Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy 15th Birthday, Anna

It seems like just yesterday that I was posting about Anna's 14th birthday. Time sure flies. We had fun celebrating Anna's birthday. First she had to find her 23 gifts by playing hot (close to finding it) and cold (nowhere near). Why 23 gifts? Because Joann's Fabrics had ribbon on sale 4/$1.00 and we got her a lot of them! Ruthie had fun individually wrapping and hiding each gift.
Anna also got a nice digital camera. She's happy about that! (So am I since everyone is always borrowing mine.)
Here we are in our jammies watching her open her gifts.
Since we're still in Texas (until Monday), I can't post any pictures from her childhood, so I will next year. Anna loves her hats. It's rare that she doesn't have one on. When Anna was young, folks called her Smiley because she was always happy and smiling. Anna has a servant's heart. She is most faithful in her Bible reading and Scripture memorization ~ two enviable traits!
Maggie made her a delicious cake. Lemon cake with Lemon Icing. I don't usually enjoy lemon-flavored desserts, but I sure enjoyed this cake! It wasn't an overpowering taste. Maggie also made the candied lemon slices on the corners.
Last night we drove over to Texas A&M to see a concert put on by their orchestra. I can't believe this is the only picture that turned out (bad as it is). The university is located on open waters and is stunningly beautiful. The Performing Arts Building is an architectural beauty as well.
Flash cameras weren't allowed, so it was hard to get a good picture. The orchestra was very small, but notice the beautiful harpsichord on the left. The first half of the program featured a flutist. The second half was Grieg's Piano Concerto which featured three different pianists for each of the three movements.

It was nice, but I have to say that it wasn't the best. I went to BJU for 3 years where everything was 1st class, always the best. BJU's orchestra was no exception. So that's why I have a hard time being thrilled with a so-so orchestra. But that's okay. It was a free concert which I enjoyed with my Dad and my children.

Tonight we go to the airport to pick up Mike who is flying in from a few workdays in Miami. Hurray! We can hardly wait to see him.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rattlesnake Roundup in Freer, Texas

On Saturday, we piled into the van and drove 1-1/2 hours to Freer, Texas, to attend the annual Rattlesnake Roundup. It was wonderful.
This event is the main event of the year here. Folks spent the week rounding up rattlers and bringing them in. The three things I first noticed when we got there were the loud country music, the smell of onion rings frying, and the sound of all the rattling!
Aren't they huge?! I will never feel the same way about a rattler. Not as scary.
All the handlers wore some kind of protection up to their knees. I was really surpised that the snakes didn't attack them more often. I only saw two snakes strike. The amazing thing is that these are snakes brought in daily from the wild. They are hungry. They are not trained!The handlers were very friendly. They willingly answered hundreds of questions, and posed for pictures.
This guy scared me with his fearlessness. He's only been bitten once...on the finger. His finger is a little misshapen as a result. And this is his 2 year old son...
...who is also fearless. He played with a bull snake on the sidelines. He cried whenever someone took away his snake:-) Tel perre, tel fils!
One of the favorite tricks was for a handler to hold the balloon for a snake to bite. The second favorite trick was to put this pile of rattlers into a sleeping bag...
...that was occupied! Yikes!
Our only regret was that the line for fried rattlesnake was too long. They just couldn't keep up with demand. Dad bought Maggie a rattlesnake skin which made her day. Maggie has always wanted to tan a copperhead hide.
The rest of the area was like a typical county fair. Here are the Baptists selling refreshments. The Methodists stand sold chili pies.
Ruthie wanted to spend her time at the petting zoo. We let her ride the miniature pony, but she was really too big.
On the way home we stopped at the tiny town of Rosita. It's not on the map, so I couldn't find the population number. We ate a late lunch at the cute, little restaurant. It was the best Mexican food we've tasted. Everything was homemade ~ the guacamole, the corn and flour tortillas, the seasoned meat, etc. Yummy! They even had the best iced tea. Down here in Texas, every time we order iced tea, it comes with a miniature green lime. Much better than lemon!
The icing on the cake was when the train came through town while we were there. I love trains!

We did a google search on rattlesnake+roundups, and found some in Pennsylvania this summer! We'll have to see if we can fit that in our schedule.

This is our last week here in Texas. We are trying to think of everything we want to see and do before we leave. Boo hoo. We have enjoyed ourselves immensely. The best part is that Maggie's nerves are unpinched. Now we have to find a chiropractor in Maryland who will continue her treatments. We are praying hard about that.

Enjoy spring. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fiesta in San Antonio

On Thursday we went to visit San Antonio and found ourselves in the midst of the annual Fiesta Days. Fiesta Days is a ten-day, 100-event festival that remembers the Battle of the Alamo and San Jacinto, and honors their heroes.
It was a warm day but with a wonderful breeze. Perfect for the celebration. My children know all about the Alamo, so this was a wonderful reinforcement for them. They also learned so much more. Thursday's main event was the Marine Band. They did a fantastic job. They were sitting out in the main square in direct sunlight. I don't know how their instruments can perform in the heat and humidity.
The five drummers were absolutely awesome.
Here's a different angle of the same band. I wanted to show you a bit of the historical flavor that is evident all around this area. Reminds me of Williamsburg, VA. Afterwards we walked down to the Riverwalk. My children really enjoyed that. They especially enjoyed all the mallards. We tried to ride the riverboats but they were all booked for the day.
Dad took us to lunch at the Rainforest Cafe which is right on the river. It was delicious. Fortunately we had already learned that their portions are big enough for two!
The restaurant is really unique. It is filled with fake animals that come alive every five minutes. The whole inside looks and acts like a rainforest. A real hit with children. Aren't these barstools cute? I tried to show the ducks here. We were asked many times if we were Mormons. We finally caught on that people were looking at us because of the recent Mormon news. This is Mormon territory out here.
I took this picture because I thought it looked odd to see indigenous cacti along with cultured petunias. We also saw periwinkles and blackeyed Susans.

