Summer So Far

Summer is in full swing. Here’s just a snippet of what’s been going on. Chris went on a last minute trip to Calgary during Clara’s last week of school. She was sad that he wasn’t home to celebrate the end of school with her. Here she is on her last day.

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Actually, this next photo is pre-end of school. We’ve finally gotten the house in good enough shape to have friends over. Glenn and Becky came over for the first time on Sunday of Memorial weekend. The kids swam and played the Wii U Chris had just brought home earlier that day. We grilled and the adults played a board game while the kids watched a movie and we stayed up waaaay too late since no one had school or work the next day. And this is the only picture I took. The girls are playing Just Dance.

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Week one of summer started off with a visit with friends from church for more swimming and grilling. Noticing a trend here? I only got a picture of the girls. The boys couldn’t be bothered to stop long enough to take a picture.

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Clara started theater camp the next day. One night I challenged the kids to a drawing contest and this was Robert’s giraffe :)

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A few minutes after I took these pictures, this guy showed up and stayed with us for a few days. He helped Chris out with a few handyman things around the house and the only payment he requested was nightly use of the pool and hot tub. The kids didn’t mind this arrangement too much.

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In this next picture, you can see the new outdoor ceiling fans he installed to replace the nasty, rusted ones that were there.

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Week two consisted of more theater camp for Clara, VBS for Robert, a visit from Grandma and Grandpa and an early Father’s Day celebration. Week three in Pecos coming soon!

August Up Til Now

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Oh my goodness, this post looks hysterical! It looked bad while I was creating it, but after I published it, it looks totally different and much worse. Hello! Where did my paragraph spaces run off to? I’ll try to get it fixed soon.

Chris moved my blog. Or something. Not sure what exactly he did, but it’s all different now. I can’t seem to figure out how to put text above the first picture and it uploaded pictures side by side for some reason and I can’t fix them either. So I apologize for this weird post.

Linsey had a workshop in Kemah the week we got back from California, so the kids and I met her one afternoon and we walked around the boardwalk and had dinner with her and a co-worker. She doesn’t like carnival rides much, but we talked her into riding the ferris wheel. She thought we were going to get dumped right out and held on tight. I’ll be nice and refrain from putting the best picture I got on here :)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A few days later, one week after getting home from vacation, the kids and I drove to Pecos. My mom was still watching Brody and Cooper and their new puppy Shooter while Linsey was out of town, so my mom had a houseful. The kids got to swim over at Myrt Myrt’s house a couple of times and they were in heaven. They played so well together and there was hardly any fighting. They got to play with Linsey’s new puppy, who has very sharp puppy teeth by the way, and Cody and Tanya’s new litter of puppies. Linsey got back into town on Tuesday and hung out with us and stayed the night before going home on Wednesday afternoon. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                             OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   We wanted a picture of all the grandkids and they were mostly uncooperative. This was the best picture I could get before finally telling them they could act silly. There was a lot more cooperation at that point. Further down you can see the precise moment that Brody and Robert hit heads. And then it was all over. And now I can’t seem to write between any of the pictures. This is so weird. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   We left Friday morning for the long drive home. Minutes into the trip I realized our DVD player car adapter was broken and I didn’t bring anything else for the kids to do. There was a moment of panic, but we survived. Barely. Clara did have some books to read and we stopped at an Alco in Sonora maybe? and got some things to pass the time. We took a detour and stopped in Temple to see Dan who was in the hospital after having had knee replacement surgery the day before. We hadn’t been able to see them all summer since he had his first knee replaced at the beginning of the summer and they’ve been working to get Nanny moved in. Linda went to pick up her mom so that we could visit with her too. We hadn’t seen her since Christmas.

We stayed for about an hour and then finished the long drive home, getting home exactly 12 hours after leaving Pecos. Talk about a long day. The next day was Leah’s birthday party. It should have been about an hours drive. On the way there, police were diverting traffic away from the highway we needed to cross so I had to turn around and figure out the best way there. Turns out there wasn’t a good way and we had to backtrack a lot to get there.

