& Betsy Blais
FAMILY EVENTS - 2016
Here is a snapshot of the things going on around Bruce and Betsy's place in 2016. These included holidays, birthday parties, outings and other fun events.
This is a place holder for Zach's birthday party. Bruce was out of town for this event and was not able to take any photos. He is looking for some from others. Check back later for the completed section.
From March 17th to the 20th, Bruce and Betsy went "trailer camping" at Dinosaur Valley State Park south-west of Ft. Worth with some friends. "Trailer camping" is in quotes because some of my friends don't consider using a trailer is really camping. During that trip, they visited the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, historic Grandbury and Bruce did some mountain biking at Dinosaur Valley SP. They also viewed the fossilized dinosaur tracks in the Paluxy River there.
The Fossil Rim Wildlife Center has an interesting history. It started as an exotic game ranch and has evolved into a conservation park. A more detailed history of the center can be found at the Fossil Rim History page.
There were many, many animals at the Wildlife Center. Bruce took nearly 100 photos and only a few were selected for the web page.
One of the first things they encountered was the ostriches.
Next they saw Gazelles.
An Oryx wandering the area.
A Fallow Deer fawn.
Betsy at the rail at the gift shop and observation deck.
A panoramic shot of the Center from the observation deck.
Below is a European Red Deer. Normally they would have full antlers, but they shed and re-grow them after mating season.
Next, it was off to the giraffe area. These guys see a hand out.
And one of them decided to accept Betsy's offer!
Down the road, they came to the Zebras. This is a Hartman's Mountain Zebra. They also had Grevy's Zebras.
The Wildlife Center has a large Cheetah section. Below is one of the Cheetahs chilling in the grass.
Below is a Wildebeest Antelope.
During the trip in March, Bruce and Betsy stayed at Dinosaur Valley State Park south-west of Ft. Worth where they were "trailer camping". "Trailer camping" is in quotes because some of their friends don't consider using a trailer is really qualifies as camping. Follow this link to the history page for Dinosaur Valley SP.
The kiosk below shows the location of the dinosaur tracks preserved in the limestone riverbed and provided background on the dinosaurs that made them.
Another kiosk provides a more detailed description of the two species that made the tracks.
Below is Betsy at one of the more popular dinosaur tracks viewing areas. It was March, a bit overcast and cold, but that didn't seem to keep everyone out of the river.
Below is an area across the river with a bunch of tracks.
There are a couple of fiberglass models from the 1964-65 New York’s World’s Fair on display at the park. These were donated by the Atlantic Richfield Company in 1970. Tracks removed from the park are on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and at the Texas Memorial Museum in Austin. Below is Bruce and Betsy with the model of an Acrocanthosaurus.
There is also a full-sized replica of a Sauroposeidon.
Bruce and Betsy "chilling" with some snacks before dinner.
There were a bunch of cardinals that visited the site.
Betsy roasting marshmallows over the fire after dinner while Bobby looks on.
During the trip to Dinosaur Valley, Bruce and Betsy took a side trip to historic Grandbury Texas, a cattle town dating back to the 1800s. Below is Betsy on the square with one of the many historic buildings in the background.
Betsy on the street near the Opera House built in 1886. The streets around the courthouse square are full of boutiques.
Only in Texas will you find women's boutiques with names like the Mariposa Rodeo!
Below is Bruce with the main square and courthouse in the background. He has shopping bag duty.
And after a hard afternoon of shopping, dinner at Babe's, one of Texas' finest chicken dinner restaurants.
Easter in 2016 was celebrated at Tim's house. Below is Betsy and Bruce.
Below is Betsy with grandson Bret.
Bret with his girlfriend Amy.
Bret with his mother, Holly.
Holly with Brian.
Chrissie with Jim.
Below is the whole gang at two tables enjoying Easter dinner.
In May of 2016, Bruce, Betsy and friends from the Dallas Cycling Trail Riders took a long weekend trip to the Ouachita River Haven Resort in Arkansas. The trip included a stay on the Ouachita River in cottage, canoeing and kayaking on the river and mountain biking on the Womble Trail.
Below is Betsy, Bruce, Jaclyn, Bobby, Rebecca, Ron and Nicole at the start of a 4 mile trip down river.
Betsy and Bruce opted for a canoe while everyone else went for kayaks.
Betsy and Bruce in their canoe as seen from one of the kayaks.
Rebecca passing a rock outcropping.
Ron doing "water donuts".
Bobby spilling water after a spill in the water.
A close shot of Rebecca as she approaches the landing at the end of the trip.
A close shot of Jaclyn and Nicole as they approach the landing at the end of the trip.
A close shot of Nicole as she approaches the landing at the end of the trip.
After the trip down the river, it was time to start dinner. Below is Bobby working the Weber.
Shortly there after, it was time to eat. Below is the group at the dining table in the cottage.
After dinner, it time for a little "camp fire sitting".
In 2016, granddaughter Alissa turned 17. As usual, the party started out with everyone sitting around socializing. This year they ordered pizza and everyone is eagerly awaiting its arrival. Below is Jim, Chrissie, Bret and Holly.
Below is a photo taken from the other side of the room showing the rest of the gang. Along the wall are Bret, Holly and Brian. Across the back is Zach, Betsy and Tim.
Once the pizza arrived it was time to dig in!
The party game this year was to see who could build the tallest structure using small marshmallows and toothpicks.
After building structures, it was on to the gift exchange.
The events ended up with the cake and candles.
Bruce and Betsy are in the process of migrating the birthday parties from home to a restaurant chosen by the honoree. When Bruce's birthday came up, it was off to Babe's Chicken Dinner restaurant in Carrollton. Below is Betsy, Jim, Chrissie, Holly, Brian and Bruce.
Continuing with the tradition of going out for birthday parties, it was off to the Venezia in Richardson for Betsy. Below is the usual cast of characters at the dinner table.
Betsy's gift that year was an "Ever Us" friendship ring from Bruce.
Bruce & Betsy spent a 4-day weekend, August 4th through the 7th, at Inks Lake State Park, a very popular recreation area near Buchanan Lake northwest of Austin in the Texas Hill Country. Several of Bruce's mountain biking friends came along for the "ride".
No trip up SR-71 from IH-10 is complete with a stop at Hrusk's for some of the best turnovers in the state. Below is Betsy and Lu Anne finishing their turnovers as Koda is checking things out.
Just before making the last leg out to Ink's Lake SP, they topped of at a station in Burnet. This eliminated a trip back into town once camp was set up.
After topping off, they then headed out to Ink's and set up. Below is a photo of the happy campers at breakfast on Friday morning.
After breakfast, there was a little relaxing before heading to the trails.
The trail ride was in the morning before the afternoon heat. For the afternoon, they rented a kayak for some fun on the lake. Below is Betsy up front on the way from the park store back to the trailer for some sunscreen. The trailer and Suburban can be seen in the distance.
After retrieving the sunscreen, it was down the lake to Devil's Waterhole. That is Bruce & Betsy in the tandem kayak. Swimmers were jumping off the rocks in the background.
They paddled down a blind canyon to enjoy the scenery.
On the way back, they passed several party barges making their way down to Devil's Waterhole. Below is one with a canopy and smoker going on the back. Not all had canopies, but all had smokers.
Later on, Lu Anne tried to get Koda into the kayak. He was reluctant to say the least.
Eventually, he relented and got into the kayak, but jumped out as soon as they started to paddle away from the shoreline.
There were all sorts of watercraft on the lake. Below is a ski boat towing an inflatable couch with four people on it.
Back at camp, everyone helped out with the cooking. Below is Grant with his "masterpiece" salad.
After dinner, it was time to relax. Tony had a guitar, so they sang songs. He knew a lot of songs played by America.
A photo of the campsite on the last day.
We celebrated the twin's birthday at Dick's Last Resort in Dallas in 2016. We had switched from parties and gift exchanges at home to dinners out. This year, they selected Dick's.
Interesting place! These were hanging over the concessions stand.
There was quite a crowd! Below is the gang of 11.
Grandson Bret and his girlfriend Amy.
Anna and her boyfriend Jim.
Tim and Zach.
Alissa, aunt Holly and Brian.
Betsy and Bruce.
And finally, the cake!
The celebration was held indoors in the comfort of air conditioning. This is Texas after all. Below is Holly and Zach waiting on the egg roles and mozzarella sticks.
The whole team in the kitchen: Tim, Jim, Brian and Betsy.
Brian made a fruit pie and Betsy made a banana split pie.
And finally, dinner. The proof of the pies was in the tasting, and they tasted great!
In October of 2016, Betsy and Bruce made a trip to his home town in Daytona Beach, Florida for his Uncle Mike's 96th birthday. Below is his aunt Jean (99) on the left, cousin Michel behind her, and Coleen, Michel's wife is across the table, and his uncle Mike on the right.
At the second table was Gillis, Brad Blais (Bob's son), his son, Conner, and girlfriend, and Brad's wife of 1 year, Anne. The family with the baby was Dr. Aires', who was Mike's partner.
Below is a solo shot of his cousin Mark.
Betsy with uncle Mike.
Bruce with his aunt Jean who was 99 years old at the time.
Bruce with his uncle Mike below.
Most of Jean's kids and Bruce's first cousins. From left to right is Andy, Bruce, Linda, Bill, and Liam, Linda's grandson down in front.
Since the party was on a Sunday, Bruce took Betsy to Mass at the church he grew up in, St. Paul's Basilica. It is a very ornate church built in 1927 in the ancient Roman style.
Below is Betsy beneath one of the stations of the cross between two of the 24 stained glass windows in the church.
The view below looks across the church and gives an indication of the ornaed detail in its interior.
In addition to attending Mass at Bruce's boyhood church, the went by his boyhood home. This house was built by his father in 1947.
Breaking with tradition, we decided to have grandson Bret's birthday party at the house and not at a restaurant. Below is Bret with Betsy, his grandmother. It was his 28th.
Bret with his girlfriend Amy.
Bret with his mother, Holly.
Blowing out the candles!
Amy's children Alyssa and Addy with Bret.
The first frost of the 2016/2017 winter occurred on November 20, 2016. It wasn't much more than a reminder that winter was on its way.
The photo below shows the temperature that morning at 33F.
With the weather turning cold, it was time to bring the deck plants in.
The women in the family were on a holistic quest in 2016, so Thnanksgiving this year was organic.
Even the fixings were organic. In addition to the turkey and stuffing, most of the sides were organic. The bread, mashed potatoes and deserts were not organic. The meal was as good as any other Thanksgiving, but quite a bit more expensive.
Below is Betsy with grandchildren Alissa and Bret.
Holly making the pecan topping for the organic sweet potatoes as her husband Brian looks on.
Bruce carving the turkey.
Nine of the ten for dinner. Bruce is behind the camera.
The view from the other end of the table with Bruce at the end. Alissa is behind the camera for this shot.
In 2016, Christmas was a split affair. The family celebrated at granddaughter Ariana's in-laws up in McKinney. Below is a photo of everyone getting dinner ready.
The gift exchange was one where we drew numbers, open gifts and could steal from someone else. Below is Holly opening a gym belt for valuables as husband Brian looks on.
Granddaughter Ariana with a super-flask.
Granddaughter Alissa with a pair of bunny slippers.
The following day, December 26th, the celebration continued at the Blais residence. Below is the family getting ready to open gifts.
Another photo of the group in the family room.
Below is a photo of the other side of the room.
The festivities ended with dinner for 16.
Version 0.7, December 26, 2016