Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It's Presidential

While we were in College Station for the wedding of Caroline and Brian, we learned that it is the home of the George Bush Presidential Library. I have never been to a Presidential Library before, and I was excited to have the opportunity to visit. I knew Jim would be interested, and grandson Matthew as well.

We arrived early, and stopped to take a photo of the first group. (Our second group would arrive just a bit later.) Here are Andrew and Darci with Haleigh, Matthew, and Ella, as well as cousin Elizabeth's boys, Riley and Carter.
This statue stands in the courtyard at the museum, and is called 'The Day the Wall Came Down'. The artist is Veryl Goodnight of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The horses in the sculpture are leaping over the rubble of the Berlin Wall. There are two sister castings of the sculpture, one stands in Berlin, given as a gift of friendship from the American people to the people of Germany. The second is here, at the George Bush Presidential Library on the campus of Texas A&M University.
The museum visit begins with a short film, with narration by both President and Mrs. Bush, giving an overview of their life and the Presidency. It was enjoyable and informative, and a good way to prepare for the exhibits in the museum.

We started by exploring a special exhibit commemorating the 75th anniversary of the city of College Station, where Andrew, Matthew, and Riley checked out the model trains.
Haleigh and Ella greeted a fellow playing dominoes at the Dixie Chicken. They still play 'em there, and Jon has been working on mastering the game so he'll be ready for his next visit. Most of our group visited the Chicken while in College Station.
Also displayed in this area, was the Heisman Trophy belonging to John David Crow. He was, until 2012, A&M's only Heisman winner, and the only winner of legendary coach Paul 'Bear' Bryant. Of course, we all know that current A&M QB Johnny Manziel won as a freshman in 2012.
Interestingly, this jersey was hanging in the cottage in which we were staying during our trip to Texas. It was signed by the Heisman winner, John David Crow. I'm guessing the cottage owner is a pretty generous Aggie supporter. :)
We moved into the museum proper, and Riley and Matthew enjoyed learning about the Bush family on touch screen monitors.
They learned about George Bush's war years.
Ella checked out the little doghouses throughout the museum with answers to 'Millie's Quiz.' Millie, of course, was the Bush's White House dog.
It was interesting to look at the wedding pictures and replica of the dress worn by Mrs. Bush at their wedding.
A 'Capitol dome' marked George Bush's years in Congress.
Haleigh liked this statue of President Bush, and climbed right up to have a conversation with him.
So cute.
This is the best picture I got of the group with President Bush.
They all enjoyed looking in the windows of the White House.
It was all decked out for Christmas.
In the replica Oval Office, they had a chance to sit behind the desk and pretend to be President.
Here is Matthew.
President Riley.
I liked looking at the family photos behind the desk, which were the ones George Bush actually had in his office during his Presidency.
The girls took a turn on the phone.
Ella is making an important decision. Or ordering pizza.
Even Jim took a turn behind the desk.
President Adam.
Jennifer and future President #noahjames. :)
This is a replica of George Bush's Camp David office. I liked that there was a basket of frisbees under the table for the dogs.
Our group in the 'situation room.' Ready to resolve the next crisis.
Ella listens.
Haleigh takes her job quite seriously.
They checked out a replica barracks from Desert Storm.
And we learned about the Patriot Missiles.
At the end of the museum, each visitor has the opportunity to print a personalized letter from either President or Mrs. Bush. You type in your name on a touch screen, select from a list of questions you would like answered, and it prints out at the desk as you exit. I asked Mrs. Bush what advice she would give her grandchildren. I thought it was an appropriate question, and I received a thoughtful answer with three points of advice for both children and adults.

It was fun to be there during the Christmas season, and we enjoyed the decorations throughout the museum.
Our second group stopped for a photo before leaving. Noah, Jennifer, Bryan, Courtney, and Adam, along with Jim and me.
Our family has always enjoyed museums, and it was a treat to get to visit the George Bush Presidential Library, and learn about his life and legacy. We did not see President or Mrs. Bush, but we were told that they do visit fairly regularly. I would enjoy sitting down to chat with Mrs. Bush. I have always thought she was such a wise woman. And it takes a strong and special woman to survive being a First Lady AND a First Mother. :)

Monday, December 30, 2013

She's Like Texas...

