Family visits Texas

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My family (my parents and my Aunt) were here for a week. My dad had moved us to Houston, and my Aunt visited last October for a long weekend, so they already knew what to expect somewhat, but this was my mom’s first time to the Lone Star State.

We had a full itinerary with multiple things to do every day. I did NOT bring my camera, which was refreshing, since I had already done everything before, and did not need photos of the same things. So, this post will be photo free, and more of a review of what we did. Many of the activities that we did are featured in previous blog posts.

The first thing that we did that ended up being a hit with everyone was dinner at the Gorgeous Gael, an Irish Pub in Rice Village. We ended up doing this the last night too.

We went to Old Town Spring, where mom and dad loved The Little Dutch Girl shop and we also went to Hermann Park and rode the train.

Thursday was a full day at the Rodeo. That was the one thing everyone was looking forward to the most. The highlight was seeing sixteen piglets that were born just 12 hours before! Everyone was amazed at the size of everything. My Aunt expressed concern when we entered the grounds at 10:30 a.m. and the rodeo/concert wasn’t until 6:45 p.m., but we kept busy all day. None of my family had ever seen anything like a rodeo. Luke Bryan was the performer, and he was excellent. (Stay tuned for a separate post on the rodeo.)

On Friday we checked out the University of Houston, with Derek as the tour guide. Everyone was really impressed with the student union center, which is about 10 times the size as the one in Mansfield University. Then we headed to the zoo. The highlights, at least for me, are always the big cats. Mom was excited to see Shasta, the UH cougar mascot. Both times we visited the cougar enclosure, she was sleeping. All cats are the same, right?

On Saturday we walked around downtown. We checked out Discovery Green, and wandered the streets for mom and dad to get a feel of the city. They were shocked that there was hardly anyone around compared to New York City. We went to Allen’s Landing, the birth place of Houston, and caught the end of the Buffalo Bayou Regatta, (canoe and kayak race) so a free party was included. We also took them to the pop up location of Niko Nikos in Market Square Park, and introduced them to some Greek food. It was funny when my dad made me order, because he could not pronounce anything.

Sunday was a day in Galveston. We stopped at the Ashton Villa, a house where General Gordon Granger announced the end of the Civil War to the people of Texas on June 19, 1865. We also went to the Moody Aquarium, at my mom’s request, because she loves penguins. We caught the penguin feeding in the morning, which was cool to see. To be honest though, it was a small aquarium, so I do not think the money was worth it. At any rate though, I was glad to get to do something new. We also wandered the beach, drove around the historic east end district to ogle at all of the large houses, and shopped on the Strand.

Monday was a day trip to Waco. I will post about that separately. We went to Magonlia at the Silos for my mom, who is a Fixer Upper fan. We also went sightseeing here and there in downtown Waco.

Tuesday we stayed close to home, because we were all so exhausted from the day before. We went to La Madeline’s for breakfast and then we headed to the Galleria for some shopping. My mom and dad got a kick out of a revolving sushi bar in the food court! We dropped off my Aunt at the airport in the afternoon.

Wednesday was my parent’s last day. We hiked around the Arboretum and then we went back to downtown to check out the underground tunnels since they were closed when we went before on the weekend. We went right during lunch break rush, and my parents were amazed. We also stopped back at Rice Village, and walked around a couple of shops.

All in all it was a good trip, and I think my family had a good first impression of Houston, and the state of Texas. It might be a few years until they visit again, but I am sure I can easily come up with a whole new itinerary since there is never a shortage of things to do.

 

 

 

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UH Football

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Last month we went to our first University of Houston football game. It was an experience in itself!

There were fireworks, push-ups, flames, flags, and a mobile helmet, just to name a few!

To explain: When the team entered the stadium, there were flames on either side of them. Was not expecting that! UH celebrates touchdowns in a big way: Each time UH got a touch down, fireworks were shot off, and a group of ROTC students plus the mascots, Shasta and Sasha, did the number of pushups for the number of points that UH had on the board. Plus, the cheerleaders and a group of guys called “The Frontiersmen” run up and down the field with the Texas flag, and flags that spell out “HOUSTON COUGARS.” AND, as if this all weren’t enough already, a mobile helmet drives up and down the end zone!

The stadium is huge, compared to Mansfield University’s (where we got our bachelor degrees in Pennsylvania) tiny bleachers. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought I was at an NFL game!

The student section was wild! They really get into all of the cheers. Within a few minutes, I knew most of the basic cheers. “C-O-U-G-A-R-S… Who we talking about? We’re talking ’bout the cougars!” It helped sitting next to the band!

It was a great game, vs. Lamar Cardinals, and UH won! The downside of the game was that there was a lightning delay for almost three hours!!!! I have now learned that every time there is a lightning strike within eight miles of the stadium, there is a 30 minute delay. Once the game had finally resumed, about half the stadium had left, and it was getting so late that we could only stay until the end of the third quarter.

We are going to attempt to see a second game in November. Hopefully we will have better luck time-wise.

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Texas bucket list

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I’ve been making a list of all the things I want to do while we are in Texas. Here it is below:

Find good Tex-Mex to eat
Take pictures of Bluebonnets
See the Alamo in San Antonio
Go to the River Walk in San Antonio
See the Christmas lights at the River Walk
Weekend trip to Enchanted Rock
Go to a NY Giants game in Dallas
See where JFK was shot in Dallas
Go to a Houston Texans game
Go to a Houston Cougars game
Attend some sort of Super Bowl event/party
Weekend trip to Austin
See Waugh Drive Bat Colony fly at sunset
Visit Galveston on the weekends
Attend Dickens on the Strand Christmas event in Galveston
Go to Kemah Boardwalk
Visit the Space Center
Go to the Zoo
Visit the Museum of Natural Science
Visit the Holocaust Museum
Attend multiple days of the Livestock Show and Rodeo
Buy more cowboy boots
Attend some sort of event at NRG park (our apt. is nearby)

Some of these are simple – good Tex Mex and cowboy boots will be plentiful! Some of the further away things can be combined into one trip. The only thing that may be hard is to attend a NY Giants Game (born and raised third generation fan!) in Dallas, due to possible schedule conflicts. But I will do my best to cross everything off the list, and challenge myself to find many more new things to add.

Does anyone from the Houston area have any suggestions?