National Treasure

Today Jennifer and I once again escaped from the kids and went to see the movie National Treasure. Nicolas Cage plays a character who’s family holds the secret to a treasure which was hidden back when the United States was founded. It was a pretty good movie, very exciting. Jennifer and I both recommend it.

Tonight we “celebrated” by roasting marshmallows on an open fire. We were making s’mores, but the girls didn’t want to try them. Abby said “no thank you” and they ate each of the ingredients separately.

Mongolia Found

Today Jennifer and I swung by our favorite Mongolian Bar-B-Q place in Clear Lake and had lunch. It tasted just like it did when we were last there four years ago and the restaurant didn’t look like it had changed a bit. We did some shopping and went by Jennifer’s old Home Depot that she used to work at. There was actually someone who still worked there in her department who she got to talk to. It was amazing that she were still there considering Jennifer hasn’t worked there in five years.

When we got home, Grandma, Jennifer, and the girls made homemade ice cream. Grandma started experimenting with eBay for the first time and bought an electric ice cream maker. The ice cream was great. They doubled their recipe and it only made about a dozen scoops. This was supposed to be a “trial run” and we are going to try more ice cream tomorrow. This time quadrupling the recipe.

EV1.Net Houston Bowl

It’s been much warmer this week in Houston than it was when we were in Shreveport last week. That has allowed us to do much more outside, if you haven’t noticed. There’s also much more to do as a family here in Houston than in Shreveport. So, today we headed to the Houston Zoo. This blew the doors off of the Central Florida Zoological Park, which we went to in October. There was so much more to do and see. We saw monkeys, elephants, lions, and went to the petting zoo. Today’s picture is from a playground which was in the children’s zoo area.

After the zoo, I headed off to meet George at the EV1.Net Houston Bowl where Colorado was taking on University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). You would think we would be rooting for UTEP, since it would be a sister of Texas, but we were actually going for a fellow Big XII team, Colorado. We figured it would be embarrassing to have a team from the WAC to beat the Big XII. It was actually a really good match up. UTEP stunned everyone by going into the lead early and kept it well into the fourth quarter. Colorado kept up and then went ahead with about seven minutes left in the game. UTEP tried to come back, but their office was pretty one dimensional: passing only. It ended up being a pretty exciting game and it was fun to go to Reliant Stadium again.

Visiting with George & Heather

Today we headed down to Galveston to go to Moody Gardens, where there’s a series of glass pyramids with different types of environments that you can visit. First, we traveled under the sea into their aquarium. The girls were amazed looking at all the sharks and penguins and Abby got to touch a star fish. After the aquarium, we traveled through a rain forest. When we entered there was so much humidity, it was like being back in Florida. Jennifer’s glasses and our camera fogged up. Emily met some birds and when she would say “hello”, the birds would squawk in response and she would laugh.

For dinner we went over to George’s new house. He and his wife, Heather, just moved into a townhouse near downtown. It’s not in a very good part of town, but George is now only about twenty minutes from work. The neighborhood is slowly being converted into a a bunch of new townhouses, but until then they have to put up with a shack across the street. They will probably make a ton of money on their townhouse once they are ready to sell. They got in on the ground floor on this area and once it’s all converted over they could probably sell their townhouse for twice what they paid for it. George had a huge HDTV, which was really nice. I guess that’s the type of thing you can spend your money on when you don’t have kids. It was nice visiting and seeing them again.

Merry Christmas

The last few days have been a whirl wind. While we were in Natchitoches, Poppy took Abby to see The Incredibles. Her review was that “the baby was a monster”. I’m not sure if that means the movies was good or not.

My sister arrived in Shreveport on Thursday and we went ahead and opened packages. Abby asked Nana, “Can we open presents?” She then marched into the den and announced that we were opening the presents because Nana said so. We figured “why not” since the girls would get to play with their toys a day longer before we left Shreveport.

On Christmas Eve we just hung around the house and watched the kids as they played with their toys from the day before. We watched the now Christmas classic, Dodgeball. It was a pretty good movie. Silly, but it had some pretty funny moments.

In the morning, the girls woke up and called me into their room. Abby said that Santa didn’t come. I asked her how she knew that. She said, “I didn’t hear his jingle bells.” I thought this was pretty funny and I told her that she needed to go check. She exclaimed that she could check to see if he ate the cookies and ran off into the den with Emily hot on her tail. When they arrived in the den, they were all excited to see new toys under the Christmas tree.

After the girls played with their new toys from Santa for a while, we headed off to Lindale, Texas, where my grandparents live. We met by my Aunt Marci, Uncle Chuck, my cousin Kevin, and his wife Christie. We opened presents and visited for a while. It was nice to see everyone again. It had been two years since we had been back to Texas to see everyone.

