Saturday, July 12, 2014

Walburg: German Beer Garden

Catch-up post: Trip to Walburg.

While the red-headed son-in-law was home, he wanted to go to Walburg for some "good German food." Rebecca (#1 daughter) called Leslie (#2 daughter) to see if she & the Mexican son-in-law wanted to meet for dinner. We got a call, and decided to tag along. Leslie and G have been to Walburg several times because G loves to dance. They have live music and he dances with the granddaughters and has a blast.
We all ordered some type of German food: curry wurst, schnitzel, purple cabbage, German potato salad, and pom-fritz. I won't go into detail, but will simply state that the food was terrible. I hoped the apple strudel I ordered for dessert would be redeeming; it wasn't.
So, we sat and chatted; waiting for the band to start playing. I was expecting traditional German beer garden music, because all of the band member were showing up in their cute little German shorts. However, we were once again very disappointed. Imagine polka music, played with a country music slant, sung by an off-key Texan. Not pleasant! It didn't stop G from dancing.
Luckily, we were able to salvage the evening by going to Maggie-Moo's for ice cream.
Leslie, Rebecca, Ed, Seth, and G

Leslie, Rebecca, & Ed

Becca and the crazy red-head...

Seth's " do I have to smile" face...

Sophie Lyn

Maggie Lyn

That's a big pretzel!

It doesn't taste as good as the ones in the mall.

Do I have to eat it?

Yea! Let's go get ice cream!

Ice cream? Did someone say ice cream?

Do we have to wait for the band to play? Boo!

Ron's 60th Birthday Surprise

Blog catch-up post: Ron's birthday.

Ron turned 60 years old on June 12th.  I wanted to give him a special gift in honor of this milestone birthday. The kids had asked me if we were going to do anything special for him, and I kept drawing a blank. We usually go to Round Rock, Texas to watch a semi-pro baseball game; but, this year we couldn't find a home game at the right time. On top of that, some of us were going to be just getting back from the coast. About 2 weeks before school ended, I woke up knowing what I wanted to do for Ron.
The last time we took a trip to Ohio to visit his family, Ron's mother gave him his father's old guitar. Howard had been in a gospel music group before his death, and had played a 1957 Gibson electric guitar.  No one had played the guitar since Howard's death, and it had been kept in the closet or basement since then.  Ron had talked about getting it restored when he first brought it home, but never followed through with it. I decided this would be the perfect birthday gift.
Scott (#2 son) sneaked into the house one day when we were both at work and snatch the guitar. He and Ryan (#1 son) found a man in Austin that restores guitars. Ryan took it down and explained that we wanted to give it to Ron as close to the 12th as we could. There was a lot of work that needed to be done, and one part needed to be rebuilt, so the chances of getting the guitar back by the 12th were slim. So, when we got back from the coast, we had a Father's Day/birthday cookout and played that off as Ron's birthday celebration. The kids were all in on the secret, and as the time passed it got harder and harder to not say anything around Ron.
Finally, Ryan got a call from the restoration agent letting us know that the guitar was ready. Luckily, it was on a Wednesday, which is traditionally our family dinner evening. Ryan headed down to Austin and picked up the guitar.  We hid it in Mom's sewing room until just before dinner. Then, I had Ron sit down in the center of the living room and Ryan went to get the guitar. Ron's reaction was heart melting! Ron was so touched when he saw what we had done. The kids had all chipped in to buy a beautiful, sturdy new case for the guitar because the old was was beyond repair. I think it was a perfect surprise gift!
I don't think Ron really understood what he was looking at because the case was unfamiliar.

Once Ryan opened the case, Ron realized it was his father's guitar.

The strings on the guitar had been kept tight, causing the bridge to bow. You can't even tell now.

The piece that lifts the strings off the guitar had to be rebuilt.

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

These guys have amazing secret keeping abilities!

