Visiting Texas – Day 5 to 6

Continuing the family visit/road trip to Texas…Day 4 is here.

IMG_3843               On the fifth day of our visit we took a field trip to Cabella’s. There is plenty of entertainment even if you don’t go for the shopping. We started with the aquarium.

IMG_3850           There are rooms full of animals.

IMG_3853              There are spectacular horns on these and other sheep. By the time we finished eating and shopping it was getting dark and we headed to Wimberly for the Trail of Lights.

IMG_3862         Dozens of local businesses and families light and decorate the gardens of the 12-acre EmilyAnn Theater & Garden. This is an annual event and a major fundraiser for the theater.



Dan and Matt and I had planned to leave on Sunday for Part 2 of our Texas vacation.


First, a few more photos of cute grandkids. Actually I was trying to get a photo of a baby with a handwoven baby blanket that is part of a project I am working on. This baby is a little too mobile for that to be easy to do.

2017-12-TX-284          Containing him worked a little better.

IMG_3919                We had the truck loaded and I asked nicely made everyone stand in one place for a group photo. This is the only one of all of us together during this trip.

IMG_3926            About 10 am. Dan and Matt and I got in the truck and headed for Big Bend National Park, about seven hours away.

2017-12-TX-303             Here the Chisos Mountains rise out of the desert. The park entrance is at an elevation of 2848′  and the peaks rise to over 7800′. Our camp the first night was at 5400′ which meant that there was still snow from the storm which had come through.

2017-12-TX-302               We got there towards dusk and found a campsite just as it was getting dark.

To be continued…


Visiting Texas – Day 4 (more)

Being out in the snow can be exhausting.2017-12-TX-180                  Kasen slept while…

IMG_3809                                               Kirby helped make pink pancakes.

IMG_3812                                               Then the big kids went for a run. Two of them tried the baby jogger but that wasn’t going to work. Instead they took the real kids in the jogger.

In the afternoon we took a drive to Hamilton Pool Preserve and hiked the short trail to the pool. The area is now owned by Travis County which, in the 1980’s, “implemented an aggressive land management plan to restore Hamilton Pool” after years of unregulated recreational use by the public, grazing, etc.

2017-12-TX-188                 The trail continues around the pool behind those rocks.

2017-12-TX-194           Public access is restricted by use permit from June through September.

IMG_3818                  I can imagine what a popular site this would be in the summer and being only about 20 miles from Austin.


2017-12-TX-197               This is the view looking out over the pool. 2017-12-TX-187                   Water drips from the ledge above. 2017-12-TX-205


2017-12-TX-227           Someone didn’t read the sign.

2017-12-TX-214                                                                  I remember well that as nice as it is to get out and see beautiful country it’s not exactly relaxing when you are keeping track of a toddler.


Water. Rocks. Bushes. Hazards everywhere.

2017-12-TX-253                                                              When we got back to the parking lot they both still had plenty of energy to burn off.


IMG_3838               Back home having dinner.

Visiting Texas – Day 4

I finished the last post with it snowing on Thursday evening. This is a rare event in this part of Texas and the fact that the snow stuck around through the next day was even more rare. It made for an all new landscape to photograph.

2017-12-TX-23              The view from the back walkway.

2017-12-TX-29         There is the decorated tree just inside the gate on the right.

2017-12-TX-28      Everyone else was still in bed but I went for a walk up the road as the sun was coming over the hills.







2017-12-TX-117                  I got back to the house and checked inside the truck. Dan had chosen to drive to Texas instead of flying. He says, now that he has retired, “everyday is Saturday” and he preferred to throw a road trip into the plans. He had left five days before I did and spent time hiking and camping along the way. He met me at the airport in Austin on Tuesday. Now that all the kids were at the house we had to spread out with sleeping arrangements and he decided to continue with the camping mode and sleep in the truck.

2017-12-TX-120                                               Eventually everyone else came out into the snow.

