October 31, 2011

Trip Planning... Livingston style

Reeter Ranch, Burton, TX

In the Livingston family, most dinner discussions revolve around the destination of the next family trip.  I think living in Katy, TX has that effect on people.  “Must get away from the splash pads”. 

Everyone campaigns for his or her favorite location.  Those with the most money (Andrew’s Note: And the loudest opinions) win.  And if you mention anything lame like, oh, Yellowstone Nation Park, you have to sit in the corner with the dachshunds.  Chile will lick your arm.  You won’t make that mistake again.

Previous trips have included Malaysia, London, China, Italy, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Bali etc, which should alert you who won the discussions (cough… Dad/Mom).   And some or all of us go.   One year we left Chris. (Our bad…)

Good times.  Stressful discussions.  

Over many cups of Starbucks coffee, we as a family (cough… Dad/Chris) decided that next Thanksgiving (2012) would be the next official Livingston shindig.  Deciding a date that we all agreed on is nothing short of a miracle.  See, Dad, myself and Andrew are very flexible.  Summer?   Sure!  Christmas Break?  No worries!  Spring Break/Thanksgiving?  Why not? 

All you family peeps with ‘normal’ jobs cause so many problems.  WTG family… WTG.   (A lot of you don’t know what that means since Allison’s the only one that says it.  It’s not “What the goat??” like I thought, but “Way to go”.  Now you know.)

In true Livingston fashion, Dad decided that we needed to go on a trip….to plan our trip.  YES.   One of my Dad’s awesome board members has a ranch out in Burton, TX and our whole gang caravanned out of the city. 

It was like a Toyota car parade. 

First was Dad in his elitist Camry… go D.L (Dr. Livingston)… go.  Followed by Chris, Hope and Jake in the Corolla.  Lame.  Then Andrew, myself and Minnie in the Rav 4.  And Lindsey was a little behind us at first but she and Brian caught up quickly due to her lack of acknowledgement of state highway laws.  She was in a Rav 4.

BTW (By the way), Mom has a Rav 4 (Roughandtumble Allterrain Vehicle 4.  Just kidding, I have no idea what that stands for). Mine’s better, it’s red.   

Additionally, the newbies:  Hope and Brian, have the wrong brand of cars.  This doesn’t bode well.

 ANYWAY…. We arrived at a beautiful ranch out in Burton located on around 700 acres.  It was awesome!!  Mom and Dad as well Andrew and I had our own bedrooms.  Chris, Lindsey, Hope and Brian (by the way… we like Brian!) all bunked upstairs.  The dogs stayed in their respective crates.  Or at least Minnie did, Jake has confinement issues.  Much like his owner who had to be sat on during nap time as a kid.     

We did nothing.  It was great.
Looking at the living room from the Loft

Notice Hope hiding the kitten from Minnie

Surveying the land

Look husband.... we could run a Great Dane Ranch!

Sisters... sisters, there were never such devoted sisters
 This whole mini-vacation thing is something I could get used to really quickly.  In fact, Mom and Dad, we as kids give you permission to purchase a retreat home an hour outside of Houston for family usage.  Please and thank you.  (Or one in Colorado, one in the Hill Country, and one in Maine!)

Mom brought enough food in case of a nuclear attack.  Why bring 3 loaves of bread when you could bring 8 ½?  Yes Mother, yes.  Over-planning is why we love you.   Breakfast included Octopus Pie (not an irritating acronym, but needs explaination – it’s a bread-y thing with brown sugar, walnuts, maple glaze, and grilled octopus)…. Mmmmm……and sausages and fruit.  Lunch was grilled burgers and sausages and desserts.  Dinner was steaks the size of Minnie’s face.  And we grilled an entire bag of marshmallows for s’mores.  Clarification:  I ate most of the entire bag of marshmallows.  Not sure what the rest of them did.  (Well done!  You saved me a clarification!)
Husband and father bonding time

Lunch time!

We got to dust off our Frisbee golf skillz….Andrew and Chris won!  (A sport!  Seriously!  I won!)  Without our usual bag of putter, mid-range and driver Frisbees, Andrew and I were not at our peak.  (And if that statement surprises you… I’ll refer you to this nerdiness….  We also took a dusty ride on a few ATVs….hiked, read and watched the dogs maul each other (and a creepy little kitten who was caught in the crossfire)…. All in all, a very unproductive (and awesome) time.

Safari!!  We saw...an ant....a dead worm....and what looked like a horse from far away!

We like Brian, yes we do, we like Brian... how about..cough, nevermind

That's not a mushroom cloud

Minnie's BFF, Jake  "You two, fight to the death!!"

Chrizzle!  Notice the dang kitten

After dinner we began preliminary discussion on family trip 2012.  Here is a recap of 2 hours worth of discussion:

Dad: Allison is Madame Chairman.  Everything will go more efficiently.
Me:  So where does everyone want to go?
Dad:  We’re going to Turkey.
Me:  So…. Is there even a point to this whole discussion?
Dad:  ____ (Think that neutral Jack-in-the-box face)
Lindsey:  Morocco!
Chris:  Is there coffee?
Mom:  I don’t care.
Hope:  Morocco.
Andrew:  York!
Me:  Hearing that song “One of these things is not like the other” in my head. 
Dad:  So… Turkey?

And that was about it.  But it took 2 hours.  (I believe my contributions were either unheard, rejected, or otherwise deemed unworthy.  Thus….At one point Andrew crept off and changed into his Darth Maul costume and snuck up on our campfire.  (YES! IT WAS AWESOME!  Except when the security light went off on the cabin I was sneaking around and gave me away.)

And if you didn’t blink as to why Andrew even had a Darth Maul costume with him, I’m proud of you.  (Well done.) 

Fun times. 

Maybe a little Kum By Ya here would have decreased the tension....(Or perhaps a scary visit from Darth Maul)

"Wipe them out.  All of them."


  1. What about Norway? you should all come here for christmas :) we can go skiing :)

  2. We thought about it!! Too expensive though :-(

  3. Just for the record, I stated three times I did not care where we went! I believe it was Allison that sais we should do Turkey!

  4. Ich Bin Ein Berliner11/1/11, 9:08 AM

    Europe? Germany? Berlin????