Don't Mess With Texas

I believe it may take me as long to finish this post as it did for us to drive to Texas. In case you aren't aware, it's a LOOOONG way from here to there, so it took a mighty long time. Like, say, about 13 hours on the way out! Did you hear me? THIRTEEN hours. Now, I realize that there are people on earth who have taken longer trips, but, for the love, I'd sure like to know why.

The first four or five hours, you have this optimistic feeling that surely you've exaggerated how long it took you to make the trip last time and you will certainly make better time on this trip. Then a little over halfway, you get a sinking feeling as you realize you've only gone a little over halfway. About ten hours in, you start to feel stir-crazy and think that Texas is the meanest place on earth because it just won't stop! It's like when I'm getting Jack to practice his swimming and I stand several feet away from him and convince him to swim to me. It's not that far. But then, once he gets started, I slowly move further and further back until I get to the point where I get the feeling that if I don't stop, he might drown. Yep. That's what Texas does to me. Just pulls that destination further and further out of my reach...until I feel like I might lose my mind if I don't get out of that stinkin' car!

But, really, it's not that bad. No, really, though, I shouldn't complain. Because we took four children in the car for thirteen hours and there was only one child that cried for about ten minutes. Who says miracles don't happen today? People, that is miraculous. And if you don't think so, you've never taken four kids on a car ride to the grocery store, much less three states away.

Our first much anticipated stop was one of the kids' great grandmother's house in the town their grandparents grew up in. For some reason, the kids think it's paradise. I think it's just something about being at Mema's house with toys older than their mom, a neverending supply of food, and cousins/playmates galore. The kids are always ready to move in and stay forever. I love that they love visiting family so much.

The kids with their beloved Mema and their second cousin. Honestly, between five kids and one camera-hogging dog, this was the best pic we could come up with.

Her backyard was quite exciting. Luke found a tree that he swore grew giant green beans, which he is proudly holding below. Unfortunately, a swarm of mosquitoes or some other hard-to-see, skin-chomping bugs found it exciting, too. So, we didn't spend a whole lot of time out there.

The kids were just amazed that everyone who walked in the door was their cousin. They took up immediately with all of them, even though most were much older, and assumed that all these people had no greater desire than to play with and entertain them. Once, Jack was so immersed in his cousin/coloring book time, he walked right into a sliding glass door. And all of us laughed, except for kind Grandma, who was horrified that all of us laughed. But let's face it, there's not much that's funnier than somebody walking into a glass door. Aren't we a sweet, heartwarming family?

The kids with Mema and her daughter, Grandma. With these two sweet ladies here to spoil them, it's no wonder the kids didn't want to leave.

Just when we thought Mema couldn't handle anymore of the joy of having all of us staying at her house, we drove another two hours to Uncle Steve and Aunt Sandra's house. And if there's anywhere more fun than Mema's, this is the place. Let's face it, swimming pools beat out lots of cousins and old toys, lovely as those are.

Aunt Sandra is quite the hostess. There's candy galore, yummy food, a pool, a wonderful movie selection and, best of all, lots of couches for the kids to sleep on. Why is it that kids love to sleep in out of the ordinary places like couches, air mattresses, or the floor when grown-ups will do almost anything to avoid any of those sleeping scenarios?

Chris had two Texas wishes. Naturally, they both involved food. I must say, they ended up well for all involved. A few years ago, Chris discovered a taco trailer in his parents' hometown. We all made fun of him for hours leading up to his first trip to the questionable-looking trailer. Tacos from a trailer? The horror! But he proved us all wrong when Fannie's Taco Truck proved to be a seller of delicious, fresh Mexican food. So, we revisited Fannie this year, and she's still got the taco magic going for her.

When we got to Ft. Worth a couple of days later, Chris's one request was a trip to Dutch's. Though hamburgers aren't at the top of my Favorite Food List, I was thankful for the chance to revisit this place as the last time I was there a couple of years ago, I spent the entire time in the bathroom with a certain unnamed child who took approximately 46 minutes to complete his business. So, I ended up with a cold burger and soggy fries.

This time, I refused to take anyone to the bathroom and thoroughly enjoyed the ginormous burger that Chris and I split. I must say, coming from a non-burger girl, these burgers are amazing. Next time you're in Ft. Worth and are craving half a cow, go to Dutch's. And bring me back some fries.

Anytime you go to eat with us, you're going to have to wait for the extra-long table. Sorry.

Me and my sis-in-law, Sandra. The hostess with the mostest.
Since we weren't full enough after eating half a cow and a pound of fried potatoes, we all went to Meme's house that evening for a family dinner complete with bbq, sides, and (obviously the most exciting part) homemade peach cobbler, chocolate pie, and pumpkin pie. Not wanting to be rude, I chose the sampler platter. It looked like Max, the dog, had chosen the sampler platter a few too many times. And that's how I felt by the end of this day.

Our nephew, Jerod, getting Max into the least flattering position possible for a photo. Remind me to never take a picture with him.

Since Chris's grandfather died a few years ago, his Meme has been brave and moved from her hometown to the big city. She lives in an adorable neighborhood and seems to enjoy her new place. Our kids are so blessed to have two wonderful great grandmothers in Texas.
Sam sporting a new do. I think he's representing the Lollipop Guild.

I'll never figure out how I got a girl who loves creepy crawlies.

I'm thinking these new fangled neighborhoods with pools and parks built in are the way to go. The kids agreed. So did the rest of the family who probably breathed a sigh of relief once we took our kids to the park and gave them some scream-free time.

We ended the week of fun with a family trip to a Texas Rangers baseball game. Meme is a huge Rangers fan, so this fun outing was for her. I'm going to be honest and tell you that I'd been dreading this event for days. If you didn't realize, Texas is typically hotter than you-know-where in July and the thought of sitting for hours with four wiggly, bored kids while sweating buckets was not my idea of fun. We expected Sam to be a maniac and the rest of the kids to be miserable and make everyone else miserable along with them. But we were willing to go for Meme. That's love.

Let me tell you that another miracle occurred that night. As we drove up to the stadium, the sky became gray with clouds and a huge, gusty wind blew through. We watched the car thermometer go from triple digits to the high 80's in a matter of minutes. Since you can't slice the air with a knife out there like in the Deep South, once the temp dropped, it became the perfect evening. A breeze blew and it was truly a pleasure to be outdoors.

By the end of the evening, almost four hours after the game began, I was ready to call a news conference to declare my kids the best in the whole wide world. They couldn't have behaved better. We had one of those extremely rare moments when our picture perfect family smiled and had a grand time enjoying America's favorite pasttime. Extremely rare, people.

The cutest fan at the game.

Sam sat through most of the game and didn't even complain. Angel baby!
Luke was kept in line through the cotton candy bribe. Whatever works.

I'm pretty sure terror struck within a two row radius when we sat down with all these kids. Little did all of us know, no one had anything to dread.

Meme and her girls.

Meme with her amazingly adorable great grands. I mean, whose are these amazing kids? :)
It was a great week, despite the almost 2,000 miles of driving. I'm hoping that by the time we get brave enough to make the trip again, they will have decided to move Texas closer and make it much smaller. Hey, miracles still happen!


  1. Love the Rangers! I am so glad y'all had a great time. I hope you also ate some amazing Mexican food...golly, that's what I miss!!

  2. I really enjoy reading your blog. You're so funny!


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