december recap: texas.

I knew the month of December would whiz by with all the holiday festivities going on.  The month started off with Greg’s parents taking us on a lovely trip to Wimberly, Texas. Once the twins are born, it’ll be difficult to go over there to visit Dhara’s bohemian great-grandmother, Granny Lanny.  So, we decided that it would be best to see her sooner rather than later.  The last time we went (last summer), Dhara was only 6.5 months old!

This time around we stayed in Uncle Phil’s amazing vacation home, Rim Rock Lodge, located in Texas hill country.  It was definitely a cozy Texas Christmas sitting by fires, chatting about the days when Granny Lanny was a little girl on her dad’s cotton farm, eating tasty vittles provided by the men from their hunting expeditions, and delicious kolaches provided by Aunt Teri, yum!!!  Dhara did get sick with an ear infection and fever for half of the trip, but nonetheless, it was a special time.

cozy warm fires

dhara spent alot of time “baking cakes” and cozying up w/ grandma + aunt beth

greg and another round of hunting

hunting, (l) dad shot a 10 point deer and (r) greg shot a 60 pound wild boar

our cozy room, equipped with a king bed — I think we’ll be needing one of these!

the ever sweet granny lanny

mom showing granny lanny a scrapbook she created documenting all of granny lanny’s handmade quilts through the years, and there were MANY of them!

dhara, beth, mom, aunt teri

she found a chair just her size!

aunt peggy and uncle phil

cousins: austin, greg, and drew

dhara loves her aunt beth

time with grandpa in hill country

grandpa smitty and dhara

dhara with grandpa and grandma

four generations of women

the end.

texas hill country.

beautiful texas hill country

It was such a blessing to have Greg’s parents take us down to Wimberly, Texas for a week of family and relaxation.  Wimberly is in Texas Hill Country — hill country is a region in central Texas that features tall rugged hills that consist of limestone or granite and is marked by wooded canyons cut by spring-fed rivers.  Wimberly is a beautiful little town full of trees, gravel roads, great local artists + shops and lovely views.

We stayed in the River House, one of Uncle Phil’s beautiful vacation rentals.  The River House had a little house next to it called a casita, which Greg, myself and the baby stayed in for a week, fully equipped with a washer and dryer in our bedroom — soooo helpful!  The week was spent hanging out there, as well as at Uncle Phil’s other two houses, the Sunset House and the Rim Rock House.  We spent most of those days on porches, rocking in rocking chairs and talking of days of old.  We also went tubing down the river, celebrated Uncle’s Phil’s 50th birthday, visited San Antonio, and squeezed in a lovely date or two with just the two of us.  (Mom, thanks sooo very much for watching the baby!  I know it was a great time for you both as well!).

Aunt Teri was so awesome to bring kolaches (a Czech delight) with her when she arrived in Wimberly.  My favorites were the blueberry + cheese kolaches, as well as the spicy sausage, jalapeno + cheese kolaches.  So yum.  When Greg and I lived in Baltimore we would make these all the time.  One of our favorites to make were kolaches filled with poppy seed jam, along with a steaming pot of tea — really made our Settlers of Catan evenings!

Here are some highlights from our trip.

meeting great granny lanny for the very first time

It was also Dhara’s first time meeting Granny Lanny.  The first meeting was sweet.  They just looked into each other’s eyes — Granny Lanny’s smiley ones and Dhara’s big bright ones.  Dhara is such a people person that she didn’t mind that she didn’t know this woman — this woman being her Czechoslovakian (or Bohemian, as Granny Lanny calls herself) great grandmother.

I actually spent alot of my time this trip hearing more stories of her childhood and married years.  She spoke quite fondly of her parents Sigmund and Eunice who came from Central Europe by ship and landed in Galveston, Texas.  She loved her dad — a very kind + good man.  She was one of five girls, and when the weather was chilly, her father would scoop each one of his daughters up in a homemade quilt, and place her on a stool in front of a wood stove to stay warm in the evenings.  As a child, she spoke Bohemian until she went to school and learned English.  Cultural dancing was a big part of her community growing up — babies were put on a quilt and placed under a table to nap while everyone danced.  She shared so many more neat stories.

dhara with great granny lanny, grandma smith + great aunt teri

eating aunt teri’s bracelet

sunset house pool overlooking the hills

hallway with a view, made with reclaimed wood

the uncle phil/dhara stare-down. uncle phil won.

aunt peggy and dhara

me knitting a cozy sweater for dhara

dhara with her uncle austin (greg’s cousin) and his sweet girlfriend, bonnie

granny lanny absolutely loved her new great granddaughter

uncle phil + his cardboard cutout at his 50th birthday bash, rim rock house

loved how aunt peggy decorated!

my little sweet sweet clapping her hands

dhara dancing and clapping her hands to the band playing “brown eyed girl”

granny lanny quietly enjoying the dancing from above

the end of a great 50th birthday bash

little toes in blanco river

she loved it

“remember the alamo!” san antonio, texas

on the riverwalk, san antonio, texas

with grandpa smith

with grandma smith

a family photo at the river house

lastly, this swing was a gift from greg’s parents to uncle phil for his 50th birthday — it swings from a great big tree at the river house and it’s officially been named, “the dhara swing”

texans love texas.

We are heading down to Texas for a whole week.  I’m leaving in a few hours, but before I go, I thought I would post a journal entry detailing my first trip there in 2007 to visit Greg’s family.  The following entry is from my old blog.  It’s a lovely reminder of the things to come this next week.  I hope to post more while I’m there.  See ya’ll in Texas!

December 12th, 2007

I like Maryland, but for some reason, I can’t say I LOVE Maryland.  That’s why I think it’s kinda cool to hear when people say that Texans love Texas — it gives me a homey pride inside…even though I’m not from around there.

This past weekend Greg and I, along with his parents and sister, spent 5 lovely days in Wimberly, Texas visiting family.  We stayed at his uncle’s riverside bed and breakfast with many people from Greg’s maternal side of the family — the Collins’.  This family really blew me away with their hospitality and all their wonderful story telling of years gone by.

This is the kind of family you write books about.  Books detailing their arrival to America by ship and living under a great big tree until they could build a house for themselves.  Books about cotton picking and becoming something great.  Books about making something out of nothing.  These are the types of books I love reading on a rainy day like today in my white cotton nightgown and snuggled deep down under the covers.  Maybe even an entire book on kolaches or kolacky!  These are usually sweet buns made from yeasted dough and usually have fruit or poppy seed filling — bohemian goodness at its best.  I had one with sausage, spicy jalapenos and cheese, and BOY was it tasty!!!

I didn’t realize that Czechs are also called Bohemians until I spoke to Greg’s grandmother who spoke bohemian when when she was a young Czech girl growing up in Texas.  Quite interesting.  I always knew there was something nomadic, gypsy-like and free spirited about my husband — but I could not pinpoint it until now.  : )  I can most definitely see where Greg gets some of his interesting quirks from after meeting these neat people.

granny lanny and greg

blanco river on a downcast day

the grandboys