Wednesday, July 20, 2011

family vacation 2011 day 4: one more day at the beach!

we toyed with the idea of trying out another beach for our last day of vacation, but being the sentimental gal that i am, i wanted to go back to rockport.  i wanted the chance to repeat the picture we took in front of the super groovy rockport sign last year.

here's our photo session from this year...
noodle, john, and burrito
and here's the full shot with the cool bird!
noodle, jenn and burrito
the three cousins: noodle, porkchop and burrito
the family shot sans john the photographer: jenn, noodle, stacey, porkchop, burrito, mimi and poppy
our family
porkchop with his best movie star look

i told you it was a photo session, ha!  so after all the photos, back to the beach we went!  this time we went beachcombing, looking for all sorts of shells, crabs and even jellyfish!  we brought plastic jars for the boys to collect their seashells in.  we buried noodle in the sand.  john threw the boys around in the water again.  it was another great day at the beach, and we were sad to leave.
john and noodle
burrito contemplating the vastness of the ocean
john and noodle
he really enjoyed being buried!
we spent the afternoon resting up a bit and then took advantage of the hotel's indoor swimming pool.
burrito swimming it up
stacey and porkchop
noodle enjoying the hot tub
noodle, who can't stand for the bathwater to be lukewarm, discovered the hot tub and loved it.  he was talking to complete adult strangers and it was totally cracking us up!

we were sad to leave the next day but so glad to have spent so much fun time all together.  it was a great family vacation that ended with lunch in austin, a trip to ikea in round rock, and then home, sweet home.
now we're trying to figure out a way to spend more time at the beach...a pop up camper, maybe?  i keep trying to convince john we need to indulge my love for volkswagon vans and drive one to the beach!

i'll keep working on him. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

family vacation 2011 day 3: the beach!

after spending some time at the beach last summer, we knew we wanted to somehow work that in again this summer.  when we initially asked the boys to choose between going to sea world or going to the beach, they without fail, would always vote the beach.  we were so glad that we ended up being able to do both!

we headed straight for the beach as soon as we woke up on the third day of vacation.  we grabbed a bite for lunch in corpus christi and headed over to rockport beach park.  we decided to pay the big bucks ($10, ha, ha) for the annual beach pass and proudly slapped that baby on our windshield.  i told john it was a sure sign that we are sentimentally tied to this place!  we changed into our swimsuits and promptly found a place to bask in the sunshine.

i was happily setting up camp on the beach while john and the boys made their way out into the waves.  just a few minutes passed when i could see (and hear) that noodle was upset about something.  i made my way out into the ocean to meet them and by the time i got near him, i knew what had happened.

a jellyfish sting!

poor noodle.  if it's going to happen to anybody, it will happen to him.  i had some antibiotic cream packed in a suitcase in the car so i tried to get him to calm down a bit by offering him a nice cold bottle of water.

that didn't work.  so i briskly made my way up the beach headed to the car when God provided my little beach angel jan.  she noticed noodle's drama and asked me as i passed if he had been stung by a jellyfish.  she asked if i had some medicine and recommended that if what i had didn't work, to make a run to the local walgreen's for some lanacane.  duly noted, i made my way to the car to dig out our antibiotic cream.  on my way back to noodle, jan remembered that she had some lanacane in her car and happily handed it to me.  i few sprays of this stuff and noodle was a new man!  we were so happy and grateful for her kindness.  noodle and i made our way over to where they were sitting to thank her again, and we learned that she and her husband were at the beach celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary.  we talked for a bit and she gave noodle a seashell she had found earlier that morning.  they were so kind and we were so glad that she came to our rescue.

well, it wasn't a few minutes after that when john and burrito came up from the water toting a nice little surprise in our purple sand bucket:

john told noodle that he caught the jellyfish that had stung him and noodle totally bought it! :)  this one was quite small and according to all the stings on noodle's leg, the one that stung him must have been pretty big.  we quickly discovered that the jellyfish population was quite large this summer, as we saw hundreds in the water and washed up on the beaches in the course of the 2 days that we were there.

i was so proud of noodle though.  after a little time out on the beach, he did end up going back in the water some and enjoying himself.

my parents, sister, and cousin porkchop joined us later in the afternoon (they stayed behind and went to the san antonio zoo), and it was equally fun to watch porkchop discover the ocean for the first time too.

porkchop chasing off the pesky seagulls
we ended up being there for over 5 hours that day and it felt like 30 minutes.  it is just so calm and relaxing and refreshing for our souls.  john and i have decided that we must be beach people because we are just so happy there.

so we all piled into our cars and headed back to corpus christi to check into our hotel.  we got cleaned up, dressed and headed out for dinner.  it was 9pm!  i don't think we have EVER taken our kids out for dinner that late before.  and without reliving the details, we won't EVER do it again, ha, ha!

one more day at the beach.  we were ready after a good night's rest.