2017-12-TX-127                     Kirby started a snowman with the help of…

2017-12-TX-122                                                       …Uncle Matt…

2017-12-TX-131                      …and Aunt Meryl.



2017-12-TX-151                  I love these kids.


And these kids too.

Visiting Texas – Days 1-3

I just spent a week in Texas on a trip was part family visit and part mini-Road Trip. I hadn’t seen the grandkids since July and at their ages (3-1/2 and almost 1) that is a long time and a lot of changes.

IMG_3703              We changed planes in L.A. Wildfires had started burning a few days before this trip and  this is a view of the smoke from two fires blowing out over the ocean. We soon left that behind but even now there are fires raging in S. California. December! Here in N. CA we’ve had one good rain in November and nothing since. But that’s a topic for another post.

2017-12-TX-1                                                                  I got there Tuesday night. Kirby and I went out the next morning. She showed me her chickens and we collected eggs.

IMG_3717                  She showed me the tree near the front gate that she and her mom had decorated.2017-12-TX-10


IMG_3706              We walked down the road…

2017-12-TX-3              …and I didn’t know until this point that her ladybug boots have holes in them.

2017-12-TX-5                  I have been told that Santa is taking care of that.

2017-12-TX-2              We looked at decorations on other properties.


IMG_3708               Eventually Kirby got tired of being the subject of photos.

IMG_3724                 A picnic lunch after the walk.

2017-12-TX-12              We have another cutie in Texas as well.

2017-12-TX-14                  I spent last Christmas there when he was only a few days old.

IMG_3737           Brother and sister get along well.


2017-12-TX-15     Thursday afternoon it began to snow.

2017-12-TX-17                                                          Kirby spent some time outside before it got dark.


The plan was that the big kids would spend the evening at a dance hall in the town of Gruene. (Chris & Meryl had flown out with me but stayed in Austin for a couple of days, and Matt flew into Austin on Thursday.) Katie and Kurtis went to pick all of them up but the traffic was so snarled with the unexpected snow and the roads were icy so they all came home instead. So I had almost all my kids (unfortunately one DIL had recent surgery that prevented her from flying) together for a few days of holiday time.

Visiting Grandkids

I just spent a week in Texas with my daughter’s family. The kids are 6 months and almost three. Here are some photos.


Kasen is not crawling yet, but almost. Right now you can put him in one place and he doesn’t  get far. I give it about two weeks and he’ll be on the move.


Who needs a pool when a bowl will do? Kirby’s horses are in that bowl too.


Wearing one of her Princess dresses and reading to her baby who is in the shopping cart.


After we built the tallest tower.


Concentrating on making letters using Mommy’s special crayons.


Yummy carrots. Dinner aftermath.


Bath time.


At Jump Wild, an indoor “trampoline park and bounce house”. It didn’t take Kirby long to warm up to the idea of jumping and then, of course, she didn’t want to leave.


The family at the 4th of July parade.

Family Time

My daughter was the surprise for Dan’s retirement/Father’s Day family get-together. She flew in from Texas with one grandbaby just in time for the Central Valley’s big heat wave. We escaped the heat for awhile yesterday by driving  to El Dorado National Forest to hang out with Matt and Kaleena until they got off work at 6 p.m.


Matt and Kaleena both work for the Forest Service and are based at different parts of the same facility. Matt is in charge of the helicopter.


We walked out to the helipad for a tour.


Note the effect of the King Fire from a few years ago.



Kasen seems to be a fan.


Chris was studying the instrument panel to decide if he should move some of the switches around.


I think he restrained himself.


Kasen seemed ready to try.


My three kids and one grandkid. (Kirby stayed home with Dad in Texas.)




Kaleena works on the other side of the compound.IMG_0290

Matt goes to fires in the helicopter and Kaleena drives this truck.




Here is her view from up high.


The official fire danger may have been low but they have been on nearby fires already the day after we were there Kaleena and her crew left for the Angeles National Forest.