Texas Nov-Dec 2012
Dates: November 29 - December 2, 2012
People: Lots of Family!
- 11-29 (Travel Day)
- 11-30 (Free Day)
- 12-1 (Wedding Day)
- 12-2 (Travel Day)
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 29
Our trip began with us leaving home for the airport about 2:15pm. We had pulled the boys out of school about an hour early to get up to the airport plenty early. With the short weekend we decided parking at the airport and paying the garage was the way to go. It took awhile parking on the Big Blue Deck at the airport. We ended up parking towards the south end of the garage and had a long walk.
Boys had fun walking into the terminal and the long moving walkways Check-in at the Terminal was easy and they helped checked us all 5 in smoothly. They had bags for the two boosters as expected. Security also went well. They put us in the family and special needs travellers line which is about the same as the business-class line. Didn't need ID's for the boys yet and we moved smoothly through the ID check. We had the boys shoes off and everything already when the Homeland Security folk told us kids don't need their shoes off anymore. Nice! They were friendly and helped us through the remainder of security.
We had nearly 2 hours of time at the gate. The boys enjoyed coloring and playing with a few items from their backpacks. Jonah and Seth spent 20 minutes walking/running up and down the moving walkways, burning energy. I spent time at a Microsoft booth in the open gate next to ours which was showing off the new Surface tablets and keyboards. Got a nice 10 minutes presentation from a gal there showing off the new features. I finished with that and it was nearly time to board. The boys did well lining up and we let them each hand their own boarding passes to the ticketing agent.
Jonah sat with me, Luke and Seth sat with Sarah in the row ahead of us. We were about 2/3 of the way back in the plane. Jonah had fun with his cars and did some drawing. He and I spent the last 30 minutes of the flight playing Angry Birds Star Wars. He enjoyed the views out the window. Seth and Luke in the row ahead enjoyed trading views out the window.
Flight arrived on time into Nashville. Mom and Dad's flight was schedule to arrive at the same time. We made it to the concourse first and theirs was slow unloading so we waited for them at their gate 10 minutes. We did supper in the food court, some at Famiglia (Pizza) others at Burger King. Papa bought the boys a strawberry milkshake.
Flight from Nashville for Austin was again on time. This flight Papa, Luke, Jonah sat in one row with Grandma and Seth behind. Sarah and I sat across the aisle from them. Seth played a lot on Grandma's iPad with her. Jonah and Luke watched a movie on Papa's tablet. I did a few chapters of reading from FOTR.
Arrived on time in Austin. They had a very nice airport there. At baggage claim as we got down there our bags were already coming out. Very fast! We walked out to the rental area for Hertz and this was also fast, our minivan was there waiting for us, no hassle. We were on the road very quickly after arriving. The highway drive out to LaGrange and Camp LutherHill was mostly all divided highway. We got into camp around 10:40pm. It was very dark, but we were successfully able to use the map Sara had e-mailed to find our Cabin #14. After arriving Sara, Chris, and Grandma Witte all came over to greet us. We each had a bunk to ourselves in these very nice new cabins.
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 30
Most of us were up by 8am today. No sleeping in. I went out and ran 3 miles. The others started a walk around camp. On the run I met up with two dogs who practically looked like hyenas with their speckled furs. I finally met up with the others near the hidden chapel down near the bottom of the hill. The camp was quite nice and the boys enjoyed discovering all the various activities they could get into. We hopped in our minivan and drove into LaGrange for breakfast and found a Sonic. They had their wonder CheeseSteak Burritos with the grilled onions and tots on the inside. Wonderful! When we got back to camp the boys pulled out the kickball and we put together a makeshift diamond using piled sticks and rocks for bases. As we got into a kickball game David, Megan and Milo arrived and we went over to greet Milo.
For lunch everyone met up in LaGrange again at Las Fuentes. Great food and lots of space for a large family to gather. We finally saw Ken and Cindy's group here. In the afternoon back at camp we gathered outside the "Ark" and had fun watching the kids on the mini playground. Milo was doing well walking around and he definitely recognized the kickball as something fun to have.
We got basketball game started with Denny and Mark versues Luke, Matthew, and David. Katelyn later joined the Denny and Mark. After basketball, and a short break, we got the kickball game started. The three youngsters (Luke, Matthew, Katelyn) took on Denny, David and Mark. We played til it was time for some to head to the rehearsal.
At 6:30pm they had the rehearsal dinner at the Chapel on the top of the hill. That is one great facility. Beautiful views. Chris's father said some nice words to get the evening started. They had a mexican taco bar as the main course and some fantastic chips and queso as appetizer. We sat our 5 plus Mom and Dad and Matthew at our table. Along the way we enjoyed time with Milo who just loved being outside. After dinner, the best man Matt, also Chris's roommate in college, also Sara's boss at camp for awhile got everyone started in sharing memories about Sara and Chris. Chris's sister also had a great video slideshow to share.
Afterwards they took everyone down to the campfire pits where they had smores available for desert. Jonah bonked is head pretty good horsing around on the campfire benches.
SATURDAY DECEMBER 1
Wedding Day. We began the day with a good run again. This time Dad decided to join me so we set out shooting to do 3 miles. The kids had already joined Matthew in playing out at the camp. We ran around the south side of the drive this time. As we neared the open meadow in the middle of camp the kids all spotted us running. They started coming after us trying to catch us. Only Matthew ultimately did and he ended up joining Dad and I on the run for awhile. We headed out to the paved highway again. Matthew ran with us most of the way out there until he finally tired and began walking. We made it out to the road and looped back and began to pass Matthew again as we did. We didn’t really want to leave him walking the camp road on his own so we ran past him only a quarter mile and then looped back again to catch him. We did this one more time til we were close to 3 miles and still within sight of Matthew and quit the run.
