home, home on the range

Flew back in late last night, and it feels so good to be home. I had a great time in Houston - getting to see Brian's house, seeing him and his family, going to the quilt festival....that was all great - but I missed Karl and the kitties and I got tired of wearing the same pair of jeans every day. :)

I'll break my trip into 2 posts - the first being about Hallettsville and the second about Houston. Two big posts for one big trip, because everything is bigger in Texas you know.

On Wednesday morning I took a red-eye out of Seattle into Houston. The plan was that Dad and Barb would arrive around the same time as I did and Brian would pick us all up. That was the plan, but that didn't end up being the reality. Dad and Barb missed their flight and the next one didn't take off until around 6:00 in the morning and wouldn't arrive in Houston until around noon. Since we had plans to eat lunch at Sierra's school, and Brian had to cover the ER starting at noon, Brian and I headed out to Hallettsville and decided to have Dad and Barb rent a car when they arrived so they could drive in themselves.

This is my brother and sister-in-laws house. It's a pretty impressive house! It has a ton of potential, and I really like what they've done with it so far. I'm sooooo jealous of Michelle's sewing and quilting area! And looking at her fabric stash makes me feel like I don't have nearly enough fabric of my own. :)

I also got to finally see how the paintings that Karl did for the kids look in their rooms. I love the way they look hanging up on their walls, and I'm so proud of Karl for doing such a great job! I'm also really thankful that Brian and Michelle gave Karl the opportunity to practice painting - these were some of the first paintings that Karl had ever done!

Brian and Michelle have the sweetest dog named Chloe. She is a hoot! Still has quite a bit of puppy in her, so she's very hyper but oh so loveable.

Getting to spend some time with Brian was really great. My brothers and I aren't overly close - we're not the type that talks on the phone or visits with each other very regularly. I guess when your brothers are 10 and 13 years older than you and everyone is scattered all over the country with their own families and careers and priorities, it's pretty hard to stay in touch. So that makes these visits even more special when they do finally happen. He's such a funny, generous and smart guy - I could have stayed up all night chatting with him if I hadn't been so freakishly exhausted. I really hope that the whole family can start seeing more of each other in the coming years. Hopefully also next time we can see more of Sierra and Michelle, as we love getting to spend time with them as well.

One of the biggest delights was seeing how much Jackson, the littlest of Brian's kiddos, has developed since the last time I saw him. He's so much more outgoing and talkative, and talk about a CUTIE PIE!

This kid is going to have everyone wrapped around his little finger - how can you say no when he says "Please? Just for one minute? Just one??". I loved when he imitated me at breakfast on our last day in Houston - talk about the highest form of compliment, when a 3-yr-old wants to eat and drink what Aunt Laura is eating and drinking!

And finally, the cows! The area of Texas that they live in is most noted for it's brahman bulls, but I loved the longhorns. Those horns just kill me! So when Barb and I were driving up to Houston on Thursday morning she had strict orders to keep an eye out for longhorns that were close enough to the fence that we could get a good photo opportunity. When we finally saw some, we pulled off the side of the road and backed down the highway like a couple of crazy tourists! Those cows (not to mention the people driving by us) probably thought that we had lost our fool minds!

We may have looked like crazy tourists, but it was totally worth it to get those cow shots! :)

Next up, the quilt festival!

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