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Happy New Year from San Antonio, Texas!!!

The New Year is here. We celebrated the bringing in of 2015 with a bang!! Ok, Dianne and I watched the local news station coverage of the huge party in downtown San Antonio. Looked like a mini Time Square. Party goers were everywhere!! Brad was invited to the Stake Presidents house for a little partying Mormon style! The highlight for him was the hot tub…..then the group jumping into the cold pool….then back in the hot tub….then back in the pool. Young people…. Of course Brad came down with the flu a few days later. Hmmm, wonder why? Dianne and I have managed to avoid it thus far. Hopefully we will avoid the flu bug this year.

We finally had the opportunity to eat authentic Mexican food. There is definitely a difference between authentic and “Tex-Mex” like most Mexican restaurants back in Georgia serve. We also bought a few things from the Mexican bakery. The sweat treats are different as well. Truly enjoyed the meal and the atmosphere at the restaurant. If you are ever in San Antonio I highly recommend Mi Tierra Restaurant and Bakery. They are open 24 hours for convenience. http://www.mitierracafe.com/home.php

We have been enjoying the LOWER gas prices here in Texas. I filled up the Jeep yesterday for $1.79 a gallon. I know it will not last, but I am most certainly enjoying it while I can.

We have two weeks left here in San Antonio. Dianne’s next 13 week contract has us bound for Las Cruces, New Mexico. Las Cruces is about 35 mile Northwest of El Paso Texas, which means it is 35 miles from the Mexico border. Should be exciting!

We have been RV shopping. We are looking for a good used RV that we can pull behind the truck. The extended stay motels are nice, but we can save money by owning a RV. It will give the dogs more room, us more room, and not have to actually pack every 13 weeks. We will see how are shopping goes.

Tomorrow we are going to Corpus Christi, Texas. Dianne has been wanting to go since we got here. we have been told the port area is beautiful. It will be my first time seeing the Gulf of Mexico. Look for a blog update with pictures in the coming days.

Until next time……..

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Christmas ROCKED!!!!

Seasons Greetings!! The New Year is just about upon us. Where does the time go? I remember my Nana telling me once that the older you get the faster the time goes. I thought she was just crazy, boy was I wrong.

Christmas was different for us this year. This is the first Christmas we were not around some element of extended family. It was just Dianne, the boys, and myself. It was quite relaxing to say the least. No hurrying to get things done for this social event, panicking to get stuff prepped and the house ready for family, and going crazy trying to get everything done by Christmas!!! Do not get me wrong, we truly missed spending time with our families. And those of you that know me know I truly missed the food!!! But it was also nice to just have each other and enjoy Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. If my daughter and Steven could have been here it would have been perfect.

Speaking of my daughter my Christmas present from her was the gift of life. Malia and fiancé Steven are expecting their first. So it appears that Dianne and myself will be entering the world of Grandparents in July 2015. It is exciting but scary at the same time. More to come on this as we get closer to the time.

Christmas Dinner!! There is a chain restaurant here called Luby’s. It is cafeteria style eating. Besides their usual selections, they had prime rib and these massive pork chops Christmas Day. We enjoyed a fine meal and pies to die for. Probably as close to home cooking as one could find.

We went down to the river walk Christmas Night. BEAUTIFUL!!! Very tranquil, yet at the same time, lots of energy. There were some establishments open, one with a live venue, and people everywhere.

On Christmas Eve morning I took a container of some homemade goodies and mini candy canes to the front office for the management and staff here. Many of the staff have thanked us personally. We attached the Christmas.Mormon.Org pass along card to the candy canes. This card had information about the true meaning of Christmas and info on going to the website and viewing a wonderful Christmas video.

Enjoy the Pictures below. They tell the whole story!

We are down to just 3 weeks left here in San Antonio. We will leave here on the 20th of January for Las Cruces, New Mexico. We have a few things we want to do here before we leave. So we will be working on that list and posting pictures here soon.

Until next time, stay excellent my friends………

Skyping with family on Christmas Eve

Skyping with family on Christmas Eve

The Christmas Eve Feast Part 1

The Christmas Eve Feast Part 1

Christmas Eve Feast Part 2

Christmas Eve Feast Part 2

Da Presents!!!!

Da Presents!!!!

Merlin with his new toy that Santa brought him!!!

Merlin with his new toy that Santa brought him!!!

San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio River Walk

The 3 Amigos on the Riverwalk

The 3 Amigos on the River Walk

More of the Riverwalk

More of the River Walk

Crazy people of San Antonio.....

Crazy people of San Antonio…..

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And here we are….Christmas Eve!

Been  a few weeks since we updated the blog! Thanksgiving was awesome. We learned a lot about our next stop Las Cruces, New Mexico. Really sounds like there is some cool stuff to do and see there, especially if you own a Jeep!!! Got our room reserved at the Motel 6. They have some rooms with a kitchenette. We really like the Extended Stay America franchise, but there is not one there. We will survive.

Not much has happened the last few weeks. Still home schooling Brad. He can be hard-headed at times. Then again, so can I. He gets it naturally! 🙂  He is doing well in all his subjects. He still struggles some with math, but he is improving.