It ended up taking us 1.5 hours to get there. And then I didn’t bring her swimsuit. They swim every year, so why I didn’t bring her suit, I have no idea. Thankfully they had an extra for her. I hung out and chatted and then left Clara to spend the night with Leah. They’ve been wanting to have a sleepover forever, but it’s difficult to find a time when we can get them together, so this worked perfectly. For me at least :) She went to church with them the next morning and then Chris, Robert and I drove up after church to meet them for lunch and bring her home. We ended up going over to their house to visit and didn’t leave until 8:30! I felt so bad for taking up their entire Sunday afternoon. It was lovely catching up though, so I don’t feel too bad :) The next day, the PTA president called and asked if I could come up to the school the next day to help out with some stuff and asked if I might be interested in being secretary. She has been unable to reach the secretary all summer. So I said I would think about it. We spent most of the day working. I told her I would be secretary around 2:00 and then attended my first meeting at 4:30. That Thursday, Chris and I dropped the Audi off at the dealership to be looked at by an insurance agent. A while back we had some major storms come through. The roof started leaking, but we couldn’t tell where the problem was. It completely soaked the floors and the center console, leaving the console inoperable. That’s where the radio, a/c and navigation controls are. We immediately got it into the garage and turned on a dehumidifier when it happened, so we managed to minimize any water damage or odor. So, we were leaving it there to have someone come take a look at it. After dropping the car, we headed to The Woodlands for Chris’ knee surgery. His knee started bothering him a month or so ago when he started doing a little running, so he had an MRI right before we left on vacation. He saw a surgeon when the kids and I were in Pecos and scheduled surgery for the 14th. He knew he had a torn meniscus from being hit by a car in college, but he also had a lot of cartilage damage. Damage is rated 1-4 and Chris had several 3s and a 1/2 in. diameter spot that was a 4 which means no cartilage at all. So that’s what was causing him such pain. The treatment for that spot was to poke little holes in the bone which causes stuff to ooze out and form a barrier. (I know, really technical). It’s not ideal of course, but hopefully it will work to ease his pain. Chris hasn’t injured that knee any other time, so this was probably damage done from his accident 20 years ago. He will probably eventually need knee replacement, but hopefully this will allow him to hold off for a long time. He had to check in for surgery at 10:15. When they called him back for pre-op, I took the opportunity to take the kids over to the mall for a quick lunch and to pick up a surprise for Chris from the Lego Store to work while he was home recovering. I made sure to tell Robert not to say anything and we would give it to him after his surgery. When we got back to Chris, he was in his gown, all hooked up in bed. I guess the kids didn’t know what to expect. They both seemed to be taken aback a little seeing him like that. We talked to him for a bit and then Robert said, “We didn’t get you any legos, Daddy.” I gave him “the look” and said, “You weren’t supposed to tell him!” And he leaned over and whispered very loudly in my ear, “I’m just tricking him.” Oh my goodness, we had a good laugh with that one. That boy’s a mess. Surgery went well and we got home around 3:00. The insurance company called us back the next day and said they couldn’t see any water damage in the car and would be denying the claim. Chris argued with the guy for awhile and told him there was no damage because we made sure to get it in the garage and dried out so it wouldn’t be damaged. He asked the guy if we need to just leave it in the driveway and wait for the next rain and not do anything. He said, “Well, no…..” So Chris told him to run it through the car wash and call him back. The guy called back not 10 minutes later. He and someone from the dealership sat in the car and then had a hose put on the roof. He admitted he was skeptical. Then a few minutes later it just started pouring into the car, all over the two of them. Ha! Serves ’em right :) Turns out there are drains inside all sunroofs that drain water down the frame and out by the tires. Ours were clogged. So insurance, after deductible of course, covers the damage done by the water to the console, but not the sunroof drains. So between that and surgery, it’s been an expensive week. We laid low the days following his surgery and then Sunday afternoon I met Linda halfway between here and Temple and sent Clara to stay with them for a few days before school starts. They fit a lot into their few short days. A little shopping, some painting, a jumping place, cookie baking, and visiting Nanny’s new place, just to name a few. Chris stayed home on Monday and we took Robert to see Planes 2. He was ready to go back to work on Tuesday, but not quite ready to go without pain meds, so I dropped him off at work on Tuesday and Wednesday. I met Linda again on Wednesday to pick Clara up. We had a quick lunch at Subway before coming home. I had to get her back on Wednesday, because on Thursday I drove Chris back up to The Woodlands for his post-op checkup. His car was ready too, so he drove it back. Turns out he wasn’t quite up for driving and his knee was hurting after that. And then last night was Meet the Teacher at Clara’s school. I got to school at 4:00 yesterday to help set up and stayed until 8:30 to help clean up and count money. It’s amazing how much work it takes when you don’t have enough volunteers. We even had our kids working. I quickly called Chris to come get Robert on his way home because he was being very not helpful. We didn’t stop for those four hours straight. I left long enough to spend 20 minutes meeting Clara’s teacher. Some of the mom’s didn’t go meet their kids’ teachers until after it was over at 7:00. So that has been our August in a nutshell. Looking forward to the new school year when things settle down!