We found that breakfast and social time was being had in the “Ark” where Bob and Joyce were staying. We joined them and had fun with Milo who wanted to be outside checking out the playground. We got a good football game started on a small soccer field there but then realized that we shouldn’t risk some of our wedding party folk from getting hurt, so we ended early.
For lunch we headed into LaGrange and ate at the McDonald’s that was near the interstate. We were able then to make the short drive over to the church. We got there just as they were finishing with pictures. I took the boys outside on their playground for awhile to chew up time as we had about 40 minutes til service.
There wedding service was quite nice. Matthew and Katelyn were junior attendants and Milo was the ringbearer. Matthew and Katelyn did great helping him walk up the aisle. Their pastor had a wonderful sermon on staying awake to one another and to God’s word. After we did the normal family pics.
The reception was at the Rifle Hall in Round Top, TX. We started outside under a large covered area with drinks and basic snacks. They then moved everyone inside to be seated for dinner. They had a good Texas BBQ menu for the supper and we enjoyed the good meats. We sat up near the DJ at a large table that housed the 10 in our immediate family. We froze though as the A/C was pouring out right at us.
The boys enjoyed being outside most of the reception playing with Matthew and Katelyn and enjoying the fresh air. They had a nice Texas tradition of everyone gathering outside with sparklers and the couple runs out through this line of sparklers and then on to their car and away.
SUNDAY DECEMBER 2
I got a mile walk in in the morning as my legs were still sore from two big days of running. I explored the northwest half of the camp into the Out Camp area. The camp had a nice little pond with options for canoeing. Also found the high-ropes course. This was impressive, the highest cables looked nearly 100 feet off the ground. They also had a climbing wall setup. It was a triangular shaped structure. One side was wide open. One side had a 45 degree ramp with holds leading up to a vertical wall. The third side was vertical wall with a negative degree climbing portion at the top. As I walked in this area I also spotted a family of 3 deer. Near the main road there was an area called the Labyrinth. This was a large concrete slab with a maze painted onto it.
We went to church at 9am at Mt. Calvary in La Grange. They were celebrating their last Sunday in their 50th Anniversary year. Apparently Mt. Calvary was founded in 1962 as a combination of two other congregations. We met up with David, Megan, Milo, Grandma, Butch and Joyce there.
After church we went back to camp and finished packing everything up. We ran into Aunt Joyce and said good byes to her. We headed into town to La Grange and ate at Back Porch BBQ. This was a great little family owned place. David, Dad, and I tried their Back Porch BBQ Sandwiches which was a combination of all their meats on a great bun plus onions. We all enjoyed watching Milo push their plastic chairs around in the little room in which we were sitting.
After lunch we bid good bye to David and Megan. We started to head to the highway but figured we had some extra time so we drove down to Camp Lone Star. This was the LCMS camp in this region. Amazing that La Grange has both an ELCA and LCMS camp outside the same town. Lone Star also looked like a nice camp. They had a large roofed basketball area, a pond, and some decent looking cabins.
It was 1:50pm when we finally got back on the highway to head for Austin. The drive back was spent listening to the Bears v Seahawks on the satellite radio. We hit gas for only $3.09 at a station 8 miles out from the airport. The rental return was a cinch and Austin's airport has a great garage for rentals directly adjacent to the terminal.
Check-in again went fairly well. In Detroit they helped check us 5 in without me having to enter stuff on the screens. Here in Austin Sarah and I frantically entered all 5 numbers while checking bags and car boosters in to a handful of us. As we checked in we were delighted to find the Bears had tied up Seattle. Starting down 3 points, with 20 seconds to go, they had a 56 yard pass to Marshall and then a game-tying 46 yard field goal as time expired. (Sadly they lost it in overtime).
The security line was long and slow so they moved us to a shorter line at the other end of the terminal. This time we didn't take the boys shoes off and that helped. Under age 12 can do this I guess. After security we met up with Grandma, Butch and Joye again who were just 2 gates down from us.
The boys enjoyed sitting at the kids table in the concourse and colored for the 40 minutes or so we had to wait. Our flight from Austin left on time. We boarded near the rear of the plane as things filled quickly. Dad sat with Luke and Jonah again. I sat with Sarah and Seth sat with Mom. This was the longest flight of the trip at just under 2 1/2 hours. Sarah and I spent it mostly reading. Seth enjoyed games with Mom as well as playing around with the window shade between me and him.
In Chicago we arrived a bit early and that helped us with time to get food. We walked down to the Food Court. Sarah, Dad and I got Italian beef from Gold Coast Dogs. Mom helped the little guys get pizza. As we finished eating we hurried back to our gate and had just under 10 minutes til they started our boarding. We sent Mom and Dad off quickly realizing their bags had been waiting.
Our flight from Detroit again left on-time, a good theme for this trip. We sat just behind the wing this time. I sat with Jonah and Seth, Sarah sat with Luke to help him finish homework. As we neared Detroit we were amazed (and several others on the flight) how much energy Jonah and Seth still had. They were talking and playing with each other up til the point where we departed the plane.
Our bags arrived quicker than usual for Detroit's airport and we made the long walk out to the parking garage. Thankfully the boys did finally sleep on the drive home.