Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Visit to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo 2012

We took a Friday off and ventured out to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.  After a frustrating 20 minutes trying to find a place to park only to discover that the only public parking anywhere even remotely near the stadium was full we gave up and headed over to the park and ride at Fannin South.  It couldn't have been easier to park, and catch the train.

The boys of course were thrilled to get to ride on the train, even if it was all of a 2 minute ride.  :)

The train conveniently dropped us off about a close as you could get to the entrance to the hall with all the livestock stuff.  We hadn't been there 10 seconds when the boys were checking out the bees, and I was opening up the map and showtime guide and we ran into friends from work who had also just arrived.  It never ceases to amaze me what a small world it is.  Among the millions of people at the show to run into so many people you know.  Last time we went we ran into my Aunt's family.  And given how non-observant I am that's saying something!  Especially given that letting the boys roam around means that my view rarely gets above the 3 1/2 foot mark.  :)

We spent some time wandering around the Livestock area.  Checking out the newborn babies, wandering through stalls of animals, and of course petting as many animals as possible.

The boys' fascination with hatching chicks hasn't waned any either.  They loved to watch the baby chicks and asked a million and one questions about them. 

Afterwards we wandered out to the carnival area.  We sat down and watched kids chase robotic steers for a few minutes.

And then wandered on through the rest of the carnival in search of the pig races.

We found the pig race barn about 2 minutes after the show started, and by the looks of it quite a while after they had closed the gates as the stands were absolutely packed.  So we wandered back over to the food tents and grabbed dinner (the Texas Skillet Burritos were YUMMY!), and the boys of course devoured their corndogs and favorite kind of juice.  We finished just in time to head to the Mutton Bustin tent to watch the kids try to ride the sheep.

Kevin was kidding Ryan that he should try it.  Ryan was all but ready to sign up - "Get me a jersey, Daddy, so I can ride!!!"  When I told my grandmother later that Ryan was disappointed that we didn't let him ride she mentioned that the boys' cousin rode this year and hung on all the way to the end of the are where they had to pry her off and that if the boys wanted to ride we had better do it quick as they would only have another year or two before they were too old.  I figured they would be too young.  Maybe next year if they are still interested we will have to see what you have to do to sign them up.

After Mutton Bustin, or Button Mustin as the kids still call it we made our way over to get in line for the pig races.  We found seats near the starting line to watch the show.  As the announcer was telling us about the pigs and the races and they had shut the entry gates Ryan suddenly had to pee.  As Kevin was following Ryan out of the row and we were talking about where he might go Ryan bee-lined for the grass just in front of the trailer holding the pigs and in front of everyone dropped his pants and went.  :)

After the pig races we made our way to our seats in Reliant Stadium.  We found our seats just a few minutes before the parade started.

We were a little higher up than I would have liked, but being in small quiet section on the end of the aisle at the very top of the steps within feet of the bathroom couldn't have been better.  I will certainly be asking for similar seats from here on out. 

When the Train concert started and the boys were dancing precariously in the space in front of their seats I decided it would be safer to find a little more space - so we stood at the top of the platform while they danced for a couple of minutes.

That dancing must have been hard work, because a few songs later they were both out like a light.

Kevin and I enjoyed the rest of the concert while the boys snoozed.  Connor slept so peacefully that the didn't even bat an eye when I picked him and carried him the half a mile back the ramps and around a few rounds before deciding there was no way I could carry the 40lb lump all the way back to the car and passed him off to Kevin.  Kevin carried him still soundly sleeping the rest of the way out of the stadium while Ryan and I walked.  Kevin eventually had to wake Connor up and move him to his shoulders to be able to carry him back to the train.

We were a little nervous about how long the lines would be and how long it would take to get on a train.  Despite the long line we found seats on the first train and had no problem at all finding the car and getting back out on the freeway.  We will definitely look to take the train again next year.

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