Laguna Beach

I wanted to spend one day at the beach on this trip. Chris didn’t really want to and thought the water would be too cold for the kids to swim in anyway. I told him that I didn’t want our children growing up thinking Galveston is what a beach is. I mean I love Galveston. It has a certain charm, but it can be gross. It’s not it’s fault; that’s just the way God made it. We told the kids that Galveston is like our old dog Dingle. She was kinda dumb and stinky, but by golly she was our dumb stinky dog, so we loved her despite her dumb stinkiness. That’s what Galveston is for Houstonians. But even though I loved Dingle, I sure do appreciate the beauty of a massive great dane or saint bernard or a beautifully groomed afghan hound. So to the beach we went :)

I had no idea where the best beach for families was, so I finally decided on Laguna Beach, partly because of the tide pools. We got there way too early to check in to our hotel, so we parked and walked down to the beach. It was a long way down.

We were met with this beautiful view. See kids, some oceans have blue water. The kids didn’t have on swimsuits so I told them they could just stick their feet in. Yeah right. They both ended up soaked.

The water was freezing! A sign at a dive shop said it was 69 degrees. So I didn’t have any problems just going in foot deep. We’re not used to the huge waves that broke right on the beach, so the kids got a surprise every once in a while, hence the reason Robert’s shirt is soaked all the way up to his chest.

We walked over to a rocky area to look for little critters in the tide pools. They had the rocks closed and it wasn’t low tide anyway, but we did find a few spots where we could watch stuff scurry around. We spotted several anemones and little hermit crabs.

After lunch we got on swimsuits and went down to the beach behind our hotel.

Yep, still cold.

I love this next picture. Clara’s expression. Robert’s face and the way he’s turning to run from the wave. They loved every minute of it and Clara could not stop squealing. It was tough keeping them close by. It was deceiving how far you could get out without being knocked over by a wave. And then as the water receded, it had such a strong force that it sucked you back in. Robert tumbled and got sucked back as I held on to him. Clara fell twice when she got hit by a big wave, hurting her bottom both times and coming out crying. I won’t lie, it made me pretty nervous.

See, I just wanted a picture and was minding my business standing on sand, feet nowhere near the water when this wave hit me all the way up to my backside. Chris was pretty amused.

Our hotel was really neat. The stairs and walkways winded their way down to the beach like a labyrinth.

We finally got checked in and Robert and I got in a good nap.

Here’s the view from our balcony. Not too shabby.

I took the kids down for a walk at sunset and they got all wet again.

If you look close, you can see Chris standing on our balcony.

I wanted to take one more walk on the beach the next morning, but the kids didn’t have a very good track record of staying dry and we were leaving soon, so I didn’t chance it.

