On the second Thursday that Layne, Elissa, and Brody were with us, Ben took a day off work and we went to the Kemah Boardwalk for a day of rides and fun.  It turned out to be a day of a handful of rides (about 5 or 6 per person), bad weather, and a closed theme park.  I’m still bitter, so won’t write any more about such, but will post some of the pictures taken.

 

picture of handsome couple on ride
Layne and Elissa on “The Wipeout”
picture of theme park ride
The WipeOut in action
picture of cute baby
Daelynn, Brody and Layne on the train
picture of soaked lad
Bedraggled Brock on the train
picture of Mikaela Huber
some of my peeps on the train
picture of cheery couple at restaurant
Elissa and Layne at Tookie’s Hamburgers
picture of Davison in jail
some of my peeps in jail
picture of stupid Kemah boardwalk sign
the saddest news of the day
picture of boy at restaurant
Guess who had to go to the bathroom restroom about five times in the next two hours
picture of peeps having fun
The Kemah boardwalk after the most-of-the-day storm

On the plus side, we got to spend the day with Layne, Elissa, and Brody.  We experienced some crazy rainy and thunder storm weather, and got to hit a couple of used book stores.

Our (Ben & Lori’s) 28th anniversary was on May 14th, the first Saturday that Layne, Elissa and Brody were visiting with us.  To celebrate, Lori and I abandoned the kids on Sunday afternoon and headed off to the Corpus Christi area (southern Texas coast) for a couple of days.  We stayed in a nearby town called Rockport at a very secluded bed and breakfast.
The bed and breakfast that we stayed at was an apartment built into the back of a garage, with a small deck facing a wilderness scrub area.   This picture was taken out of the kitchen window.

picture of deer
the deer outside the window

There was a major storm which went through the area early on Monday morning, which led to a lot of water on roadways.  We drove down to the beach and spent some time at Mustang Island State Park.  The main parking lot was under water so we had to park further back and it was quite a hike to the beach.

picture of beach
taking pictures on the beach
picture of a crab picturing
Lori taking a picture of a ghost crab
picture of a ghost crab
the sand burrow inhabiting ghost crab

After the beach we hit a local restaurant, “Ginger Cafe”, for our meal out.  The food was primarily Greek, I believe (spoken like the faux-culinarilist that I am).  I had real Ginger-Ale (which they made themselves).  It tasted like Ginger Ale and had some chunks of ginger in it.

picture of authentic ginger tea
Ginger tea at the Ginger Cafe

Day Two

Our bed and breakfast was really close to Goose Mountain State Park (oops – there aren’t any mountains in Texas, this was actually “Goose Lake State Park”, and in a quick tour around the park, we encountered signs for “the Big Tree”.  Of course, such signs obviously require a detour to see the attraction in question.

Around the Big Tree in question was a sturdy wooden fence to dissuade unruly tourists from attempting to climb it.  We walked around it (staying outside the fence) and took pictures instead.

picture of the Big Tree
Lori and the Big Tree
picture of wooden fence
the fence around the Big Tree
picture of mushrooms growing on a fence
Mushrooms on the fence around the Big Tree

At this point, I quit taking smaller and smaller pictures, but maybe should have taken a closer one of the little stick thing on the mushroom so that I could have captioned it “Stick on a mushroom on the fence around the Big Tree”.  Those of you not familiar with obnoxious kids songs like “There’s a hole in the bottom of the sea” that go on ad-infinitum can be thankful.  Although I do have fond memories of singing loudly “I had a Rooster” to baby Layne during the 1991 road trip to Phoenix, AX – on the stretch of road to Yuba, Arizona.  I’ll bet he has fond memories of that as well.

picture of wonderful tourists at the Big Tree
Ben and Lori at the Big Tree

Our next stop of the day (for which I had pictures) was our trip to Port Aransas.  This road had been blocked by high water the day before, but the water was down somewhat so we forged ahead.

In Texas, ferries are part of the Texas Transporation System, so are free of charge for motorists.  There was a short ferry ride (half a mile) or less to get to Port Aransis.  However, the wait for the ferry, loading and unloading stretched this to close to an hour in each direction.

picture of lady and car on a ferry
on the ferry to Port Aransas
picture of ferry bridge
pretty cool little ferry

After getting off the ferry, we went to one of the public docks (probably wrong word) to see if we could see any dolphins in the channel.  We saw the odd dolphin fin off in the distance, but it must have been a dolphin stat holiday or something.  However, when we went to leave the dock/lookout/place, this rather large pelican was blocking our way, sort of like a troll requiring payment for going over his bridge.  (By the way, while I usually do these posts on my iPhone, I’m finishing this one out on the computer – where it is possible to be way more wordy).

picture of a pelican on a dock
the pelican on the dock

One of the fishermen on the wharf/dock/jetty/thing gave us one of their bait fish to appease the troll pelican.  Here is Lori feeding the pelican.

picture of beautiful woman feeding a pelican
Lori feeding the pelican

And just in case you couldn’t see really well, here is a zoomed-in version showing the tail in Lori’s hand.  This wasn’t a slow-motion feeding either – the pelly lunged for it fairly quickly, but managed not to nip Lori”s fingers at all.

picture of pelican grabbing fish from woman
precision fish grabbing

Our other major stop in Port Aransas was the long (not sure how long but it felt like a mile on the way out, and about 3 miles on the way back in the hear).

Sections of it were a stable cement surface, sections were a stable cement surface covered by a very slippery algae, and other sections were big granite blocks necessitating a certain amount of hopping.

