Cousin Time at Fort Worth Stockyards

Susan and Corey had to make a trip to Fort Worth for an appointment on Monday and the kids were out of school for MLK Day.  They asked if we could meet them there to keep Aidan and Ally occupied for a couple of hours till they were finished. We told them we’d still have Beck and Jack but it would be fun to have all of the kids together for a little while.  After a quick drive over to Fort Worth, we got Aidan and Ally and took all four kids to the Stockyards to wander around.  They had a ball as we went through the museum, had burgers for lunch, rode some of the silly 50 cent kiddie rides, and went through the petting/feeding zoo.  Rich and Aidan waited outside while I took the younger ones in to pet and feed the animals, which was a blast for Beck and Ally but not so much for Jack! Could have saved my money on him because he was afraid to get too close to the animals and didn’t want to touch them or feed them.  But I think he still had fun walking around and watching from a distance.  After a couple of hours, we met back up with Susan and Corey and they headed home to Clyde while we took the boys back to Dallas.  Jack fell asleep in the car and continued to sleep for awhile at home. We had dinner, cleaned up the house for their parents’ and sister’s return later, bathed, read books, and off to bed.

Beck sleeps with his door open but we always close Jack’s door so he won’t wake up if there’s any noise in the house.  At one point I thought I heard a door slam upstairs but I figured it was Beck going to the bathroom.  Quite late, around 10:30, I went to check on the boys and noted that Beck’s door was shut. I went in to make sure he was okay and he was snoozing away in bed.  Then I spied Jack sitting on the floor playing with Legos!  Little stinker! I took him back to his room and let him bring some of the Legos with him.  I told him he could play for a few more minutes, then get up in bed and go to sleep.  After awhile, I heard the door slam again and went back upstairs to find him in Beck’s room a second time!  I returned him to his room (meanwhile Beck is sleeping through everything) and told him he needed to get to sleep.  He said he “had to finish!” his Lego building.  Funny boy!  After a minute or two, I told him to get up in his bed and he complied.  He had taken a bunch of toys out of a drawer under his bed so I started putting them away.  He said “No, leave it!” LOL I said we wanted to have things picked up when Mommy and Daddy got home so he agreed.

Sarah, Miles and Elle got home around 12:45 AM so it was a long day and a late night for all of them.  They had a great time in Vegas; the girls had a tough soccer tournament but held their own and Elle made 4 of the 6 goals that their team scored throughout the tourney.  We’re proud of that girl!

After chatting a few minutes, Rich and I came home and collapsed in bed! I had to get up early for my volunteer work so it was a short night of sleep.  Another successful babysitting gig in the books!  🙂



There are 31 first cousins in my generation of my father’s family.  My dad was the youngest of 8, well, really 9 because one child (Robert) died as a baby.  There were five females: Elizabeth (Liz), twins Jane and Catherine (Cass), Mary, and Teresa and three males: Harry Kirby, known as Kirby, George, and my dad Joseph (Joe).  They had a rough life growing up; my father’s mother died when he was a baby and his older sisters helped raise him and his next older brother, George.  Their father married a woman with children of her own and according to family lore, life became the stuff of cliched fiction with the stepmother favoring her own kids and leaving the stepkids to fend for themselves.  One story states that she would often get upset with the youngest two boys and sit them out on the front stoop with their belongings so one of the married sisters would come and get them. As an older adolescent, my dad lived with my Aunt Jane and Uncle Charles till he joined the Air Force at the tender age of 17. Now most of these family members are gone except for Teresa, Mary and George.  My dad died first, at the very young age of 42, from lung cancer. The rest have passed on as they became older and suffered health issues.  I really miss all of them and have fond memories of that generation of “Rices.” It makes me sad to know that there is so much information and history that is lost to us and I wish I had taken the time to learn more from my dad, aunts, and uncles when we were all younger. Here are a few recent pics of just a handful of relations.



Most of my cousins grew up in New Jersey, some within a few miles or a backyard of each other, while my family lived a nomadic Air Force life, only returning to New Jersey on vacations and between assignments.  We also had our “Chicago cousins” —  Cass’ eight kids, whom we only saw rarely, and Uncle George’s kids who lived in Utah so we hardly knew them at all.  But mostly I remember the NJ cousins and as a kid I was quite envious that some of my cousins seemed to be best friends and did a lot together, while we were the outsiders who only came to visit on occasion.

Over the years we’ve had a few reunions that many of us attended and I regularly see many of the NJ cousins to this day when I return to see my mom.  We aren’t the best at keeping in touch but thankfully some of us are on Facebook and get to follow each other’s lives a little bit that way.  And sadly we are all getting older and we have already lost a few cousins.

Recently my sister let me know that one of our cousins and his family were coming to San Antonio because their son was completing basic training in the Air Force and would be graduating.  So Rich and I decided to drive out and visit for a couple of days.

My cousin Tim is my Aunt Mary’s youngest son.  Funny side story:  His real name is Thomas but when he was a child, he was very small so everyone called him Tiny Tim which got shortened to Tim.  I always knew him as Tim and never knew the story behind it–just thought that Tim was his given name.  When I was visiting in NJ not all that many years ago, a bunch of us had gone to a softball game and then back to Tim’s house.  I heard his wife Brandi call him Tom and I thought I had misheard.  Then someone else called him Tom and Brandi called him Tom again and I finally said, “Did you call him Tom?”  She said, “Yes, that’s his name!”  What?? I always thought his name was Tim! So they explained that they’d originally met when they worked at the same place where he’d been hired under his official name and everyone there knew him as Tom.  She had always known him as Tom and most of their friends call him Tom. She laughingly said, “Your whole family calls him Tim but all of us around here call him Tom.”

We had a great time in San Antonio with Tim/Tom and Brandi, their daughter Veronica and their son Trevor, new AF airman Aaron and his girlfriend Jamie.  My sister had a potluck dinner on Saturday attended by her daughters Alana and Rachel and their hubbies and kids, her son Ryan and his wife and kids, her son Eli, and her ex-husband Alan, along with Rich and me and the NJ crew.  We enjoyed good conversation and catching up with my nieces and nephews and all of their adorable kids as well as the cousins.



Once upon a time I had an idea that it would be a cool project to photograph and interview each of my first cousins and put it together for posterity. I suppose I could have started this weekend but it didn’t even occur to me.  🙂  Maybe on the next NJ trip!