It was a long traveling day but it went well. After a 3 hour flight, we rented a car. Our family does not like Volkswagons so it was a continuous source of amusement that our rented van was a VW. Then we drove 2 1/2 hours to James' parents house.
James' parents live in East Texas and have a house with several acres of land and the girls were very eager to make use of as much space as they could.
Felicity loved this little car they had and whoa did she master riding it. She would go so fast that when she turned in circles she threw herself off.
James' parents have numerous chickens and the girls got a kick out of trying to catch one. They never did of course, but they had fun chasing them all over the yard.
They have a small creek with a bridge. Felicity tried to play Pooh Sticks, but I'm afraid the creek was not very cooperative.
Cecilia tried out the big kid swing.
Felicity tried out the toddler swing. Both had fun on the seated glider.
Each girl paid a visit to their outside Nativity. Felicity gave St. Joseph a pat.
Felicity and Cecilia helped feed the chickens and the goats.
They collected farm fresh eggs! Talk about yellow-orange yolks - Wow!
Years ago, James' mom bought a $1 raffle ticket and won this battery-powered Pepsi Car. Cecilia was a pro driving it. She has been asking for one ever since but we don't have the space for it to be practical right now.
Felicity loved the Pepsi Car but she did have a bit of difficulty remembering push both buttons with both feet and steer at the same time. Guess she will need a bit more practice before she gets her license.
It was quite cold while we were there so we only spent so much time outside. But, inside, Felicity became a regular horsewoman.
This is James' piano. It is still at his parents' house simply because we don't have room for it right now but hopefully sometime in the next couple of years we will be able to bring it home. Felicity had fun experimenting on it.
And, of course, Cecilia took a turn. See the plastic aligator on the piano? Both girls had a ball with it. They would chase each other with it or pretend it was biting James or me. I kept debating on taking it with us.
Grandma Bea with Elizabeth. It was actually while we were in Texas that Elizabeth began crawling forward and pushing herself up into a sitting position. She is still working on perfecting her forward crawl and still topples over every now and then, but she is becoming mobile.
Elizabeth and her cousin Tristan. Tristan is our nephew as well as our godson. Cecilia enrolled him in enforced playtime but he loved it. He couldn't get over how small Elizabeth's fingers are compared to his own.
Tristan enjoyed playing with my IPod but Elizabeth was likewise interested.
James' dad with our other nephew Terrance. He made all of us look short and he is hoping to enter the Air Force Academy next year.
Cecilia with their chihuahua Honey. Both girls loved chasing her, petting her, playing with her and feeding her bits of bacon. Honey loved the bacon part best I think.
We hadn't seen James' parents since Elizabeth's baptism in August and we generally only see them once a year so it was a great week for everyone to be together. I caught Felicity resting on the kitchen table and still think this is an adorable shot.
While we were there, Grandma Bea took us all to see The Princess and the Frog again. Still a wonderful film.
While we were in Texas, on January 1st, New Years' Day and the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, James and I celebrated our 5th Wedding Anniversary. In honor of the occasion, we went to eat at Mercardo's in Tyler, TX. It has the best TexMex we've ever had and is the restaurant we ate at the first day we met. Food is still outstanding and Maryland has no idea what it is missing.
However, toward the end of the week, after an extended play outside in the cold, Cecilia began complaining that her left ear hurt. I caught her trying to put tissues in it. On Saturday we had to drive back to Dallas, so, once there, we sought out a walk-in clinic. Indeed, Cecilia had gotten an ear infection. We got her antibiotics and picked up a thermal bag and some ice packs from a Babies R Us and requested a mini-fridge at the Hyatt at the airport that night.
Despite a much longer day than we had planned and a child with an ear infection, we headed to our alma mater, the University of Dallas, and went to their 5pm vigil Mass at the Church of the Incarnation. Wow was there a lot of construction around the University. Apparently they are putting a train stop in for the school to the airport but it looks like Saruman had been creating orcs around its perimeter. The new dorm looks gorgeous though and I love the idea of the parking beneath it. Unfortunately, just as we sat down for Mass, I realized Elizabeth had squeegied and needed an emergency diaper change. By the time I came back from the bathroom, Felicity and Cecilia were insisting they had to go too. We'd been in a car most of the day, so I couldn't very well say no. After that began some of the worst behavior our girls have exhibited at Mass. I guess between an ear infection, a new and exciting church to explore, a long day in the car and it being the end of the day, things just went haywire. I even had Felicity shout "POTTY!" and it echo through the whole church. Ever have one of those masses? Yeah. We made it until the homily and then cut our losses and fled the church. Not quite how I planned to celebrate the Epiphany, but the Lord knows how it is with little ones.
We picked up Whataburger (oh I miss them!) and went back to the hotel to eat dinner while watching Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs (don't waste your time - just stick with the book) and get a good night's sleep for Sunday and our trip to Florida.