Fredericksburg – Wednesday

Wednesday – We were assigned breakfast duty, so John went downtown and picked up some doughnuts, kolaches, and apple fritters. We served these with fruit and juices.

donuts

After breakfast, everyone got busy packing, cleaning, and organizing.

car

We left the house around 9:00AM because I had a 1:00PM video call to conduct at home. Our drive was easy and I made several conference calls on the journey.

We made it home, safe and sound, and spent the rest of the day working, unpacking, and getting organized.

We had a wonderfully relaxing getaway with our family and we are so grateful for the experience.

fam

Fredericksburg – Tuesday

We woke up on the Fourth of July to the smell of cinnamon rolls and muffins, courtesy of Nelda. After a quick breakfast, we got dressed and ready and made our way downtown to take in the local Independence Day parade.

grands

Finding parking and a spot to spectate were easy because we arrived early.

waiting

e and g

We set up chairs for the kids and tried to keep everyone busy until the parade began.

m,om and g

A lot of people turned out for the parade and it was a sight to see.

m and j

There were lots of floats and emergency vehicles in the parade. Some of my favorite floats were politically themed. Ha!

fire

After the parade, we did a bit of shopping before heading home. We kept it simple for lunch and had leftovers (pizza, fruit, chips, and dip).

iza

More family joined us at the house, and the senior Hunters made ice cream with the kids.  Needless to say, the kids were mesmerized – some even too wound up to nap in the afternoon.

ice cream

We had a very traditional Independence dinner menu of hot dogs and sliders.

dinner

We spiced things up with chili, Rico’s cheese, and an assortment of fatty, yet delicious, chips. We topped all of that off with a dreamy brownie and ice cream bar.

dessert

We ended the night with sparklers and a fireworks display by Zach and Ian.

sparklers

Fredericksburg – Monday

Monday – After another great night of sleep, we woke up hungry.

emma

Fortunately, Mom was on breakfast duty and wowed the crowd with homemade tacos. Two snaps for Mom.

taco

We had another luxuriously relaxing morning of pool time and patio living.

am pool

Julie and I made another quick trip to HEB so that we could make sandwiches for lunch.

We ended up with a pretty nice sandwich bar for lunch, complete with chips, dip, and fruit.

lunch

After lunch, John, George, and I went downtown to do some exploring and shopping.

g and j

Later, John handled nap time with George, while I hit the gym for another workout.

Once nap time and gym time were over, everyone relaxed outdoors.

pop

We had popsicles and an antipasti spread for snack time.

anti

For dinner, we ordered West End Pizza Company and boy was it delicious.

dinner

The kids watched a little “Finding Dory”  before bed in the game room,  while all parents and grandparents cleaned and got organized.

Fredericksburg – Sunday

Sunday – We woke up well-rested and I immediately hit the kitchen for breakfast duty. Waffles, bacon, sausage, and fruit were on the menu.

break

We had a great, lazy morning playing and swimming outside. Naturally, no one had more fun than the kids.

pool

We kept things easy for lunch and ate leftovers. And because afternoons are for nap time, George and I crashed hard. With some extra rest, I was energized for an afternoon workout at a nearby gym.

gym

We spent the rest of the afternoon poolside/outside. Snack time was also a critical part of the agenda.

snacks

The kids also enjoyed afternoon popsicles.

kids pop

We re-purposed leftovers for dinner and made S’mores for dessert.

dinner

Naturally, the S’mores were a hit with the kids.

g smore

Okay, and the adults too.

smores

Fredericksburg – Saturday

We usually try to plan a small getaway over the Fourth of July holiday. This year we met up with family (my parents, the Rosenbergs, and the Hunters) in Fredericksburg, TX. In short, we had a nice, relaxing holiday in the Texas Hill Country. Our days were short in terms of agenda items – and that was just what we needed after several hectic weeks of work travel, life, and social events.

But let’s wind back to last Saturday…

Saturday – I woke up early and made a trip to my neighborhood gym for a quick run and workout. I’m training for a half marathon and I need to get in as many workouts as I can these days.

Post breakfast, I swung by our neighborhood doughnut shop to pick up a special breakfast for George and John.

donuts

While the guys ate, I finalized our packing and got the car loaded.

packed car

But before we hit the road, we took George to Soccer Shots in our neighborhood park.

After soccer, we hit the road and made a pit stop in Katy to pick up some lunch. 4.5 hours later (thanks to traffic) we arrived in Fredericksburg at our rental home.

George and John hit the pool with family while I unpacked and got things organized.

swim

I also made an HEB run with Julie. Afterwards, we laid out an epic snack for our travel weary and pool hangry family.

snacks

Dad played the role of grill master for dinner, and he and my Mom prepared chicken, corn, and sides for everyone.

dinner

We also celebrated Nelda’s birthday with a small cake and party crowns that night.

We all slept like logs that night. I blame the heat, but I was glad for every minute of it.

Celebrating Grand Mimi Emma

John, George, and I happily spent last weekend in Las Cruces, NM, for a family celebration. Specifically, we were there to celebrate George’s Grand Mimi’s 100th Birthday.