I loved the hotel, but there was one major problem with our room. The a/c wasn’t working well. It was just a portable unit and we had it turned on hi but it just wasn’t cooling the room down. I thought for sure it would cool off when the sun went down. We opened the door and it was nice and cool outside, but it never cooled off our room much. We ended up sleeping with our balcony door opened all night with the sound of waves crashing, which I thought was kind of nice.

We loaded everything up and got on the road for a long day of travel ahead. Our plane landed a little after 9:00 pm. As soon as we stepped off the elevator into the parking garage, we got hit with the Houston humidity. Ahhhhh. It felt good, like walking into a sauna. I always love that feeling after traveling. It feels like home.

It was a wonderful vacation. The kids were awesome and cooperative for the most part. We all had a blast. And I can’t wait for our next travel adventure. Now that Robert’s older, I hope to go more places. Although I haven’t done a lot of travel, I absolutely love it and hope my kids do too.

Now where to next? Grand Canyon? Caribbean cruise? New York?

Legoland- Day 2

Staying at the resort allowed us to get into the park an hour early to ride select rides. Before we left the hotel, we enjoyed the massive breakfast buffet. There was every kind of breakfast food you could think of and the best part was the kid size buffet line with kid friendly options. Robert liked getting his own food.

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Behind the reception desk was this huge display of minifigures. The guy on the bike rode back and forth, with magnifying glasses in the center of the tires so you could view the detail as he passed by.

Chris and Clara built this tower as we waited for the park gates to open.

This was one of the few rides that they were able to ride without an adult.

There was a dragon roller coaster inside the castle. We rode it early on and there was no line. Clara even wanted to ride it a second time. She had gotten pretty brave by the end of the week.

This is the room where the master builders build everything for the park. Bins of legos filled the room and there were vaccuum tubes by the workstations to send the unused bricks away.

There were probably ten different Star Wars scenes displayed, as well as about twenty Star Wars figures.

Clara and her lego friends

 We went back to the hotel after lunch and then back up to the water park later in the afternoon. The water was soooooo cold! I didn’t enjoy myself at all. The kids and Chris did the wave pool for a bit and then it started sprinkling, which just made me more cold. They played for a little while on a play structure and waited in a long line to go down a slide and then we went over to a splash ride. We had left our towels in the locker so we were pretty chilly as we waited to ride the big flume ride. It seemed to be really disorganized and so it took forever for us to finally get on the ride. We got completely soaked on it and decided we’d had enough water fun for the day. We picked out a few lego sets at the lego store on the way out and headed back to the hotel. We had a nice dinner buffet and then enjoyed a night of movie watching and lego building to finish up the lego leg of our trip.

Disney California Adventure

We did California Adventure on Tuesday. We weren’t feeling all that great after all the junk food we ate our first day so we decided to forgo the cold breakfast at the hotel and go to Denny’s for a nice hot breakfast. We got there the same time because of the main reason for our visit to this park. Radiator Springs Racers. The lines get up to several hours long, so we wanted to be close to first in line. There’s technique involved in riding without a long wait.

I have one word for the crowds waiting for the Cars ride: Insane. They have several employees that have to walk in front of the crowd with a rope as the park opens so that no one gets trampled. They eventually get everyone down to a single file line as you make your way to the ride entrance. We probably waited ten minutes to get on. The ride was awesome! So much fun. You get in your car and then take a leisurely ride with the music playing in your car. You go past the waterfall just like the scene in the movie and then you go through Radiator Springs where all the cars talk to you. You go tractor tipping with Mater and then get ready for your race by either getting a new paint job from Ramone or new tires from Luigi. Then you end up on a track next to another car and you race them to the end. The whole race is outdoors and looks just like the movie. We were pumped that our car won.

As soon as we got off, Chris took the kids to meet Mater while I grabbed FPs to ride it again. It’s such a popular ride that our time was several hours out. They run out of FPs by mid morning.

We then rode the other two rides in Cars Land, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi’s Flying Tires.

