Texas Trip #5 – The Big Party!!

Having successfully arrived in Texas (LINK), and having spent some time with my Sister in Law (my wife's sister), my Brother in Law (my sister's husband), and his parents (LINK), and having made the trip to Austin and surprising AtHomeDaddy (LINK) - the time had come for THE BIG PARTY!!  

(All photos in this post have been “captioned”.  Hover mouse over photo to see caption.)

The day before the party had been a long one indeed...  We did not get to bed until after 2am the night before.  We had gotten up early for a morning walk, and to start off towards Austin from Dallas (a three hour tour drive).  We met up with (and surprised) AtHomeDaddy and the rest of the AtHomeFamily.  We spent time at Zilker Park, got the whirlwind tour of Austin before heading back to the AtHomeCompound.  After visiting with AtHomeFamily, the Mother of Five and I headed back to the hotel to unpack, clean up, and then reconnect with AtHomeFamily for dinner, and then desert.  As we parted ways for the evening.  We were invited to stop back out at their house to hang out while they prepared for the party.  We went back to the hotel and crashed hard.

Not my photo - My photo was lost when I drove off with my camera phone on the roof of my car...  But, this is exactly what my Texas Waffle looked like!The next morning we (unintentionally) slept in (we did not set an alarm).  After getting up, we went for a brisk walk to a group of four GeoCaches (LINK) near our hotel, returned to the hotel, cleaned up, and headed down for the hotel breakfast.

MAN - these Texans sure love their state!  There are images of Texas, and the "Lone Star" all over the place.  They even make their waffles in the shape of Texas!  The only "State" shaped waffle iron I could find was the Texas Waffle Iron.  (I've checked.. I wanted a Minnesota Waffle Iron).  

I do have to admit, the "Texas Waffle" was quite delicious!  Was it because of the recipe, or was it because it was shaped into the state of Texas???  You be the judge.     

After breakfast and before we headed to the AtHomeCompound, we had a couple of errands we needed to run.  Not knowing how late the party would go - we also opted to attend Church services on Saturday evening (not wanting to go to Church on Sunday morning).  Since Mass ended just as the party started - the timing was pretty good!. 

While we were out running our errands we stopped for a quick bite while at the Lakeline Mall.  We wanted something light because TheBossLady was putting out a big spread at the party, and I did not want to spoil our appetites.  I had the Tuscany Turkey Panini while the Mother of Five had the Panini Club from Frullati Cafe.  I had never tried a Frullati before, and I was pleasantly surprised!

Somewhere during the day, we looked at the clock and realized we were running tight on time.  We called AtHomeDaddy and told him that we would not be able to swing by the house before the party.  We were feeling a worried about appearing like we did not want to come over – after all, we were invited to come and "hang" with the party prep team at AtHomeDaddy's place...  But, by the time we finished our errands, (keeping mass time in mind) there was only one hour before mass started.  It was not quite enough time to "hang" back at the AtHomeCompound, yet a little to early to go sit in church too. 

So, what did we do with our limited time?  Well, there were two VERY SPECIFIC GeoCaches that I wanted to nab before we left Austin - and since they were not far from the church we found to attend - we headed out and made these "special" finds!  (LINK)

After making these finds, we headed out to find the Church.  We arrived with a little spare time, so we quickly gassed up the Nitro, and headed back into to Church.  The Church (St. Louis, King of France Catholic Church) was very nice.  I was struck by a couple of observations.  The church had been modernized, but despite the modernization, there were still three ropes that came through the ceiling that were attached to bells in the tower.  The alter servers actually pulled the ropes to ring the bells.  (The bells at our (very old) church are motorized.) 

I actually liked watching the servers ring the bells.   I also noticed that there were SIX alter servers (as opposed to our two or three), and three officiating clergy on the alter (not sure how many of them were Priests vs Associate Pastors or Deacons).  Other than these cosmetic differences, the Mass felt very familiar (one of the things I like about the Catholic Church, but that's a post for another time). 

Once mass was finished, we headed over to the AtHomeCompound to join the festivities!

Irene - a 1961 Chevrolet Biscayne



The party was just warming up when we arrived.  The first thing I noticed as we arrived was "Irene".  Irene is a 1961 Chevrolet Biscayne owned by AtHomeDaddy's friend Kyle.  Irene was parked in the driveway.  Truly a beautiful car with a classic look and in AMAZING shape! 





Chillin' & Grillin'




After admiring Irene, we walked into the back yard through gap in the fence (that cost AtHomeDaddy two hammers to remove) where we were immediately welcomed by AtHomeDaddy (who was chillin’ at the grill), and soon after joined by TheBossLady. 







