Saturday, December 31, 2011

Celebrating New Years Eve and Ed's Birthday at South Padre Island

We had a spectacular day today.  We simply can't remember such a wonderful New Years Eve.

We have been planning this day for a number of weeks now.  It was a culmination of Ed's Birthday,  New Year's Eve, and our last day with our good friends.

I was a little more subdued today, because my heart was heavy thinking of leaving these great friends, but I tried to put that aside and enjoy the day.

We left our resort around 10 am, excited to spend the day at the beach.  The temperature was going to be in the 80's.

On the way to the island, there is an attraction called Bobz World.

It is a great place for kids ...  of all ages !

The outside features larger than life displays, trying to catch the eyes of the passing vehicles.

Well, it sure worked in our case, because we stopped twice.  Once on the way there, and once on the way back !

The reason we made two stops, was because we did not have enough time for the girls to shop before lunch.

Teresa, Marilyn, and Janet

Everyone knows that a stop to the island, must include a meal at Dirty Al's.

We get a chuckle every time we read this sign on the window:

And once again, the meal was superb.  Best oysters, shrimp and crab to be found.

Bob and Janet,  and me beside Marilyn and Ed

After our delicious meals, we found a quiet spot to park on the water front.  Bob and Janet were well prepared, with a cooler full of cold drinks.

As always, we were chatting up a storm, and enjoying the company of one another.

Someone commented to Teresa, that she didn't have much of a tan, so she set about correcting that issue.

Reluctantly, our afternoon was coming to an end, so we slowly packed everything away, and were soon heading back to home.

On the way home, our birthday boy Ed pulled a practical joke that was so hilarious, the six of us laughed the whole way home, reliving every detail for almost an hour. 

My eyes were tearing, and my sides were sore, and poor Teresa was laughing so hard she had effectively removed all of her makeup.

And don't ask, because I am not going to tell you what he did ... LOL.

But, our fun wasn't done yet. 

Teresa had made a yummy delicious cherry cheesecake for Ed's special day, so we gathered for some food and wine.

Happy Birthday, Ed !!!

We all enjoyed the fruit of Teresa's effort, and I think Ed knew that it was made for him with all of her love.

We didn't stay long, because everyone was in need of showers, and for Teresa and I, we are preparing for our departure tomorrow.

Our thoughtful friends are going to prepare breakfast for us in the morning, so I am sure we are going to have sweet dreams !!

And for all our friends and family that are going out tonight to celebrate, stay safe, and have fun !!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Mexico and BBQ

I am not kidding when I say that each day is getting better than the one before it.

And friends are what makes the experiences even better.

Last night Bob and Janet finally made it home.  We waited up until we could hear the rumble of Ed's truck, announcing his precious cargo. 

We knew Bob and Janet would be tired and frustrated, but we snuck out for some "Welcome Home" hugs, then let them get settled in.

We were not too sure if they would be up to a trip to Mexico with us this morning, but these are two go-getters, and they were not going to miss out on the fun today.

We made the quick trip to the border, and our first stop was for breakfast at Rene's Bakery.

This place is always busy, and a large part of it's popularity is the Mariachi Band.  They just get your toes a tappin' and your head a noddin' !

After a great breakfast and coffee, we did a little shopping.

It was a beautiful morning, and we were all just having a ball, talking and kidding around.

The first few times we visited this town in Mexico, we were still a little apprehensive, but now we are completely at ease, and we know what to expect.

Teresa picked up a few items, including a cute sun dress.  I will have a photo of that, with her modeling it.

Even "cheap Trent" got into the spirit of things, by purchasing a folding table, and a bright orange lizard.  Five bucks each !

And we simply can't come back home without a bottle of our favourite drink - Amarulla. 

After returning home, we briefly rested before Round two began.

We were to have the BBQ cookout, to celebrate Bob and Janet's safe arrival.

Ed prepared grilled shrimp and portobello mushrooms on the barbie, for an appetizer. 

And the verdict was a resounding - Delicious !!

Ed then skillfully grilled up some burgers that he prepared from scratch.  Marilyn had cooked up some great tasting beans, and Teresa supplied all the fixin's for the burgers, and she also made a pasta salad with cut up cheese and ham.

Tonight, I got a few more chores done around the rig, while Teresa busied herself with more laundry duty.

We are trying not to talk about the fact that we only have two more days with these most wonderful people.

Tomorrow will be a very special day for sure !!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Beautiful Weather

We are now experiencing the weather we thought the valley was well known for.