Bikes in front of Monsters University dorm

There was almost no one in this area of the park and we got right on the Monsters Inc. ride. At the end, there’s a big Roz, the slug-like character from the movie. Our car stopped and she said, “I like your hair young man; it looks like you’ve seen a monster.” We just kind of looked around, like, is she talking to us? Then she said, “I like your glasses too. Do you want to trade?” Ha!

Next up was the Muppet Vision 3D show. It was fun and had some really fun effects both in the show and on the televisions as you waited to go into the theater.

We went through the Redwood Creek Wilderness Challenge area where the kids complete different challenges to earn their wilderness badges, like Russell from the movie Up.

Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

We went on Cars again when our FP time came up and went straight up to the front. We asked a guy how long he had been waiting in the normal line and he said two hours!  I’m so glad we planned it right and got two rides in with minimal wait time. We had just as much fun the second time and we won again!

We happened to be sitting near the pier when Goofy walked up to direct the symphony. It was a water show set to music and of course Goofy messed everything up pretty good. It was a funny little show.

We went on a flight simulator ride called Soarin’ Over California, where it feels like you’re flying all over the state. We all really liked it. We also saw the 3D show, “It’s Tough to be a Bug” in a Bugs Land. Chris and I saw it at Disney World back in 2007. Clara flipped out a couple of times. She did not like when we got sprayed with “bug spray”. She really thought they were dousing the entire theater with a cloud of toxic bug spray. She did not like getting poked in the back by stingers (although she thought it was Chris poking her). At the end, it feels like bugs are scurrying past you under your bottom and she freaked out at that too. She couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Ha!

We pressed on all afternoon so that we could stay until the Pixar parade at 5:15. We watched a Disney Jr. live show, rode the Golden Zephyr and Goofy’s Flight School before having an early dinner and finding a spot to sit for the parade.

We were all ready for a rest at this point. I really wanted to go to the other Disneyland show, Fantasmic, but we decided it was probably best to take it easy that night. We napped until almost 8:30. The kids didn’t want to get up, but I was fairly certain they wouldn’t sleep through the night. We got them up and went down to the pool for a bit. The water was cold, so we sat in the hot tub. Robert was not a fan of the hot tub. He was freezing cold, but the water was just too hot for him. He eventually warmed up and took a short dip. I think the hot tub worked wonders on Chris and me both. We slept amazingly well and both woke the next morning without a bit of soreness.

California Vacation!

We got back late last night from our first ever big family vacation and boy are we pooped! We spent a week at Disneyland, Legoland and the beach. In anticipation of our trip, Clara got some of her friends ready for Disneyland. Here is Amarilla dressed as Captain Hook, Magic is Sleeping Beauty, and Coconut is Cinderella. She also made one of Robert’s cars into Buzz Lightyear. I thought it was so sweet. I got into the fun and became a rockstar mom the morning we left when I showed her my Willow Tree mother daughter figurine with Mickey ears that I taped on.

We’re lucky to get to hang out in the United Club because of Daddy’s preferred status. We got a light breakfast and comfy chairs to sit in for an hour or so before boarding our flight. The kids hadn’t flown since their trip to Albuquerque when Chris and I went to Europe so Robert didn’t remember it. They were both really good and played video games the whole time.

We got to LA a little before lunch time and went to a nearby mall to eat lunch and grab some snacks at Target. As we got close to our hotel and started seeing Disney stuff, I was downright giddy I was so excited. Chris thought I was pretty ridiculous. Our hotel was right across the street from the entrance to Disneyland, so we went over to Downtown Disney that evening for dinner and let the spoiling begin. When Daddy and Robert spotted a store called Ridemakerz, which is essentially a Build a Bear for cars, they had to go back and make a car for Robert. I thought for sure he’d want to make Lightning McQueen or Francesco, but he fell in love with the shiny silver racecar and made it r/c. He was able to totally customize it and then go over to the “garage” and use a tool to put some of the pieces on it. And Clara eventually settled on the My Little Pony Pinkie Pie and dressed her as Ariel.