Picture of Port Aransas jetty
Lori walking back on the jetty, slippery algae on the right
picture of turtle head
Picture of turtle swimming beside the jetty
Weasel in Cement
One of the cement signatures
picture of jetty rocks
jetty picture

After the jetty hike, it was time to start heading home.  We went for another ferry ride, then made the trek home.

 

This summer we underwent the adventure of buying a home in Houston. By our realtor’s count, we looked at a total of 54 homes (starting back in April if I remember correctly). The following are some of the pictures from the har.com website, so if you’ve looked at the house there these will be familiar to you. We closed on the house purchase in late July and get possession in mid August (less than a week’s time). Please bear in mind that these pictures were taken prior to the sale, so the possessions shown are not ours.

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My Dad, affectionately known as Grandpa Huber, has sent us some of the pictures that he took at Danaya’s grad ceremony (and afterwards out in the church parking lot). I’ll post some of those over the next few days.
For today, here is a picture of Layne and Elissa with Grandpa and Grandma Huber.

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During the last week of June, we celebrated Danaya’s Grade 12 graduation. The grad ceremony was on Thursday evening. On the evening before, we had a grad dinner at one hosted by one of the grad families. There were a number of families that had gotten together and planned (over a period of months via weekly planning meetings) a joint grad ceremony for their home-schooled graduating young adults. The Davidson family hosted the grad dinner on the Wednesday evening (that being 3 weeks ago today), they did a fantastic job, and the food was amazingly good.

Before the meal, there was a picture taking time with the grads. I haven’t seen any of the pictures taken by one of the better cameras present, but thought I would post a couple that I took with my cell phone. In the picture below, from left to right are Danaya, Mark, Michael, and Xavier.

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There were also some less formal pictures taken. Here is one of them…

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Monday lunchtime post, with a couple of random pictures…

First up is Brock, enjoying a whipping-cream-beater, sans bib.  I’m not sure that life gets any better that that.  You’ll notice that we’ve applied flower stencils to everything in the house (including our children, their clothes, and their toes).  Actually that’s the Pixlr-o-Matic effect “pinecone”, which I didn’t really notice clearly until the picture was uploaded.

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Also, please ignore any clutter in the background.  This is so abnormally unusual for our house that I’m not sure how to photo-edit it out of the picture for Lori’s sake.

And in other news, I’ve been working through a course on Google Picasa (and want to try integrating Picasa web albums with this site – but that’s a job for another day, week, or month).  Today, I spent some time messing around with the special effects portion (my speciality).

doctored picture of Ben and Lori
Google Picasa adds some context

Today (Friday, June 8th) was Lori’s birthday. I took the day off work, and we went last night to a hotel near Canmore. We spent the day together today – this picture was taken at the restaurant where we had lunch in Banff, and then headed for home.

picture of Ben & Lori, June 2012
Lori and Ben

 

Hurrah for Aunt Marta, as she has provided a whole bunch of additional pictures from the Dunebuggy day back in September 2004, including a couple of them with me in it (that’s not so much the hurrah part – as seeing some pics of it that I haven’t seen before).  So, here they are, along with a couple of interspersed remembrances.

picture of Danaya in dune buggy
Driving Lesson...

I had noticed this in one of the pictures earlier, but it wasn’t as obvious as it is in this one.  Danaya was a little too short to reach the gas and brake pedals, so the people who rented us the dune buggy also provided a thick piece of foam, which Danaya had behind her back.  This allowed her to operate the dune buggy reasonably comfortably.

picture of Danaya shielding eyes
Danaya driving, Dad on foot
picture of Danaya in dune buggy out on the dunes
Danaya on the dunes

From the parking lot, there was a sanded ramp up to the dunes (and on the way back, down from the sand dunes).  On the first run that Danaya and I did (I think the runs out onto the dunes and all the way to the beach probably lasted about 30 minutes or so), we were on our way back.  At the bottom of the ramp is a stop sign, where the ramp intersects with the road leading to the parking lot.   I was in the lead, and obediently stopped.  Danaya zoomed right by me out into the parking lot, being blissfully unaware of the stop sign.  Thankfully there wasn’t any traffic going by at the same time.

picture of Rett in dune buggy on beach
Rett on the beach
picture of Rett making faces
Rett on the beach, making faces
Ben on a quad
Ben going too fast for road conditions
picture of Lori in dune buggy
Lori's turn (at the end of the day)
picture of Dad and Daelynn on quad
Daelynn gets a (short) ride
picture of Dad and Mikaela on quad
Mikaela gets a parking lot ride
picture of Huber family after dunebuggy day
End of day, getting ready to shut down

Other recollections?  It was a really fun day.

Background:  We’re doing a flashback review from our family vacation in 2004.  (You can see the other entries by clicking on the Flashback category in the sidebar).  In particular, we’re focusing on one day where we rented a dunebuggy and an ATV quad for a day.

Lori had done a wonderful job of looking after the little ones (I guess this would have just been Daelynn and Mikaela at the time), and at the end of the day she and I took a spin on the two vehicles.  The picture below is one taken of Lori out on the beach, getting toward sunset; this might have been the last run of the day (although now that I look at the picture it doesn’t look very sunsetty – don’t worry I checked and that is a real word now that I’ve added it to my Spellcheck dictionary).

picture of Lori in a dune buggy on the beach
Lori (and Ben) at the beach

Aunt Marta was with us for our dunebuggy/quad day back in September of 2004.  As mentioned in one of the earlier posts, she and I (Ben) took turns on the quad, while Layne, Rett, and Danaya took turns with the dunebuggy.

Picture of Aunt Marta riding a quad in the Oregon dunes
Marta on the quad

I think that is Marta’s Hummer in the background…