Hot and sunny !

Teresa made her way back to the outlet mall for another three hour shop fest.  This makes it her fifth visit to the mall !!

I was busy rearranging our outside storage bins, and getting everything ready for our departure in a few days.

We were also getting ready for Bob and Janet's return today.  Ed and Marilyn were preparing hamburger and beans, and Teresa was busy cooking up some pasta for a salad. 

The plan was to have a great BBQ with everyone for supper.  Only one problem ...  Bob and Janet's flight experienced delays because of fog in Houston. 

In fact, instead of being here around 1pm, their new arrival time is sometime after 9pm !!

Well, with the cookout cancelled, Ed devised a new plan.  You see, whenever we are on the road going somewhere, Teresa will see a Whataburger shop, and she lets everyone know that she wants to try one before we leave.

Today was her lucky day.

We all enjoyed our burgers and most importantly, it is another check mark beside our to-do list.

Ed's milkshake was so thick he ate it with a spoon

So, even though we were very disappointed our buddies didn't get home on time, Teresa still got her burger.

We watched the sunset, before retiring to our little home.

Man, we are going to miss this place !!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bike riding in Rio Bentsen State Park

We had a most excellent day !! 

Weather was around 77F,  the sun was shining, and there was no wind.

Ed and Marilyn wanted to show us the Rio Bentsen State Park.  The nice thing about this park, is it is closed to vehicles, so you can ride your bike in safety.

A little after nine, Ed and I loaded up the bikes.  Bob and Janet very generously offered their bikes for our use.  Thanks again, guys !!

Our first stop was to Bentsen Palms RV Park to pick up our friends, Jim and Linda.

Linda, Jim, and Boo, too

This RV park is so close to the State Park, and you can ride your bike there.

Jim and Linda have very close friends staying at their park, and now we can say they are our friends, too.  We clicked instantly with Scotty and Anne.

Scotty, us, Marilyn, Linda, Anne and Jim

We all jumped on our bikes and recumbent trikes, and were soon in the park.

Girls gone wild
Marilyn giving Linda bunny ears

The guys were giving Jim grief over his
shorts that had an elastic on the legs
which we called his bloomers.

A neat feature of this park is they have bird feeders placed throughout the park, and some even have blinders so you can get some nice pictures.

Green Jays

An Oriole

Of course, all this bike riding works up an appetite, so we found a picnic area, and brought out food that our loving wives prepared for all of us.

We rode some more, and stopped at a couple of observation stops.

Jim and Linda on their trikes, these look like fun !

It was a perfect day spent with great friends, but we soon found our way back to the RV park, where we exchanged good bye hugs with our friends.

We loaded up and headed for home, but we weren't at home for long !!

Another favourite restaurant of Ed and Marilyns is Fat Daddys.

We all ordered the baby back ribs, and they were mouth watering good, with a cold beer, after such a great afternoon.

After supper, we all decided to just relax for the evening, and savor our day.

Tomorrow, Bob and Janet come back home, and we can hardly wait. 

We really miss those two !!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Sun is Back

We sure had a great time at Ed and Marilyn's last night.

Ed read us a story about a Texas chile cookoff, that was so funny, I had tears in my eyes, Teresa laughed so hard she lost most of her makeup, and Ed could barely read some parts !!

Teresa said that laughter is the best medicine, and I do believe it kept her homesick blues at bay for a while.

For supper, we had appetizers prepared by our amazing wives.

Today was cool and cloudy for the most part, until later this afternoon when the sun finally appeared.

I took full advantage and spent a few hours outside tidying up, and then reading in the sun.

Alas, Teresa could not hold off one more day, and was stuck in the laundry room most of the afternoon.

Once again, we shared appetizers with our good friends, and chatted and shared stories with each other.

We never leave Ed and Marilyn's without a big smile on our faces !

We are only here for a few more days, so we are going to make each day count. 

Hang on !!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas !!

Teresa and I would like to take this moment to wish our family and friends, a joyous Christmas !!

Last night we attended an early mass at the San Juan Basilica.  We really enjoy the mariachi band there, and last night the Christmas songs came to life with the band.

The Priest invited all the children up to the front, and had a message just for the kids.  Of course, as adults, we sometimes need to hear the message put simply as well, and all were encouraged.

Beautiful, life size nativity scene

After the service, Ed and Marilyn invited us over to their home, to share some of Marilyn's wonderful chile soup.  We happily lapped it up, and Teresa said that was the only time she was warm all day.