We got to bed early that night so we could be up bright and early for our first day at the happiest place on Earth. I apologize for the insane number of picture here :)

We got to the gate about 7:15 and were close to the front. It was so much fun as they countdown to opening the gates. I told Chris “See, I’m not the only one who gets excited about Disneyland.” They open the gates to Main Street about 20-30 minutes before the official park opening, so we leisurely strolled to the area we wanted to go after 8:00.

We headed through Sleeping Beauty’s castle first. Clara begged to do the castle walk-through from the first moment she saw it. We put it off though. I had read that we should do everything we wanted in Fantasyland first thing before it got busy, so that’s what we did. Our first ride was Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. We hopped right into a car with no line. Clara was terrified. I had tried so had to prepare her for the rides. I told her some would be dark, but that everything was pretend and that nothing would fall on her or touch her. My poor girl is just so innocent and scares so easily that she was terrified on most rides. No amount of talking her through it helped her cope the rides that took us through the dark.

Snow White’s Grotto and Wishing Well

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Next up was the teacups. Chris opted to just take pictures for this one.

I should have sat it out too. I don’t do too well with spinny rides.

Still no lines as we rode Alice in Wonderland. A minute or so in and the ride stopped and light came on. It was probably a good thing because as we waited for someone to come let us out, we showed Clara all the little details of the ride. She could see how everything worked, how stuff is just painted, plugs in the wall, walkways and stairs to get out, etc. I think it helped her understand that it wasn’t real. We were stuck for about minutes and never did make it back on.

We were going to get a Fastpass for Autopia, but the line wasn’t very long so we went ahead and waited to ride it. I was with Robert, so I had a very bumpy ride. I controlled the gas, but he had us hitting the track the whole way. He was in heaven of course.

We HAD to do It’s a Small World. As much as I knew we shouldn’t do it, we had to. Longest 10 minutes of my life :) Nah, it’s not that bad. If anything, you have to appreciate the artistry of all of the dolls and backgrounds. It is huge and just keeps going and going. There is so much detail and I was just in awe thinking about the amount of work that must have gone into it.

We rode the Casey Jr. Circus train next and it was the first line we had to wait in that was more than five minutes I think. We went and grabbed Fastpasses for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I usually left Chris with the kids while I ran to get Fastpasses so they could rest for a few minutes. While we waited for our time, we did  Pirates of the Caribbean next and Clara didn’t like it. AT. ALL. At one point, there is a projection of Davy Jones, with his long, tentacled beard, on what looks to be a waterfall that your boat is heading straight for. As we started going under the waterfall, which was just an illusion, she freaked out. She was screaming, crying and grabbing hold of me for dear life. Then our boat went fast down a pitch black tunnel. Oh my goodness, she was hysterical. She could not get off that boat fast enough. I eventually realized her fear was of tunnels. Later in the trip, we went through a very innocent, not scary at all tunnel and she scooted over and grabbed my arm. There’s a lot of tunnels in a theme park so you can see why she was conflicted.

I grabbed Splash Mountain FPs, then we bypassed a very long line to get onto Big Thunder Mountain. That was our first Fastpass experience and it was lovely. I cannot imagine waiting in those lines. Clara was a little nervous but we convinced her to go on. We tried to push her a little, but not too much. We wanted her to have fun but also wanted her to face some of her fears. This was her first roller coaster. She was pretty scared and let out a few good screams but there were no tears. She was still on the fence about it when we got off, but later decided she liked it! She even wanted to go on it again and we did on Wednesday. Robert was just like his Daddy on the big rides. He enjoyed them, but there was zero expression on his face. No screaming, no smiling, no nothing. Just straight faced on everything.

We went on the Winnie the Pooh ride and then Splash Mountain. I was in the front and ended up soaked! They both loved it. It was time for lunch at this point, so we had lunch overlooking the Rivers of America. If anyone is concerned that we scarred our daughter for life on this trip, you can see that she was still all smiles.

Mark Twain Riverboat

Splash Mountain

We went over to Mickey’s Toontown after lunch, but didn’t stay for long. The line to see Mickey was an hour long, so we were not up for that. We just walked through and the kids played with the cartoon-y things like this barbell and Robert had a grand time playing Goofy’s piano. Every key made a different silly noise.

