21 December 2008

Wishing I Were There



Dear Auntie Jennifer,

This is me, pretending to be in Utah for your birthday.

Love,
Jonas

17 December 2008

Thanksgiving Part IV: Naegelin's, Natural Bridge Caverns, Landa Park

(Am I really still posting about a holiday that was 2 weeks ago?)
We stumbled upon this awesome little bakery downtown. One reason we like smaller towns is the ease at which hidden gems can be found. I'm certain Houston has a lot of hidden gems too, but they are so difficult to locate that I usually end up going to Chili's. Naegelin's is actually the first bakery in Texas (or at least that's what they advertise) and makes a mean rye and German sweet pretzel.


We also went to the Natural Bridge Caverns, which was an okay experience. The caves were very interesting, but the tour was SO LONG. We walk in a room, listen to a tour guide speak into a low microphone, and then stand in the room for 5-10 minutes. It took about an hour to go through, which is really fun with a baby. I enjoyed seeing the caves, but would have preferred a self-paced tour.


I suppose this natural bridge is where they came up with the name.
Jonas was sleeping for the beginning of the tour, but we still wanted to prove he was there.
I asked Patrick why he didn't smile for this picture. He claimed he was smiling (and sincerely believed that he was) until he saw the picture. Good thing I overcompensated. Don't we make a dazzling couple?


Voldemort's hand



The inside reminded us A LOT of Bryce Canyon. Anyone else see the similarities?
Just a little cavern decorum. Didn't your mother teach you it's rude to point?


We finished off our trip by taking a quick train ride around Landa Park. In a small way, it reminded me of Zilker Park in Austin (with a homier feel).



I felt like Gulliver in the land of Lilliputians on that train.


15 December 2008

Thanksgiving Part III: Santa's Ranch, Canyon Lake, Old Sattler's

Friday evening we drove to San Marcos where we stumbled upon some surprisingly chic outlets. Cypress and Park City don't compare. These had lower-end and high end as well. After strolling through the outlets, we went to Santa's Ranch, which is a big drive-through light exhibit. The pictures are a bit blurry, but here are some of my faves (the only favorites missing are the ski slope scene and mariachi band):


We've only been here 2.5 years, but I sure love Texas. And I love how much state pride that can be found here. You'd be hardpressed to find any sort of display that didn't have the flag, star, or God Bless Texas sign nearby.


I also love love love cowboys and Old West culture. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a saloon girl because they could wear pretty dresses, feather boas, sing and dance, sip sarsparilla, and hang out with all the cowboys. I had no idea they were women of ill repute! I bet that aspiration made Dad so proud.


The three crosses on Golgotha. This was by far my favorite scene.






Lady Liberty needs to lay off on the hand gestures




The next morning, we drove up to Canyon Lake and then ate breakfast at a charming little Bakery Cafe.



Jonas checking out the offerings



And can you blame him? Look at those caramel peach crêpes. I'm drooling just at the memory of them



I love this picture of my boys snuggling.

13 December 2008

Thanksgiving Part II: Gruene and Rio Raft Resort

New Braunfels has a strong German heritage that they are very proud of (and unfortunately, I didn't really capture it). Here is the touristy part of town called Gruene, where they hold Gruene Market Days from February-November. We also passed Cowboy Kringle, but didn't get a picture of Jonas with him :(



We stayed at a cottage on the Guadalupe River (the Rio Raft and Resort). Because it's the off-season, the price was pretty comparable to a Super 8, so we could not complain. The room wasn't much to write home about, but the scenery was absolutely gorgeous.

View from our deck. The walls of the river are incredible. We were dying to climb them.


The room, in case anyone is interested in staying there.



Here are the cottages from the road. I was a little skeptical when the flyer said they were located right on the river, but I was proven wrong. On site, there are also places to camp as well as park an RV. It appeared that many of the RV folks, and even some of the cottage folks, were living there (rent for the month was pretty reasonable).






11 December 2008

Thanksgiving Part I: Driving to NB

My absolute favorite tradition we have as a small family is our annual Thanksgiving break vacation. When we moved to Texas and no longer had our families to spend the extended weekend with, we went on an impromptu road trip to Corpus Christi, which included camping on the beach, touring the USS Lexington, and visiting obscure little places like the Selena monument and the Asian Cultures Museum.

The following year, we went to Nashville to meet Talese (which included seeing the Rockettes, the Parthenon and dinner with Catherine's family, Little Rock AR, and a few other stops during the 13-hour drive).

The original plans for this year were to go to South Padre Island, but yet again, my efforts were thwarted (this is the 3rd time in as many months that we've tried to go down there, but hurricanes and inclement weather are successfully keeping us away). We quickly revised the morning we left and took off for New Braunfels.

Prior to leaving, all I knew about the city was that it was outside of San Antonio and had some big caves nearby. Now I'm so delighted South Padre fell through. I LOVE New Braunfels. Can we move there please?

Jonas started the trip by discovering that shoelaces are his new favorite toy. They kept him occupied for the 2.5 hour drive.

A quick stop in Schulenberg, which has a charming little pecan store.


Next stop--Kirby's in Seguin for lunch. Even though the sign says, "Best Burgers in Texas. Seriously." don't be fooled. They are just so-so. But their sign also boasts that the shakes are locally owned. That's got to count for something.

Jonas first time in a big baby chair.

This was an exciting find: a "beware of alcohol consumption while pregnant" sign in a hole-in-the-wall burger joint...in the men's bathroom.

Our primary reason for stopping in Seguin was the Pape Pecan Company. It typically has tours of the factory and the orchard, which I would have loved to see, but the tours were not operating that day.

However, we did hear about their killer gift shop before arriving and we were not disappointed. We couldn't have found better stuff at a garage sale.

Look closely. This was my favorite find.

More NB excitement to follow. Stay tuned.

PS On a totally unrelated note, I played Chicken with Fate last night. I was driving on the 610. In rush hour. In the snow. With Houston drivers. I won, but just barely.

09 December 2008

What a Deal!


$2. It's no L.A.M.B. bag, but Jonas seems to like it. Now all he has to do is grow into it.