Tales from the Hill's Country

Quips, stories and observations from our adventures in marriage and parenting (as told by Katie).

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cave of the Winds

Two more posts on Buffalo, then I have some fun in-town adventures to share!

My parents have visited Niagara Falls twice and I've grown up listening to stories of the natural wonder. So when we booked our tickets to Buffalo to see Uncle Dewey and Deb get married, I knew that I'd have to tack on an extra day to see the Falls. And I'm so glad I did! (Sadly Chris had to head home early and didn't get to experience it... but he's done it before so we don't have to feel TOO sorry for him.)

The first thing we did was to head over to the Cave of the Winds.

Here, you don ponchos and walk near, then right up to, the Falls. Pretty neat view of the water! Here are Danielle, Michelle and I getting ready for the "tour" (which is really more of a walk-through):
 Hey Danielle, give my readers your model pose!
Work the camera, girl!

I kid...

In addition to the ponchos, they also give you some hip sandals to wear. Here is proof that Conrad (Chris' cousin) has feet:
Seeing as I've never seen Conrad wearing anything other than tennis shoes... this was a must take photo for me. (His are on the left... the right pair belong to PD.) 

Didn't think you'd get that special treat in today's blog post, did you?? 

Lastly, here are the newlyweds in their ponchos:
Funny thing about the ponchos... they're not all that effective! Well, probably because we all chose to visit the Hurricane Deck. This was at the base of the falls and water literally poured onto the deck! Thankfully it was a sunny day and it didn't take us too long to dry off. 

Here's a photo from the top of the falls, showing the Cave of the Winds:
(If you like, click on the photo to make it larger.)

The deck to in the bottom center of the photo is the Hurricane Deck. Having lived through many hurricanes, I can tell you it's aptly named. Water pours down in droves and it's very windy. Which is why the sign they have hanging from the Hurricane Deck is pretty funny: "No Smoking". Whew! I'm glad they posted that! Seemed like a great place to light up! 

Tomorrow I'll post more typical photos of the Falls. I'm so glad we got a chance to enjoy the Cave of the Winds. It was truly an amazing way to experience such a powerful natural wonder!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Circus is in Town!

While in Buffalo to celebrate the wedding of Uncle Dewey and Deb... I got to see a pint-sized circus!

I didn't get an outside photo of the circus van... but here's an inside view:
What you don't see is little Avery in the way back, the two ring leaders (in the front seat) OR the MASSIVE amount of movement that was occurring! As one little circus performer would receive his juice box, another juice box would come flying out of the window!

Here, Uncle Bob is posing with the "Incredible Matching Cousins!"
Rya (the older girl) is also a Lion Tamer. And Avery (the younger one) can grow flowers out of her head!

Next up are the impossible to differentiate twins!
Again, that photo doesn't show near the amount of movement that was reality. These two "little" guys are dense 30 pound bundles of energy! And even though their parents would say there's differences between them... I'm pretty sure one is just a clone of the other. Thankfully, one bumped his head so I could tell them apart by the bruise. (Did I just say thankfully a kid got hurt?!)

One of the Impossible do Differentiate Twins (don't ask me which one... this is pre-bruise) doubles as a golf ball wrangler!
That movement is a bit more indicative to the reality of these 5 little performers.

Here they are posing for what I assume is a publicity shot:
This happy circus is part of the Hill Krewe and they were a JOY to play with! As one child would near the canal, another would near the street... while yet another would near the fire pit. The moms would chase them around bouncing them back towards the  middle (like little pin balls) and the kids would preform exciting acts for everyone's enjoyment. Acts like: Chair on Table, Corn on Ground, Grassy Corn Tastes Alright to me! and Entering a Room while Falling Down. I loved holding (when they would let me!), wrangling (to the best of my ability) and influencing (I taught 4-year-old Rya about the importance of voluntarism on the college resume) these little cousin's of Chris'. But probably the most fun part was watching PD watch the circus. His Baton Rouge compound is about to have two little in-residence performers... and I have a feeling he'll be a great Ringleader! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Boat Ride

Chris loves Buffalo wings. I know very little about them, except that they are not, in fact, made of buffalo. Turns out, they were invented in Buffalo, New York. I found this out during my recent trip north. I also found out (thanks to my pal, Harley) that in Buffalo, they simply call them "wings".

The gang decided we should eat some authentic "wings" so we loaded up Uncle Dewey's boat and headed down the canal.
Uncle Dewey (or should I say "Captain Dewey") steered us straight... with a little help from his adorable grand-daughter:
  Woah! Watch the water, Dewey!
As we passed people on the banks, PD would greet them from the boat and even encouraged a few cheers.
A short half hour later we were docked and ready to enjoy some wings. Our party of twelve doubled the amount of people in the place and I'm pretty sure we shattered their record for "number of wings sold on a random Monday night".
Although a pain to eat, "wings" aren't that bad! In fact, I have to admit I liked them! Chris was so pleased. In addition to the tasty wings, I also thoroughly enjoyed getting there by boat. It was another grand adventure in Buffalo!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


When is the last time you ate at Denny's?
Before my trip to Buffalo, I would have no idea! But we were staying in a small town (Lockport) next to a smaller town (Gasport) so Denny's was our restaurant of choice for breakfast.

Now I like food. I like good food. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed Denny's breakfast!

Here was my choice, the Ultimate Skillet:
It was delish!