It was getting really hot and really crowded at this point, so we went back to the hotel for naps. We went back in the evening for the parade. Before picking a spot to sit, we watched Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. I wasn’t sure what to expect but Chris said it was really good. I’m not the most patriotic individual, but even I choked up a little watching the Mr. Lincoln robot giving a speech. He was so incredibly lifelike. He stood up from his chair. He looked down at his notes as he spoke. It was quite impressive. The hostess said he is so lifelike that people have asked him for his autograph.  I was glad we went. We grabbed a treat and sat and waited for the parade.

The lines were terrible at this point, but I really wanted to stay for the fireworks. Chris obliged although he wasn’t just thrilled about it. We did Astro Blasters, which ended up being one of my favorites. You and one other person sit in a pod and shoot at targets. You get to see your score as you go. Chris wooped us all of course. It was so much fun! This big animatronic Buzz was giving instructions on his etch a sketch just before getting on the ride.

We went over to Adventureland afterwards and stood in a looooooong line for the Jungle Cruise. Our captain was hilarious. He asked one little girl if she like zebras. Then he said, “Lions like zebras too, actually they love them. They’re like bffs”, right as we came upon a group of lions with a dead zebra they were eating on. Oh my goodness, I was rolling.

We explored Tarzan’s treehouse and then went over to get a snack and find somewhere to stand for the fireworks. The crowds were insane! Poor Chris; he so didn’t want to be there. We watched for a while but the kids were tired and ready to go, so we headed back to the entrance. It was packed solid all the way down Main Street. I couldn’t believe the sheer number of people that were packed into that space.

It was 10:00 when we got back to the hotel and we couldn’t get in bed fast enough.

4th of July

Chris helped a friend move on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, the 4th. That night, another friend invited us to their country club for their 4th of July celebration. The club is just around the corner from our house, so it was nice and convenient for us. I am so out of my element when I go to fancy places like that. I feel like an impostor and just slightly uncomfortable the whole time. Our friends were a little late, so I was feeling especially out of place thinking we were going to get kicked out. I’m surprised they didn’t since we were supposed to get armbands when we came in. They arrived mere minutes before it poured rain, so we hurried inside and beat the crowds to the huge indoor buffet with all the traditional summer foods you’d expect at a 4th of July party and then stayed inside until the storm passed.

Before the rain hit, they had a train, bounce house, face painting, a band and were having a three legged race when we first arrived. It really was too bad the rain hit such a nice celebration.

After the storm passed, we walked around the grounds and checked out the awesome pool and splash pad that we were supposed to get to play in until the storm came and dumped on our plans.

They had a fireworks display over the lake. Thankfully someone had brought a blanket to sit on and shared a corner with us. We remembered to bring Robert’s ear protection and for the first time ever, he wasn’t terrified of the fireworks. Yay! As you can see, Clara was on had to give him a reassuring pat when there was an especially loud one. They really are sweet when they want to be.

Brady Lake

The kids and I joined my dad’s side of the family for camping at Brady Lake, near San Angelo. All six of his siblings and their spouses were able to be there. Only my two youngest cousins were there and Bryce came with my mom and dad. Chris had bought tickets to the Houston Grand Prix months ago, so he wasn’t able to come. He kept trying to get me to take the camper, but there was no way I was confident enough to take it by myself. I’ve never even driven with a trailer before. So we roughed it in the tent for the first time in a couple of years.

It was a little warm, but thankfully, my mom and dad had their little camper with a/c, so we were able to retreat inside and cool off every once in a while. Our old air mattress finally bit the dust. It wouldn’t hold air at all, so the second night I folded up blankets in the middle so Clara wouldn’t be on the hard ground as the air escaped during the night. Robert ended up in bed with me.

We got the kids ice cream at the marina and they were covered in sticky goo after a few minutes in the heat.