Friday – I returned from a two-night work trip to Las Vegas, NV, late last Thursday night, so turning around for a family trip on Friday was tough. However, we made it work. John and I double-teamed on Friday to get packing, breakfast, lunch, work, and George taken care of before we left on our trip. We arrived at IAH around 1:15PM and sailed through security. We picked up some water and a few emergency snacks before settling in at the gate. Before long, we were on board our regional jet and G was pumped.

g excited

G watched videos on his iPad during our 90 minute flight, while John worked and I listened to a few podcasts. The flight attendants were so kind during our flight. They both brought by extra complimentary snacks for George, including gummy bears and salami. He was so excited, and we were very appreciative.

g snacks

Several folks on our flight committed what I consider to be highly offensive acts during our journey – they brought stinky/smelly food on board. In this instance, folks brought on Panda Express, fried chicken, and French fries. Blerg. So rude. So smelly. Anyhow, our flight was uneventful and we landed a little ahead of our expected arrival time in El Paso. Once we were on the ground, we rented a car and made the easy 45-minute drive to Las Cruces, New Mexico.

new mex plane

We checked into the El Encanto Hotel and quickly got settled before driving to La Posta for a casual family dinner.

lp sign

I had the chile rellenos and they were only so-so. Blerg. I’ve been so spoiled with 10 trips to Santa Fe this year, and plates of the delicious chile rellenos from La Plazuela. At least the company was delightful.

dinn

Given the time change, it was an early evening for us and we were in bed before we knew it.

Saturday – I kicked off the day with a quick workout in the hotel gym. Afterwards, it was time for a casual breakfast at Mesilla Valley Kitchen. I had a simple breakfast of eggs, bacon, potatoes, rye toast, and a side of red chile. It was delicious.

break

Afterwards, John, G, and I did a bit of shopping at Nambe and a few other stores in Mesilla.

g btk

Later, once we were dressed for the day, we had a quick lunch at El Sombrero (an Arnold favorite). Our food did not disappoint. These chile rellenos were much better.

es lunch

After lunch, we attended a celebratory mass for Grand Mimi Emma, and then a long reception in her honor.

fam

We had a great time celebrating with family and I am so glad that we were able to make the celebration.

grand mimi

Grand Mimi Emma is still full of life and I am honored that she is able to be a part of George’s life.

g with ee

We were wiped out once the evening rolled around, so we were quick to head to bed early.

Sunday – Sunday began with another workout for me – they help to keep travel/life anxiety and stress at bay. After showers and packing, we visited the nearest Starbucks for an ultra casual Fathers Day breakfast. Then, we drove back to El Paso to catch our flight home.

plane

We ate lunch on board (Subway and Starbucks for the win!), and enjoyed our 90 minute flight back home.

g lunch

Since we landed early in the afternoon, we were able to celebrate John and my Dad with a festive Fathers Day dinner at Pico’s.

dads

Family is everything to us, and we were so fortunate to be able to celebrate both sides of our family last weekend.

arnolds

Hotel Review – The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans

During our weekend getaway to New Orleans earlier this month, we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans.

ritz

The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans is a luxury hotel with 527 guest rooms and suites. This hotel is widely regarded as one of the “best” hotels in the French Quarter, and is often referred to as the “Queen of Canal Street.”  This was our visit to the hotel, and I am sure it won’t be the last.

Location – The hotel is centrally located on Canal Street in the French Quarter and is a 20-25 minute drive from the airport (MSY). The hotel is literally at the edge of the French Quarter, offering a “close in” feel without being “on top” of the Quarter revelry.

Customer Service – The service at the hotel is beyond exceptional. This hotel offers high-end hospitality – more than you can imagine, and more than we could take advantage of during our short stay.  The hotel gets high-marks from us for communicating with us before our arrival, as well as acknowledging our wedding anniversary in multiple ways. For example, once we arrived in our room, hotel staff sent up a nice bottle of wine, a cheese and fruit plate, as well as a nice note congratulating us on our anniversary.

Accommodations – We stayed in a King Club Floor room at the hotel.

bed

Our large room had a very comfortable king bed, an oversized lounge chair and an ottoman, a desk and chair, a fireplace, a small bar area, and oversized bookshelves. The over-sized master bathroom had an over-sized shower, a generous bathtub, water closet, and double vanities. There was also ample closet space for our luggage and carry-on bags. Our room on the Club floor also granted us access to the Club – a decadent 24-hour lounge with unlimited offerings of food, drinks, and space.

Amenities – The hotel offers far more amenities than we used during our brief stay. The hotel features many lounging areas, shops for souvenirs and high-end luxury items, both a casual and high-end restaurant, a pool, multiple bars, a fitness center, a spa, and lots, lots more. The hotel also has a really gorgeous courtyard.

courtyard

Member Recognition – The Ritz-Carlton brand is somewhat loosely associated with Marriott, so we received some benefits as Platinum Marriott members, namely an upgrade to the Club Floor.