Deep in the Heart of...
For Spring Break we decided to leave chilly Ohio and visit my brother, Joseph, in Texas. Joseph, his wife, Maren, and their son Nicholas (then about 18 months old) live in Irving (near Dallas) while Joseph is studying to be a doctor. His Spring Break was the week before ours, but we were able to get a free weekend with him and he was kind enough to study ahead so he could play with us when he wasn't in class.
We left Columbus on a Thursday night and drove, drove, drove. About an hour south of Columbus we had a mishap: Ranch dressing spilled in the car, so we had that to deal with. While Crystal was dealing with the spill, Lucas grabbed a bag of pita bread and dumped it all over himself. This caused some sort of reaction on Lucas (rash, mucusy breathing, etc.) which caused us to have to stop and get Benadryl for him. Then, Clara only slept like three hours the whole night and the next morning, as we had just gotten into the Dallas area, Clara threw up all over the car. Clara wasn't that sick, but Lucas was throw-uppy about the whole time we were there, and he was (un)kind enough to share that with Nicholas, who was sick while we were there, too.
Despite all the throwing up (and getting to watch BYU play its way to the Sweet Sixteen that week), we were able to go out and have some fun.
On Saturday morning, Clara and I went with Joseph, Maren and Nicholas, to Fort Worth's old-time stock yards, which have been refurbished into a cool tourist area. Crystal and Lucas stayed home because he was sick and she was tired from the all-night drive the night before and staying up with Lucas that night, too. (And being pregnant, but shhh! no one else knew at that point.)
Here is Clara showing off the Longhorn pen.
I love how their horns are spirally from the side.
So, like I said, they refurbished the old stock yards that had been used for years and years, but in about the 1970s it became cheaper to ship the cattle by semi-trailer rather than driving them to the stockyards and loading them on trains. Here is what the unrefurbished areas look like:
Here is what the re-done part looks like. Much nicer.
Clara and I tried to measure up to the big cows.
Twice a day they drive the herd down the road and we got to watch the cows mosy along the cobblestones. They don't run them because I think they would end up with tourist-kebabs and no one would want to go and visit.
Around the corner from the stockyards is Billy Bob's, which is the worlds largest honky-tonk. It has concert stages, a rodeo arena, tons of pool tables, a restaurant, and dance floors, all under one roof.
Oh, and the world record belt buckle.
Clara got to dance a little, under the mirror saddle (which is the Texas equivalent of a disco ball).
We had a great day Sunday, going to church and then having dinner with Joseph's classmate, Matt, who also happens to be one of Crystal's great friends from college. It is a small world.
On Monday, Joseph went to school and then we picked him up and went to the Dallas Farmers' Market. It was so fun to be in shorts and to be around all the bright, fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables. (It was snowy when we got back to Ohio).
The food looks great and so do my girls!
We then drove through downtown Dallas and got to see the cool larger-than-life statues of a cattle drive which is in front of the conference center. It is really an impressive sight.
Then, we got to have a fun cookout at a park in Irving. Joseph and Maren were very hospitable, breaking out their grill and letting us just hang out and enjoy the wonderful Spring weather.
It was a wonderful trip and so cool to see where Joseph and Maren and Nicholas and Soon-t0-be Daughter (we found out they are expecting, too, shortly after we got home).
PS - Doesn't Crystal look cute eating her mango from the Farmers' Market.