November 13, 2009
In November, we had the amazing opportunity to help Papa, Dustin’s grandad and a retired Army helicopter pilot, take to the skies again on his 80th birthday. As a surprise, the family bought him a training flight (30 minutes classroom time and 30 minutes flight time) on a Robinson R44 from Alamo Helicopter Tours. Papa didn’t know about the flight until we pulled up to the airport (although he had his suspicions as we approached Stinson Airfield)…the smile on his face was as big as the moon when Dustin told him that he wouldn’t be riding in a helicopter, but actually flying one.
What surprised us the most was that the 30 minute flight school actually turned into a 2 1/2 minute conversation between Papa and his instructor (an Aggie by the way)…when they walked out of the classroom we all thought something was wrong (b/c it was supposed to be a 30 minute lesson), but the instructor simply said “this guy knows it all, it’s time to fly”. WOW – even after all these years Papa remembered everything and was able to convey that to his instructor.
So, off they went – Dustin got to ride in the back seat and he said it was truly amazing to see Papa take control of the copter so effortlessly and so confidently. Dustin said that several times during the flight he could hear Papa in the microphone coaching himself, telling himself what to do, and reminding himself how to do it.
When it came time to finish the flight there was about 7 minutes left and the instructor asked Papa if he wanted to ‘buzz downtown’ to see the sights, but Papa declined…he instead wanted to practice his landing and take off one more time! He had so much fun and it was fun to be a part of such a special day for him.
Overall, Papa gave the day & Alamo Helicopter Tours a thumbs up…or is that a Gig em?
To see all the pictures from Papa’s flight, click here.
You can view some videos that Dustin took on YouTube – here are the links:
November 13, 2009
After climbing Enchanted Rock on Friday, our anniversary weekend continued with the afternoon showing of Walking with Dinosaurs on Sunday. We actually ended up making our reservations for the show at the last minute and although we opted for the ‘good’ seats, we weren’t expecting what we got – FRONT ROW! So not only were we walking with dinosaurs, but we were smelling their breath and looking up their nostrils…but I’m not complaining. The show was actually fantastic and despite being asked why we were at the show without kids (the show was geared more toward the elementary age), we enjoyed it! It was educational and just plain cool to see what visual graphics and effects were used to make the humongous creatures come to life! If you haven’t seen it, it’s definitely something to check out next time it’s in town.
To see all of our pictures from Walking with Dinosaurs, click here.
Click here to see a short video of tyrannosaurus rex going after a triceratops.
November 11, 2009
What better way to celebrate a 2 year wedding anniversary than spending an entire day getting all sweaty with the one you love…climbing a 425 foot tall pink granite monolith that protrudes from the earth demanding authority from all that graze its slippery slopes? The amazing pluton I speak of is Enchanted Rock, the largest pink monadnock in the United States! This imperial dome is found just 50 miles outside of San Antonio inside of Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, near the quaint little town of Fredericksburg. Being the outdoorsy types we are, Dustin and I thought this was a great idea and indeed this resplendent rock gave us an adventure that was well representative of the past 2 years we’ve had together – simply stunning.
After hours of hiking Enchanted Rock and the caves, crevices, and trails around it we ended up at Auslander Biergarten for dinner and drinks…Dustin was quite thirsty after hiking all day.
Happy Anniversary to us and here’s to many more! To see all of the pictures from our hike, click here.
November 11, 2009
On October 24th my best friend Merick married her man and I was standing by her side to watch it all take place! After a perfect ceremony set against the most beautiful blue sky with the roaring Guadalupe River in the background, 2 became 1 as Stanchak became Starr (what a cool last name, don’t ya think?). The ceremony and reception at the gorgeous Marquardt Ranch in Boerne culminated a week-long flurry of wedding activities, from tyeing tiny pink bows on programs to pedicures with the bridal party to feasting with friends and family at the rehearsal dinner held at cozy Scenic Loop Cafe. Everything was p-e-r-f-e-c-t as is the love shared between Merick & Chad. What a delight to see their love joined in holy matrimony!
November 11, 2009
Just like a Kenny Chesney lyric “the sun and the sand and a drink in my hand”, our trip to Rockport a few weeks ago provided just the right mix of all of the above! We went to visit Dustin’s Uncle Bruce & Aunt Susan and they showed us what their city was all about. Friday night was full of laughter and chat while we played catch-up on each others’ lives. Saturday found us by the sea – at lunch in Port Aransas and then at the Seafair (an annual Rockport festival…so fun, reminded me of how much I miss my small, home-town festivals!). We visited all the craft booths and then settled in for some beverages and live music. The men had fun playing show and tell with their phone applications – check out what Bruce did to Dustin on his IPhone…
Seafair was followed by a delicious dinner. Sunday was not our day of rest as Bruce and Dustin tackled the task of setting up a new home network. The girls spent their energy shopping at Shop the World (www.ShopTheWorldRockport.com) – a fabulous store showcasing furniture, art, dishes and nick knacks from all over the earth (similar to World Market, but on steroids and much cooler!).
We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend visit. BRUCE & SUSAN – thanks so much for your hospitality, we really enjoyed our visit (and the delicious turkey chili – I’ve already made it once!). We hope that we can get together again soon.