Tuesday, April 16, 2013

a Texas visit -- Houston Rodeo 2013

I mentioned in a recent post that our family was and had been spending a little time in Texas. Just after the first of March, the boys and I flew down to the Lone Star state to visit Clay's family. Parker and Cooper were so excited about the trip that the night before leaving (after they had each "packed" their backpacks and carry-on suitcase) hubby and I had a visitor about every half hour throughout the entire night. When we finally --and groggily-- rolled out of bed for good to head to the airport in the wee hours of the morning, we found Parker in his closet with his pillow, stuffed animals and blanket playing quietly. There is no telling how long he had been sitting in there (best we could figure, probably from about 3:30 or 4am when he had come into our room that last time). Clay and I decided that from now on, we are keeping trips a little more discreet than we did this time around. haha! (It's probably no surprise to anyone but neither of the two boys slept on our 3 hr flight either...good thing I had their travel bags stocked with fun activities and playthings!)

We hadn't been at Nana and Poppie's more than a few minutes and the boys were already asking to go to the neighborhood park. When we made our way over to the play area, both little men headed straight for the digger contraptions.
Parker and Cooper were quite intent on their job at hand. The boys would find and pick up these massive acorns and then bury them in the sand. Parker said that a big acorn tree would be growing soon.
Boys at work. Boys at play.

Lala had sent a treat for the boys to open as soon as they arrived. She decided they seemed to have so much fun with the Elf Glasses at Christmas that they needed Bunny Masks for Easter. Additionally, sweet treats were included in the package, which to the boys dismay, weren't allowed to be unwrapped and devoured right away. Ha! How can you not laugh when you see this picture? Thanks Lala!!
Papa had flown in for the fun too! Parker and Papa immediately started in on a "hunting" conversation.

Then the aunts started arriving...Our boys don't get excited to see them at all. ;)

(CiCi, I realized after I got home that I have like no pictures of you and the boys from the trip!! Boo... you're first on my list next time. :))

One of the highlights of going to Texas in March: RODEO! The day after we arrived the whole family (11 of us) met up at Reliant Stadium for the Rodeo and concert. The boys had quite comfy spots with Nana, Poppie and Papa.
We joked and said Cooper had the best spot in the house...right on Papa's lap. :)
Tim McGraw was a sold out concert. We couldn't get enough seats for all of us, so several of the group sat and the rest of us stood....which was totally fine with me. My ears still work when I'm standing. :)
Poor thing kept fidgeting with his shirt that wouldn't stay tucked in. Nana and I wanted to go up and fix it for him...or get him a longer shirt. Even with the wardrobe malfuntion, he still rocked the house with his voice and his enthusiasm for the crowd.

Running into a rodeo clown during one of our days at rodeo. He stopped to take a picture. :)

Poppie decided he and Parker needed to have their boots shined. (notice their hands)

Love Papa's expression in this one...

We walked around the vendor area briefly, but didn't spend much time here. Last year, we had spent a good bit of time visiting many of the booths, so we kinda new the specific ones we were interested in looking at this time around.

This was the one that had caught my attention last year: Little Buster Toys; I vowed I would stop by it in 2013 for some possible future gifts for the boys. A couple of years back, Parker was given his daddy's childhood barn that Poppie had made for him. We have gradually been adding to their farm collection so that our little men could enjoy many adventures with this special handmade treasure. Mostly, our collection consists of animals and tractors. I am particularly fond of the Schleich farm animals. Out of all of the ones we have tried out, these by far seem to be the nicest quality.

I could have spent a small fortune in this one booth...but I didn't. I picked up something for Christmas 2014 and then made a mental note of a couple of other things to pick up next year. (cattle trailer and loading chute)

There was one more booth we needed to visit:
It was time for this little mister to get a cowboy hat! ...and what a handsome little mr. cowboy he was :)

The boys had fun looking at the livestock...

sitting on tractors their size...

A particulary cloudy day at the fair

and "hanging" out with their aunts.

Uncle Michael had surprised the boys with these Texas pop-guns shortly after their arrival...they were a big hit. ;)

One of the favorite memories of the trip was a visit to Uncle Michael's family farm. I am going to let the pictures tell the stories from that day:

(Cooper's 1st time on a horse)

The Pilot and I had a date night with an adults only evening at the Rodeo...I totally took advantage of the fact that I could carry camera in hand the.entire.time. without having to worry about quickly putting it away to chase after and grab hold of little straying childrens' hands!

If you ask Parker what his 2 favorite things were about our trip to Texas, he will say, "Seeing the cowboys at the rodeo and getting to ride horses." Clay and I also love watching the details of each of the events during the rodea. We literally sit mesmerized commenting on each of the participants and the action taking place. Unless it's a quick trip to the bathroom or concession stand, we don't want to leave our seats. Here's why...you would totally miss out on cool stuff like this.
Clay's favorite rodeo part to watch...the guys who round up and handle the wild horses and bulls after the events. I looked over at the Pilot, and that is where his eyes were fixed without fail every time. He was impressed with these guys and had quite a bit to say about them and their skilled and precise techniques.

Barrel racing and steer wrestling also caught our fancy...hubby likes to comment on the horses of barrel racing and the crazy flexible positions they can hit during the events.

...and my personal favorite...
Though I sit in my seat, palms sweating, talking about what fools the guys are for not wearing helmets, I do get on the edge of my seat to watch. Last year, we witnessed a number of serious injuries throughout the variety of nights. This year, I prayed for each of the guys before they went out (well, I asked the Lord to forgive the stupid ones who weren't wearing helmets and said a prayer of thankfulness for each one that was donning protective gear.) This year, at least on the nights we were present, fewer major injuries occurred. Though they did have an interesting time with some of the bulls (the bull in the picture below kept trying to jump out of the holding pin), over all it seemed to be a "safer" event than the ones we saw in 2012. (It was my prayers; I know it was. ;))

I didn't like this bull...after bucking its cowboy off, it wanted to run after everyone...including the people sitting in the nearby audience.

Who has heard about the Calf Scramble? Love this event. Thirty-five (I think I am right on that number) Juniors gather in the arena each night to run after, attempt to rope and pull back to the center a calf. That calf means scholarship money for them!! It fun and entertaining to watch, plus you get excited for the kids who get one.

And who could get my personal favorite from last year...Mutton Bustin'. I had never seen it nor had I heard of it before last rodeo season, so when I saw these preschoolers getting on the backs of the sheep, my heart wanted to leap out of my chest. I think I verbally announced how "adorable," "precious," and "cute" this event was a hundred more times than needed. I want Parker to do this next year sooo badly. Ahhh, how precious would that be?!

Jake Owen in concert...he loves Texas...at least he said he did at least 15 times during the concert...and Texas loved him.


During one of the songs, Jake had all the lights turned off in the arena and we lit up our cell phones. It was beautiful.

Our little cowboys.


...and this is how we all felt each time we left the hours of fun and excitement. :)

To our Texas family, thank you for the fun and for memories made. Thank you Nana and Poppie for having us. :) Thank you KK, Ashee, and Michael for working the Rodeo so that we can do sooo many fun things with y'all! It's like we get the Insider's Edition each time we come...so fun! love, love you all. xoxo

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