A beautiful December day in Texas provided the backdrop for the wedding of our niece, Caroline, and her groom, Brian. Our family (15 of us!) made the trip down on Thursday, and spent a couple of days enjoying golf, shopping, dining, and touring before Caroline's big day on Saturday.
And a perfect day it was!

The wedding was outdoors at the beautiful Traditions Club. The guests were greeted by the Gunn family tradition, an engraved wedding rock.
Before the ceremony, we took a little time to take some family photos of our own. Here are Andrew and Darci, and Ella, Matthew, and Haleigh.
Bryan, Jennifer, and Baby Noah.
Little Harper was ready with his sign for Aunt Bubs and Brian.
Brian and Caroline did their pictures before the ceremony, and stopped for a little smooch before joining the family for the group photos.
The Gunn side of the family.
Shayne was all dolled up, complete with manicure and curls.
Caroline and Brian with Grandpa Stewart and Brian's daughter, Lindsey.
With Dad and Mama Gunn.
Mallory, the photographer, was the hardest working person there. She captured the day perfectly, with some amazing shots. You can see more of them on her Facebook page.
I especially like this one, by Mallory, of Impulse Photography, of Caroline and the little girls.
And here comes the bride!

It was a beautiful, simple, ceremony, perfect for Caroline and Brian.
"You may now share a kiss."
Of course, Steve had his typical response. :)
And Caroline and Brian had a priceless reaction.
Mr. and Mrs. Brian Rogers. (Photo by Mallory, Impulse Photography.)
Adam and Courtney before dinner at the reception. Courtney broke her arm on Monday before we left. She was a trooper for the whole trip!
Matthew and Riley played some Heads Up at the table.
Big Jon actually smiled at me! A miracle!
Cousins. Friends. Besties. Caroline and Jennifer. And now they're both married!
Ella was in awe of the beautiful bride. Caroline was so sweet with all of the little ones.
Mr. and Mrs. Rogers share their first dance.
A little Texas two step.

Matthew had my phone during the first dance. When he brought it back, he told me he took some pictures for me. This is one of his, taken with my phone. (I think he took about 40. He's learned well.)
They danced to "She's Like Texas" by Josh Abbott Band. Perfect song. Click here to listen for yourself.

Caroline and Daddy Steve.
Mama Gunn and Brian.
Caroline and Brian's dad swing it on the dance floor.
Matthew had a turn dancing with the bride too.
Haleigh and her daddy.
Ella and Uncle David. They're buddies now.
This looks a little dangerous. That's one of Brian's friends taking a turn dancing with Caroline.
The little girls danced too.
The happy couple.
Cousins. These two, just three months apart, grew up together, close in age and close in their bond. They played hard, talked (and talked), argued, bossed a little, and loved being cousins and friends. They had the same little stomp, a habit of slamming doors, and the same way of coming through with a smile after the storm.
Caroline has a new name, but our 5 always thought she should have 'Stewart' in there too. We love you, Caroline Rebecca Stewart Gunn Rogers!
Shylah and David.
Adam and Courtney.
Darci and Andrew.
Jim always wants to dance, but I know that means that I'll have to leave my camera unattended.
And then this happens. :)
Brian and Caroline had awesome custom boots for the wedding. So cool.
Late in the evening, Jim warmed up around the fire with Shayne and Haleigh.
Jon and Caroline shared a song...
and some laughs.
There was dancing...
and singing...
and more dancing...
as the bride and groom were enthusiastically and lovingly celebrated.
Another amazing photo by Mallory, of Impulse Photography to sum up the beautiful, special day we shared in honor of our sweet Caroline and her husband, Brian. May God bless your marriage today and in all the days ahead! We love you Brian and Caroline!