Have done a bunch of Christmas shopping the last couple of weeks. Hoping to start shipping boxes to our family this next week or so. Still waiting on a few items to be delivered. Kids stuff has been bought and just waiting for tomorrow morning. Chris flew in last night……around 11:05 PM…..long story, he was supposed to be here at 1PMish. He flies home on Friday, so a short visit. Las Cruces is about an 10 to 11 hour drive from Chris so we may be able to see more of him during the 13 weeks we are there.

If you have not viewed this great video, http://www.mormon.org/christmas please do so. It is just another great reminder of why we celebrate Christmas. He is the reason. Just as we give thoughtful gifts to each other, our Father in Heaven gave us a great gift so many years ago. I know with surety that Jesus IS our Lord and Savior.

Until next time…..

Merry Christmas!!!

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WOW!! Where does the time go!!

Cannot believe we have been in Texas for 7 weeks already! We have been having a blast. Dianne has signed her next contract. We will be going to Las Cruces, New Mexico. Las Cruces is about 35 miles North of the Mexican/Texas border at El Paso. Las Cruces is close to several ghost towns and White Sands. Roswell – UFO Capitol – is also close by. And the wheeling near Las Cruces is off the chain. We are looking forward to taking the Jeep out playing a good bit while we are there.

We have been invited to join a family from church for Thanksgiving. We are looking forward to that. Her daughter and family are coming in for Thanksgiving. They live in Las Cruces. We are looking forward to meeting them and getting some information on Las Cruces.

We tried a local burger place that has been voted best in San Antonio several times. Chester’s is a good homemade burger. Their fries and onion rings are both the bomb. But it is their shakes that are the hit. Most shakes are made with about 4% milk fat, these shakes are made with 12% milk fat. Brad truly enjoyed the shake saying it is really rich and creamy.

Brad has made several friends at church. He has been enjoying the Ward. He is only one of a couple Priest’s age young men. He has already taught his Sunday School class, picked the music and conducted the music for a Bishop’s Youth Discussion, aka Fireside, and has been asked to give a talk during church this Sunday. He is quite the popular one!!!!

Chris was here a couple of weeks ago for a visit. He got introduced to Texas BBQ, visited the Alamo, visited the San Antonio Temple, and got to relax for a week. The pictures below are from that visit. It was great seeing him. He may be flying in for a few days over Christmas if we can work out the dollars.

Brad is doing well with his school studies. He still struggles with Algebra, but I think it is all starting to make sense. We shall see. Being a teacher is hard work. Preparing tests, quizzes, reading over material to discuss with him……. It is definitely keeping me busy. But truth be told, I am enjoying the time I am spending with him. He is a pretty cool dude to hang out with.

Dianne’s work keeps her fairly busy. Most of her “10 hour” days are more like 11 or 12 hour days. She stays busy as the work is constant. She is enjoying her coworkers and is enjoying learning how other hospitals do things differently. She is off for Thanksgiving Day and has call on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Until next time……….

DSC00768 DSC00769 DSC00772 DSC00778 DSC00779 Alamo Visit 2014

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The Alamo – Sacred Ground

We have visited the Alamo twice since coming to San Antonio. First it is not what you would expect to see. It is a very simple historical place. But in its simplicity is history. Rich, vibrant history. Construction on the Mission began in 1724. There is not much of the original structure left of the original Alamo, some walls of the Long Barracks and the walls of the Church/Mission building. But the feeling there is unlike anything you can feel. The Alamo sits in the middle of downtown San Antonio, Texas. Outside the walls is the usual hustle and bustle one would feel in a big city. But once you step inside the walls, the outside world seems to disappear. Less than two hundred men, from all across the country, defended the Alamo for 13 days against a massive Mexican Army. Women and children that remained took shelter in the Church Building. By sunrise on the 13th day it was over, and Santa Ana of the Mexican Army entered the Alamo to view his conquest. If you are ever in Texas, be sure to schedule a couple of hours to visit the Alamo. It is a place you will not forget.

Alamo SIgn

Gift from Japan given to the Alamo

Gift from the Japanese Government.

Gift from Japan

Gift from Japanese Government

Showing the bullet marks from a .38 caliber revolver. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, people requested that this gift be removed. When it was not, someone came and shot the stone.

Replica of Alamo

Front of Mission Building

Front of Mission Building at night

Dianne and Brad beside an Original Well

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Dianne, Brad, and Chris on Alamo Plaza

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My How Time Flies When You Are Having Fun!!!

Happy Sunday Afternoon to all of my family and friends!!! As promised earlier this week I am posting all the news worthy stuff of the last couple of weeks, Starting with October 13…..

October 13 was Brad’s 17th Birthday!!! I cannot believe my little buddy, the Bradster, Bradman, my little Rutabaga Head is 17!!! We started the day out with lunch, Cajun Style, at Bourbon Street Seafood Kitchen. He got a little surprise for desert!