Monday, July 18, 2011

family vacation 2011 day 2: sea world

i'll admit it.  initially, john and i were not that excited about going to sea world.  we are just not fans of being outside for long periods of time in the heat, along with hordes of other people.  so we went into it with low expectations.

we were pleasantly surprised.

we had a really fun time.  now it was HOT and there were hordes of people, but neither were too aggravating.  there were plenty of opportunities to get wet and cool off.

and there was plenty to see and do.  we learned pretty early on that with 5 adults and 3 kids, we had to prioritize what we wanted to see and do.  first up was the new "sesame street bay of play."  porkchop is a huge elmo lover and running through all the water was appealing to my crew.  coincidentally, on the way there i had the thought to review my cell phone number with noodle in case we were separated.  sea world is a big place.  after playing in the water stuff for a few minutes, john and i realized that we no longer knew the location of noodle.

that horrible pit of your stomach feeling sank in as we split up looking for him.  and this is why we lost him:
and this is just a small portion of the sesame street part.  there were lots of tunnels like these here that the kids could climb through.  after a few minutes of desperately searching around, we found him and he quickly learned that he would not be allowed to leave our sight the rest of the day.

despite that one little crazy moment, the rest of the day was fun and enjoyable.
love this shot of noodle
look close to see burrito
look close to see noodle

i think cousin porkchop was a little overwhelmed.  he didn't know what to do first!
the boys were so excited to ride their first roller coaster, the shamu express.  it was pretty tame and basically did this little loop twice.

gotta love burrito's expression here!

so after our time in sesame street world we headed over to the shamu show.  we knew we definitely wanted to see this!  but before we made it over there, the boys were distracted by this:
 they were a little too short to ride it, but they took full advantage of getting splashed!
these pics were taken in chronological order.  here you see the water coming.

starting to get splashed
now you can barely see them in all that water!
it was a really great way to cool off i would say!  now, on to shamu!
love these boys waiting for the show to start!
 we really liked this show, partly because it was our first of the day and partly because these whales are so BIG!  it was really fun to watch them perform.

after the shamu show, we were so hungry we thought we could eat shamu!  so we headed to grab a bite and plan our next few hours at sea world.  the boys scarfed down their lunch served on a souvenir plate and off we went to the sea lion show.  i remember seeing this show as a kid and i think burrito enjoyed this one because of the silly humor.
 the animals didn't always cooperate so it was funny to us adults to watch and see how the adult performers had to ad lib a bit.  below is a picture of the walrus doing sit-ups!
at this point in our sea world adventure it is about 2:00 and 1000 degrees so our group decides to split up.  john and i take the boys to the water park, and my sister and parents took porkchop back to the sesame street water park (he seriously loves elmo!).  after a little cool down, we meet back up to go feed the dolphins.  i was curious to see if the boys would be squeamish about picking up dead fish.

umm, no.

the fish were gone in a matter of seconds.  i barely had a chance to take these pictures.

the last show was a great way to end our day.  it featured dolphins and a beluga whale and a group of acrobatic swimmers and divers.  there was this really funny guy that entertained the crowd before the show, and this is what burrito is watching in this picture below.  it turns out that he was a part of the actual show and a fantastic diver.  it was so amazing, i forgot to take anymore pictures, oops!
we of course could not leave without making a quick trip to the souvenir store and all 3 boys chose to take home shamu!
thanks sea world for a surprisingly fun day!  and the next day we were off to the beach!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

family vacation 2011 day 1: san antonio

this year, we were so excited that everyone's schedules cooperated and allowed us to take an extended family vacation.  there were 8 of us total:  john, me and the boys;  my mom and dad; and my sister and her little boy, known as porkchop here on the blog.

we thought it would be fun to take the boys to san antonio to sea world, and then on to the gulf coast for a few days at the beach.

day 1 started with a carefully planned departure time so that we would end up in austin for lunch.  all of our trips always revolve around food in austin, ha!  this time we ate lunch at guero's taco bar, and it did not disappoint!  gotta love some good mexican food!

we left austin bound for some outlet mall shopping in san marcos.  we all enjoyed getting out of the car and walking around a bit, despite the ridiculously hot temperatures.  the three boys were spoiled on a visit to the children's place.

after a little shopping, we hopped back in for the completion of our trip to san antonio.  this last leg of the trip seemed to take FOREVER!  we were so ready to make it to our hotel.  despite the crazy person that STOPPED on the HIGHWAY because they were going to miss their exit, we arrived safely and even had a little time to rest before heading out to dinner on the famed river walk.

we ate outside (with the gluttonous pigeons), and then walked around near the river a bit before deciding to head back to the hotel for a little evening swim.  we wanted to make sure the boys were good and tired before bedtime!  the indoor pool was fun for the boys, but i'm pretty sure the heat and humidity inside that room were far worse than the air outside.  after suffocating for about 30 minutes, we headed upstairs to our room for showers.  just as the boys were pulling off their wet trunks to jump in the shower, the fire alarms in the hotel began going off.  burrito was so spooked he was ready to head out of there naked!  they quickly put on dry swim trunks and crocs, and we headed out to the parking lot.  little porkshop was about to take a bath too, so he came out in only a diaper.  after a visit from the fire department, it was determined that someone in the pool room pulled the fire alarm.  we joked that the HEAT in there was what tripped the alarm!  and for days after, porkchop would say, "beep, beep, truck," talking about the alarm and subsequent fire truck.
this is a terrible picture but i just had to include the three boys outside while the alarms were going off
watching the fire truck (nice pool hair!)
so a relaxing bedtime routine went totally out the window!  i was a little apprehensive to see how the boys would do sleeping in a bed together with us all in the same hotel room, but they did great!  it's amazing the difference a few years makes!  it used to be a nightmare to get them to sleep in a hotel.  in fact, this was actually enjoyable.  we stayed up late watching soccer on television, and the boys fell asleep without any begging or prodding on our part.

and a good night's rest was in order for the next day's adventure:  sea world!