I haven’t seen Cort since…oh my gosh…my wedding.  WOW…that is such a long time!  Anyways…the plan is to hang out in Beaumont for a few days…help Cortney with some wedding stuff…and then head home probably Monday or so.  Once I get back home I will probably begin the overly daunting task of packing for California.  I’m absolutely dreading this!  Six days…in California…questionable weather…will it be hot, cold, in between…what all will we be doing…so many questions…so many options…oh yeah…not to mention…I HATE PACKING…even if its just for the weekend!  Oh man…I also need to update my IPod…definitely need some new music for the 4 hour plane ride.  I’ve got some shopping to do before we leave too…maybe a few new clothes and then of course magazines for the airports & planes.  I’m so excited about our little vacation…unfortunately…I still have 3 days of school :(.  Oh well.

Hopefully the next 3 days of school won’t be too bad.  Tomorrow all of our 9th-11th graders are taking the English portion of the TAKS test…so I will only have 2 of my regular classes tomorrow afternoon.  Thursday will be a great day to review the civil war and Friday sounds like a great day to give a test.  Haha…my kids hate me for giving them a test right before spring break…but…OH WELL!

Have a great rest of the week and enjoy your spring break if its next week…if you don’t get a spring break anymore, all I can say is…”sucks to be you!”