Even the bus service adds to the historical atmosphere.
The original wall of the Alamo extends out into town. We saw this section as we were walking back to our car.
I took this picture because of something funny. The army guys were letting children climb up to try out the big gun. I asked my children if they wanted to climb up. Ha! Every year when they were young, we used to take them to the annual Christmas party in the hangar where they could climb through huge jets and the latest helicopters. Stand on a green truck? Waste of time! On the way back to Corpus Christi we passed several huge refineries. This is what they look like in daylight. Nothing much. But at night they are all lit up and look really pretty! But none of my nighttime pictures turned out. Maybe next time.

We got home at 9:30 pm. What a wonderful day. When we were leaving San Antonio, we heard the mariachi bands playing. Had we known, we would have stayed. Later I found out that there is a Mariachi Band Festival in February in Corpus Christi. That would be worth seeing!

Enjoy your weekend. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy 25th to my Honey

Twenty-five years ago today, Mike and I got married. It was one of the best days of my life. I don't have any pictures to show of us, but Mike said he'd be sure to send me some tomorrow. We've only missed being together for five of our anniversaries, not bad considering Mike is retired military!
This is our engagement picture. We got engaged December 28th, 1982 and married April 23, 1983. We knew each other almost a year when we married. I had both my parents' and my pastor's blessing. I say that because it is an important part of a good marriage.
Today when we went to the beach, this landsailer came by. It looked like a lot of fun. I could tell Maggie was adding that to her list entitled, "Things to do when my hands have healed." And looky what came while I was gone! Mike sent this beautiful bouquet of daisies. I love daisies! My bridesmaids carried baskets of daisies down the aisle. Mike has never forgotten a birthday or anniversary, and is always good about cards, flowers and gifts...even from a ship on the other side of the world!
When we got home from the beach, Dad had cooked dinner. It was simply delicious. This recipe is called Chorizo and Potatoes from Rachael Ray. Dad got this recipe from her cooking show this morning. Dad said he paid extra to get the better chorizo, which explains why I enjoyed it. Years ago in San Diego, I tried some chirozo that was nasty! Much different from tonight's.

Tonight we went to church and enjoyed a good sermon about the benefits of affliction. We are to be thankful for affliction. We learned that diamonds start off as coal. It is only after years of pressure that they develop into actual diamonds. Then the diamonds are cut and sanded to become the diamonds as we know and enjoy.
Afterwards we went grocery shopping and saw this Texas cutting board. The price of food and gas is rising steadily, as I'm sure it is everywhere. I am praying that the price of gas drops before we make the trip back to Maryland.

Be sure to read God's Word so you can hear Him. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Nature Trail

This is the nature trail where we walked yesterday. It was perfect ~ beautiful weather and no encounters with wildlife. I was worried about rattlers, but the trees are not dense, so you can see the branches (I was worried about rattlers being up in the trees).
I enjoy these beautiful Ash trees. Not only are they shady, but their branches make wonderful climbing trees. Perfect for a tree swing!
Halfway through the trail is this surpise playground.
The trail meanders along Oso Bay.
The palm trees were huge. When we passed under them, it was cool.
You could tell by the grasses that this whole trail must go underwater often.
We could see little dens in some of the bushes. Probably coyotes.
The whole trail was probably only a mile.
Afterwards we ate dinner, then went to the beach until dark.
It was fun sitting on the beach under a full moon. My children played at the water's edge. Tonight we did the same thing and we found a live starfish. Allen found a whole sand dollar. In the above picture you can see a covered picnic table. There are 25 of them along the beach. During the daytime you will see sunbathers lying on the roofs.

Grandaddy leaves Sunday morning to come back down here. We are so excited! Tomorrow we will deep clean in preparation. This is the most low-maintenance home I have ever lived in. So easy to clean and keep clean.

One of the things I like about the Bible is that there is something for everyone. On Wednesday evening, Pastor Berry related about working in 108 degree heat here in Texas. Every 30 minutes he would take a break in the shadow of a nearby 18-wheeler to get out of the sun for a few minutes. So he cherishes verses that tell of God's shadow. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." Ps 91: 1. And "The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand." Ps 121:5. The constant sun has kept me meditating on these verses.

Later on that night I finished reading Psalm 91. Imagine the pioneers who crossed the continent by wagon train when they read Ps 91:5 ~ "Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day." Something for everyone!

We are watching a local station that is featuring a cowboy concert including an accordian, a banjo, guitar, and cowboys! They are singing what we call "banjo pickin" songs. Wonderful!

Have a restful and worshipful Sunday. Many blessings ~ Kathie