This morning, we packed up the Sequoia and headed to Houston, Texas to Jennifer’s parents’ house. The drive was pleasant and it was finally starting to warm up from being so cold for the past few days. We are starting to plan our week now and I will keep everyone up to date here on Frenchville.

Escape from the Kids

Yesterday, Jennifer and I headed off to Natchitoches to stay at a bed and breakfast. The laptop was left at my parents’ house, so no entry in Frenchville until now. Unfortunately, a cold front came through and it rained all day and the temperature dropped to around freezing. We checked into the B&B and then went shopping along the “main” street. There were a ton of antique and gift shops that we wandered through. Each shop we regretting leaving because that meant we had to go back outside into the rain and the cold. There seemed to be two themes that were present in every shop: The Red Hat Society and Steel Magnolias. The Red Hat Society seems to be some club for older women who wear red hats, which I have no chance of understanding. Steel Magnolias was filmed exclusively in Natchitoches, so you might say that it’s their “claim to fame”. After shopping we went and had a steak dinner at The Landing, a restaurant recommended by my dad.

We had a good time getting away from the girls. We just wish it was a little bit warmer outside so that we could have enjoyed the town a little bit more.

New Camera

Another day spent in Shreveport with Nana and Poppy. My grandfather, PaPaw Wilmon, drove over with my Aunt Pat to have lunch and visit with us. He last saw the girls at the big Wilmon family reunion this past summer. It was good to see him again since I had to miss the reunion since we were finalling Madden.

Jennifer went ahead and let me open my Christmas present since “it had to charge if I was intending on using it on Christmas day”. She got me a new digital camera, a Kodak EasyShare DX7630. It’s a 6.1 mega-pixel camera, which is pretty nice. One thing that is nice is that the camera can take movies as well. If you click on today’s picture it will download and play a QuickTime movie of Emily throwing a fit. She is crying because she just woke up from her nap and she always ends up crying for about thirty minutes after she wakes up from her nap.

Tonight, Jennifer and I escaped to the casino once again to play some more roulette. This time I was the big winner with taking home $80 and I pretty much made up for all the money Jennifer lost. We still ended up ahead for our two day excursion to the casino. Jennifer says that she now has it “out of her system”.

Playing at the Duck Pond

We had a big day in Shreveport with Nana and Poppy. First we all piled into the Sequoia and went to the duck pond where Abby and Emily played on the gym equipment. They had fun running around and playing with Nana and Poppy. At one point a group of ducks and geese swam by while Abby and Emily were watching.

Jennifer and I went out to eat by ourselves to one of my favorite restaurants in Shreveport, Monjunis. It’s an Italian restaurant with great lasagna. They also put bread and marinara sauce on the table like they do chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant.

After Monjunis, we went to Horseshoe Casino. Jennifer ended up winning $300 playing roulette and I ended up loosing money at the dollar slot machines. It’s a good thing Jennifer made up for my loss and then then some.

While we were out on the town, Nana and Poppy took Abby and Emily to Chick Olé and then they drove around looking at Christmas lights. They had fun and then fell right to sleep when they got home.

From Shreveport, Louisiana: Day 1

We finally made it! Driving in the truck was wearing thin very very fast. Both the girls and Jennifer were very cranky and just wanted to get to our destination. Our trip took us from Mobile, Alabama and up through Mississippi to connect up with I-20. Then we swung over to Shreveport. We didn’t have much trouble finding my parents’ new house once we got into town. It’s very nice and much bigger than their old house.

My parents had Abby and Emily open up a huge box which contained a Barbie PowerWheels Jeep. Abby drove around the yard while Emily was in charge of the music. There’s a kid sized juke box in the passenger seat.

My parents had me and Jennifer open a present too: a stay at a Bed and Breakfast in Natchitoches. We are pretty excited to get away from the kids for a day. My parents also love getting us out of the house so that they can pamper the kids.

From Mobile, Alabama

The first day of our Christmas trip back home has begun. We packed up the Sequoia last night and we were off at 7:30 this morning. We toured several Burger Kings, eating there for breakfast and lunch. Unfortunately neither one had a play gym for the girls to play in. The TVs in the truck worked until about five hours into the trip. Then, Abby pretty much kept asking “When are we going to get there?” over and over again.

The most interesting part of the trip was going through Pensacola, Florida, where Hurricane Ivan passed through a few months ago. The hurricane wiped out a bridge there and we were worried that we were going to have to go around, but it turns out that they already have some temporary bridge up so that you can cross. All the damage was on the East bound side so it didn’t effect us, but we will go over the temporary bridge on our trip back. The picture is from a news story on the bridge being wiped out by Ivan.

We are now in a hotel in Mobile, Alabama and we will be heading to my parents house in Shreveport, Louisiana tomorrow morning. We chose this hotel because it has an indoor pool. Right when we got here, we got our bathing suits on and went down to the pool. Right now, Abby and Emily are jumping on the bed and will hopefully start settling down soon to go to bed.