Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spontaneous trip detour to.... Del Rio, TX

The day before we left San Antonio, we were planning our route to El Paso, TX through Ft. Stockton on I-10.  A very spontaneous opportunity came up and we took it!  I'm so proud of us because as most of you know, we are more planners than fly-by-your seaters :)

Old friends that we hadn't seen since 1996 while stationed together in Montgomery, AL, contacted us and invited us to visit them in Del Rio, TX.  What a treat for us!  We thought we were mainly going to visit them and have a BBQ.  Well, they had many more adventures waiting for us :)

The welcoming committee!!
T-6s were flying right over our truck!

When we were on the road to Del Rio, we get a text message from Donna.... "You have a flight sim scheduled at 4:00!"  Jon's friend Glenn is retired Air Force also and is now a flight training instructor for the T-6.  He invited us to jump in the simulator and have some basic flying lessons!!!  It was an amazing experience!

I love the caption above the door!

Inside the big black ball is where all the magic happens...
the T-6 Flight Simulator

We all got a brief flying lesson so we knew what some of the buttons and gauges do.

DT expertly flying over Del Rio.

Jolie did a great job, especially considering she could barely see over the dashboard :)

Faith with the eagle eye and steady hand flew under the bridge without crashing on her very first attempt!

Getting my lesson... looking forward to my turn, even though I'm already naseuseous from watching the kids fly :)

Monty reliving the glory days....
Like Father....

Like Son...

T-6s.... these are what we flew in the simulator.

Our very cool host and hostess:  Glenn and Donna Quarles

A gorgeous evening at the Quarles home...

Unfortunately, I didn't get good photos of the signs around our campground.  Here are two though to show how close we were to the Mexico border:

When pulling out of our campground onto the the street, when you look to the right...
you see this sign.  The long road is Amistad Dam, with the Port of Entry to Mexico at the end of the dam.

"Turn left off of the main road... Hwy 90,
go a couple of miles....
turn right just before the dam at the last right turn in the USA,
to find the campground."

This is our campground security:  the Border Patrol!
I took this from our campsite :)
Site #3... what an amazing view!
Southwinds Marina on Lake Amistad, Laughlin AFB fam camp

Breakfast with a view...relaxing and just awesome...
Math with a view....an excruciating temptation
Ok, ok...you did great with your studies.
Now go explore the lake!

Time for lunch!

Mexican Coke

DT's new buddy... Brady!
Last time we saw Brady he was DT's age  :)

Next up, afternoon adventures on Lake Amistad with Glenn:

"So Glenn, how fast does this bass boat go?"

"This fast!"

We discovered wild goats on the hillside at the water's edge!

They were so cute and fun to listen to.


What else lives up there????

"Mr. Quarles, may I drive?"

After a long day of play on Lake Amistad....
a precious moment.

Back to the Quarles to feed the deer... and eat pizza!

We had an amazing weekend with our old friends!  Since we only had 2 days there, we left many things undone... like a trip across the border to Acuna!  We'll just have to go back again someday :)

Thank-you Quarles and adios Del Rio....

Sunday, January 29, 2012

San Antonio, TX

Texas off ramp :)

Everything is bigger in Texas!

Our campground in San Antonio.... Fort Sam Houston

Site #17... The kids loved this metal pole.  Can you see Jolie swinging from it?
They played firemen a lot!

Fort Sam Houston National Cemetary 
Ft. Sam is a big training post, with lots of students walking around the post in formation.  The kids thought this was great and were acting like the students by marching around the campground in formation.  Our neighbor saw them and said they were doing a great job.  He rewarded their efforts with a coveted Commander's Coin!  We had no idea who he was!  Turns out he was a very special soldier.

The kids receiving a Commander's Coin from the Sgt. Major Academy Commander, who just happened to be our neighbor in the RV park :)  We meet amazing people on this trip!

School time
We celebrated New Year's Eve in San Antonio... see all the candy on the table?
Yup, we were trying to stay awake until midnight :)
We did!!!  We played lots of games, watched a movie, and crashed into bed at 12:05am!

The first day of 2012 was a Sunday.  We were so excited to attend The Summit, with Pastor Rick Godwin http://summitsa.com/.  The last time Jon and I attended his church they were in a different location.  It was was during an Air Force move from Montgomery, AL to El Paso, TX...before kids.  His New Year message was awesome, as always!  We're so looking forward to living out God's plan for us this year.  After service, as we were leaving... we discovered THIS next to the foyer!!!