After supper, our gracious hosts offered us a drink and snacks, while giving us the best chairs in the house !

We enjoyed some good laughs, watching a comedian on their large screen TV. 

I shudder to think how Teresa would have coped without the love and support of our amazing friends.

We parted fairly early, because we had set up some skyping time with family. 

And that is exactly how we are getting through this holiday without being home.

We skyped and phoned multiple family members last night and this morning, with two more group skypes planned for tonight.

We attended the park Christmas dinner this afternoon, with Ed and Marilyn.

I am happy to report that the meal was simply fabulous, and the hall was very nicely decorated.

It was so nice to have a Christmas meal, without our wives working so hard to prepare it.  They have served their families for many years, and deserve a break. 

Having said that, I know for sure and for certain, that they would have jumped at the chance to make a Christmas meal for their families once again.  Ahhh, the love of a Mom.

Marilyn and Ed sure do make a
great looking couple, don't they !!

Tonight we are going back to Ed and Marilyn's beautiful 5th wheel, because our rig is a little too small for company.

Teresa is preparing some appetizers for the get together, and I can guarantee there will be toasts given, laughs heard, and maybe even a few tears shed.

And to everyone who has to travel during this holiday time, please drive carefully.

You have loved ones anxious for your arrival.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

'Twas the night before Christmas

I was hoping the forecast was wrong, and that the sun would be out today, even for a few minutes.

But it was not to be.

The reason I was hoping for some sun, is because my little Teresa is suffering from homesickness this Christmas.

We knew it would be tough, and some of our family members that know her well, predicted that she wouldn't even make it this long.

Teresa's main goal in life had nothing to do with careers or social status.

But rather to be a Mom and wife, and love her family with all her heart.

Well, add to this mixture an adorable Granddaughter who is just learning to talk, and you have one teary eyed broken down gal.

Everyone is telling us that the first year is the worst, so we know it will get better.

And thankfully, we have our friends here, who are also missing their families, so we will lean heavily on each other.

The plan is to keep this red-eyed beauty busy for the next two days. 

Tonight we are going to the Christmas eve mass at the San Juan Basilica, followed by a chile supper at Ed and Marilyn's.

Tomorrow morning, we will go to church, then the park is putting on a wonderful Christmas lunch at 1pm.

After lunch, we are going to get together again with Ed and Marilyn to play some games and eat some appies.

She is trying to put on a brave face, and fight back the tears, but they still seem to sneak out.

So, to all you future fulltimers and snowbirds, be prepared. 

The first Christmas away, may be a blue blue Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Lunch with Ed and Marilyn

When we woke this morning, the sun was hidden behind a sky of dark clouds.

A couple of times it started to mist, but no real downpours.  Also, it is much cooler today, in the low 50's only.

While Teresa and I were still chatting in bed, there was a soft tap at the door.  It was Ed, asking if we would like to go out for lunch.

You see, yesterday, when Teresa and Marilyn went shopping, they stopped at the food court for a plate of Chinese food.

You should have heard me whine and complain, because I was craving Chinese food.  I think Ed and Marilyn must have made a mental note of my tantrum, because they recommended a local Chinese buffet restaurant, called Lin's.

Last one in is a rotten egg ( roll )

As soon as we stepped in, I knew this would become another favourite stop for us in the future.

This was probably the fanciest Chinese restaurant we have been to.

And the price was a reasonable $7.20 each. 

There were four long buffet islands, and it was the best selection we have ever seen by far.

Teresa cracked us up when she loudly exclaimed that she was prepared to make at least four trips up to the food line.

We had a great time visiting and laughing over lunch, and soon we were all slowing down.  Teresa had only made two trips to the buffet tables, and sadly announced she didn't even have room for dessert.

After lunch, Ed and Marilyn suggested a trip to an aloe vera farm.  It was very interesting, and we picked up some product.  We would like to return when we have more time, and take the tour.

Soon, we were back at the park, dropping off our friends.  We are planning to attend a Christmas evening Church service with them, and to spend Christmas day with them as well.

After that fun time, we had one little chore to do, and that was to pick up a few things from Walmart.

Oh, darn, you would not have believed how busy this place was. 

I was trying not to be grumpy, and yet in some sick way, fighting the crowds somehow made me feel a little more in the Christmas spirit.  Go figure ... lol.

Now we are back safe and sound, and the only thing left to do is watch some Christmas movies, and stay snuggled in our little home.