The lakeshore wasn’t suitable for swimming by our campsites, so we had to drive down the road to get in at the designated swimming area. The kids splashed and had fun for about an hour on Saturday and Sunday before Bia and I were ready to go cool off back at camp.

The camping area had a nice big bathroom with this shady playground right behind it. It was perfect for playing on, even in the heat of the day.

Each night everyone joined up for dinner in front of Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Betty’s camper. I only took a couple of pictures.

Robert made friends with everyone by gifting them with rocks. When they accidentally got left on the ground, he made sure to find the rock’s owner and ensure they didn’t lose them. He and Clara eventually warmed up to my cousins and they joined them at their cabin to make homemade ice cream for everyone Saturday night.

Playing Yahtzee in the cool of the camper Sunday afternoon. Clara whooped up on Bia and Bryce. Before that she pounded me and Bia at Ticket to Ride, a cool game we got at Goodwill Saturday morning. Some of my aunts loooove going thrifting, so a trip into town is usually on the agenda each year.

About half of the group had to leave on Sunday, but we stayed until Monday. Robert helped Bia load the big jug of water onto the truck.

My parents were headed on to Garner State Park for a day and I thought about joining them, but we were hot and out of clean clothes and food and the thought of setting up and tearing down camp again was just too much, so we got on the road for our five hour trip home. It’s always a treat to see everyone and catch up, so I look forward to the years I’m able to make it.

Summer Fun

Summer Movie Club

 

Sleepovers in sibling’s rooms

 

Cartoons

 

VBS (Robert’s first)

 

Working out

…….. and lots more!

Father’s Day at the Beach

I have tried to get on here all day and I just got through! I’ll make this quick in case the blog goes down on me again.

We headed to Galveston Island State Park yesterday for Father’s Day. We’ve been wanting to check it out for some time now to see if we’d like to camp there. The kids have been begging to go to the beach for ages now. The last time we went to the beach, Robert wasn’t even walking yet. We’re terrible. We have a beach an hours drive away and haven’t taken the kids in 3.5 years.

Robert LOVED the ocean. He ran into the surf, crashed into the waves, fell under the waves and got up each time smiling. There was no stopping him. And Clara loved it just as much as the last time we were there.

Not even the seaweed phased them. Ew. Look at this beach. It’s just awful. Thankfully someone had cleared a path to the water, so I didn’t have to walk through calf deep seaweed. Kids were running back and forth through it and it was to their knees. Blech.

I didn’t get in past my calves because the seaweed grossed me out. It would wrap around my legs and then back out to sea with each wave. Like I said, these two couldn’t care less.

Since our stuff and their sand was so far from the water’s edge, they had to go back and forth getting buckets of water to make the sand suitable for building.

 

Truth be told, neither Chris nor I particularly enjoy a day at the beach. We both can enjoy an hour in the sun and are then ready to go. So I decided to buy a couple of beach chairs and umbrella at Costco thinking that would help. Oh my goodness, how have we not taken chairs and shade to the beach all these years? It was lovely! We were comfortable the entire time and probably could have stayed a while longer no problem.

The day use area at Galveston Island State Park has rinse off showers and changing rooms, so we didn’t even have to take the beach home with us. And we got in free with our Texas State Parks pass.

After cleaning up, we decided to have an early dinner before heading home. We hit Clara’s favorite, Rainforest Cafe. It amazes me that she still gets a little nervous when the thunderstorms start and the animals start moving around. They both jumped at the chance to get a hug from Cha-Cha.

And finally, we decided to take them on the little ride at the restaurant. We’d never been and didn’t know exactly what it entailed, but I thought it was fun. Clara was a little nervous as our boat launched, but Robert was all smiles.

As we got further in and there were more noises and more animatronic animals startling her, she lost it. She had her face buried in Chris’ lap for the majority of the trip. Robert only got a little nervous as we passed under a large snake suspended from the ceiling.

All in all, it was a super fun, but exhausting day. And we’re ready for another trip to the beach now that we’re prepared. Hopefully it won’t be another three and a half years.