Aunt Susie comes to visit


Aunt Susie visited for four days earlier this month, and I’m only now getting a chance to write about it. March has been a busy month, more on that later.

We spent the first day together in Galveston. We went to the Rainforest Pyramid in Moody Gardens. Derek and I also did this last December. A highlight of the day there was watching a snake eat a rat whole, (so fascinating) and seeing two different types of monkeys in the trees. Derek and I missed out on the monkeys the first time.

I took her to lunch at Shrimp ‘n’ Stuff in Galveston, which has become our new favorite place to eat. We also sat on the beach for an hour, and then shopped at the Strand district. We ended the day at La Kings Confectionary. At La Kings, Aunt Susie asked if they made egg cremes (it’s a New York thing) and the guy behind the counter said yes, they do get requests for them, but he had never made one himself before. So another worker, and Aunt Susie, walked him through it. You learn something new every day.





We spent one afternoon at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. We enjoyed walking around and seeing the different animals, and even got to see a milking demonstration from a cow named Pickles. I think our favorites were all of the babies that were just born that week, some that same morning. We also saw a sheep judging and a cow judging.

We stuffed ourselves on good rodeo food (cinnamon rolls and then perogies for dinner) and then we saw the rodeo and the Tim McGraw concert. Both of us were ‘meh’ about Tim McGraw, but he did put on a good show, and he played my favorite songs of his so I am glad we ended up staying for the concert.

We spent time with Aunt Susie’s friend Steve at the rodeo. Steve and Aunt Susie used to work together, and he moved out to the Houston area just a few months after we did. We met him before last year. He is a really nice guy. The three of us all had a good time. Steve convinced a young cowboy to lasso Aunt Susie. She was scared, but he did it on the first try!









We also spent some time at Hermann Park, and then did a little bit of shopping at Rice Village. We took Aunt Susie to Susie Cakes for dessert!


On her last day, we decided on a whim to drive out to San Antonio. We checked out the Alamo, where we met Bella the Alamo Kitty, and Aunt Susie helped her get a drink from the water fountain. We had Tex-Mex for lunch right on the River Walk, which was something new for us compared to the first time we visited S.A. We also checked out the Cathedral of San Fernando, a gorgeous Catholic church. Right inside the entrance was a tomb that held the remains of the Alamo heroes: Bowie, Barrett and Crockett. That was a bonus find for me, because I love the Texas revolution history so much. We also checked out the Bexar County Courthouse. Our last stop was Mission Concepcion, where a wedding had just ended in the church!


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We had a great time together and we were quite busy all four days. I’m glad that I will see her again so soon, next time in Italy!



Family visits Texas


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.




Aunt Susie’s visit


Aunt Susie came to visit for three days. It was a short visit, yes, but we crammed a ton of activities into those three days! We both had a lot of fun, and it came at the right time. It felt good to take a short break and forgot about other things currently going on. It was great because, while I took her to a bunch of things that I was familiar with, I also got to see and do some new things myself too.

On the first day I took Aunt Susie to Cavenders, which is a family owned boot and western wear store. She bought a shirt, and I cried over every pair of boots that I can’t afford, haha. Christmas is coming…

Then we went to the Arboretum, and I took her to the meadow trail to see the swamp sunflowers that were still in bloom.



After the Arboretum, we went to Downtown and I showed her Discovery Green. I was excited to see The Color Condition, which is the latest art installation.



Day two was the beach. A drive to Galveston is not complete with a stop at Buc-ees! She loved it. She bought a Buc-ee Bever keychain, a shirt and pajama shorts.


It was great beach weather. A little chilly in the morning, so we had sweatshirts on, but the afternoon was perfect. We basically had the beach to ourselves for the first few hours, but then more people came by lunch time. We found a dead jellyfish on the beach. I had never seen one before.




We had lunch at a place called Fish Tales, which is right across the street from the pier. The restaurant had a great outdoor patio on the second floor. I got the shrimp po boy sandwich and it was huge! Will probably eat there again.




We checked out Murdochs, which is an old gift shop that is right over the water. They had a little bit of everything inside. Aunt Susie bought a shirt for Uncle Paul there. They also have their own bar, where you can get drinks and snacks, and a patio for you to enjoy them on. They sure do know how to bring in business!

We walked around the Hotel Galvez for a bit. It is a beautiful hotel, but supposedly haunted. Apparently it used to be an orphan’s asylum, but most of the children died in the 1900 hurricane. Spooky.




From Hotel Galvez we took the motorized trolley to the Strand for some shopping. The island is currently working on getting the train trolleys up and running for next summer, but have the motorized ones in the mean time. It costs $1 to ride it each way, which I think is a good deal, instead of having to move the car and pay more in a lot.



Our last day was the Houston Zoo and Hermann Park. Some of the highlights of the zoo were getting to see some of the big cats up close, and Aunt Susie feeding the giraffes. We took the train ride around Hermann park.







The fun seemed like it ended all too soon, but she will be back, this time with my parents too, in March. She said she had a great time and a good first impression of Houston and Galveston. She said she wants to move to Galveston now… I would be okay with that!