We checked in with the hosts, and visited for a few minutes before I spotted another attendee that I had to say hello to. 

It was time to meet MARGE (a 1968 Chevrolet long wheel base step-side 1/2 ton pickup truck that AtHomeDaddy rescued from a family farm, and is in the process of restoring).  Marge was parked in the back corner of the yard, and was busy keeping the beverages cool for the partygoers. 

  Marge!! (1)       Marge!! (2)

FOF & MOFMarge and AtHomeDaddy introduced me to what may likely become a "favorite" of mine.  Shiner Bock

I'm usually a fan of the "lighter" beers (Michelob Golden Light being my regular beer of choice – I am, after all, watching my “girlish” figure).  But on this day, the Shiner Bocks went down pretty easy.  Maybe it was the fun festivities, or the great company I was in, or the Texas heat (or a combination of all three) - but what ever the reason, I truly did like (and plan on stocking up on some) Shiner Bock!  I may have found my "specialty beer"!  (Assuming I can find this Texas native up here in Minnesota!)    

In addition to the cold beverages being dispensed by Marge, there was plenty of good food (BBQ’ed hot dogs and sausage, tortilla wraps, Cupcakes!!beans, chips, snacks, beverages, etc, etc, etc) – and, if that was not enough – TheBossLady and ThePrincess started walking around with BOXES of home made cupcakes, frosted with TheBossLady’s special home-made buttercream frosting!  (I thought I heard at one point that they had made over two hundred cupcakes!!)  Oh, and for the record… They were DELICIOUS!!

One thing that was omni-present throughout the party…  Chickens. 

Yes, live chickens!!  You see, the AtHomeFam are urban chicken ranchers.  There is a long story behind how they have ended up with the birds they do, and if your interested, you will have to pop over to AtHomeDaddy’s blog and check out the ninety or so posts about their urban chicken paradise by following the HERE CHICKY CHICKY link.)

Chickens!More Chickens!!


I hear y’all asking…

What’s better than watching a flock of urban chickens running around a back yard?? 

Well, I’ll tell you. 

Watching a bunch of kids chasing the chickens that are running around the back yard!  Yup, those chickens provided the children attending the party a lot of entertainment – which then provided the adults a lot of entertainment by watching the children run around trying to catch the chickens that were running around!

Big smile after finally catching a chicken!Finally, Caught one!At one point, a cute little gal who had been chasing the chickens around had actually CAUGHT ONE!!  She was wandering around the party holding that chicken, with a grin of pride stretched from one ear to the other!!  It was adorable!!  (The chicken was rather patient and understanding too!)

From there,  the party became a whirlwind blur of activity! 

(Was that blur due to the Shiner Bock??)

We were introduced to so many of the AtHomeFamily's family and friends. 

Everyone we met was so hospitable, kind, and nice!!  So many of them knew about our story, and asked us if we were the folks that came all the way from Minnesota!  It was almost as if they were eager to meet us!  There were so many questions about Minnesota, and a lot of (good natured) teasing about our winters (while we returned fire with teasing about the skin blistering Texas Summers). 

I failed to mention (in my previous post) having met "The Mother of the Bride" (TheBossLady's mother) the day before.  She was so pleasant to talk to, and seemed so genuinely delighted to have us there!  She was truly an example of what I think of when I hear the words "Texas Hospitality”!  It was a pleasure to have been able to meet, and spend some time with her!  I got to spend some time visiting with her during the party too!

Enjoy an intermission in this long post… 

Miscellaneous photos from the party…

Time for a cold one!     Overview

Mother-of-five     Starting to get the spread put out

Overview     Mingling

Visiting     Visiting

Ariel view #1     Ariel View #2

Ariel View #3     Father of five - vistiing

All the kids had a blast too!  In addition to chasing chickens around the yard, there was Impromptu backyard football games, inflatable bouncers (one somehow got unplugged and started deflating until AtHomeDaddy came to the rescue) and or course, the backyard playground!

Pick up Football game (Removed fence panel in background)     Playscape

Inflatable Castle     Deflated Castle - AtHomeDaddy to the rescue!

Intermission over.  Hope you enjoyed!  We now return you to the post in progress!

One of the families brought a cooler full of water balloons.  Not just a cooler full of water balloons, but a cooler full of water balloons filled with ICE WATER! 

They were SUPPOSED to be shared among the kids attending the party (and, in a way they did get shared with the kids attending the party – but not towards each other).  Instead, the kids all swarmed AtHomeDaddy and gave him a showering of ice water filled balloons.  