Brad and Mom 17th Bday Birthday Surprise

After lunch, we did some Birthday shopping with the Birthday Boy. We topped the evening off at Freddy’s for some frozen custard!!

Brad Custard 17th Bday Dad Custard 17th Birthday

On October 18 we went to Austin, Texas for a thirty-one Bags meeting. It was at a Texas BBQ place. We got our first taste of Texas BBQ. BBQ in Texas is NOT pulled/chopped pork, but beef brisket. I have to say I was quite impressed with the flavor and tenderness of the brisket. I can see myself enjoying some more of that while we are here.

Dianne started work on October 20. She is working at Christus Santa Rosa Hospital. She spent most of the week in-processing and learning about her work area. While she is at work Brad and I have our student/teacher relationship. It has been fun, and at the same time challenging, being his Home School Teacher.

Bright and early on October 25 I attended the Concealed Handgun License Class and Qualification for my Texas non-resident CHL Permit. I had a really great time and truly enjoyed meeting some Awesome people.

October 25 and 26 was Stake Conference for the church here. We got to hear some spiritually uplifting talks and here some wonderful music. On Sunday afternoon Brad attend the Youth Fireside with one of the General Authorities with the church. He seemed to enjoy that a great deal.

Then Monday October 27 in the early afternoon I get a call from Dianne. She had been rushed from her work area to the ER. Apparently she about or did pass out. Her blood pressure in the ER was like 70s over 40s and she was septic. They filled her full of IV Fluids and antibiotics. It was determined that she had Colitis. She was released late Wednesday afternoon. Nothing like being away from family and friends and being in the hospital. She did well. The staff at Christus Santa Rosa is extremely caring. Her new supervisor checked on her three times while she was in the hospital. Not to mention the people she just meant on the unit sending her texts or coming by.

Thursday October 30 was our Wards Trunk-n-Treat/Chili Cook-Off. Dianne came along with me and Brad. Brad was working with other young men running a bean bag toss for the little ones. Dianne did not eat much and was pretty wiped out by the time it was over, but she enjoyed getting out and being seen. I got to eat some Texas Chili. I really enjoyed the flavor and think it only took three Engine Company’s from San Antonio Fire Department to put out the fire in my mouth!!! As I have done for the last 5 or so years I handed out candy and wished the children Merry Christmas. The look on their face is just priceless. This years funny Merry Christmas moment goes to a little girl, maybe 6, who responded to my Merry Christmas with “excuse me sir, it is Halloween!!” The fun I have…..

On Friday the 31st, Halloween, we went to dinner at IHOP. Dianne and I really thought Brad would want to decorate a Scary Face Pancake….he declined. If the waiter gave him a final chance to enjoy one…..Brad was a “little” embarrassed. We then went to Embassy Putt Putt where Dianne and Brad, tying for first, handed my a defeat and forcing me as the loser to buy Ice cream. But before we left, Brad’s future wife sang him a song and posed for a picture with him. Love was in the air…..so were icicles.

Putt Putt 1 Putt Putt 2 Brad and his future wife

Yesterday we visited the Alamo, but you will have to wait until next time to hear about that. I will say this, it is a truly humbling experience……..

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Texas – Things I have observed about this state

Howdy Partners!!!! It has been a while since I last updated the bog. My apologizes to my faithful followers. The last couple of weeks have been busy with settling in and learning how to get around. I promise to update y’all on the last couple of weeks, to include Brad’s Birthday, in the next few days.

Today I want to tell you about Texas. Texas, by far, is one of the cleanest states I have seen. Very little, if any, trash litters the highways, roadways, medians, sidewalks, and public right of ways. Not every male wears a cowboy hat. As a matter of fact I have only observed three men wearing said head wear. There are plenty of places to buy them, just not worn as much as one might believe. And no steer horns on vehicles. I have yet to see the first big white Cadillac with steer horns mounted on the hood. Texans do like their trucks. The bigger, the better. Pickups can be found in abundance. And every manufacture offers a special edition pertaining to this state. Also, I have not seen a car yet with 27″ rims. In Augusta, I saw them daily and in quantity. Here zero, nada, none. I have not heard the first booming stereo either. I have been in lots of traffic here and have not heard the first vehicle trying to rattle the plastic trim off.

Texans do everything big. Road systems are big. Atlanta’s “spaghetti junction” is nothing compared to the multiple flyovers I have seen here in San Antonio, Houston, and Austin. They put their flyovers way up in the sky! Some are nerve wracking high. Speed limits are big, 70 MPH in most place. Traffic is in abundance all day. Rush hour happens, but you really do not notice it as much. Their roadway system is designed to keep traffic flowing at all times. I have yet to be at a stand still in traffic. Texans are not afraid to “drive” or should I say race on the roadways. They will be courteous, but will move into any spot on the road their vehicle will fit in…..or THEY feel will fit in…..

Like most Southern states I have been to or lived in, the people here are very friendly and helpful. And the people here are PROUD to call themselves Texans and Americans! I had always heard about Texas Pride, but they are off the chain proud of this state. Cannot say I blame them. From what I have seen thus far, they have a great state to be proud of.

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