Thursday, June 30, 2016

Blanco Bound - First Road Trip of the Summer

Last weekend we were southbound 35 for our travel tournament of the summer.  Jackson was playing in a baseball tourney in Dripping Springs, southwest of Austin.  When I saw how close it was to Blanco, I called my friend Stephanie, whose parents just so happen to live on a ranch in Blanco.  The stars aligned for us, and their family was free that weekend, so we made plans to meet at the ranch.  I was beyond excited to see our dear friends--it had been two years since the last time!

The kids were all in good spirits on our drive.  They watched a movie, we ate lunch, and the little one even took a nap.  We arrived in Blanco at 4:00...

and by 4:10 our crew was in the water!

The little girls were too busy to stop for a picture,
but we got Lila (6), Caroline (4), Sam (7) and Jackson (9).
My goodness, what a difference two years makes!

This little fish swam with her daddy for a while and then joined us on the porch.
She loves a good rocking chair, especially when it's just her size.

After the kids were done swimming, we got dressed and went to check out this neat play area.  It had a swingset and an airconditioned playhouse!  With carpet.  And a full-size bunk bed.
My girls loved it.

Jackson wasn't really into playing house, but he was in heaven on this legit zipline!
All the kids took turns on it, even little 2 1/2 year old Diane Claire!
I wasn't so confident that Cami would hang on the whole time, so I just ran with her.
The boys did some tree-climbing...and we all just admired the beautiful Hill Country.

Then we walked back to the house...

and chilled on the porch while the kids played some more.  With a cold beverage, of course.


While the boys still had enough sunlight, they played Beamo.

After a delicious beef enchilada dinner, complete with all the fixin's and multiple desserts, 

the big kids piled in the back of the truck to go see the bats!

On our way out there, we saw this peacock on the fence, 

beautiful deer in the pasture,
and lots of cows.

Cami also spotted horses, donkeys and even a big jackrabbit. 

We arrived at the batcave a couple minutes before sunset.
Sometimes, these two are sweet to each other!

So peaceful.

Sure enough, right after it got dark, a lone "Scout Bat" came flying out of its cave.  All was good, so very soon the other 1000 bats followed suit.  For real!  Jackson even held his arm out and they flew all around it, but never touched him.  So much for being "blind as a bat."  It was a really cool way to end the day.  Stay tuned for more ranch adventures!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Lucky Little Girl

Not every little girl has a big brother who will try on their great-grandmothers wigs with her...

but Cami does!  These two were quite the pair.  No wonder she thinks he's so cool.

A little while later, she found some of Meme's old hats, and tried this one on.
Love it, my little fashionista.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Bend, OR - The Wedding!

Friday night after dinner, we met up with Brent and Lee.  It was so good to get half of the MAN group reunited once again.

We hung out at this restaurant until all the other chairs were flipped up and they had locked the doors.  Closing time is early in this town!

Brian and Jennifer had flown in at 10pm that night.
A short two hours later, we were celebrating Brian's birthday!

On our third attempt, we found a bar that would stay open past 11pm.  Huzzah!
Good thing, because the groom was hungry--anyone got some tots?!

The next morning we were exploring more of the amazing hills near Bend.  We drove 20 minutes to Tumalo Falls, then hiked up a short trail and got to see this.

Such a great view!
The MAN Flag traveled all the way from Atlanta, and was proudly displayed at the Falls.

We could explore this place all day.

We made it back to our hotel in time to meet up with Brian and Brent after their run that morning.  As luck would have it, the town was having their annual Bite of Bend, with food vendors everywhere.

After scouting out all four areas, we grabbed some food before we went back to get ready for the wedding.

St. Francis of Assisi was directly across the street from our hotel, so we walked over a few minutes before 2:00.  The chapel was beautiful!  

My date!  The wedding ceremony was perfect.  I love me a good wedding:)

Our table had a special centerpiece on it.

And these fellas posed with it happily.

After dinner, we had some heartfelt toasts.  Cheers to the happy couple!

Then it was time to get the party started.

We missed the rest of the MAN group, but were thrilled to be able to hang out with these peeps all night long.

These two are so perfect for each other.
Congrats, Mr. and Mrs. Brent Thomas!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Oregon - Hood River Valley and Willamette Valley Vineyards

Brent and Brianne's wedding was in Bend, Oregon last weekend.  Brent's a good college buddy of Jared's, so we jumped at the chance for a long weekend together to celebrate with them.  Neither one of us had ever been to Oregon, and we were so excited to explore new places.  All week I had stressed about the forecast in Oregon.  Everything I looked at showed rain the whole time we were going to be there.  What are you gonna do, though?  Pray!  Guess what, God decided that we deserved a little bit of sunshine, so that's what we got.  After landing in Portland at 11am, we got our rental car, and set out in search for a good lunch place on the water.  

A nice guy from Oregon, who we met on the plane, recommended Salty's for some fresh seafood and a good view.  He was spot on!

After lunch, we headed down to the marina to get a closer view of the Columbia River.  Gorgeous!

It was a beautiful start to our trip.

Next stop, Multnomah Falls.  Wow!  According to Native American lore, Multnomah Falls was created to win the heart of a young princess who wanted a hidden place to bathe. Although you can see the top portion of the falls from the highway, to view both tiers you have to walk to the viewing area located in a carved-out opening in the rock face.

We were seriously impressed with Oregon and it's majestic beauty.

Such a cool place, just minutes off of the main highway.

About a half hour later, we had arrived at our hotel for the first night.  Our balcony looked out over the Columbia River.  Hello, Washington!

The temp had dropped about ten degrees, making it perfect fleece weather.  We had a drink while enjoying this fabulous view outside our hotel, and watched bald eagles soar over our heads.
So memorable.

Cheers to us!

We made ourselves go get ready for dinner on the river and had a fabulous time at a little restaurant down the road.  

The next morning, after grabbing coffee and a small breakfast, we ventured next door to the nationally historic Columbia Gorge Hotel.  

It had even more breathtaking views, and we enjoyed learning about it's history.

Simon Benson built it in 1921.  He was also responsible for building the original scenic highway, that runs along the river.  He felt like travelers should have a beautiful place to stay during their travels through Oregon.
I think it's safe to say, he knew what he was doing!  This unassuming river runs through the hotel grounds...

and then turns into a gigantic waterfall on the hotel's property!

View from the bridge.  So pretty!

It really felt like we were walking in the Secret Garden.

Our journey continued to Panoramic Point County Park.  The air is so clean and crisp...

and on a clear day, you can see Mt. Hood very well in the distance.

We didn't have time to wait for the clouds to move out, but a few hours later when we arrived at Willamette Valley Vineyards, the sun was shining brightly!

This might have been our favorite place of the whole trip.

For only $10 we got to sample 5 different wines and sit on their terrace.  With this view.

My date upgraded to the $15 wine flight, and found a winner with the Hannah Pinot Noir.

This place should be on a Top 10 things to do in Oregon list.

Friday afternoon on a vineyard?  Yes, please!

When we realized that our final destination was 2 1/2 hours away, we hopped in the car and began driving up the mountain to Bend, OR.  Again--stunning scenery.  We made it there just in time for dinner with friends.  The wedding festivities were in full effect.  Stay tuned for more good times.

Blog Archive