And, for those of you who can not see the videos, here are some photographs of what went down!!
(sorry they are so blurry, they were live action shots, and it was starting to get darker outside) 

Water Balloon Attack 1      Water Balloon Attack 2

Water Balloon Attack 3      Water Balloon Attack 4

Water Balloon Attack 5      Water Balloon Attack 6

Water Balloon Attack - Aftermath 1  Water Balloon Attack - Aftermath 2  Water Balloon Attack - Aftermath 3

Soaked to the skin    

By this time, it was was starting to get late, and dark out.  Many of the partygoers with kids (that we were NOT one of - for a change) started heading home.  The “activity level” started winding down, but a core group of AtHomeDaddy’s friends were still hanging around.

Darkness falls as the party winds down     Accent lighting

This was about the time that AtHomeDaddy’s friend Peter brought a new guest to the party. 


AtHomeDaddy and Maria!Maria is an 18 x 36 inch black velveteen painting of a nude woman. 
(Censored to keep my “G” rating here on FOF)

Originally, AtHomeDaddy found Maria (in all her “glorious velvety nudeness”) while out one night “Junkin”.  Ever since, Maria has been passed back in forth between a group of neighborhood friends (often in quite humorous ways), frequently surprising her new host. 

(Many of Maria’s previous escapades can be found HERE.)

It seems that Peter had wanted to climb up on AtHomeDaddy’s roof, and hang Maria (in all her “glorious velvety nudeness”) on a portion of the chimney (Do Texans really need or use fireplaces??) that faced the back yard – so that all the partygoers could enjoy Maria (in all her glorious velvety nudeness)!!  At the last minute Peter decided against his plan for Maria’s newest move, due to the presence of so many children.  Instead, he waited until almost all the children had left, and propped Maria up against the house – where AtHomeDaddy met her face to face! 

There were many stories of Maria shared this evening!     

After the excitement of Maria’s arrival wore down, those of us that were still around gathered up some chairs, and sat down and started visiting.  At one point AtHomeDaddy brought out a guitar, and his friend Kyle grabbed it, and started playing (and playing well) – he added some nice background music to the party for a while

Kyle on the Gee-Tar!

As I sat and listened to the conversation going on around me between all these friends, it became apparent that they were all college buddies. 

Later on (as we were leaving) AtHomeDaddy mentioned to me that he hoped I was not board by all the “college reminiscing” that was going on…

To the contrary, I found it quite fascinating! 

As I started listening to AtHomeDaddy (and his buddy’s) college stories, I started thinking about some of my own college stories.  I was able to draw comparisons between AtHomeDaddy’s group of friends, and who (in my group of friends) matched personalities within this group of friends. 

As an example, AtHomeDaddy’s friend Kyle reminds me a lot of my Best Bud Ed!  Very outgoing with a strong personality and seemingly not afraid to try anything!

The stories continued on until sometime around midnight…  Folks were starting to get tired (myself and MOF included), and the party started breaking down…  We were the last ones to leave, and before we headed out we took a couple of last photos before we thanked AtHomeFamily for being such gracious hosts, for putting on such a great party, and for inviting us! 

Attending this party was REALLY a step out of my shell, and I am really glad I did it!! 

This party will be one that I will remember for a LONG time to come!

I would like to send a big thank you to TheBossLady!  I’m not sure how, but I do believe we managed to surprise him!!  This amazing party would not part of my memories had it not been for you!  AtHomeDaddy is one lucky fella to have such a wonderful wife who obviously cares so much about him! 

A huge thank you to all the family and friends of the AtHomeFamily!  It was a pleasure meeting all of you, and you all made us feel so welcome at the party!  We had a wonderful time meeting each of you!!

And, of course, a special thanks to AtHomeDaddy – Although it has not been quite “traditional”, I have had a great time getting to know you over the past three years!  You have made me smile and laugh when I needed it, and serious when the situation calls for that too.  You’ve been a sounding board, and and advise giver, and an ear to bend.  I am both privileged and honored to be able to call you “friend”. 

I thank you more than you know!

A couple of bloggers...

We said our goodbyes and thank you’s, and with “The Big Party” now in the history books, it was time for us to head back to the hotel… 

We had to be up early for a morning of travel, with a specifically requested stop along the way. 

We were quickly approaching our last day….   Deep in the heart of Texas!


  1. That party looks like so much fun. Maria (in all her velvety nudeness) is an interesting addition to the neighborhood. Ha ha ha.

  2. FOF--the mention of my mother as the epitome of Southern Hospitality will make her smile. What you saw is her true nature, 365 days a year. I think your mention of her was my favorite part of this post.

    Our entire family (at least the first 100 or so you met at the party) is grateful for your friendship. We hope to reciprocate with a Northern invasion in the summer of '11.


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