I often feel sorry for picky eaters. Come on, get out there, be adventurous! But I realized I had my own snobbery when it came to Denny's. Now I'm not saying I'll be choosing it over my local brunch hangout... but next time I'm in Lockport, New York... you'll be able to find me at Waitress Wendy's booth enjoying some coffee, an ultimate skillet and a warm biscuit.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mystery at the Lockport Inn

Each room at the Lockport Inn has a little sitting area on the front patio. Like this:
That was the room two doors down from us.

Here is our neighbor's patio:
What?? It's missing a cushion!

And finally, check out our patio:
No cushions! Where did they go? Did we ever have any? Did the neighbors steal them?

It's a mystery. One that we never solved...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lockport Inn

During my time in Buffalo, I was able to stay in the charming Lockport Inn.
The Lockport Inn is the kind of hotel that might be featured in a scary movie. At first in all seems quaint and lovely:
But take a step closer (deary)... to see a flickering "open" sign and an elderly couple ready to check you in...
Later you'll find some lovely potted plants:
Wait a minute... is that the lamppost from Narnia?
Yep! I'm pretty sure it is! But look, all of the animals have turned into stone!
And the children!
 Even the clergy aren't immune to the White Witch's spell!
All of this was a little concerning... but then we found our room... (cue scary music)...
Fake flowers!!!! There are very few reasons that fake flowers are acceptable. And if they are used, they shouldn't be dusty. Actually, this photo makes them look much nicer than they were in real life.

But don't worry, not all the flowers were fake. Here is a potted plant outside:
Can you spot the flower that God didn't make?

In the end, it was nice staying in a non-chain hotel. It added a little charm and adventure to the experience. Plus, it gave us a chance to enjoy this little gazebo:
And take in some fresh air on the patio:
And in the end, no one really got turned to stone or killed...the elderly couple weren't scary murderers (just a little too fond of statues and fake flowers) and we never heard any ghosts or zombies (though our group did provide some late night noises) so I guess it isn't all that scary after all.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Different Kind of Draw Bridge

*I'm back from Buffalo and finally able to post about the trip! I wrote some fabulous, hilarious blogs while there... but my iPad app, Blogpress failed me and wouldn't post them. After I shook my fist at them, I re-wrote the blogs... if you find them to be anything less than fabulous or hilarious, please blame Blogpress, not me.*

During our time in Buffalo, we spent a large amount of time on Uncle Dewey's front lawn. We had a circus show of children, multiple dogs roaming, a grill-out and too many lawn games to count!

We also got to see that drawbridge in action!

Now I've seen two types of drawbridges. One is where the bridge divides in the middle and both banks have half of the bridge on each side. The other is similar, but the bridge doesn't divide.

But I've never seen a "drawbridge" like this one:
It rises up like an elevator! Have you ever seen such a thing?? I hadn't!

Every time a boat would come by, the lights on the bridge would flash and the bells would ring. On Saturday we were all on the lawn and when those bells rang we'd gather on the banks to prepare for our cheer:
ooooooOOOOOOOOO!!!! Welcome to Gasport!

The people in the boats were so tickled that many of them drove by twice! Just another day with the Hill Krewe... :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lawn Games

Uncle Dewey lives in a quaint town called Lockport. Or it might be called Gasport... I'm getting conflicting reports.

His door opens to a canal where boats travel from... somewhere to... somewhere else... the Hill family isn't really into details. As the boats come down the canal, they hit this bridge:

It's a drawbridge! I thought that was so cool! Unfortunately I didn't get to see it in action... but maybe today?

Later in the evening we played lawn games and sat around the fire:

Did you notice something different about PD? See it here again in this photo of him enjoying his morning coffee:

It's a white beard! He grew it in Canada and decided to keep it for a while. It's been met with rave reviews by everyone here... what do you think?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, August 11, 2011

On the Road Again

Whew! It has been a BUSY summer! I feel like singing that "I've been everywhere" song. And the few weekends that I've stayed in Houston, I've been playing host to family and friends. On their own, each experience has been wonderful (and I'll blog about each one in the coming weeks) but the culmination of them has been... tiring.

Things like doing laundry from a suitcase just to repack it, having to tell friends, "let's get together in October" (no exaggeration) and the constant keeping up of guest sheets and towels has taken a toll on me. Add to that my procrastination of some LARGE projects in the craft room and it's been exhausting! Again, individually (and in the moment) good times... but I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend at home with Chris... in October!

As I've repeated, each adventure has been exciting and fun and this week is no exception. I'm in Buffalo, New York to attend Uncle Dewey and Deb's wedding.

Now, don't get confused. That is Uncle Dewey, but that is NOT his bride-- it's his mom... Gma!!

Here is a photo of Dewey and Deb...

I would have led with that one...but it's bury! Well, when you're blogging at the airport with your iPad... you make due.

Slowly but surely I'm becoming more purposeful with my hectic schedule and I plan to return to regularly scheduled blogging soon enough.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Back at the Beach... Kind of

It's been over a week since I returned from my personal paradise:
But somehow I can't seem to shake that laid back attitude. Even though I'm home again... every time I sit down to blog or create something new for my store... I find that my mind is here:
Eventually I'll get back to daily blogs. And by eventually I mean very soon. But for today (and possibly tomorrow?) I plan on taking it easy and remembering the week where I got to enjoy my morning coffee on a delightful porch while skimming trashy magazines and chatting with my Louisiana Ladies.