Friday, March 16, 2012

Texas Day 5: San Antonio, the Missions

On our last day in Texas, we went back to San Antonio to see the rest of the missions before heading to the airport that afternoon. We'd already seen the Alamo, but there were four more to see.

First up was the San Jose mission, by far the prettiest and most popular with local schools.

Mission San Jose was the most restored and had a complete fort surrounding it. The other Missions' fort walls had eroded away.

The fort entrance.

 Cacti growing on top of a wall.

The church.

An old well.

Not your modern day stove.

The front of the church. At each mission we visited, there were people doing restoration on the old buildings.

The mill.

I believe this type of decoration used to cover the entire buliding.

The famous rose window. I'd never heard of this before we visited the Mission, but everything we read called it famous.

This Mission's church still held a service on Sunday mornings. This is the interior of the church.

A look at the church from the back side.

And this is where the Indians stayed.

Next, we went to Mission San Juan. It was under a lot of construction. We couldn't get in the church or a very good picture of it because of all the construction equipment, but there was this  cross surrounded by cacti in the middle of the fort walls.

Then we headed to Mission Espada.

There are still residents in the old homes part of the Mission. And these residents had beautiful flowers.


The last Mission for the day was Mission Concepcion, just south of downtown San Antonio.

Like the San Jose Mission, this church still holds service there on Sundays.

After seeing all of the Missions that morning, we headed downtown to kill time before heading for the airport. We enjoyed another very long walk along the Riverwalk, seeing parts of the city that we missed on the Riverwalk Boat Tour.

A mosaic of the city built into a wall running along the river.

The ugly duckling. I called it a dalmation duck. Kyler told me it was an albino duck, but not quite. Either way, neither one of us had ever seen anything like it.

A pretty fountain along the river.

An old church-looking building we stumbled upon when we came up from the Riverwalk onto the streets.

We loved our trip to San Antonio. It was the perfect combination of sight-seeing, relaxing at Mark and Alli's house, and spending time with the kids (and Mark and Alli).

We had such a great time, and it was the perfect getaway in March. Even though we've had such a mild winter here in Indiana, it was wonderful to get away to high 70s and even a day of the 80s in Texas.

The entire trip was an absolute blast until we got ready to leave San Antonio. Without going into all the boring details, our plane had a couple of electrical issues, once in San Antonio and again in Dallas. We ended up getting home at 2 am. But if that was the worst part of the trip, than we'll consider the whole thing a success!

Oh yeah, right after we left Mark and Alli's house for the final time, I realized I hadn't given Alli her house key back. So while I ran inside to return it, Kyler snapped these couple of pictures of their home.

One day, Mark turned on the hot tub, and he, the kids, and Kyler got in it that night. It was cold outside, but that didn't stop them. In fact, Blaise and Ethan were jumping into the pool and then hopping back into the hot tub. Silly kids.

I loved the back side of their house. So full of windows and doors. You could see what was going on in the back yard from the living room, kitchen, dining room, and play room.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Texas Day 4: Shopping and the House Kids

On Monday, we headed to the San Marcos outlets. Alli was raving about all the shops there, and I had to check it out myself. Kyler took a book to read while I shopped. However, there aren't many pictures to show for it. Just receipts :)

So instead, I thought I'd show some pictures of our time playing with the House kids.

Watching Blaise at gymnastics. She would actually check on us to make sure we were watching her.

Jumping on the trampoline with Kyler.

Scout's bow fell off after a while of jumping, so Kyler put it back in her hair. Lucky for Scout, Kyler doesn't have to do her hair on a regular basis.

Pillow fight before bed.

Every morning Blaise would get up and snuggle with Kyler on the couch.

More of the nightly festivities. Kyler and the kids both had to get all their energy out before bed.

Then Blaise wanted to do it to Kyler.

Scout loves to draw me pictures.

Blaise and Kyler playing chess against Ethan.

And here are a couple of videos for your pleasure.

Kyler doing exercises with Blaise. You can hear her couting his push ups ... 11, 12, 13.

Kyler and I were really into reading The Hunger Games in our spare time. So when the kids saw us with our books, they wanted to read too. Here, Scout and I are reading/singing Old McDonald.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Texas Day 3: Gruene, pronounced Green

With Mark and the kids in school on Friday and Mark at his JROTC event all day Saturday, Kyler and I had enjoyed our first two days travelling to the big cities to take it all in. But we planned to spend Sunday with Mark and Alli and the kids, and they promised a good time showing us around New Braufels. First we hit up Natural Bridge Caverns, located right there in New Braunfels.

There was a playground right off the parking lot, so first we all had to climb on the orange dinosaurs for photo ops. We all acted like none of us had ever seen an orange dinosaur before...

Then off to the caverns. Mark was decked out with his fanny pack and hiking boots. Kyler joked that it looked like he was ready for anything, to Mark's reply of always being prepared.

Here is our tour guide in red. Kyler and I agreed that if anything happened, we were sticking with Mark.

You can see the 'natural bridge'. We were actually standing in a sink hole. The caves had formed below the earth's surface until the surface collapsed, all but this tiny strip of land...alas, the natural bridge.

Kyler and Blaisey.

Pictures from inside the cave.

There's Mark and Scout.

My eyes look so weird in this picture since my pupils were huge in the dark. The ceiling was constantly dripping with water.

Despite the term cave, it was a very spacious strip of underground rooms.

Smile Scout!

Pool of water.

Back out on top. View of the naturnal bridge from above. We were loving the blue skies and green grass.

After the caves, we headed home for lunch and naps for all before finishing the hometown tour. However, Scouty wasn't waiting around to get home before she napped. So deperate times turned to desperate measures. Mark rolled her window down so the wind was blowing right in her face, while Blaise was behind her pecking her on the heading screaming Scooooooooooooooouuuuuutttt! Stay awake, Scoooooooooouuuuuuuttt. I told Kyler not to get any ideas. I love a good snooze in the car.

After we all had our naps, we headed to Gruene, pronounced Green. We took the scenic route and travelled along a river...I can't remember the name. Guadalupe. Comal. San Antonio. Who knows.

But we found this super cool house on the riverside. Ethan counted seven stories.

We all debated if there were stairs or an elevator.

Once we got into Green Gruene, Alli and I hit up a couple of antique stores while Kyler entertained the kids...I mean, the kids entertained Kyler.

We toured the historic town for a bit.

Oh, I guess we did get more than one picture together on the trip.

I love this water tower.

The House Family.

Then we walked across the street towards the restaurant we ate at for supper.

A little bed and breakfast.

Old water pump.

Beautiful sunset.

We ate outside on the deck, overlooking a beautiful valley at sunset.

Inside the restaurant. Beautiful. Old. Cozy.

Then we headed to the general store for some ice cream. We also saw some interesting souvenirs.

Hillbilly Brief Case.

I passed on the briefs and wind chimes and opted for some mint chocolate fudge. MMM! Tasted like an Andes mint. Seeing as how it was a school night and all, we headed back to the house after our full day of sightseeing. Thanks Mark and Alli for a wonderful tour of your new town!