Brian had to go to San Antonio for work this week, so I decided to drive over with the kids for the weekend. We haven't been there since 2006, when we went on our first weekend trip with Miles, who was only 11 months old.
I drove over on Friday night, which meant the kids slept most of the way. Brian had a couple of work things to do on Saturday morning, so after breakfast the kids and I walked over to my great-aunt's old house. It was only a few blocks from our hotel, but the kids were not impressed with the outing. "We are going to see a house?" Miles asked several times. "Why do we need to go see a house??"
I explained that this house was an important part of our family history. That his great, great, great-grandfather built this house for his wife (his great, great, great-grandmother) in 1853. And that many family members, including his grandpa during high-school, had lived in this house. I also told him that the last time he had been at the house, he wasn't even one year old.
Growing up, I knew it as Tia's house, which is what we called my great-aunt. As a kid, I used to stay here when we visited her in the summer.
I always found Tia's house fascinating. She never married, and had no children, so she lived alone. She always wore Mexican house dresses, and the blinds were often half-closed to keep out the heat of the summer. Fans were slowing turning in all the rooms, which were filled with the treasure she collected on her frequent trips to Mexico.
Since we were last there, they took out the lawn and planted roses. Painted the house a new color too. I am okay with all of that, but I really wish they hadn't replaced the brick walkway to the front door. It is strange to see Tia's house turned into a business (although they have done a nice job restoring parts of it). I still can't get used to not seeing the porch swing hanging over on the left though.
We also did some river-walking.
The kids thought it was cool for maybe five minutes, and then started asking when we were going swimming in the hotel pool.
(Smudge on lens courtesy of Ruby.)
Miles was into the Alamo, and the story of the battle, but it was three o'clock in the afternoon. In July, in Texas. So the heat was pretty hot. The girls were way more interested in the snow cone stands on every street corner.
We walked by the haunted Menger Hotel.
This morning Brian took the kids out for breakfast and a boat ride while I slept in, and I spent a short time walking the river walk while they were gone. It is really calm and quiet in the morning.
We checked out of out hotel around noon and headed for Luling, Texas, where Brian wanted to get some BBQ. Sadly, City Market is closed on Sundays, but Luling Bar-B-Q was open. Both are on the Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ spots in Texas, so Brian wasn't complaining.
While Brian waited in line to order (the entire time we were there eating the line never shortened from the counter to the door) the girls and I walked around a little. Here are a few things we saw:
Luling has enormous watermelons.
I mean, really, really big.
When the food was ready, we headed back to the restaurant. Brian had ordered ribs, brisket, sausage and chicken. And some mac and cheese for the girls. I then watched as he shared all that meat with Miles, my former-vegetarian child. They both kept looking at each other and nodding while they chewed. Miles liked everything.
Meanwhile, Ruby was yelling "more chicken!" at Brian. Clara had the mac n cheese. Clearly, she is now my favorite (and only vegetarian) child. We finished the meal with chocolate cake.
Afterwards we went across the street to the farmers' market to ogle more enormous watermelon and buy some peaches, jam and pickled veggies.
(There is something weird about those peas...)
Every time we venture out of Houston to another part of the state, I am reminded that 1) I am, and always will be, a hippie vegetarian california girl at heart, but also 2) small-town Texas is incredibly charming.