That is a happy old man!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Anniversary Cruise - Cozumel

Second catch-up post: Our Western Caribbean Cruise

In February, Leslie suggested that Ron and I needed a break. Her idea of a break was to take a cruise to the Caribbean.  Mom had been sick and in or out of the hospital between Thanksgiving and the middle of January. By February, it looked like she was well on the way to being 100% healthy again. A break sounded pretty nice. So, Leslie and G booked us a cruise for May 1-5. It meant I had to get sub plans written up and arrange for a substitute, get Scott to dog and house sit, and find a bathing suit! I hate looking for a bathing suit, but sitting in the sun on a sandy beach with a beautiful view of the ocean sounded so relaxing. It was a lot of fun to go with Leslie and G; and, nice because we didn't always feel like we had to go and do the same things the entire time. Our cruise line was Carnival, and I now understand why it is called the party cruise.  Sitting beside the pool was not possible because that was where the drunks hung out. However, that left all the silly games, trivia contests, and quite spots for reading or napping completely quiet and peaceful. If I have a choice between using Carnival or Royal Caribbean for our next cruise, it will certainly be Royal Caribbean. Better food, better atmosphere, and a little classier cruisers.
I have decided that I missed my true career choice, which should have been something nautical. I love being on the cruise ship! The rocking motion is so relaxing and soothing. Unfortunately, most of the family is decidedly not seafaring inclined. Ron, Leslie, and G battled seasickness most of the time. They were real troopers about it, trying a combination of essential oils and pills, and not letting it keep them from enjoying themselves. Even with the seasickness (and the drunks) we've decided that the entire family needs to take a cruise for our 45th anniversary. 
Bags packed, dog sitter on his way, ready to go!

Our entertaining traveling companions...

A quiet spot at the cafe while at sea...

Ron playing one of the many silly games...

The guys playing putt-putt...

Fancy dinner night with my handsome Sugarbear...

Our lovely table companions...

Leslie and G...

On the ride to Passion Isle...

An absolutely beautiful, private beach...

Leslie and Gerson...

And yet another quiet spot on deck at sea...

Leslie and G after winning their plastic ship on a stick for playing the not so newly wed game...

Ahhhhhhhhh... beautiful and serene!

The Beach Trip

I've been neglecting the blog. No excuses; just been lazy. Therefore, this will be the first of many "catching up" posts.

My summer break started back in June with a trip to Port Aransas, Texas. Edward, the red-headed son-in-law, was home from the Middle East and wanted to do some deep sea fishing. He and Becca rented a cute beach house and invited the rest of the family to go along. All we had to do was provide the meals. Not a bad deal for a week on the beach.  Sadly, Ron didn't go with us.  He is planning on taking time to visit his family in Ohio later this summer and thought it best to work. Having a job that only pays when he works, makes it difficult for him to take as much time off as in the past. So, he did doggy day care while we played in the sand.

Here are some pictures of our trip.
Fishing on the coast was a bit of a challenge.

Ed, Seth and Scott gave it a good try.

The 1 fish that was caught was evidently not edible because they threw it back.

The sea weed was insane! We were told that it gets better later in the summer.

Seth's catch!

The kids loved playing in the surf. I learned that I do not like salt water.

They, on the other hand, didn't seem to mind it.

Sitting in the waves was fine, at low tide. Any other time, they wiped you out!

Scott opted to sit on the sand instead.

The Mexican branch of the family took a day to visit Padre Island. I stayed at the beach house and read.

Maggie, G, Leslie, and Sophie

Pretty girls!

Sophie Lyn

Maggie Lyn

Sophie Lyn

Edward taking a lick of his sucker.



Ed and Seth (he is such a good sport).

Captain Castello!

The grandkids in front of one of the gift shops.

Love these babies.

The girls are "saving" Seth from the shark!

Another cute photo op site in town.

Even the big boys agreed to let me take their picture.

A nice passerby offered to snap a pic of the family.

Another shark!
I enjoyed getting to spend so much time with some of the family. We played games, sat on the porch and chatted for hours, played in the pool at the beach house, collected sea shells, and laughed at the stories of Ed, Becca, Seth, and Scott going deep sea fishing. We enjoyed a delicious meal of red snapper, the fruits of their labors, and had a wonderful time.