The kids had a blast and rode it at least 5 times in a row!
The pastor purchased it from a mall that was getting rid of it.  What a unique vision!

Our warm days in San Antonio were filled with activities.  We took advantage of the beautiful weather with many trips to a huge playground and the volleyball courts.  We ran errands, including another stop at Apple.  We turned in our older laptop hopefully for the last time....all repairs are finally done and it seems to be working great now.  I'm so thankful for Apple Care!

One errand that we had to do, I wasn't looking forward to... at... all.  We had to go to Verizon because it seems that some how our Mifi was accidentally thrown out!  Yup... we think it happened when cleaning out the truck when we first got to Beaumont.  Good items were thrown in a plastic bag and granola wrappers were thrown on top.  The bag was put in the camper.  Then someone saw the trash on top and threw it out.  We didn't discover this until the end of the week though because the RV park had free Wifi, so we didn't miss our Mifi.  

So... we prayed that God would give us favor and the cost wouldn't be too severe.  We told the Verizon rep what had happened and that we needed to replace the Mifi.  We didn't carry insurance on it, we only had it 6 months, and we had just renewed our phone contracts the month before.  Bummer....  we were looking at an early cancellation fee of $145 to stop service on the missing Mifi and $279 plus tax retail price for a new Mifi.  Ouch!  Well, we didn't have a choice, we need internet service.  The rep went to the back to get a new device and came out saying that his manager is waving the early termination fee and wanted us to start a new 2 year contract with the new device, making it FREE!  We just stood there, jaws on the floor!  We DID NOT ASK for any of that!  We knew it was our fault and were willing to own up.  So, our potential $424+ mistake, ended up costing us nothing... AND we got a new upgraded beautiful 4G Mifi!  Whoop, whoop!!!!  God most definitely works out all things for our good, even our Verizon mistakes :)  We're so thankful for His favor!

Since we didn't have cable at the camper, Jon and Daniel had to find a place to watch the Ohio State Buckeyes play the Florida Gators in the Gator Bowl.  They went to Dave and Busters and stumbled upon a group of OSU alumni that were there to watch the game!  The boys had a great time watching the game with a bunch of wild fans, even though the Buckeyes lost.  Daniel told me when they got home that there were people there that cheered even louder than daddy during the game.  :)

Some of you know that I'm an Air Force veteran.  I enlisted in 1989, while a student at Chico State University in California.  I attended Basic Training at Lackland AFB, June-July 1990.  I'm so thankful that I had an opportunity to serve my county.  I'm also thankful that my service allowed me to complete my Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and to meet my amazing husband.  :)  I was on active duty for 2 years when I met Jon.  When we got engaged, I moved from active duty AF and joined the AF Reserves.  This allowed me to move whenever and wherever Jon was reassigned and to earn an officer's commission.  I was honored to have my husband commission me.  I resigned my commission when I got called into a new service...motherhood.  I served America honorably for 2 years active duty and 6 years in the reserves.

The base where I attended basic training is in San Antonio.  I graduated one month before Desert Shield started!

I lived in the dorms in the background.  I marched endless laps around this same area that those current basic trainees are marching.
Believe it or not, in the Texas summer heat... I actually fell asleep while marching!  :)

Parade grounds--my troops standing at attention

Showing my kids a little bit of my history...priceless.

A day in downtown San Antonio:
Enjoying the Riverwalk on a gorgeous day!

Any guesses???
A chocolate covered jalepeno :)

Hm... no takers on the chocolate covered jalepeno...they all went for ice cream.

San Antonio field trips:

The Alamo

"Victory is certain!  Trust in God and fear not!  Remember The Alamo!"

Medical Room

Rebuilding The Alamo

Fort Sam Houston Museum

The kids working hard on a scavenger hunt through the museum.
They earned authentic military patches for all their effort!

US Army Medical Department Museum

This was an amazing exhibit:  Wounded in Action Art

This is inside a train car... from a train used as a medical transporter and clinic.

This is an amazing museum showcasing military medics through all wars.  So many returned home from war thanks to their service.

Cruising on to Del Rio, Texas: