Thursday, March 22, 2012

Celebrating 50 Years of Gran-mom and Granddad!

My grandparents got married on St. Patrick's Day fifty years ago. To celebrate their 50th anniversary, my whole big Irish family took a weekend trip to San Antonio! There were 27 of us (my parents and sisters, Jeff & I, my grandparents, 4 aunts, 4 uncles, and 11 cousins!).

We wanted to surprise Gran-mom and Granddad, so my aunt and uncle just told them to pack three days of clothes and be ready to leave Friday morning. Everyone arrived at the hotel family by family on Friday, so they were surprised over and over again until everyone was there. We drove in from Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas, and even Baton Rouge, and every single one of their kids and grandkids made it. They were thrilled!

I was so happy to see my little sister, Kristen (she came straight from Fort Worth):

We started the weekend with Friday night dinner at Joe's Crab Shack on the Riverwalk. We had a blast cracking open crabs and crawfish with my cousins!

We told our waiter what we were celebrating, and he had Gran-mom and Granddad come up to the front of the restaurant and "renew their vows" with a couple of fried calimari rings. Too cute!

After dinner we took over a section of the hotel lobby and just hung out for a while. I brought green velvet cake balls to celebrate St. Patty's Day, so we munched on those (but I forgot to take photos of them so they won't be making it onto the blog until next time I make them!).

Such a pretty hotel!

Me, my sister Karoline, and my cousin Duncan

Look at this cool car in the lobby!

Karoline said this picture looked like she and I were Kristen's "consciences on her shoulders."

We stayed at the Drury Plaza on the Riverwalk, and it was just lovely! The hotel was beautiful - it's a renovated old bank building. Plus, the breakfast was delicious and every evening they had a free snacks & cocktails! Jeff said it was the best hotel we've ever been to. Haha!

We pretty much claimed this area of the lobby for ourselves. :)

On Saturday morning, we all got up, donned our green St. Patty's Day attire, had breakfast, and took a little walk around the hotel. There was a beautiful view of San Antonio from the rooftop!

As any San Antonio trip should, our started off with a trip to the Alamo! Do non-Texans know what the Alamo is? The Alamo was the site of a pivotal battle of the Texas Revolution (when they gained independence from Mexico!). The Texans lost the battle, but a remarkably small number of Texans managed to take down a ton of Mexican soldiers, so it was a turning point in the war. "Remember the Alamo!"

The family walking to the Alamo (photo from my Aunt Traci)

We took some cheesy tourist photos:

"Look! A big tree!"

"Pecan tree! I love pecans! Mmmm!"

After the Alamo, we headed off toward the Riverwalk...

So pretty! (photo from my Aunt Traci)

(another photo from Aunt Traci)

(another photo from Aunt Traci)

Jeff and Kristen were making fun of this sculpture, so I took their picture by it.

They decided it represented "angst," so they had to take an angst photo. Conveniently enough, the clouds cooperated too!

These two make me laugh so much. They just crack me up! 

Speaking of people who crack me up, how funny is my Granddad? I just love this photo! I don't even know what was going on here, but it's hilarious!

Pretty river...

My parents!

Eventually we found a description of the sculpture saying it represents "friendship." So of course there had to be a friendship photo!

Pretty Riverwalk!

We found a "real life leprechaun," so my grandparents took a picture with him!

We eventually made it to La Villita, a little village of artisan shops and cafes and stuff. It was full of people celebrating St. Patrick's Day!

My cousin Patrick, posing like the colorful sculpture.

My cousin Scotty, posing like another sculpture.

Jeff, Granddad, and my Dad!

When we headed away from the Riverwalk to get lunch, we found a vent blowing air from the street! Of course, the kids had to take some silly pictures:

My sister, Karoline

My cousin, Christopher

My cousin, Sydney

After lunch, a few of us went over to the Rivercenter Mall. My sister accidentally wore the only green shirt she brought on Friday night instead of saving it for Saturday, so she needed some green accessories! Jeff found a cute St. Patrick's Day hat... haha!

"Saint Patrick is my Homeboy"

We managed to find a few cute little green hairbows!

Green w/ black-and-white damask for me, Mossy green for Kristen, and green zebra print for Karoline!

There was a St. Patty's Day boat parade on the Riverwalk that afternoon, so we grabbed a spot to sit and watch.

Around that time, we found the second "real life leprechaun" of the day!

The boat parade was cute... lots of bagpipe players, a school marching band, and boats sponsored by various companies.

There were so many people there!

"Everyone's Irish on the San Antonio Riverwalk!"

The last boat in the parade was releasing dye to color the river green! The river's already pretty green, but it was especially festive after the dye!

After the parade, we had some time to kill before dinner. Of all my cousins, there are six of us that are close in age (and the rest are a lot younger), so the "older group" of cousins went to Pat O'Briens for some piano bar St. Patrick's Day fun and hurricanes! I absolutely loved the hurricanes at Pat O'Briens in New Orleans, so I was totally not complaining about heading there for a few hours!

Jeff, my sister Kristen, my cousin Joey, and my cousin Dalton

My cousin Dalton, my cousin Mark, and me

Let me tell you... Pat O'Briens is FUN on St. Patrick's Day. We ended up at a front-and-center table in a room with two piano players, and we just drank hurricanes and sang our hearts out and had a blast. Plus, my sweet husband got the bartender to give me FIVE extra cherries in my drink, so I was a happy camper.

Only my sister can make Jeff do something like this. He would never dance at the front of a bar unless she made him do it! I guess sister-in-laws are pretty persuasive. :)

We saw another leprechaun at Pat O'Briens, and he gave us green St. Patty's day beads!

Eventually it was time to head back to the Riverwalk for dinner at Republic of Texas. We enjoyed delicious food with the whole family, and Gran-mom and Granddad were just so happy to be there celebrating their anniversary with everyone!

(photo from my Aunt Traci)

(photo from my Aunt Traci)

So cute! Granddad has a necklace that said "Irish Prince" and Gran-mom had a crown that said "Irish Princess."

If Jeff and I are as happy and in love as these two in 50 years, I will be a very blessed girl. They're such amazing role models for their entire family.

We rented one of the riverboats ahead of time (my grandparents were being surprised left and right, so they were all surprised and excited about the boat), so after dinner the restaurant loaded it up with dessert and drinks, and we rode around the river while eating cake! So fun. Everyone had such a great time.

Everyone on the boat! (photo from Aunt Traci)

Gran-mom and Granddad

Aunt Tracie, Uncle Chris, Joey, Uncle Mark, and Aunt Lori (oh, and cake!)

We packed the boat very full!

Haha... Granddad and Jeff have a lot in common. They like each other I think.

When we got back to the hotel, Granddad got everyone's attention and said the most heartfelt things about how proud of all of us he was and how happy he was that we all found the time to be there and celebrate with him. It was so sweet. I just love my grandparents!

On Sunday, we all got up and went to church together at the San Fernando Cathedral.

This is blurry, but it's all I have!

So pretty!

We arranged ahead of time for the priest to give Gran-mom and Granddad a special blessing, but the church went above and beyond and saved pews in the front for all of us and welcomed us in the pre-Mass announcements. Like everything else, Gran-mom and Granddad were surprised about everything at church, and they were just so excited and cute!

Getting an Anniversary Blessing

After church we all went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch, then we hit the road to head home. It was a wonderful weekend, and a great way to finish off my Spring Break!

Happy 50th Anniversary to my wonderful grandparents!


  1. Great pictures! So sorry we missed the blessing :(

  2. Wow!! That is awesome so many of y'all were there for this occasion!! Made my heart melt. Happy 50th to your grandparents!

  3. What an awesome, awesome experience for you all!!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning about your family, especially your beautiful grandparents.